Performance marketing is becoming increasingly popular with marketing managers. This is because it makes the direct influence of activities on sales success visible. Most companies are being supported by performance marketing agencies. We have compared 15 performance marketing agencies for you. You can download a summary of the market overview here.
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Performance marketing increasingly in focus
More than ever, marketing departments are no longer judged solely on the perception of brand attributes. Today, CMOs and marketers must increasingly be measured by hard facts. They are directly involved in generating leads. How many website visitors could be converted into leads for sales? Were we able to positively impact customer lifetime value? Collaboration and dovetailing between marketing and sales departments is also becoming increasingly important. But performance marketing is detailed work, time-intensive and requires a high degree of in-depth knowledge regarding the individual channels. Therefore, in many cases, companies are supported by performance marketing agencies. The efficient placement of ads on social media channels is just one of many disciplines offered by such service providers. We have taken a detailed look at the market for performance agencies. The providers of such services show some similarities in their service portfolio. Nevertheless, they differ both in their price offerings and in their approach to a project. Their industry expertise also varies.
Comparison of performance marketing agencies: 15 providers at a glance
We have compiled and compared 15 providers for you. This market overview is intended to provide you with a basis for making a possible selection. In addition, you can use the numerous criteria for your decision to deduce which characteristics of an agency are particularly important for your company.
|Name||Head office||Number of permanent employees||Number of freelancers||Number of customers||Founding year|
|5 Sterne Marketing||Hamburg, Germany||15||10||200||2012|
|DC Berlin||Berlin, Germany||8||3||15||2016|
|e-dialog||Wien, Austria / Düsseldorf, Germany / Zürich, Switzerland||60||4||223||2003|
|firststars||Berlin und Düsseldorf,Germany||18||35||2005|
|fischerAppelt, performance||Hamburg und Berlin, Germany||63||84||2017|
|IronShark||Jena (Dresden, Leipzig), Germany||32||100||2002|
|ZweiDigital||Frankfurt am Main, Germany||14||56||2018|
What are the criteria for selecting performance marketing agencies?
The analysis is based on more than 130 criteria, which we have assigned to 14 different categories. The categories present the various providers in detail, examine the different competencies and offerings, and describe other relevant criteria. The extensive catalog of criteria was developed and reflected upon in advance with industry experts and editors. The performance marketing agencies were compared in these criteria categories:
- General information: When selecting a performance marketing agency, basic information about the companies serves to get to know the providers. How long have they been on the market? Are there multiple locations? What references are named? Financial ratios were also asked for as part of the market overview, though typically not all participants provided them transparently.
- Unique Selling Propositions: The list of advantages of each offer is long. The Unique Selling Proposition claims to condense the service offering into a few words. You will find this condensate in the form of the pitch on the coming pages. We asked the providers to formulate it to the point in just a few words. What makes the offering so special?
- References: Many companies have been able to demonstrate their performance expertise with several customers. The following overview names specific corporate customers of the participating companies as references.
- The providers’ industry expertise: The market overview also asked about the providers’ expertise with regard to various industries. One requirement for answering these questions was also to specify industries to be highlighted, so that providers could not specify a particularly strong expertise for each industry.
- The range of languages on offer: For companies with an international focus, the range of languages is particularly important when centralized control is required rather than having to deploy separate solutions for each country. For this reason, the following view represents which languages are covered by the companies.
- The use of media: not every performance agency automatically masters every medium. For example, some agencies focus on Facebook Advertising, while others are strong in LinkedIn Advertising. New media such as Tik Tok or native advertising platforms such as Plista and Taboola were also queried.
- The expanded service portfolio: Many agencies have adapted and developed their service portfolio to meet the needs of the market. Therefore, they often offer additional services besides pure performance services. Whether the strategic development of lead generation strategies, the production of white papers as lead magnets or the use of chatbots, this category of the market overview provides answers to the question of which additional services the agencies offer.
- Quality assurance of lead generation: companies are increasingly focusing on the quality of generated leads. A large number of leads alone does not generate new business. For this reason, we questioned the measures agencies use to optimize the quality of leads.
- Use of software: Using your own professional and field-tested software stack can be a competitive advantage. Specifically, this part of the survey asked which software solutions agencies use in performance marketing that also benefit the client.
- Criteria restrictions for leads: When generating relevant leads, most companies rely on defining specifications for leads. This includes, for example, the size of the company or the seniority of the lead. Which restrictions the service providers offer is shown in this part of the comparison.
- Certifications and prevention: The certifications of the companies show to what extent the existing competencies could be officially proven. In addition, personal contacts at the major media were asked about. The editorial team also questioned the existence of emergency plans for blocking an advertising account.
