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Performance Marketing 101: Everything You Need to Know

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Performance Marketing 101: Everything You Need to Know

Performance marketing is one of the most effective ways for B2B and B2C businesses to reach their target audience and generate sales or leads.

However, for many new marketers, this practice can be complicated since it involves a combination of different strategies, channels, and more to drive results. In this article, we’ll simplify everything you need to know to become a performance marketing pro.

Table of contents

What is performance marketing?

Performance marketing is a digital marketing strategy based on results in which the brands or businesses only pay the marketing agencies, advertising platforms, or affiliates when they achieve their specific campaign goals, typically in the form of sales, clicks, or leads.

What’s the difference between performance marketing vs. brand marketing?

Performance and brand marketing are two different types of strategies that can be used to reach the intended audience.

While both forms have their benefits, the main difference between them is brand marketing aims to establish a long-term company’s reputation and awareness among potential customers; in contrast, performance marketing focuses on specific strategies to drive immediate sales without necessarily building an emotional connection with customers first.

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What are benefits of performance marketing?

Even though this marketing strategy can be challenging for some businesses, there are many benefits for those who dive in.

Here are three reasons why you should give performance marketing a try.

Low risk

Performance marketing is a low-risk method to introduce new strategies since it requires (relatively) little investment. If the campaign works, you can scale up and increase the budget; however, if it doesn’t, it’s easy to back up without a big loss.

Targeted

This marketing strategy allows you to target the right people with your message. You can focus on demographics and geographic locations or narrow your searches by interests and behavior, such as consumers who visited your site recently or who clicked on the ad in the last 24 hours.

Increased ROI

One of the biggest benefits of performance marketing is that it can result in higher ROI than other types of advertising because it’s focused on a specific goal.

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What are types of performance marketing?

Performance marketing can be done through various means. Here are some of the most common.

Social media advertising

Social media ads are one of the most popular forms of performance-based advertising. These ads can target people who have visited your website once or shown interest in similar products or services.

facebook video ad example - zapier

Search advertising

Search advertising, also known as PPC, is the practice where advertisers pay to have their ads placed above organic search results on search engine result pages (SERP) like Google and Bing.

🛑 Want to learn more about search engine marketing on Google? Get the free guide >> PPC 101: Complete Guide to Google Ads

Display advertising

Display advertising is a type of advertising where ads are shown on web pages–typically in the form of banner ads. These ads show up on popular websites, news sites, and more and drive users to your website.

display ad example from austin statesmandisplay ad example from austin statesman

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing method in which businesses reward affiliates for each customer brought by their promotional efforts.

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How do you measure performance marketing?

Performance marketing is the art of achieving your business goals through paid advertising. It’s not just about buying ads and hoping they work. It’s about getting a return on the money you spend, which means measuring performance and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

The following are some of the most important metrics you should track to ensure your campaigns are running smoothly and meeting goals.

Cost per click (CPC)

Cost per click refers to the cost of each click on an ad. The higher the CPC, the more expensive it is for your business to advertise on that particular keyword or keyword phrase.

cost per click definitioncost per click definition

Cost per impression (CPM)

The average amount paid by an advertiser for every 1000 ad impressions. This is calculated by dividing the total cost of the ad by the number of times it was viewed.

Cost per lead (CPL)

The number of prospects responded to your ad and filled out a form. CPL is a standard metric used in PPC campaigns because it gives insight into how much each lead costs.

google ads cost per lead benchmarks from wordstreamgoogle ads cost per lead benchmarks from wordstream

🚨 You can use our search advertising benchmarks to find average the CPL for your industry.

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Cost per acquisition (CPA)

The cost per acquisition refers to how much you spend acquiring new customers. When looking at CPA, you should consider both the cost of your ad and the value of each sale or conversion.

Lifetime value transaction (LVT)

LVT is a metric that can give marketers valuable insights into potential revenue from a customer over time. In other words, it estimates how much one customer will spend on your product or services during their entire relationship with your company.

5 steps to build a successful performance marketing strategy

Developing a successful performance marketing strategy takes time, dedication, and much trial and error. But the payoff can be huge if you can get it right.

Here are some steps to build a performance marketing strategy that will bring results.

1. Define your objectives

To create an effective performance marketing campaign, it is fundamental that you have a clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish because it will help you define every other step.

Your targets should be specific, measurable, and achievable. It should also be aligned with your overall business goals.

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smart goals acronymsmart goals acronym

For example, social media advertising is a great option if you want to sell a product or service. However, if your goal is to drive traffic to your website, then paid search might work better.

Once you have identified these goals, they should form the foundation of all your marketing activities. Every campaign should be designed to support them in some way.

2. Choose the right digital channels

One of the keys to being successful at performance marketing is using multiple channels. The reality is that not all channels are created equal, and some will work better than others for your particular business.

