Should you focus on building awareness and reputation or drive sales, leads, and traffic?

There's a lot of debate in the marketing world surrounding the topic of performance marketing vs brand marketing.

Both have their own merits, so it's important to understand the strengths of each and the key to balancing them to get the best results.

To help you make the best decision for your business, we’ll take a closer look at each approach.

All set to dig deep into performance marketing vs brand marketing?

Performance Marketing vs Brand Marketing: Definitions

Let’s start by defining what each of these marketing tactics means.

What Is Brand Marketing?

Brand marketing is all about creating and maintaining a strong, positive reputation for your brand. It's about ensuring that your customers and clients always have a good experience with your company and that they continue to recommend you to others.

It's important to remember that brand marketing is not about PR or promoting your products or services.

It's about everything else that goes into creating a great customer experience, from the way you answer the phone to the quality of your product or service.

The goal is to create an emotional connection with the brand and build equity for the brand over time, with the ultimate goal of driving brand loyalty and long-term growth.

Brand Marketing: An Example

We can look at Nike’s brand marketing strategy to understand how it is done.

The company is known for its campaigns that have helped it build a strong global brand image.

The “Just Do It” campaign, launched in 1988, included a video marketing strategy where athletes talked about the emotions they feel when they exercise.

The video featuring Walt Stack, an 80-year-old runner garnered a lot of views when it was launched in the late 1980s. The marathoner explains how he covers 17 miles each morning, evoking an emotional response from viewers.

Just do it

Image via YouTube

With an omnichannel marketing strategy that includes traditional and non-traditional channels (experience-focused retailing, fitness trackers, sponsorships, etc), Nike has consistently strengthened its brand image and built a loyal fan base.

Here’s a look at Nike’s experience-focused retailing replete with a multi-touch screen, product detection through RFID, real-time product comparison, etc.


Image via Demodern

This brand marketing strategy has paid off as these stats show.

statista nike

 Image via Statista

95% of the US population is aware of the brand and 43% of people say they might use Nike again. This shows that 90% of Nike’s customers are loyal to the brand when you consider the 48% usage rate.

In 2021, Nike was ranked tenth in the top ten customer loyalty leaders list.

2021 customer

Image via Marketing Charts

Brands such as Nike, Google, and Apple market themselves regardless of any product launch. Note that they have spent years building a positive perception through their brand marketing efforts.

Now, let’s get to performance marketing.

What Is Performance Marketing?

Performance marketing is all about achieving specific objectives and driving short-term results. This could be sales, leads, web traffic, or anything else that can be measured and quantified. The key is to focus on what's known as the “bottom line.”

This approach is results-driven, and businesses typically use metric-based KPIs to measure success.

In this strategy, brands place ads on digital marketing channels and pay the channel/publisher only when someone clicks on or views the ad.

Performance Marketing: An Example

A marketing agency worked with a wholesale distributor to boost conversions and brand visibility through social media marketing.

The performance marketing strategy included both paid social media ads and organic posts to boost engagement.

The marketing agency focused on Instagram and Facebook ads that were created for lead generation in addition to driving conversions, and reconnecting with social media users who had previously engaged with the brand.

Consistent content across the brand’s social media profiles were also planned to increase organic impressions.

This campaign helped increase:

  • Impressions by 22%
  • Engagement and clicks by 20%
  • Conversions by 153%


Image via Marketing 360

Let’s now look at the differences between performance marketing and brand marketing.

Performance Marketing vs Brand Marketing: Differences

The two approaches differ in terms of goals, metrics, and the channels they use.

Goals and Metrics

The goals of performance marketing and brand marketing may seem similar at first glance, but they are actually quite different.

Performance marketing is all about achieving specific, measurable goals such as sales or leads. Brand marketing, on the other hand, is more focused on building long-term brand awareness and creating a positive image for the company.

Let’s see how they differ. These are the goals and metrics of brand marketing:

Brand awarenessWeb traffic
▪ Social mentions
▪ Branded search volume
Brand loyalty▪ Repurchase ratio
▪ Customer Lifetime Value
▪ Net Promoter Score
▪ Upsell ratio
▪ Customer Loyalty Index
Preference▪ Purchase intent metrics.
Brand advocacy▪ Brand Advocacy Ratio
▪ Campaign hashtag usage
▪ Number of advocates
▪ Social shares
Brand engagement▪ Time spent on website/landing pages
▪ Page views
▪ Customer satisfaction score
▪ Page visit frequency
Brand identity▪ Brand perception
▪ Brand association/linkage
▪ Brand recall

Here are some of the common objectives of performance marketing:

Generate leads▪ Cost per lead
▪ Cost-per-Mille (cost of 1000 ad impressions)
Boost traffic▪ Pay-Per-Click
Engagement▪ Clicks, views, impressions, installs, downloads, etc.
Convert leads to customers▪ Cost per conversion
▪ Click-through-rate (CTR)
Conversion rate
Remarket to customers▪ Sales/revenue

Performance marketing is all about achieving specific, measurable goals such as sales or leads. Marketers use performance marketing platforms to track these metrics and fine-tune their approach.

