Performance Marketing vs Digital Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Performance Marketing vs Digital Marketing: What’s the Difference?

5 Min Read

What’s the best way to grow your business?

Marketing teams spend thousands of dollars trying to answer that question. There are all kinds of strategies for tackling this problem. Some teams focus on PPC advertising, while others focus on content creation strategies or video creation. So how do you know where to spend your marketing budget?

Performance marketing and digital marketing are two top contenders. But what, exactly, is performance marketing vs digital marketing? And—more importantly—once you know the difference between these two marketing options, how do you decide which to use? Let’s take a look.

What is Performance Marketing?

Performance marketing refers to marketing that’s focused on your team’s return on investment (ROI). Marketing strategies like pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, cost-per-thousand (CPM) advertisements and cost-per-action (CPA) advertisements all fall under the performance marketing category—in all of those cases, you’re paying for a specific result.

Performance marketing is a key marketing strategy for many brands. It is especially appealing to those with a tight marketing budget because they know exactly what they’re getting out of their budget when launching a new campaign. For example, if you’re paying one dollar per click in a PPC advertising campaign, and you spend $100 on the campaign, you know that you are getting 100 clicks out of that advertising campaign.

Of course, there are downsides to performance marketing strategies as well. While you can use data analysis to narrow your marketing efforts, initial performance marketing efforts tend to paint with broad strokes. And, there’s no guarantee that the leads you generate are the types of leads you can turn into paying customers down the road.

Why is Performance Marketing Important?

Performance marketing is an important strategy if you’re looking to generate new leads, especially if you need to generate those leads quickly. Because you know exactly how many clicks or actions you’re getting from performance marketing efforts, you essentially pay to put eyes on your business—this can be a smart way to build brand recognition.

Performance marketing and B2B performance marketing can also serve as a low-risk advertisement strategy for brands working with an extremely tight marketing budget. Results from performance marketing campaigns are more predictable than results from other types of marketing campaigns. This may be comforting for brands struggling to set aside money for marketing efforts.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing refers to any marketing efforts that take place online. This is a broad category that may include performance marketing, but could also include growth marketing and other strategies.

The idea behind digital marketing is to focus on where you’re advertising more than how you’re advertising. Digital marketing teams may spread their marketing efforts across multiple marketing channels, including:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Video
  • Content
  • Affiliate
  • Influencer

Why is Digital Marketing Important?

Digital marketing meets customers in the location where they spend the majority of their time: online. By focusing on different channels, digital marketing experts can both generate new leads and nurture existing leads.

Omnichannel customer engagement is one of the tenants of successful digital marketing. Marketing teams focused on omnichannel engagement can tell their brand story across different marketing channels. So, customers can have the same branded experience whether interacting with your brand on social media, via email or in text form. Studies show the value in this; companies with high omnichannel marketing strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers.

Digital Marketing vs Performance Marketing

Once you know what performance marketing and digital marketing are, it’s clear that these two marketing strategies are not in direct competition with one another. Understanding both digital and performance will give you a more complete picture of your marketing efforts than understanding just one or the other.


Not all rectangles are squares, but all squares are rectangles. In a similar vein, not all digital marketing is performance marketing—but the vast majority of performance marketing is digital in nature. As a result, the biggest similarity between these two marketing techniques is just that: they both occur in digital environments.


The main difference between digital marketing and performance marketing is the specificity of the term.

Performance marketing is a specific marketing strategy that focuses on your team’s return on investment above all other concerns. As a result, there are unique metrics and KPIs to measure the success of performance marketing efforts—these are different metrics than you’d use to measure digital marketing efforts as a whole.

Digital marketing, on the other hand, is a broader strategy that encompasses all aspects of digital marketing. Creating a coherent brand vision across multiple digital channels is the main focus of digital marketing.

Combining Digital and Performance Marketing

When you think about combining digital marketing and performance marketing, the main goal is to work performance strategies into your broader, overall digital strategy. Your marketing team should ask, “How can performance marketing support my overall digital marketing efforts?”

How Performance TV Can Help

MNTN Performance TV is a Connected TV (CTV)-focused advertising solution that melds digital and performance marketing together for amazing results.

When advertising via Performance TV, you can target your ideal audiences with focused Connected TV ads delivered directly on popular streaming services—adding another powerful channel to your omnichannel customer engagement strategy.

Performance TV also provides the benefits of performance channels like paid social media and display. With detailed reporting that provides insights into the metrics that matter most, the CTV platform empowers you to focus on performance while reaching your target audience in a new and engaging way.

Performance Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Final Thoughts

Digital marketing is a broad marketing strategy that focuses on omnichannel customer engagement. And while digital will always be an important aspect of marketing your business, if you focus on this alone, you risk missing out on the power of performance marketing.

Only when you understand both digital and performance marketing can you learn to meld these strategies together to create a strong marketing plan to best support your business.

MNTN can help. Contact us to learn more about how performance-focused video marketing can help you grow your business.