The best way to do this is by setting up a few channels, testing them with small amounts of money, and tracking the results over time so you can make better decisions in the future.

Here are some common types of digital marketing strategies you can choose from:

  • Content marketing: Content marketing is the process of creating, distributing, and promoting your company’s content to attract potential customers. It can build authority, trust, and loyalty with consumers.
  • Social media marketing: Social media is an essential part of any online marketing strategy. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become a place where your consumers spend the most time.
  • Display ads: Display ads are typically placed on news sites, blogs, or e-commerce sites. These ads often appear in the form of pop-up banners that contain a link back to your website.
  • Email marketing: Email marketing helps you build relationships with prospects so they trust your brand and buy from you when ready.

black friday email template - example of black friday sale email to customersblack friday email template - example of black friday sale email to customers

3. Identify partners

The biggest challenge of managing a performance marketing campaign is finding the right partners to work with. The relationship you have with your partner can make or break your campaign.

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You need to find partners with a vision and goals similar to yours who will help you reach people that matter.

The best partners have access to a large following and provide high-quality leads with a strong conversion rate, meaning they’re more likely to convert into paying customers.

When looking for partners, ensure they offer transparency about their work and methods. This will help you understand what kind of return on investment (ROI) you can expect from working with them over time.

4. Launch and optimize campaigns

Now that you have a budget and a target audience, it is time to launch your campaigns. You will need to set up a landing page and website where you intend to direct the traffic from these ads.

Once you have all the elements in place, you’ll want to optimize your campaigns for performance.

Optimizing for performance means constantly tracking and improving the metrics that matter most to your business. You should be looking at how many customers are being acquired, how much they spend, and how long they stay engaged with your brand.

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Optimization is a never-ending process because it’s not about finding and sticking with the winning strategy. Instead, you must constantly test new ideas and see which works best in different situations.

You can optimize your ads by changing their keywords or budgets to improve performance.

google ads location targeting bid optimizationgoogle ads location targeting bid optimization

For example, if an ad gets clicks but not conversions (sales), you should make changes or remove the ad altogether. Or, if an ad isn’t getting any clicks, you’ll want to try a different approach, keyword, or title until you find something that works better.

5. Monitor results

Monitoring the results of your performance marketing campaigns is crucial to your success. The key is understanding what’s working, what’s not, and what can be improved.

The best way to track your performance is to use a dedicated software program to give you all the information you need in one place. This way, you’ll be able to see how each channel is performing and make adjustments as needed.

You should also pay attention to the quality of traffic that your campaigns send to your site. You can do this by looking at bounce rate, click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and other metrics over time.

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The results should be monitored daily, and you should also look at the data weekly or monthly. This will help you identify trends and evaluate the performance of your campaigns over time.

3 performance marketing examples

Here are some examples of successful performance marketing strategies.

Dove Chocolate sponsored content on BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is a famous digital media company that allows advertising on its website. These ads look like regular content but are paid for by companies or individuals who want to promote their products or services to their massive audience.

Dove Chocolate took this opportunity to share a recipe post on BuzzFeed and got over 2K re-pins and 253 shares on Facebook.

performance marketing example from dove chocolateperformance marketing example from dove chocolate

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Hostinger’s paid search ads

Paid search ads are among the most common forms of performance marketing that even huge companies like Hostinger participate in. Hostinger is known for services like domain name, WordPress hosting, cloud hosting, website builder, etc.

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Earlier this year, the company introduced a blog theme, and to promote it, it wrote a blog post about the “32 Best Free WordPress Blog Themes” and used paid search ads to list the post on the first SERP.

performance marketing example of ppc adperformance marketing example of ppc ad

CME Group’s display ad on Forbes

Display advertising is a classic form of performance marketing. It’s been around for decades and has been used by some of the biggest brands in the world to drive sales and boost their bottom line.

Display ads can be shown on any website that uses an advertising network, although they are mostly found on larger sites with many visitors, such as Forbes, HuffPost, etc.

performance marketing example of display ad on forbesperformance marketing example of display ad on forbes

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Is performance marketing right for you?

Performance marketing is simply something that many modern marketers are incorporating into their business models. This form of marketing reduces wasted costs and directs sales through quality leads guaranteed to be interested in your product or service. By practicing the techniques laid out above, you can implement a successful performance marketing strategy and maximize your efforts.

About the author

Author and the founder of Blogituplife Shama Shafiq is a marketing, blogging, and SEO expert. She shares useful and actionable tips on her blog to help beginners out.

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Critical Display Error in Brand Safety Metrics On Twitter/X Corrected

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Critical Display Error in Brand Safety Metrics On Twitter/X Corrected

In a recent public statement on Twitter, Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X, highlighted a critical error in the display of the company’s Brand Safety Rate which was provided by DoubleVerify, a third-party company known for verifying brand safety metrics.

