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How to market your football club with performance marketing

If you’re a football club or sports business, you’ll already know that content marketing is key for transforming the reach of your brand and the engagement people have with your message. It can drive your social media and give people messages to share that push your name through their own social networks.

A guest article by Michael Weidinger from our Knowledge Partner Overdose.


This article was initially published in the FBIN Magazine 25.
You can download the issue for free from our Content Hub after creating an account.

What Exactly is Performance Marketing?

The Performance Marketing Association defines performance marketing as “online marketing and advertising programs in which advertisers and marketing companies are paid when a specific action is completed.” Actions registered by performance marketing may, for example, include clicks on display ads, the registration for a newsletter or the purchase of a football shirt in an online shop. This way, the marketer is assured that their marketing budget is well spent since they’re paying only for actions that lead to conversions.

What benefits does performance marketing have?

The biggest advantage of performance marketing is the measurability of all marketing campaigns. Since performance marketing is based entirely on measurable results, optimising and adjusting your goals and every aspect of your campaigns, ads, targeting and messaging happens much faster. This kind of transparency does not only prove to be helpful when budgeting and making plans as a team but is also highly convenient when trying to set new objectives or just trying to reach existing marketing goals.

Because data is at its foundation, with performance marketing, you can connect the success of marketing campaigns to objectives based on conversions, such as sales or leads. This allows you to know what the real benefit of the campaign was and adequately evaluate the return on ad spend (ROAS), and as a consequence, you can better manage your budgets.

What does performance marketing cost?

In traditional marketing, marketers pay upfront to purchase a certain amount of reach. However, the fee paid had no direct relationship to the results the marketing might have produced. By contrast, the essential aspect of performance marketing is that you only pay for achieved actions. Performance marketers are constantly optimizing, tinkering, and trying new things, so that possible failures can be easily avoided and the budget investment is used cost-efficiently.

The most popular pricing model used within digital advertising with many ad formats, including Facebook Ads and Google Ads, is the Cost-Per-Click form (CPC). Also known as pay per click, CPC means advertisers pay whenever and only if their ad will be clicked. More specific pricing models such as Cost-per-Sale (CPS) or Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) will vary depending on which online channel you choose, so bear that in mind.

Performance marketing disciplines:

In performance marketing, each discipline and channel is slightly different, meaning performance marketing has to be adjusted to the demands of all used platforms. Where one football brand chooses to use just one or two channels in one discipline, another will use several channels in various disciplines to meet all their online marketing goals.

The ideal performance marketing disciplines and channels are always dependent on your business objective, marketing goals, target audience and ads. This means that the right approaches and strategies always need to be individually selected and adapted.

Here are the most crucial disciplines that enable successful performance marketing strategies.

Search engine advertising (SEA)

Search engine advertising allows you to advertise and promote your products and services to users with search-relevant keywords. So, when users search a keyword, like “real madrid shirt” on google.com or bing.com, they get their query results on a search engine results page (SERP). Those results can include a paid text ad that targets that keyword. You won’t be paying for displaying the ads on the search engine. You only pay for the actual results of the campaigns in the form of clicks and conversions.

Sometimes SEA is confused with search engine optimization (SEO). While they can work hand in hand, they’re distinct methods.

Display advertising

With Display advertising, football clubs can reach out to potential customers by placing relevant display ads on third-party websites and apps. Display ads combine a URL to your website and images, videos, audio or animations delivered on various end devices such as desktop PCs, tablets, smartphones or digital billboards on underground railways, in airports and public places. The primary goal of display advertising is to increase brand awareness and reach. If you use retargeting with your display ads, you can also incorporate audience data into your message and offer to focus more on conversion-driven goals.

To start using display advertising, you have to work with an ad network to reach customers. You tell the sales or account manager of the ad network what kind of audience group, region, language and placements you want to target with your display ads, and they take it from there. The ad network will then serve your display ads to users who fit your requirements and visit websites that have opted into their ad network. Ideally, a user who matches your requirements, clicks on your ad, goes to your website and then converts into a paying customer. That’s the whole display advertising process in a nutshell. However, display ads and video ads can also easily be placed via Google Ads and YouTube Ads as well as other freely accessible online services.

Social media advertising

Social media advertising is essentially just another form of display ads with a native integration into the platform. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter and LinkedIn are programmed to target specific audiences based on their network, affinities and interests, among other factors. As a result, social ads effectively get your message to your intended audience quickly and effectively. But be aware that you can only reach users specific to the social platform you are advertising on.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a highly performance-oriented marketing discipline since the marketer incentivizes publishers to promote their products and services in return for a commission. The publisher then receives a commission for every sale, lead or click generated by the affiliate links or affiliate ads on their site. Commissions are typically a percentage of the sale price but can occasionally be a fixed amount. The higher the commission, the greater the number of high-profile publishers you’ll have pushing your service or product.

Who should consider performance marketing?

Any football club, league and sports association looking to advertise online will find performance marketing methods extremely viable as the techniques themselves are scalable. Regardless of whether your brand is small, medium-sized or large, you will profit from performance marketing. The budget can be individually determined, allowing even those with smaller budgets to target the right users and achieve positive results.

In general, performance marketing is a way to expand the marketing scale of (almost) every sport brand. Nevertheless, in the beginning, it’s crucial to develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy rather than just focusing on one aspect of performance marketing. Furthermore, please be aware that performance marketing requires a constant and continuous optimization of all your marketing campaigns to receive the best results. Without the support of a performance marketing agency, this process can be time-consuming and costly.


As a Knowledge Partner of FBIN, Overdose offers a free Online Shop Quick Check (OQC) to members of the FBIN Network.

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