What is Affiliate Marketing?

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Affiliate marketing is a component of digital marketing that can generate traffic to a company’s product or website and help boost its sales. Affiliate marketers sign up for various affiliate programs through which they receive a unique link to a product or service they must promote. 

Affiliates then use their platforms, whether through social media, blogs, vlogs, or websites, to make advertisements to boost the sales of the product. Some companies only require affiliates to generate valuable leads (pay per click), whereas others require a sale to be made (cost per acquisition). 

The affiliate receives a predetermined commission if a customer purchases the product through the link. The more customers buy the product; the higher is the final payout. Companies also have a minimum payout, meaning you cannot withdraw money unless you have made the minimum amount through commissions. Some commissions are based on percentage, whereas others provide a flat fee. 

Another factor to consider is the difference between an affiliate network and an affiliate program. An affiliate network is a platform with numerous affiliate programs for you to choose from. In comparison, an affiliate program is a program that belongs to the brand or company you must promote. An affiliate network is simply a means of finding the most appropriate program and applying to it through the network’s platform. 

Some necessary factors to consider as a beginner before applying to an affiliate program include:

  • The amount of commission you will receive
  • The support and tools provided by the company
  • How well known the brand you’re promoting is
  • Cookie-life offered by the program
  • Net payment 

By considering all of these factors, you can make an informed decision about which affiliate programs to choose.

Explore our list of the Best Affiliate Marketing Tools.

What does affiliate marketing do?

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model where companies (“advertisers”) pay affiliates (“publishers”) to promote their products and services on the internet. Affiliates place ads or market these items through website banners, app descriptions, social media posts–whatever they can think of! Commissions are paid out on a performance basis, so when visitors make purchases on the advertiser’s website, the publisher is paid.

What is an example of affiliate marketing?

ThePointsGuy.com and NerdWallet.com are great examples of affiliate marketing websites. The websites recommend their partners’ products and services to visitors. When those visitors make purchases, the websites are compensated for referring the sale.
eBay, The Home Depot, Amazon and other well-known e-commerce companies have affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing works so well because of the performance it offers: advertisers pay commissions only for the conversions they get, which means that the sales cycle is financially beneficial to everyone involved. The visitors get the product or service, the advertise gets a sale, and the publisher gets a commission.


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