Data-driven performance marketing: 5 trends of 2021

3 of our data experts share their thoughts



Last Updated

October 4, 2021

2021 is well past its halfway mark and the e-commerce sector is in the starting blocks to kick off the traditionally busy fall season. A major role in the preparations is reserved for the retrieval, analysis and interpretation of data. Three data-driven marketers from marketing collective Linehub share with you developments from the past six months and discuss the trends of 2021 in preparation for Black Friday and the holiday season.

Claudia Ohanis – Spoor (Product Manager Affiliate Marketing Tools) and Hilde Appels (Senior Channel Manager Finance) work at the label Daisycon. Wandana Raghoenath (Online Marketing Consultant) works at label Conversive. All three work with performance marketing data on a daily basis, where its optimal use can be the deciding factor in whether or not to continue a marketing campaign. In addition, the use of data also provides valuable insights about the market and potential new collaborations.

Success rate and current market insights

The role of performance marketing data is becoming increasingly important. Not only in the field of communication and marketing can we no longer ignore the use of data, but also at a strategic level the importance of data is gaining ground.

Within Linehub, the Daisycon label focuses on affiliate marketing The data usage within Daisycon ensures a customer-oriented approach. Appels: “By using models like eCPC (Effective Cost Per Click) we can prove exactly which advertisers match with certain publishers. The target group is better defined and we can therefore be more customer-oriented. Almost everything is measurable which gives us better insights.”

For instance, data can also provide more insight into the success rate of a campaign within different markets. Based on conversion statistics, it can be determined which advertisers are performing well and where there is room for improvement. Ohanis – Spoor: “After a soft launch of our online wine comparison tool, for example, it became clear that there was also a need for an overview of non-alcoholic wines. For this we needed to know the alcohol percentage of their products from all the different advertisers and therefore a filtering in the current datasheets. In addition, we are exploring the market in anticipation of the holidays to see if there is a desire for a bubble comparison tool.”

For Raghoenath, conversion rates help with managing customer expectations on the one hand and the ability to deliver on the other. By looking at past results and knowledge about the customer, predictions can be made about what is going to happen. Wandana: “Data helps us with expectation management for the customer: with this budget we expect a certain amount of sales. Our goal at Conversive is to achieve the best conversion at the best price. Trends and seasonality aspects are crucial in this process.”

The question is always how long such trends persist: is there a recurring pattern or do other factors come into play? The data marketers indicate that the industry in which the customer is involved also plays a role: each customer has a different product with a different target audience and market. One of the few certainties in e-commerce are seasonal trends: Black Friday, Dutch/Belgian holiday St Nicholas and the last days of the year that often go hand in hand with switching energy suppliers or health insurance.

5 trends that data marketers believe are indicative of 2021

1. Preparations start sooner
Because Black Friday became more than just one day for quite some time now and because data consumption also plays a role in a successful Black Friday campaign, the first preparations start as early as April. Ohanis – Spoor: “That’s when the fine-tuning of the best advertising opportunities that publishers can offer to advertisers and special promotional packages for advertisers begins.” In addition, the technical side of things must be taken into account, such as the time Google’s machine learning takes to process datasets when building a campaign that includes target audience, location, age and interests, as well as on previous campaigns. Raghoenath: “Sometimes this can take up to two weeks.”

2. Standing out in the search chaos
In recent years there has been increasing criticism of Black Friday: it is said to encourage over-consumption and to be bad for the environment. In addition, the benefits of Black Friday differ per industry. Appels: “Some industries, like automotive, only sell one product and you don’t often buy a car spontaneously on Black Friday. One idea might be to draw attention to all black cars during that week. That way you still stand out in the search chaos during that period.”

3. Corona and press conferences
Announcements of lockdowns and regulations set in motion certain trends that were reflected in the buying habits of consumers. Appels: “It was striking that after every press conference we saw an increase in the branch of funeral insurance. In fact, insurances in general performed well when people had to stay at home: pet insurance because people suddenly had time for a dog, car insurance because travelling in their own country became popular. It was a form of security in an uncertain time and people often had more to spend.”

4. Less regulations, more job openings
Whereas last year recruitment ads did not perform quite well, this trend seems to be reversed at the moment. Since the easing of the corona regulations in Spring, there have been more vacancies and not enough applicants to fill them. Raghoenath sees that many clients now want to focus on recruitment. With the tight job market, these types of applications are facing more challenges.

5. A new type of publisher: the Fire movement
With little or no interest being provided on savings by the banks, it is clear that campaigns in the field of cryptocurrency and investments are getting a boost. Ohanis – Spoor: “In the Affiliate Marketing Tools department, we see this trend reflected in the rise of a new type of publisher: the so-called ‘Fire movement’ (Financial Independence Retire Early).” This is a group where a great deal of the income is saved and invested in order to retire early.

So the possibilities of data are becoming increasingly clear and extensive. As a result, data-driven performance marketing will also become a bigger part of the marketing and e-commerce sector. Influenced by known and unexpected trends, we are curious to see how the role of data will develop further in 2022.