The error, identified in the graphical display of the Brand Safety Rate on X’s dashboard, persisted for nearly five months, from October 24, 2023, to March 14, 2024. During this period, the dashboard erroneously displayed a significantly lower Brand Safety Rate, which sharply contrasted with X’s actual rate. According to the statement, the true Brand Safety Rate for X has consistently exceeded 99.99% since October 2023, a figure that surpasses global benchmarks for brand safety across all campaigns, as per DoubleVerify’s global industry data.

Brand Safety Rate refers to a metric used to measure the extent to which a brand’s advertising efforts appear in environments that are deemed safe and appropriate, aligning with the brand’s values and standards. This rate is crucial for ensuring that ads do not appear alongside content that could harm the brand’s reputation.

DoubleVerify has accepted full responsibility for this oversight, acknowledging the display of incorrect and misleading safety rates on X’s dashboard. They have assured that they have communicated the error to the affected advertisers and have corrected the display to accurately reflect the current and retroactive Brand Safety data for X.

Yaccarino assured advertisers on social media platform, that immediate actions are being taken to rectify this issue in collaboration with DoubleVerify to ensure that all clients receive accurate and reliable information. She also mentioned that the X team, along with DoubleVerify support, will reach out to advertisers who may have made business decisions based on the erroneous data.

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This situation underscores the critical importance of accurate data representation in digital marketing and the potential consequences of data inaccuracies on business decisions. It serves as a cautionary tale for all involved in paid social advertising and emphasizes the need for continuous vigilance and rigorous verification processes to maintain the integrity of marketing metrics.

Of course this follows a number of issues where paid social advertising platforms have shared incorrect data with advertisers leading to concerns about measurement accuracy and transparency. 

Here are a few notable examples:

Facebook Video Metrics Issue: In 2016, Facebook admitted to overestimating average viewing time for video ads on its platform for two years. This error reportedly inflated the average viewing times by 60-80%, which could have misled advertisers about the performance of their video ads on the platform.

Twitter Ad Billing Error: In 2016, Twitter disclosed a bug in its Android app that led to overcharging advertisers over a month-long period. The bug affected campaigns using the feature that charges advertisers for the first engagement with a campaign each day but instead charged them for engagements that occurred afterwards as well.

These incidents highlight the importance of accuracy in digital advertising metrics and underscore the need for ongoing vigilance by both advertisers and platforms to ensure data integrity and transparency. Such errors can have significant financial implications and can affect strategic decisions made by advertisers and we can’t always trust the data shared with us by platforms 100%.

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14 Ways to Use AI in Marketing that Actually Work

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14 Ways to Use AI in Marketing that Actually Work

Does your head spin when someone mentions artificial intelligence? It’s understandable. LinkedIn and Twitter (fine…X) are rife with newly minted AI experts and tech bros sharing their latest 27-step process for gaming algorithms and automating entire marketing programs.

That’s not useful for most ground-level marketers.

What can help? Knowing which everyday marketing challenges the technology can solve for us right now is a great start. So, I reached out to several marketers I admire to see how they’re using AI in marketing.

The response was outstanding. They shared specific, tactical examples, plus the prompts and AI tools they use—everything you need to repeat their processes.

Contents

💡 Download this handy, free Guide to AI in Marketing for more tips and strategies.

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14 ways the pros use AI in Marketing

Interestingly, no one said they were using AI to spin up entire ready-to-publish articles. But they are using AI tools to get out of writing ruts, analyze data, inform strategy, and automate marketing flows. The use cases were way more diverse than I imagined.

1. Pull insights from past campaigns for future strategy

Knowing which ad or blog post generated the most leads is easy. It’s harder to learn why they worked so you can double down on their success. Curt Woodward, Director of Content at ZoomInfo, devised a genius way to get Jasper, a generative AI copywriting tool, to help him figure it out.

Curt started by ranking a list of ZoomInfo’s content titles by a “power score” comprised of three weighted KPIs. Here’s a mockup of that list with fake data he uses for demonstration purposes.

AI in marketing - Curt's powerscore sheet

Next, he fed the list to Jasper, along with a prompt asking the AI to identify commonalities that would inform future content campaign choices.

His prompts looked like this:

“Act as a marketing analyst. I am going to give you a list of content titles with corresponding numbers, which represent a value score we use to determine top content. Higher scores are better.”

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“Compare the content titles to find common themes, keywords, ideas, and approaches among the top-scoring titles. Suggest ways to replicate successful content packages.”

“Jasper, as a tool, often asks for more information about what you want the output of your prompt to look like,” Curt explained. “In this case, I gave it instructions about format, use of the memo, etc.”

Here’s the follow-up prompt Curt gave Jasper:

“I want to come away with a memo that summarizes our best themes, formats, and concepts for our future marketing content campaigns. Give us ideas and frameworks to use going forward.”

