1. What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services. The third-party publishers are affiliates, and the commission fee incentivizes them to find ways to promote the company.

2. The story of Affiliate Marketing

affiliate marketing the story

Perhaps it’s best to consider affiliate marketing as an extension of your paid performance opportunity. Which is to say, aside from selling more products by implementing paid ads on google or facebook/twitter, brands can reach new audiences by investing in an affiliate strategy.

Why bother:

  • Diversify your distribution channel
  • Tap into a web based referral network
  • Save money by reaching a targeted audience

The early days of affiliate marketing, was understandably raw and susceptible to abuse. Due to lack of regulation, marketers spammed unsuspecting web users with irrelevant and sketchy links. Eventually the field would mature into a viable business option for companies looking to drive sales.

With the emergence of super-affiliates like ebates and Retailmenot, business can confidently take advantage of the developing channel.

3. What do you need to know?

affiliate marketing need to know

Just about every phase of digital marketing can be supported by affiliate marketing (esp. SEO, PPC, CRO and more) 

It is helpful to be vigilant of all potential sources which may drive traffic to your affiliate page.

Conversions and revenue and key performance indicators of affiliate marketing

Investment and return in affiliate marketing has been a steady rise (projected to continue through 2020)

Typically the top three spending verticals in affiliate marketing are Retail, Financial services and digital education.

“Coupons” and “rewards” are amongst an affiliates critical opportunities to earn commission

4. Key Roles in the Affiliate Market

affiliate marketing key roles
  1. Affiliates – a web owner who looks to earn commision for promoting the products/services of advertisers
  2. Advertisers – Sells products/services, looking to boost sales by taking advantage of an affiliate’s web audience
  3. Affiliate networks and Technology platforms – The intermediary that connects the affiliate and the advertiser. Allows for the monitoring of performance and payments.
  4. Program manager – the individual responsible for managing the affiliate program

5. The Affiliate Marketing Process

affiliate marketing process

Here the gist of how these roles interact

1. A user lands on an affiliate marketer’s site (during the digital shopping journey)

2. The user is referred to the advertisers page

    • Once the affiliate link is clicked the browser receives a cookie (identifies advertiser, affiliate and link clicked)

3. The user places on order for a product/service on the advertisers site

    • A pexel captures relevant transaction data

4. The affiliate technology tracks the transaction to reward the affiliate marketer

5. The affiliate receives commision

    • Commission are typically paid on a cost per acquisition (or cost per lead) rate

6. How you can use affiliate program to match the stages of a user journey

affiliate marketing user journey

Awareness stage – Users are researching general information – Answer queries and provide a link to product that satisfies search

Navigational stage – Users are digging for more information about a brand – Address brand specific issues and provide a link

Commercial stage – Users are comparing the product/service of different brand to make a sound buying decision –  Compare brands and provide affiliate links 

Transactional stage – Users are ready to make a purchase – Give users all the reasons to make a purchase and make it easy for the user to act.

7. Cross channel implementation

affiliate marketing cross channel

Paid search – Affiliates may bid for traffic from search terms, weighed against their respective cost per acquisition model.

Performance display – Banners and retargeting used to support displays of affiliate sites.

Social media marketing – Using social media networks (followers) to promote affiliate site and links 

Mobile – Mobile applications are presenting a unique opportunity to implement an affiliate strategy. E.g – Apps can be packaged as a product for  discovering great deals

8. What are the types of affiliates

affiliate marketing types

Loyalty/Reward – High volume affiliates. Customers are loyal and interested in accruing rewards (cach back, points back or flyer miles) from these affiliate sites. E.G Cartera, shopathome, nextjump, quidco

Influencers/Content – Relatively low volume sites which focus on attracting traffic through engaging content.

Coupon & Deal – Moderate volume sites – Coupon and deal aggregators. These sites attract users who are looking for deals and discounts. E.G Groupon, coupons.com, retailmenot, saings.com

Sub Affiliate Networks – Provide tools to help less technically inclined publishers (affiliates) monetize their traffic. E.G rewardstyle, viglink, avantlink, skimlinks, maxbounty