How Digital Performance Marketing Disrupts The Traditional School of Digital Marketing?

By Aida Saharoui

First things first, let’s start by explaining what Digital Performance Marketing is, and how it is positioned in the Digital Marketing Sphere.

Digital Performance Marketing is the field of Digital Marketing that focuses highly on data. It is no longer a matter of visibility only but mostly efficiency. Decisions in performance marketing are

data-driven leaving no room for assumptions. They often have one purpose, which is to work towards achieving a predefined KPI. Traditionally, Digital Marketing was used to drive impressions and traffic to a website while measuring metrics like Impressions, CPM, Clicks, and Views. In the case of Digital Performance Marketing, we would go deeper in the funnel measuring the actual value the outcome brings. If our client is an e-commerce that is looking to build a brand, we will still focus on the top of the funnel while optimizing towards metrics related to the actual audience engagement (Click through rates, percentage of video views, engagement rates, Viewable impressions, etc.). If the objective is to sell, we will be looking into KPIs related to ROAS, Customer LTV, CPA, etc. rather than considering volumes only, we would focus on efficiency. This is the field that I’ve grown my career in and the reason why I started WONE, a digital performance agency based in Dubai, operating in the GCC and worldwide. Our clients often have a clear idea about their global business targets but do not know much about how Digital Performance Marketing can concretely help in achieving these numbers.

Then the disruption happens…

Digital Performance Marketing disrupts and bothers, it disrupts the market as it adds data science to the marketing equation, the challenge marketers then have is to measure, AB test and deep dive to understand what works or doesn’t work, if you have the right skills set and tools to do so, you can bring a great added value to your Digital activations, on the contrary, if you do not have them, you get bothered and end up either deceiving your clients or entrusting these activities with specialized agencies like ourselves.


What is the digital mechanism that drives Digital Performance Marketing?

Machine learning would be the answer, using AI, Algorithms (defined as a set of programs that identify a behavioral pattern over a period of time) will draw the best path possible towards achieving a preset goal that humans set. Algorithms use machine learning to learn and therefore improve taking into consideration a multitude of signals that humans can simply not forecast (Time of Day, Days of the week, Devices, browser types, languages, locations and so on).

Automation then takes over allowing us to automatically optimized towards a certain KPI using the said set of programs.  You would define a CPA (cost per Acquisition Target), allocate enough budget and time frame, and watch the magic happen. This is a very simplified explanation, In reality, the set up is much more complex.

Why does Digital Performance Marketing give so much importance to data but not as much to content and visual creation?

The answer is: No it doesn’t it, it shouldn’t.

As a matter of fact, DPM is still a field of Marketing, therefore content is still King. You cannot realistically expect great ROIs if the first interaction point with your customers isn’t optimal. Therefore your visuals and content strategy have an enormous impact on the final outcome of your campaign.

As a matter of fact, leaving assumptions on the side, Algorithms today push specific formats over others. Short eye-catchy Video formats for instance – when done properly – tend to outperform static images. It is not only assuming that videos will do better, but it is embedded in the system.

How does the reporting format differ in Digital Performance Marketing vs. Digital Marketing, as we traditionally know it?

Real-time is the key differentiator, many agencies today are still reporting using emails only, which is unacceptable, other use PDF or excel sheets. We at WONE, provide each and every client with Real-time Dashboards using Tableau, Data studio and many more, connecting in real-time all the platforms. Which means that any partner can check the dashboard at any point of time, he/she will have access to all the updated KPIs and breakdowns (audience demographics, device performance, Ads performance, etc.) on both Desktop and mobile.

This disrupts and brothers as we build a lot of awareness around these practices to awake the minds of decision-makers and to let them know about what they should really expect for a maximum of efficiency.

Finally, we are in an era of automation, artificial intelligence and efficiency, our marketing campaigns should live up to the level of technology humans have reached. It is scary indeed but with proper use and respect of privacy policies, we should be able to reach a great harmony between data efficiency and customer relevancy.

Aida Saharoui is the founder and CEO of Wone, a digital consultancy firm. 

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