AI in marketing - AI output of recommendationsAI in marketing - AI output of recommendations

Based on the data and prompts Curt gave it, Jasper created a list of recommendations with detailed ideas for future content.

Curt qualified the fairly obvious results from this example by pointing out that it was fictitious data. He said you get a more insightful analysis when you feed it accurate information. Next up, he plans to get Jasper to proactively rank and sort the content assets by the power score, which will make the process even faster.

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But for now, Curt suggests trying this tactic with other marketing copy. “You can easily adapt this for any measurable marketing asset. Ad and landing page copy comes to mind. Just rank them by whatever KPIs are important, and ask the AI to find themes you can use in future campaigns.”

📚 Free guide >> 135 of the Best Words & Phrases for Marketing With Emotion

2. Complete competitive analyses

Completing a competitive analysis is a core function for just about every marketer. The hard part is synthesizing competitive product features and brand positioning for multiple competitors.

Celia Quillian is an MBA and product marketing leader who’s also an influential voice in the artificial intelligence space through her channel @smartworkai on TikTok and Instagram. She uses ChatGPT Plus (the paid version) to quickly curate competitive intel.

ChatGPT Plus’ web browsing feature is fabulous for competitive analysis,” she said. “In my prompts, I provide the links to competitor websites, asking that it only source from these sites for its competitive intel, and have it craft a table comparing the features of different market competitors.”

The free version of ChatGPT can’t surf the web. I tried a quick version of the request on perplexity AI using three HR software competitors.

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AI in marketing - competitor comparisonAI in marketing - competitor comparison

Obviously, this would need some additional prompts to make it useful. But Celia said AI is really good at that. “Generative AI models like GP-4 have lengthy ‘context windows,’ meaning I can continually ask follow-up questions,” she said. “My combined prompts and answers only build on each other, helping me to learn, brainstorm, and find answers more efficiently.”

For context, Celia said ChatGPT Plus can “remember” the context of about 100 pages of written text.

3. Roleplay for customer sentiment

AI can’t replace humans, but it can pretend to be one. Celia said that’s a valuable feature of the technology. “ChatGPT is great at playing pretend, so when it comes to thinking of how I might solve a problem for a customer, I can ask ChatGPT to roleplay as my ideal customer persona.”

I gave this a try with the free version of ChatGPT. I fed the AI a description of a backpacking tent that focused on its weight, then entered this prompt:

“Pretend you’re the target customer for a company that sells outdoor camping gear. You’re very concerned about the durability and weight of the next backpacking tent you buy. How would you feel about this product description.”

Here’s what I got back.

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AI in marketing - ChatGPT reply to customer question.AI in marketing - ChatGPT reply to customer question.

This was a simple example, but ChatGPT spotted the durability gap and suggested we add more specificity. Not bad.

“It’s never as good as talking with a real customer,” Celia added. “But it can make for a great stand-in when I’m in the early phases of research and ideation.”

4. Produce internal project management assets

One of the best applications of AI is to automate repetitive marketing tasks. That’s a common way Alaura Weaver, Content Marketing & Community Leader at Writer, uses it.

“I use Writer to spin up internal project management assets instantly—stuff like writing briefs, editing checklists, and creating content promotion plans,” she said. “That way, I don’t have to start from scratch with routine tasks.”

Alaura detailed how she creates briefs since that’s a common task for many marketing team leaders and those who work with freelancers.

“I built a custom ‘brief generator’ app in our no-code Writer App Studio,” she explained. “All I have to do is give a working title, indicate what audience the piece is for, and paste or upload source material (like an executive LinkedIn post, research article, or dev documentation). The app generates content briefs that align with our business goals and content strategy (which I baked into the prompt that powers the generator).”

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AI in marketing - Writer AI responseAI in marketing - Writer AI response

Alaura said that using AI this way speeds up the entire editorial process, freeing up bandwidth for high-level tasks.

“The output follows a consistent format, so I can easily plug it into docs without much editing,” she said. “It means that my writers have what they need to get started on assignments a lot faster, and it means I have more time to focus on fun, creative, strategic work like producing our Humans of AI podcast.”

5. Find thinking models for thought leadership content

The best thought leadership content has a unique, personal, and interesting point of view. It’s not the typical wheelhouse for robotic writing.

But Anjana Vasan, a Senior Copywriter and Content Strategist at Block Club, found an unexpected way to improve thought leadership content with AI. She asks ChatGPT for thinking models or academic concepts related to her topic.

AI in marketing - ChatGPT thinking concept output.AI in marketing - ChatGPT thinking concept output.

“Using AI this way, I can develop a unique point of view or think of an interesting metaphor and connect the dots to the topic or the person I’m writing for,” Anjana said. “All while still keeping their experience and expertise in mind.”

