What is Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers for traffic generation or leads to the company’s products and services. Third party publishers are affiliates and commissions encourage them to find ways to promote the company.

Internet has increased the popularity of affiliate marketing. Amazon popularized this practice by creating an affiliate marketing program whereby websites and bloggers link to an Amazon page for a tested or discussed product in order to get paid for advertising when they make a purchase. In this sense, affiliate marketing is essentially a paid marketing program in which the selling process is outsourced through an extensive network.

affiliate marketing

Understanding Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing predates the internet, but it was the world of digital marketing, analytics and cookies that turned it into a billion dollar industry. An affiliate marketing company can track the links that lead to leads and see how many of them are converting into sales through internal analytics.

An e-commerce merchant looking to reach a wider base of internet users and buyers can hire an affiliate. An affiliate can own multiple websites or email distribution lists; The more websites or mailing lists an affiliate has, the broader their network. The hired partner then communicates and promotes the products offered on the e-commerce platform on their network. The affiliate does this by placing banner ads, text ads or links on their many websites or by emailing their customers. Firms use ads in the form of articles, videos, and images to draw audience attention to a service or product.

Affiliates redirect visitors who follow one of these links or ads to your e-commerce site. If they buy a product or service, the e-commerce seller credits the partner’s account with an agreed commission, which can range from 5% to 10% of the sale price.┬áThe goal of using an affiliate marketer is to increase sales – a win-win solution for both the seller and the affiliate.


  • Affiliate marketing is a marketing scheme whereby a company rewards affiliate partners for a business built around the affiliate’s marketing tactics.
  • Firms usually pay for each sale and less often for a click or impression.
  • As technology advances, it becomes easier for fraudsters to create multiple clicks and impressions using software.
  • Firms use innovative ways to prevent fraudulent attempts to conduct business.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing

The advertising company sets the terms for the affiliate marketing program. In the beginning, companies were mostly paying per click (traffic) or mile (impressions) of banner ads. With the advancement of technology, the focus has been on commissions from real sales or qualified leads. The early affiliate marketing programs were vulnerable to fraud because clicks could be generated by the software, just like impressions.

Now, most affiliate programs have strict lead generation terms. There are also certain prohibited methods, such as installing adware or spyware, which redirect all product searches to a partner page. Some affiliate marketing programs go as far as outlining how a product or service should be discussed in the content before an affiliate link can be confirmed.

Thus, an effective affiliate marketing program requires some foresight. The terms should be tough, especially if the contract pays for traffic, not sales. Possibility of scam in affiliate marketing.

Unfair partners can assign misspelled domain names and receive referral fees. They can fill out online registration forms with fake or stolen information, they can also buy AdWords for search queries that the company already ranks high, and so on. Even though the terms and conditions are clear, the affiliate marketing program requires someone to monitor affiliates and follow the rules.

In exchange, however, a company can gain access to motivated, creative people to help sell its product or services to the world.

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