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Performance and Brand: More Alike Than You Think

Industry experts present a dichotomy: either you’re a direct (performance) marketer or a brand advertiser. With new and better measurement tools allowing brand to become more efficient, critics are viewing performance marketing as now being in competition with brand. The truth is, the two work in tandem and as they evolve, are actually starting to shape each other.

There’s no contention that brand is benefitting from performance. But critics would stop there, failing to see how performance marketing is also progressing alongside brand advertising. Chris Carnacchio, VP of Media Buying and Optimization for AdReady says, “… as brands began to shift their focus as well as budgets over to programmatic buying, direct response advertising has had to grow and evolve to stay ahead of the curve.”

Carnacchio goes onto explain the evolution of direct response marketing. He notes that traditionally, direct response marketers focused on closing publishers and launching deals for display advertising. But as display matured, with technologies like programmatic and RTB, more brands directed their dollars to online display ads. Networks then began to rely on big brands more than direct response advertisers. This shift caused direct response advertisers to look elsewhere, like mobile and native, as a source of traffic and revenue for their campaigns.

So if performance marketing is evolving with brand advertising, how can critics claim it’s competing with brand?  It comes down to a fundamental misunderstanding of the definition of “brand advertising.”

Branding is traditionally about creating a relationship with the consumer. So naturally, many juxtapose the “fuzzy goals” of brand advertising with the “concrete objectives” of direct response marketing. This is the essential difference between the two kinds of marketing: relationships vs. results. So, with the introduction of new tools and concrete metrics, brand advertising is shifting from relationships to results.

Though brand advertising is certainly about telling a story and creating an ongoing connection with a consumer, it’s more than that.  Brand advertisers have historically used metrics too. Goodman say brands have simply shifted their focus towards new measurements, like user engagement.  She adds, “with new ad sizes, formats, targeting techniques & programmatic buying, marketing has become easier and more effective.” Relationships mean nothing to brand advertisers if results don’t follow. This has always been the case – now it’s just getting easier to measure the results.

While brand advertising may look different than it did a few years ago, it’s not threatened by performance marketing. Brand and performance aren’t two distinct forms of advertising. Actually, brand is being improved by performance metrics. And direct response is having to evolve with brand. So we shouldn’t worry about one “winning out” over the other. Instead, we should focus on what a brand/performance synergy would look like and the implications it would have for Advertising in the future.

Want to hear more from Chris Carnacchio and Rachel Goodman? Connect with them on LinkedIn by clicking their profiles below. And if you’d like to learn more about AdReady and its services, be sure to visit the division’s website and Twitter page!


61788ee20532dc2fc2322aed8e9866c7Chris Carnacchio 

VP Media Buying and Optimization for AdReady





51c7ac5620d0d3709681a736c7763760 Rachel Goodman

Account Executive for AdReady