The great thing about this tactic is that it works with just about any AI writing assistant or even generative search platforms like Perplexity AI.

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6. Analyze data for SEO audits

Anjana showed us another way AI can help analyze large blocks of data—this time for SEO audits.

Here, she asked ChatGPT to review a spreadsheet of content links.

AI in marketing - ChatGPT audit reply AI in marketing - ChatGPT audit reply

“Usually, I dig in further with additional questions or prompts to draw the insights I’m looking for,” she said. “Or I ask ChatGPT to organize the data so I don’t spend my time on administrative tasks.”

Here are some of the follow-up prompts Anjana uses:

  • “Based on the available data, can you identify the top 10 pieces of content?”
  • “Have you noticed any themes or overarching topic categories in all the content?”
  • “Can you edit the spreadsheet to include only the URL, date of publication, title, meta description, and word count and remove the other columns?”

She warned that this tactic only works with the right information and that any AI output should be double-checked.

“The results are only as good as the quality of your data, so ensure you include the right types of information in your file,” she said “And remember to validate the information since you may not always get the right insights if you rely completely on ChatGPT.”

7. Link ideas while you write automatically

If you have folders full of half-complete ideas and clever copy that are hard to find when you need them, Anna Burgess Yang feels your pain. “I publish a lot of work online and have thousands of notes from articles I’ve read, podcasts I’ve listened to, and even my own writing. In the past, I’ve relied on tags or categorization in note-taking apps to connect topics or ideas.”

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Anna is a prolific freelance content marketer and a self-described workflow automation geek. She uses an AI tool called Reflect to surface related notes based on the text she’s writing. So, mid-draft, Anna will see categorized suggestions from her network of documents.

AI in marketing - ideas for content to add to text.AI in marketing - ideas for content to add to text.

Our human brains are wonderful, but they’re not always great at quickly recalling a specific point buried amongst thousands of others. AI is ideally suited for the job. “This has become an invaluable part of my note-taking since AI can pull ideas together that I may have overlooked or not considered,” Anna said.

8. Repurpose long-form content for social media posts

Social media marketing is one of the best channels for brand awareness and lead generation. But it’s also a never-ending grind that requires a constant flow of content ideas to stay relevant.

Anna came through with another AI tip: a way to pull social media posts from the content she previously produced. “I’ve already done the hard work by crafting long-form content. Why not use AI to speed up the process of creating social posts?”

Anna uses a content summarization feature in the generative AI platform Writer to do this.

AI in marketing - summary of content in WriterAI in marketing - summary of content in Writer

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After dropping in the URL of her source article, Writer comes back with a brief synopsis of three key takeaways.

AI in marketing - three takways from WriterAI in marketing - three takways from Writer

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Next, she pastes the takeaways into Trello, the tool she uses for content planning. Those snippets inspire social posts when she’s ready to write them.

Why not just ask AI to write the posts? “You can try and use AI to write social posts for you, but I’ve found that it never sounds like me,” Anna said. “I’d rather use key takeaways as a launching pad and write my own social posts.”

👍 Get copy-and-paste social media posts you can customize >> Social Media Calendar Template

9. Create customized SMS and email marketing campaigns

Customer journeys are like choose-your-own-adventure stories with dozens or hundreds of potential flows. Personalizing those journeys requires a lot of manual work.

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Angela Rollins, an ecommerce-focused content marketer and strategist, suggested a tool called Attentive AI as a solution. “Instead of manually creating all the different flows a brand normally would and layering on segments, Attentive AI basically personalizes SMS and email messages at scale based on all the data a brand has on its customers,” Angela explained.

This screenshot from Attentive AI’s website shows the campaign creation workflow.

AI in marketing - screenshot from Attentive AI page.AI in marketing - screenshot from Attentive AI page.

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The tool continually learns from the highest-performing marketing interactions to create multi-channel campaigns. It can also build refined segments from your pool of subscribers and dial in the best time to send messages for the highest rate of response.

By using AI, you can “send each person the right message at the right time depending on where they’re at in their relationship with the brand,” Angela said.

10. Prepare an interview question list

Here’s an exciting use of AI’s ability to riff off an existing text. Angela gives the AI assistant Claude outlines and asks it to fill out question lists for subject matter expert interviews.

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Here’s an anonymized version of a conversation Angela recently had with Claude.

AI in marketing - questions given to Claude.AI in marketing - questions given to Claude.

Claude replied with some pretty insightful new questions to add to the list. It even categorized them like Angela did in the original structure.

AI in marketing - Questions put into Claude.AI in marketing - Questions put into Claude.

Once the interview is over, Angela goes back to Claude to help pull out the most interesting bits. “It’s so helpful to just plug large amounts of content into Claude and ask it to summarize for me. That helps me find specific answers from a long interview.”

