Affiliate Programs

What Is Affiliate Marketing? A Guide To Success

What Is Affiliate Marketing? A Guide To Success
Written by publishing team

When it comes to buying electronics or home appliances, if you’re like me, you do as much research as possible. You open a million tabs of different product review sites, read until you decide which item you want, and then click on the company’s website to make your purchase — hopefully with a generous discount code.

This is the journey through the subsidiary marketing Ecosystem – but only told from the shopper’s point of view.

There is also the merchant who sells the product, the affiliate who promotes the product in exchange for the sale pieces, and in most cases, there is an affiliate network that makes sure the process runs smoothly for both sides.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an arrangement in which an affiliate company, such as a publisher, earns a commission by promoting another company’s products. The affiliate marketer gets a portion of every sale that goes through his channel, and this process is tracked through specially encrypted links.

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance marketing. This means that the affiliate is paid when (and only when) its marketing demands a measurable action – a sale (or in some cases, a potential customer) to the company that owns the product.

The ranking was about almost the same as e-commerce. Amazon helped promote affiliate programs after its launch in the mid-1990s. Around that time, blogs started slapping Amazon affiliate links on their sites, hoping that visitors would click on an item and purchase it so they could earn a commission.

Of course, the idea of ​​splitting revenue like this goes back much further than that, evoking the era of roving salespeople who worked on commission.

These days, affiliate marketing is an integral part of e-commerce, whether you’re a retailer pushing your product to the masses or a publisher generating additional revenue.

US advertisers are expected to spend north 8 billion dollars on affiliate marketing in 2022. One report said That 81 percent of advertisers and 84 percent of publishers use affiliate marketing.

It is a practice that is no longer associated with spam blogs or impulsive sellers. It is the main stream. And for many – it is profitable.

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What is an ally?

Simply put, affiliate marketers are people who earn money to successfully promote another company’s product.

They may be bloggers and journalists social influencers or performance marketers. They are not employees of the companies that promote their products. It is possible that they are not even clients. They usually have a large enough audience that total strangers buy products using their affiliate links.

(Affiliate marketing is slightly different from referral marketing, which is when a customer is rewarded for referring a product or service to a family member or friend.)

Derek Halis ran Sleepopolis, a mattress review site, as its editor-in-chief for three years. He founded the site in 2014, exactly when a bed in a box business started booming and people started googling “best rank” In large quantities.

as fast company mentionedHals helped these companies sell a lot of mattresses, and as an affiliate, he made a lot of money. He often ended each review with an affiliate link that came with a digital coupon that shoppers could apply at checkout. Sometimes he would negotiate his commission with mattress companies directly, other times he would withdraw it from affiliate networks, which are sites that list affiliate marketing offers for publishers like Hales to use.

Affiliate marketing is not just for individual entrepreneurs. Old publications such as the The New York Times And New York magazine Both rely on their own product recommendation sites, Wirecutter and The Strategist, respectively, to bring in millions of dollars in affiliate commissions each year.

Other affiliates follow a different path: they specialize in creating ads on platforms like Facebook to drive visitors to landing pages that promote products using their affiliate links.

Affiliates tend to partner with merchants or find merchant offerings through intermediaries called affiliate networks.

What is network affiliate marketing?

There are many affiliate networks today, including to shareAnd clickbankAnd Join CJ And Rakuten, For example, but not limited. They handle the link tracking and payment processing involved with affiliate marketing, ensuring that merchants and affiliates get what they agreed upon. For merchants, this is a specific action a visitor takes; For affiliates, they get paid for it.

However, if no action takes place, the money will not be exchanged. That’s why you’ll see the acronym CPA (Cost per Action) used to describe affiliate marketing. The merchant doesn’t pay for impressions, they pay for actions taken – leads or sales.

Affiliates rely on networks like this to help them scale their affiliate marketing efforts. For example, if you are a publisher and you promote products from 50 different companies, you are responsible for tracking links and collecting payments from 50 different companies. That is, unless you run your software through an affiliate network, which handles that work for you.

“[Affiliate networks] Get rid of a lot of the stress of managing an affiliate program.”

“It removes a lot of the stress of running an affiliate program,” Thomas McMahon, senior director of business development at affiliate network ClickBank, told Built In.

