Performance Marketing

The European Performance Marketing Landscape: 4 Countries to Focus On

Becky Doles

Home to at least half a billion people who speak at least 24 different languages, Europe is a strategic market for advertisers. What’s more, the number of mobile users and purchases are growing quickly:

  • Seven countries in Europe boast internet penetration of more than 90%.
  • Europeans’ purchases through mobile are expected to double to nearly 50 billion USD in 2015.
  • At least 13% of all online purchases are made using a mobile device in Europe.

Besides being home to a huge market of affluent, mobile savvy consumers, Europe has talented publishers and emerging ad tech organizations in London, Berlin, and other parts of the continent—all of which are highly attractive to advertisers.

That being said, ad networks must remember that Europe does not represent a single consumer market. Instead, consumers and performance marketers may operate differently in each country across the region. There may be different laws, different networks, and different opportunities that affect ad networks. It’s important to stay on top of regional differences in order to prioritize your efforts and achieve success.

The Performance Marketing Landscape in Europe


The key consideration for ad networks when planning to work with publishers in the Eurozone is that Europe is a collection of different cultures and jurisdictions. With more than 500 million people in the region, there are different languages to master and cultural customs to take into consideration, as well as a patchwork of different rules and regulations that affect performance marketers. Despite the learning curve, Europe—thanks to its population, affluence, mobile internet usage, and deep pool of performance marketing talent—can be a lucrative market.

The United Kingdom

London is a global crossroads. The vibrancy of the city and its proximity to other major European cities (including New York) has attracted key players and innovators, who have transformed London into a performance marketing hub. In addition, thanks to regular events like the Performance Marketing Insights: London conference, it’s easy to connect with performance marketers in London and the U.K.

Once you’ve entered London’s performance marketing landscape, there are distinctions to note between the U.K. and the rest of Europe. While language may appear to be the largest differentiator, there are other differences as well.

For starters, in the U.K., the term “performance marketing” is typically used instead of “affiliate marketing”. “Performance marketing” also broadly covers a number of online marketing activities including SEO and PPC. Affiliate or performance marketing in the United Kingdom is also more tightly regulated than in other parts of the world.

“Long-tail affiliates” are also key publishing partners for advertisers in the United Kingdom. They are typically bloggers and micro-sites that participate in performance marketing as a tertiary activity, which differs from the more conventional North American model of small businesses monetizing online transactions through publisher deals.


Berlin competes with London as the tech startup capital of Europe. It’s said a new startup is founded every 20 minutes in Berlin. The vibrant tech ecosystem in Berlin is attracting ad tech companies from all over the world to open their own European headquarters.

At least 94% of German Internet users—at least 51 million people—reported making a purchase online in 2014. Only China, Japan, and the United States are home to larger populations of digital consumers. This makes Germany a critical country for ad networks.

On the other hand, mobile broadband penetration in Germany is still considered to be just average compared to other European countries. Plus, mobile data plans in Germany can be quite expensive, where customers are charged 35 euros per gigabyte. This means advertisers must be strategic when considering whether or not to launch a mobile advertising campaign in Germany, and be sure the investment of time and resources will be worth it. Using tools such as HasOffers’ mobile stats report helps customers get granular. The feature allows customers to see mobile device trends of each offer based on filters like mobile device type, mobile carrier, mobile device brand, and operating system version.

The Netherlands

While Holland may be small, the country has embraced mobile internet use. Out of a population of 16 million, at least 63% of shoppers own a smartphone. Nearly 60% of Dutch residents visited an e-commerce site in 2014 on their phones, roughly on par with Germany. Overall, the U.K., Denmark, and Sweden still lead in terms of online purchases—for an ad network, this is a potentially lucrative market to tap.


Like the U.K. and Germany, France has developed a reputation for innovative ad tech companies that are transforming mobile marketing. It’s also Europe’s third-largest consumer market for online purchases, after the U.K. and Germany. While these are both promising for ad networks, as is the case with other European countries, France presents ad networks a few challenges.

The European Union, as a rule, is a more highly regulated environment than the United States or the United Kingdom. This means it can be more difficult to launch campaigns that comply with local rules, and, due to stricter local labor laws, it can be more difficult to attract and retain top performance marketing talent. On top of that, in terms of mobile revenue growth, France has ranked last in Europe. Any performance marketing campaigns should thus take this into account.

Without strategic campaigns and acknowledgement of consumers’ needs, performance marketing remains an efficient method without being an effective one. Here are three key takeaways to ensure success:

1. Get Multilingual, Culturally Savvy Support

Europe is made up of various countries that speak numerous languages. Shortcuts cannot be taken when designing campaigns, not even when two different countries speak the same language. One size does not fit all, and campaigns must be tailored to the sensibilities of each market, so it’s best to seek help from a trusted local partner.

2. Be Aware of Local Laws and Ways of Doing Business

Besides linguistic and cultural considerations from market to market, there are local laws to consider as well. Europe is patchwork of different rules that regulate and oversee businesses and affect performance marketers. What may be possible in one jurisdiction may be prohibited in another. Once again, being prepared is critical when launching campaigns in Europe and a local partner can help with that.

3. Offer Local Payment Options

Not everyone purchases online the same way. Some markets in Europe are quite happy to use credit cards to make online purchases, while others are more reluctant, instead preferring direct bank transfers. Always accept a range of payment methods.

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Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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