11. Improve design elements in email headers

Marketers who aren’t necessarily graphic designers are often called on to produce visuals for the assets they manage. When Ceillie Clark-Keene, Head of Marketing & Communications at Building Ventures, finds herself in this position, she turns to AI.

“I’m not a designer, but I do put together the occasional email header,” she said. “I’ve started experimenting with the AI features in Canva and Designs.ai to improve design elements or generate graphics.”

I gave it a try on Canva. I had trouble creating a new newsletter design (I found plenty of pre-made templates), but with a few clicks, I got a handful of post designs that were properly sized for Instagram.

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AI in marketing - AI generated instagram posts from canva.AI in marketing - AI generated instagram posts from canva.

“These tools help me create better graphics for those times when outsourcing a professional isn’t in the budget or timeline,” Ceillie said.

A word of caution is warranted. Review AI image generators closely. They can sometimes go off the rails and create less-than-ideal visuals.

12. Build article outlines quickly

I’ve written hundreds of articles, and without fail, creating the initial structure is the hardest step. Once you have the logic and framework down, it’s just a matter of filling in the blank spots.

Will Ruzvidzo is a seasoned B2B SaaS content marketer who’s worked with global brands for over 10 years. Will explained how he uses Writer to overcome outlining obstacles.

He starts by entering a straightforward headline. “With just a few clicks, I can generate a well-structured outline for my blog post, complete with relevant subheadings, key points, and supporting examples.”

AI in marketing - Outline workflow in Writer.AI in marketing - Outline workflow in Writer.

With the “bones” in place, Will customizes the outline to “add my own voice, insights, and creativity into the blog post.” Writer also gives Will AI-powered copy suggestions as he writes.

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He said the time saved lets him focus on crafting captivating introductions and compelling arguments—the types of things that make human-written content stand out.

13. Write craftier subheadings

Subheadings are among the most important aspects of a blog page. They help readers skim and search engines crawl articles more effectively. That’s why Hsing Tseng, a freelance content writer, editor, and strategist, uses ChatGPT as a sounding board when she writes subheadings.

“AI tools can brainstorm much faster and more imaginatively (sometimes) than I have the creative bandwidth to do,” she said.

Here’s an example prompt Hsing shared.

AI in marketing - Subhead examples from ChatGPTAI in marketing - Subhead examples from ChatGPT

Notice how she adds tone and structure instructions to the prompt, like “don’t be too flowery” and “keep H2s concise.” Hsing said the more specific you can be, the better your output will be.

It’s not just about banging out better section titles, though. The AI suggestions Hsing gets incite new directions for a post she hadn’t considered yet. “I’m able to explore a broader range of angles, picking and choosing wording that might align better with the framing of my article,” she noted.

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14. Scale product descriptions and ad copy

A single ecommerce website can have hundreds of products, each needing a concise description and advertising copy.

Gordon Donnelly, a multi-discipline marketer and SEO expert, said that’s one of his favorite use cases for AI. “I have a couple of affiliate/dropshipping sites, and ChatGPT is great for creating product descriptions and ads.”

Here’s an example of how Gordon prompts ChatGPT to zhuzh up a bland product description.

AI in marketing - product description examples from ChatGPTAI in marketing - product description examples from ChatGPT

The key, said Gordon, is that you need to coach your AI tool with the right prompts to get it to say something interesting and useful. As he previously wrote, when prompting an AI tool, you should:

  • Be specific
  • Provide all the relevant information
  • Follow up

The future of AI in marketing

We’re just scratching the surface of what AI can do for marketers. Current trends seem to be headed towards more automation, more complex customer-facing AI tools, and analytics that predict as well as review.

Celia also sees a comeuppance on the horizon for marketers trying to game the system with AI.

“There’s an ethical issue behind passing off AI-generated writing as your own, which is unfortunately becoming more popular a pastime as people chase a quick buck or a shortcut,” she said. “If you were to ask ChatGPT to generate the content of a blog post packed with SEO keywords, it would certainly be possible. But you risk not only false information making it in, but ethically not flagging the content as AI generated is by most considered plagiarism.”

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Does that really matter to less-ethical marketers who only care about driving traffic? Celia said it should, in light of the recent volatility of Google SERPs.

“Well, it might end up doing more harm than good for your site’s SEO,” Celia warned. “Google recently announced updates to its algorithm that will make it more vigilant at removing low-quality content like much of what AI produces without human refinement. So, if ethics aren’t as much of a concern for you, a drop in your site’s rankings might be!”



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A History of Google AdWords and Google Ads: Revolutionizing Digital Advertising & Marketing Since 2000

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A History of Google AdWords and Google Ads: Revolutionizing Digital Advertising & Marketing Since 2000

What started in 2000 as Google AdWords with just 350 advertisers has burgeoned into a comprehensive digital advertising platform, indispensable to digital marketing strategies worldwide. Now re-branded as Google Ads, it stands as a colossus, shaping the way businesses reach their target audience online.