Brand marketing campaigns are more focused on building awareness and creating a positive image for the company, which can be hard to measure.

The Advertising Channels

There are many channels that can be used for both brand marketing and performance marketing, and the best approach will depend on the brand, the products/services, and the target audience.

For brand marketing, a combination of traditional and non-traditional brand channels and tactics are typically used to build a strong brand image including:

  • Traditional media – Television, radio, or print ads.
  • Online marketing – Banner ads, influencer marketing, videos, social media posts, hashtag campaigns, immersive
  • Public relationsPR events such as press releases or event sponsorship.
  • Direct marketing – Direct mail and email marketing
  • Content marketing strategies – Informative blog posts, infographics, and guest posting.
  • In-store/outdoor promotions -Billboards, interactive kiosks, digital signage, etc.
  • Brands also use experiential marketing that’s all about creating and delivering rich experiences that engage customers and reinforce brand identity.
  • For example, Refinery29, a lifestyle brand, hosts the 29Rooms event where attendees can visit and experience 29 curated and branded rooms.


Image via Refinery29

  • And, here are some performance marketing channels that are commonly used.
  • Search engine marketingThis can be of two types; display ads and search ads.
  • Paid search advertising is where an advertiser pays search engines such as Yahoo!, Google, and Bing to display their ads in organic search results.
  • Display advertising is where ads are shown to those who are not actively looking for your products on search engines.
  • Social media marketing Marketers use social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to attract new leads, drive website traffic, and boost sales.
  • Ecommerce marketingAds are placed in ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon to boost sales and leads.
  • Affiliate marketing Brands pay affiliates when they generate sales.

The Duration Of Campaigns

As already mentioned, performance marketing typically has short-term goals and a defined timeframe.

For instance, Attrocks’ SEO campaigns were designed to boost search traffic in just 4 months:

Organic Page Views 4

Image via Attrock

The Nike case study shows the timelines for brand marketing—it is typically an ongoing process simply because the goal is to ensure your brand continues to stay on top of the mind of target consumers.

Performance Marketing vs Brand Marketing: Similarities

For starters, both performance marketing and brand marketing involve creating some kind of advertising or promotional content.

This could be a TV commercial, a radio spot, a print ad, or even social media content. The goal is to get potential customers to see or hear this content and then take some kind of action, such as visiting your website or making a purchase.

The ultimate goal of both approaches is to drive sales.

The two marketing approaches can also use the same platforms to achieve their goals. For instance, Connected TV platforms or social media can be used for brand marketing and performance marketing.

Also, both performance and brand marketing require a clear understanding of your target audience. You need to know who you're trying to reach and what kinds of messages will resonate with them.

Performance Marketing vs Brand Marketing: Which One Is Right for You?

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose when it comes to performance marketing vs brand marketing.

Combining brand marketing with performance marketing will help growth-oriented brands to stay ahead of the curve and achieve overall objectives.

What’s the ideal balance?

The proportion of performance marketing vs brand marketing will depend on your specific goals, target market, and your products/services.

Remember to not rely only on brand marketing, which can take a lot of time to show results.

Similarly, focusing only on performance marketing can give immediate results but can compromise long-term loyalty and brand image.


Q1. What is the difference between branding and performance?

A. Branding focuses on creating a recognizable and consistent image that customers recognize.

Performance marketing takes tactical approaches to driving sales such as promotions, discounts, and targeted campaigns.

Q2. How do brand marketing and performance marketing work together?

A. Brand marketing and performance marketing are two sides of the same coin that work together to build customer relationships, increase customer loyalty and acquisition, and ultimately drive revenue.

Q3. What is the difference between brand advertising and performance advertising?

A. Brand marketers take a long-term approach to brand building through messaging that evoke emotion.

Performance marketers design a short-term strategy to drive a specific action such as purchasing or signing up for a service.

Q4. What is the meaning of performance marketing?

A. Performance marketing is a form of digital marketing where advertisers place ads on social media, websites, or search engines and pay marketing companies /publishers when someone takes an action such as clicking, purchasing, or downloading.

Q5. What's the difference between growth marketing and performance marketing?

A. The main difference is their focus.

Growth marketing focuses on building long-term relationships with customers, engaging them, and driving loyalty. Performance marketing aims to drive immediate results by optimizing campaigns.

Wrapping Up

Performance marketing and brand marketing are both powerful tools for businesses to reach their target audience.

Both performance and brand marketing can be highly effective when used together in an integrated digital strategy as they complement each other in providing different types of results for businesses.

By carefully assessing each type of marketing, you can choose which method will help your business reach its objectives in the most efficient way possible.

Still not sure which approach is right for you? We can help.

From crafting a data-driven digital marketing strategy and landing page optimization to designing brand messages, we can help you make the best of both brand marketing and performance marketing.