Performance Marketing for B2B

03.30.22 // Graham McConnell

What Is B2B Performance Marketing?

If you focus exclusively on brand marketing, there will be no incentives for potential customers and no active temptation to turn into customers. If you want to generate quick leads and revenue, performance marketing may be your top priority to showcase your organization’s success. Using results-based marketing is a dedicated way to improve your output while ensuring you dedicate time and resources to the highest quality leads. Performance marketing is effective for B2B tech companies as it generates results and enables sudden changes in the rapidly changing tech space. The key difference with traditional digital marketing is that with performance marketing, you’ll only pay if your marketing campaigns achieve a specified result.

For example, instead of paying for an ad on a website, a performance marketing campaign can have set parameters that require a specific type of action from the prospect for you to pay for an interaction. The parameters depend on what you’re looking for out of your campaign, but in most cases it falls to one of the following; form fills, MQLs, SALs, pipeline or revenue.

Performance Marketing for B2B

As a B2B company, you need to have a clear idea of ​​who and how your products or services will help these buyers, and market research and targeting will help you a lot when it comes to connecting with your potential customers. As an individual, you are intimately familiar with the market as a consumer, so you have a preconceived notion of how to market other businesses.

Because B2B technology products are often new and category-defining, marketing strategies need to be tested to find the best way to reach a new market. An effective B2B digital marketing strategy uses any channel a potential customer can use to learn more about a particular product, service, or solution.

Using a variety of marketing channels to advertise your B2B business makes it easy to find interested leads. With B2B strategies, you will have multiple touch points where leads can interact with your business and learn more about your products or services. Techniques like email marketing allow you to send direct messages to decision makers, keeping your brand at the center of their attention.

Since B2B buyers are very interested in return on investment, B2B marketing materials usually focus on providing the target audience with factual information rather than emotional messages. B2B brand marketing includes content marketing, creating a social media presence, and presenting customer reviews. Aligning digital and traditional marketing efforts allows B2B brands to connect with their customers at every step of the buyer journey. However, attribution is the key to evaluating performance no matter what the channel you are using.

Performance Marketing Methods for B2B

  • Pay per click (PPC): The advertiser pays for clicks that take visitors to the advertiser’s landing page. This method is used in paid search engine results.
  • Cost per click (CPC): Another way to describe PPC above. Also a KPI (key performance indicator) that marketers use to understand how efficiently their media buys are performing. If one campaign on paid search has a CPC of $400, whereas a display campaign has a CPC of $20, the advertiser may choose to shift their marketing budget to the display channel for efficiency.
  • Cost per thousand (CPM): The easiest to use and most common payment model, CPM is a calculation of the price a marketer pays per 1,000 impressions. Rather than paying for someone clicking on an ad, the advertiser is paying every time the ad is shown to someone in their target audience. This method can be useful when the campaign goal is to increase product or brand awareness. It can also engage those who have expressed a high level of interest in your brand. CPM can be used for paid social media, programmatic advertising and many other platforms. When paying for views, it’s pertinent to use advanced targeting to ensure impressions and results from engaged audience members.
  • Lifetime Value (LTV): Analyzes a single customer’s lifetime value using advanced methods such as predictive analytics. It can estimate how much revenue you can get from a customer based on their ongoing activity. You can plan strategies better and boost your ROI with the acquired data.
  • Conversions or Pay Per Lead (PPL): Conversions take a step further from CPC as users need to do a specific action like completing a form fill. Even a step further would be if that form fill turns into a qualified lead.
  • Pipeline/Revenue: The ultimate goal of marketing campaigns is to fill these two buckets. Tying performance into this ultimately makes since but requires an advanced attribution model.

B2B Digital Performance Marketing Channels

Social Media Advertising

Social media is often used to increase traffic to the website, generate leads, create brand awareness. In the B2B space, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook/Instagram have the most diverse user base, others may offer targeting for specific purposes. While there are many metrics you can track in social media, the most often-used payment model is the CPM. Social media platforms offer several ways to ensure those impressions come from audience members most likely to be interested in your products or services.

Programmatic Display Advertising

Most performance marketing can be done programmatically including display advertising. By going through specific publishers to place banner ads, you can take advantage of advanced contextual targeting. Publishers gather a wealth of audience and segmentation data on their readers to help place highly-targeted ads.  The advantage of programmatic display advertising is that you can access those same audience members and others throughout the web.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is a form of advertising that doesn’t appear as advertising. Instead, it imitates the content and function of the site or page it’s placed on. Native ads often come in the form of suggested articles at the bottom of a news or social site and can also appear in-feed on social media platforms. Native advertising can also be bought or sold programmatically, to show native ads to users based on their interests and viewing history.

Good native advertising educates and informs customers at the top of the sales funnel, rather than using explicit sales language. By capturing customers’ interest, it creates prime opportunities for retargeting to help move the user along the consumer journey.

Because it imitates the other content on the site, native ads often get more clicks than traditional advertising. It usually takes the form of CPM advertising.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC combines native advertising through sponsored search results with other forms of marketing. Advertisements on the top of the search results list are often called PPC ads.


Besides performance-based ads, marketers also use search engine optimization (SEO). This tactic relies on the search engine’s algorithm to gain organic clicks. SEO isn’t always considered a performance marketing model, but with proper attribution it is relatively easy to differentiate organic from other channels such as paid search when it comes to a won deal.

Two Primary Benefits of Performance Marketing

  • The Risk is quantifiable – if your marketing isn’t performing, you can adjust your budget or even stop running a campaign to avoid overpaying.
  • Measurable – You can track and measure your advertising efforts down to the click through advanced attribution all the way through revenue, a true KPI of performance.

Why is Performance Marketing Important?

How are you currently measuring success? If your goals center on attributing revenue to specific channels and campaigns, your performance reporting should be focused on these as well. Performance Marketing helps to scale, increases engagement, and improves conversion of new buyers in new markets at a lower cost, lower risk and much higher ROI, theoretically. Performance Marketing is a way to build your brand, product or solution because it increases your awareness and engages with prospects. It is a purely results driven strategy. Performance marketing ensures that your efforts are targeted for maximum impact, while being optimized to insure efficient investing and avoiding those campaigns that are less likely to produce results.

About Graham McConnell

Graham is the Director of Marketing here at Obility and has been with us since October 2014. He was awarded the prestigious Obility MVP 2017 award for his incredible contributions and positive attitude. Graham is also the office's unofficial movie/music guru with his endless knowledge and supply of entertainment. View all Graham McConnell’s posts >