If you’re your looking for a guide on how to use Google Adwords to advertise your business you might enjoy our Ultimate Guide to PPC.

The Conceptual Foundation of Google Ads

Before Google Adwords was launched, the online advertising landscape was vastly different. Traditional models dominated, and the concept of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising was still in its infancy. Google Ads introduced a game-changing model that allowed advertisers to pay only when a user clicked on their ad, offering a more performance-driven approach than ever before. This innovation not only maximized the efficiency of advertising budgets but also laid the groundwork for a more interactive and targeted advertising ecosystem.

But Google Adwords was not technically the first pay per click advertising platform. There was another PPC paid search platform known as Overture which launched before Adwords.

The Early Days of Online PPC Search Advertising

Before Google AdWords became synonymous with search advertising, there was Overture. Founded in 1998 as GoTo.com, Overture was the pioneer of the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model. In February of that year, Jeffrey Brewer of Goto.com presented a pay per click search engine proof-of-concept to the TED conference in California.

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This model was revolutionary, allowing advertisers to bid for placement in search results based on specific keywords, with the cost determined by the bid amount. This approach enabled advertisers to directly connect with potential customers actively searching for related information, products, or services online.

When Google introduced AdWords in 2000, the digital advertising landscape was ripe for innovation. Google’s entry with AdWords brought a new player into the field, initially offering a cost-per-impression model before shifting to Overture’s PPC model in 2002. This shift was a clear acknowledgment of the effectiveness of PPC advertising in connecting businesses with their target audiences in a measurable and cost-effective way.

Mutual Influence and Evolution

Overture felt Google’s approach was too similar to their’s and ended up filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Google, claiming that Google’s AdWords service violated its patents on PPC and bidding systems. The lawsuit was settled in 2004, with Google agreeing to issue 2.7 million shares to Yahoo (which had acquired Overture in 2003) in exchange for a perpetual license to the patents in question. This legal battle underscored the high stakes in the online advertising arena and the importance of intellectual property.

For the broader industry the relationship between Overture and Google AdWords is a classic example of competitive innovation, where the presence of each spurred the other to evolve and improve.

Google’s innovation wasn’t just in adopting the PPC model but also in enhancing it with a focus on ad relevance and targeting. Google introduced the Quality Score, a metric that determined ad placement not just on the bid amount but also on the relevance of the ad to the search query. This move forced Overture to refine its own algorithms and offerings to stay competitive, emphasizing the importance of ad quality and relevance.

Both companies played crucial roles in expanding and enriching the digital advertising ecosystem. Overture’s model laid the groundwork for keyword-based advertising, while Google AdWords introduced innovations that improved ad relevance and efficiency. These advancements helped attract more advertisers to online platforms, increasing the diversity and quality of ads presented to users.

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The competition and innovations brought forth by Overture and Google laid the foundation for subsequent advancements in digital advertising. It influenced the development of advertising platforms on social media and other online channels, highlighting the importance of targeted advertising, relevance, and the user experience.

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Early Challenges and Evolution of Google Adwords

The journey was not without its hurdles. As internet usage surged and Google’s popularity soared, the platform faced significant technical and scaling challenges. This period also saw the expansion of Adwords beyond search to include display advertising, marking the beginning of the Google Display Network.

Its rise to prominence in digital advertising can be attributed to several key factors:

1. Integration with Google Search

  • Vast Reach: Google’s dominance as a search engine provided a vast audience for AdWords ads, offering advertisers unparalleled access to potential customers.
  • Intent-Based Targeting: Ads on Google are shown based on user search queries, meaning that AdWords could deliver highly targeted advertising based on real-time intent, a significant advantage over traditional advertising mediums.

2. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Model

  • Cost-Effectiveness: AdWords popularized the PPC model, where advertisers only pay when a user clicks on their ad. This efficiency made it an attractive option for businesses of all sizes, ensuring budget spend was tied directly to tangible results.
  • Accessibility to Small Businesses: The PPC model leveled the playing field, allowing small businesses to compete with larger companies for ad space, as long as their ads were relevant and of high quality.

3. Continuous Innovation

  • Quality Score and Ad Rank: Google introduced the Quality Score, a metric that assesses the relevance and quality of ads and their landing pages. This innovation ensured users saw more relevant ads, improving the user experience and increasing the likelihood of ad clicks, benefitting both advertisers and users. Ad Rank built on quality score and improved the quality of adverts for search users.
  • Advanced Targeting Options: Over time, Google introduced sophisticated targeting options, including location targeting, demographic targeting, and later, remarketing. These features allowed advertisers to refine their audience with precision, improving the effectiveness of their campaigns.