- Legal criteria: In this category, we asked everything about GDPR and legal issues relating to performance marketing agencies. Do DSGVO-compliant processes exist? What about security in general and cyber attacks in particular?
- Additional services offered by providers: In this section of the market overview, we questioned the scope of services and the structure of the agencies. Are there additional events and training opportunities that the agencies offer to clients? What is the response time in the event of a problem? This and other information can be found in the next tabular comparisons.
- Pricing approach of performance marketing agencies: Whether you are a new player or an established company, whether you use them as strategy consultants, impulse providers or workbenches – agencies need budget. Billing models are varied. Many agencies rely on retainer models, some require a minimum budget per year, others do not. Likewise, contract periods vary by agency.
Unique selling propositions of performance marketing agencies
A lot of criteria, a lot of services and a packed service portfolio – but what makes the individual agency special in a nutshell? We asked the providers about their USP.
5 Sterne Marketing
Headquarters: Hamburg, DE
Headquarters: Cologne, DE
Headquarters: Munich, DE
USP (according to their own statement): “cyberpromote is one of the pioneers in SEA, SEO and usability since 1997. 1,300 projects in 16 languages and our multiple award-winning software products are proof of our professional and technical know-how. With the areas of web analytics and social media, we offer complete digital strategies. Success-based billing is a matter of course for us as the best SEO / SEA agency (award within the Horizon 2020 initiative).”
Headquarters: Berlin, DE
USP (according to their own statement):: “DCBerlin is the performance agency from Berlin with an obsessive conversion focus. We help companies increase sales through smart digital advertising and creative conversion rate optimization. We inspire digital campaigns without Red Bull, but with smart ideas and the right craft. You want more leads & customers than anyone else? Then you’ve come to the right place.”
Headquarters: Vienna, AT / Düsseldorf, DE / Zurich, CH
USP (according to their own statement): “e-dialog is one of the largest independent specialized agencies for data-driven advertising with locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and official partner & reseller of the Google Marketing & Cloud Platform. Certifications from Campaign Management to Creation to Cloud & Machine Learning enable personalization and optimization of customer needs in the highest quality.”
Headquarters: Berlin and Düsseldorf,DE
USP (according to their own statement): “Online marketing on a performance and KPI driven basis.”
Headquarters: Hamburg and Berlin, DE
USP (according to their own statement): “We are 720 degree 360 degree digital marketing agency embedded in a 360 degree communication agency. | We have many years of experience in different companies. In less than 3 years we have won 17 international top awards for our digital marketing campaigns. We don’t just talk about data. We are mathematicians and we base everything we do on it.”
Headquarters: Jena (Dresden, Leipzig), DE
USP (according to their own statement): “Behind IronShark are motivated geeks, web & online experts on the hunt for the weak spot in your online strategy. Our customers want to become #1 in their niche: We gladly accept this challenge and help you to reach your goals, too! Our focus is on web & app development, e-commerce and online marketing.”
Headquarters: Hamburg, DE
USP (according to their own statement): “We combine lead generation with content marketing. Our precise targeting options always reach the individual target group. This is based, among other things, on our database of over 1.3 million B2B decision-makers. All processes are 100% DSGVO-compliant.”
Headquarters: Cologne, DE
USP (according to their own statement): “Instead of listing our partner certificates and marketing experience here, we save you and ourselves the time. |If you want to scale your service or product successfully on Facebook/IG, Pinterest, Taboola or Google – Get in touch! | Disclaimer: Only limited spots available! | We take a holistic and multi-platform approach to your Market.”
Headquarters: Berlin, DE
USP (according to their own statement): “Comprehensive tracking solutions and smart marketing campaigns.”
Headquarters: Recklinghausen, DE
USP (according to their own statement): “We deliver results. We meet you with flexibility and honesty and together we develop measures to make your online marketing permanently better. Rely on a responsible and well-coordinated team of consultants, trainers and specialists to deliver an online marketing experience to your target groups that inspires.”
Headquarters: Cologne, DE
USP (according to their own statement): “With our customers, we rely on personal contacts and the optimal combination of in-depth expert knowledge and sophisticated software support.”
Headquarters: Lüneburg, DE
USP (according to own statement): “We have made it our business to provide especially small and medium sized companies with affordable marketing services. With us there are no long contract periods and with us there is no extra sausage. With us, you only get what you really need to achieve your goals. Transparency, loyalty and honesty are very important to us!”
Headquarters: Frankfurt am Main, DE
USP (according to own statement): “Budget independent: We work with a fixed service fee | Focus on Social Ads: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & LinkedIn. We are Facebook Marketing Partner and Technical Service Partner. Our online marketing managers are Blueprint certified. |Super fast: we go live in 5 days. New input is implemented in 24 hours.”