Networks like ClickBank also act as a marketplace, allowing affiliates to discover products that their audience might find interesting and offers that pay high commissions.

Merchants find affiliate networks useful as well. In most cases, they prefer offloading the management of these transactions rather than building their own software and payment processing technologies at home.

Another reason for merchants to use networking is to recruit affiliates. If you’re a sneaker brand, for example, it takes a lot of time and research to figure out which streetwear and sportswear bloggers and influencers you should reach for affiliate partnerships.

With a network, merchants can define the commission structures and attributes they want in an affiliate, and the network will show publishers or influencers who fit those criteria. Once the merchant approves the affiliate, the network takes it from there, facilitating tracking and payments between the two parties.

Affiliate networks make money by taking a portion of every sale they make. So not only merchants pay for affiliates, but also affiliate network.

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What is a merchant in affiliate marketing?

Merchants – sometimes referred to as advertisers, brands, or companies – sell a product or service. They often get into the picture when they want more sales or leads, so they partner with affiliate marketers, who have audiences.

Merchants who sell consumer products, such as accessories and appliances, seem to dominate the affiliate marketing landscape. But companies in nearly every industry have gotten involved at some point.

CJ Affiliate has more than 4,000 clients that represent “literally every sector,” according to Nicole Ron, vice president of product marketing and business systems at Affiliate Network. This includes retail, travel, finance, technology and services.

“There are very few types of businesses that cannot benefit from affiliate marketing.”

Commission structures vary by category, Ron told Built In. But the main reason merchants use networks like CJ Affiliate remains the same: they want to be promoted by trusted sources with audiences ready for action.

While not every product is right for it, “there are very few types of businesses that can’t benefit from affiliate marketing,” ClickBank’s McMahon said.

How many affiliates do merchants usually use? Depends on. Ron said some of CJ Affiliate’s clients use more than a thousand affiliates in total, including influencers and creators as well as traditional publishers. Others maintain “very small, coordinated programs of 20-30 partners”.

Where do agencies fall?

Some merchants use specialized agencies to manage commission marketing. These agencies do not deal with the technical aspects of the process the way networks do. Instead, they consult merchants on strategy and help them find ways to make their affiliate programs more successful.

They do this primarily by finding affiliates that they think certain merchants should partner with.

“When we join a client, it is easy for us to immediately see which affiliates are the most productive.” [the client’s category], “Kyle Mitnick, President Advertise purple, a marketing agency that specializes in managing affiliates, told Built In.

From there, his agency finds out which of its affiliates — Mitnick said she works with more than 100,000 of them — will promote the merchant’s products. Next, they work on drafting the ad copy and determine the appropriate offer for the affiliates.

What are the common frequencies?

Mitnick occasionally meets new clients in the affiliate marketing process – and is concerned about it. He said he often shows two great hesitations.

There is a misconception that affiliate marketers are all coupon sites, and some merchants prefer not to associate with them. (Maybe they are afraid Brand property rights Regardless of the case, many merchants don’t realize that affiliates produce service journalism, not spam.

“This stigma always comes up,” Mitnick said. “We process it with data.”

Another issue that gives merchants pause is the sales referral. In Mitnick’s experiment, many brands fear a hypothetical scenario in which they mistakenly pay twice for a customer — once if a shopper clicks on one of their Facebook ads, and again if a shopper clicks on an affiliate link.

The concern is misleading: “There are a lot of tech solutions that prevent brands from paying twice,” Mitnick said.

What are the best practices for traders?

“The misnomer is that affiliates are cheap and easy,” McMahon said.

When he consults customers who are on the fence about affiliate marketing, he tries to help them realize the importance of customer acquisition and the lasting value that each new customer provides. Lowballing’s commission fees for better upfront margins only work with this strategy.

He said, “Where people get stuck is just building a nice generic affiliate offering” — or the offers are so low that they don’t find high-quality affiliates enthusiastic enough to promote the merchant’s products.

Instead, McMahon said, merchants – especially SaaS companies – should structure much higher commissions.

That, he said, “opens you up to not just bloggers, not just influencers, it opens you up to real performance marketing affiliates.”

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