4. Comprehensive Analytics and Tools

  • Google Analytics Integration: AdWords’ seamless integration with Google Analytics provided advertisers with detailed insights into their ad performance and website traffic, enabling data-driven decision-making.
  • Robust Toolset: Tools like AdWords Editor and later, Google Ads Manager, allowed advertisers to manage and optimize their campaigns efficiently, saving time and enhancing campaign performance.

5. Expanding Beyond Search

  • Google Display Network: AdWords expanded beyond search ads to include the Google Display Network, offering visual ads across millions of websites. This expansion allowed advertisers to reach users across different stages of the buying cycle, not just when they were searching for specific terms.
  • YouTube and Mobile Advertising: The acquisition of YouTube and the growth of mobile advertising opened new channels for AdWords advertisers, tapping into video and the increasing use of smartphones for internet access.

6. A User-Centric Approach

  • Enhancing User Experience: Google has consistently prioritized the user experience, refining its algorithms to display the most relevant ads and penalizing low-quality content. This focus on user satisfaction has kept users engaged and trusting in the Google ecosystem, indirectly benefiting advertisers by maintaining a high user base.

7. Global Reach and Local Relevance

  • Language and Localization: AdWords supported multiple languages and localized advertising, making it a powerful tool for businesses targeting global markets or aiming for hyper-local advertising.

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Key points in history and Milestones for Google Adwords

1. Launch and PPC Model Introduction (2000-2002)

  • 2000: Google AdWords launches with a cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions model.
  • 2002: The introduction of the pay-per-click (PPC) model, significantly altering the online advertising landscape. This shift made advertising more accessible to businesses of all sizes, offering a more performance-oriented advertising solution.

2. Quality Score and Ad Rank Introduction (2005-2006)

  • 2005: Google introduces the Quality Score, a critical component that would determine the cost and placement of ads based on relevance, landing page quality, and click-through rate (CTR).
  • 2006: The Ad Rank formula, which decides the position of an ad on the search results page, now includes Quality Score along with the bid amount. This emphasized the importance of relevant, high-quality ads.

3. Expansion Beyond Search (2005-2008)

  • 2005: Launch of the Google Display Network (GDN), allowing advertisers to place ads on a wide network of websites beyond Google’s search results.
  • 2006: Introduction of local search ads, enabling businesses to target ads based on the geographical location of users.
  • 2007: Acquisition of DoubleClick, enhancing ad serving and providing advertisers with sophisticated tools for managing display ads.
  • 2008: Google introduces AdWords for Video, later integrated into YouTube, allowing for video-based advertising.

4. Mobile Advertising and Enhanced Campaigns (2010-2013)

  • 2010: With the rise of smartphones, Google focuses on mobile advertising, introducing features that allow advertisers to target mobile device users.
  • 2013: The launch of Enhanced Campaigns, making it easier for advertisers to target users across devices with the right ad type, size, and message based on user context, time of day, and device type.

5. Introduction of Machine Learning and Automation (2015-Present)

  • 2015: Google starts incorporating machine learning into AdWords to improve ad targeting and bidding.
  • 2016: Introduction of Smart Bidding, using machine learning to optimize bids for conversions.
  • 2017: Launch of Google Ads Data Hub, offering advanced analysis and reporting features.

6. Rebranding to Google Ads (2018)

  • 2018: Google AdWords is rebranded as Google Ads. This change reflects the platform’s growth beyond search to encompass a variety of advertising formats across Google’s vast array of services, including the Display Network, YouTube, and Google Maps.

7. Introduction of New Advertising Solutions and Platforms (2019-Present)

  • 2019 and beyond: Continuous introduction of new ad types and formats, such as Discovery Ads and Gallery Ads, aimed at providing more engaging and visually appealing advertising options. Expansion of automation and AI-driven tools to optimize campaign performance.

These milestones highlight Google Ads’ evolution from a simple text-based advertising system to a comprehensive digital advertising platform. By continually integrating new technologies and adapting to changes in user behavior and advertiser needs, Google Ads has maintained its position as a leading platform in the digital advertising space.

Impact on Digital Marketing and Economy

Google Ads has undeniably shaped modern digital marketing strategies, enabling businesses to reach their audience with unprecedented precision and efficiency. Its impact extends beyond marketing, contributing significantly to economic growth by providing businesses of all sizes with accessible and effective advertising tools.

Challenges and Controversies

However, the platform has not been without its challenges and controversies, particularly concerning privacy and regulatory issues. Balancing advertising effectiveness with user privacy remains an ongoing challenge for Google Ads.

The Future of Google Ads

Looking ahead, Google Ads is expected to continue its trajectory of innovation, with automation, personalization, and integration with emerging digital platforms at the forefront. Its role in the digital marketing ecosystem remains as vital as ever, adapting to the changing needs of businesses and consumers alike.

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