Around this time, thousands of students are handing in their dissertations, finishing off exams and wondering what they are going to do with their lives. I graduated a year ago with a 2:1 studying New Media at the University of Leeds, a relatively new course which touches on many different digital foundations from PHP coding to Facebook privacy implications. I had zero idea what I wanted to do until I came across my role here at Zeal as a performance marketing executive.

When I try to explain to my friends and family what I actually do, I get the same confused face staring back at me. I put their minds at ease by simply saying “I do those ads at the top of Google”, when of course it is much, much more than that.

I am 23 now, and I really grew up with the Internet. I always wanted to have a part in it which is why I chose to study New Media. As I approached the end of my three year degree I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do. From my experience and speaking to people on my course students who begin a degree in media are not always entirely sure what they plan to do at the end of it, which I’m sure is the case across most courses. I have written this article to shed some light on what Performance Marketing is all about, why I find it exciting, and why graduates should consider it as a serious career option.

Problem Solving

Performance Marketing is fundamentally advertising where money is paid on receipt of an action. PPC (pay per click), CPA (cost per action), CPL (cost per lead), CPM (cost per thousand) are all terms we use on a day to day basis and as a result we deal with a lot of numbers. This might seem boring to the untrained eye but to a performance marketer, the numbers are our insight into how things are going. How much are we spending? What is the ROI? Why did we get a spike of impressions? This aspect appealed to me as I’m a logical thinker. There has to be a reason for something to happen. This is where skills in problem solving are needed. Using Google Analytics to really dig into what happened. Where has the traffic come from? Where did they go? For how long? If you really know your stuff, you can work it out and when you do, you can fix and improve it.

Creative Thinking

My one reserve when considering taking a Performance Marketing role was that it seemed to not require any creativity. Within my first day I realised this was not the case. Not only with the Google and Bing paid search text and image ads which need creating, but the fundamentals of any good performance marketing campaign needs creative thinking to consider how to intelligently market the product or service. (See this article for the top 10 most creative PPC campaigns of all time).


Effective communication is absolutely integral to Performance Marketing. Take affiliates for example. We spend a lot of our time finding the best affiliates to join our programs. Once we have a list of potential affiliates we need to be able to find the best way to contact them, explain the program to them and all its benefits and ultimately get them onto the program. Once on the program we then need to communicate the most up to date banners, deals, promotions and discount codes as well as updates to the program. Whilst this is happening communication must be maintained with the client to ensure that all of the creatives are signed off, discount codes are set up. On top of this, communication must be maintained within the content team so creative campaigns can be in-line with theirs for a more effective strategy.

Willingness to Learn

My interest in the online industry stemmed from my fascination of the Internet. Communication is instantaneous meaning things can be done far quicker than ever before. The Internet changes every day. This is what I found kind of ironic about studying New Media as what I learnt in my first year was actually outdated by the time I reached the end of the course! For anyone to be successful in this industry you need to be willing to learn proactively and have your fingers on the pulse of the Internet daily. Since starting in this industry a year ago there has been countless changes to the way I work. For example, paid ads on Google now feature Callout Extensions which was not a feature a year ago and the huge focus on mobile recently highlighted by Google. It is this ever changing digital landscape which makes me love what I do.

Final Thoughts

Performance Marketing is intelligent, creative, effective and will never go stagnant. It is an industry which will forever keep you on your toes and it is incredibly satisfying. Performance Marketing or any individual part of it is something I think any graduate should consider reading into. The reasons listed in this article are just the tip of the iceberg.

Benjamin Farrar

Benjamin Farrar


Benjamin Farrar, Performance Marketing Executive at Zeal