What Is Affiliate Marketing?


Staff member
So, what exactly is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a way of making money online by promoting someone else's product or service on the internet or your website in return for a commission or payout.

This type of marketing is a kind of performance based marketing and it lets other companies and merchants reach a wider audience, therby increasing their sales and customer outlet. There are various types of affiliate marketing but the aim is just the same. Affiliate marketing is usually referred to as an affiliate program or an affiliate offer. However, the pricing models and formats of affiliate marketing can differ.

Affiliate marketing can be split into four key parts:

The Merchant or Advertiser

The merchant or affiliate offer owner who creates the affiliate program or offer to promote whatever service or product, who is often referred to as the advertiser. Affiliate marketing is a great way for merchants to get their business promoted by other people. Merchants pay for the results that are driven back to their business, so as they make money, so do you.

An Affiliate Network

An affiliate network, which is most often the middle man in all this is who provides the offers and programs from the merchants to the affiliates, they are the intermediary between the merchants and the publishers. They handle all payments, tracking and support to the publisher.

The Publisher or Affiliate

The publisher (or affiliate) whose role it is to take the offer or program and drive results to it by converting prospects into potential customers. They have the choice to work with an affiliate network or to go to the merchant or advertiser directly. It's their job to connect the offers and programs with the users or customers.

The Customer

The customer or end-user who takes up on the offer or program, which results in the publisher, network and the merchant being paid. The customer is your everyday user who is browsing the internet and most often they do not realise that they are converting an affiliate marketing program when they buy a product or service, or a perform certain online action.

Typically speaking, the advertisers or merchant will only pay when a chosen action is executed, hence the popularity of affiliate marketing by direct response advertisers. This could be a sign up, a purchase or something as simple as a view or click. A successful completion of an affiliate offer is often referred to as a conversion or lead.

An invisible pixel is inserted into the offer page and is triggered as soon as a specified action is carried out, thus resulting in a successful conversion. The front end of the offer is what a person would see if they visited it online, for example the website or landing page. Merchants’ payouts will differ. Some choose to pay per conversion (PPC) whereas others will pay a commission or referral fee. It all depends on the merchants pricing model.

Typically a merchant or offer owner will partner with an affiliate network to find affiliates to promote their program. However, sometimes they will exclude the middle man and connect directly with the publisher. The benefit of using an affiliate network is that they normally have a vast database of proven affiliates and will also handle payments and processing. In return, the network will take a percentage of the offer payout or commission.

Affiliate marketing is all about numbers and you are deemed successful on your profitability.

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Mark Ransome
Staff member
Glad you like it, here at AffilioForum like, and try to keep things simple and straight to the point, no complicated jibberish or over describing things. Keep it simple!

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