Today we are going to talk about affiliate marketing. A digital marketing strategy that can help you improve your online sales without too much effort and quite quickly if you manage to do it right.
Affiliate marketing consists of finding a series of people or companies that promote and sell your products for you through different digital channels: blogs, social networks… In exchange for doing so, affiliates receive a commission for each sale influenced.
What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is an advertising or digital marketing strategy by which an affiliate (a person, a company, etc.) promotes and sells the products of a third party to the audience they have on their digital channels: website, blog, social networks, etc.
In exchange for this promotion, the affiliate earns a commission for each sale or conversion generated, which is paid directly. Different actors are involved in affiliate marketing:
The seller is the online store, e-commerce, brand or manufacturer that wants to sell its products or services. In order to increase sales, you are willing to pay a commission from the profits you make on each sale to the affiliate who has influenced or generated it.
Therefore, in exchange for getting sales and getting their products to a larger audience, the seller is willing to share their profits with the affiliates.
To find affiliates, the seller can choose to create their own affiliate program or sign up for an affiliate network, a platform that makes it easy to connect sellers with affiliates.
The affiliate is a person or company that has a digital channel that has a certain audience. This digital channel can be a web page, a blog or even a social network. In fact, many influencers are affiliates of different brands.
The affiliate is in charge of promoting the product or service offered by the seller among his audience, in many cases, highlighting the advantages and added value of the products he wants to sell.
Affiliates usually have a fairly wide audience within a specific industry or niche. For example, a decoration blog could be the perfect affiliate for brands like IKEA, Leroy Merlin or any online furniture store.
Every time an affiliate generates a sale through their efforts and promotion on their channels, they receive a commission from the seller.
Of course, for this whole process to work, there have to be consumers buying the products or services.
The consumer does not experience any difference when buying directly from the seller or having been influenced by an affiliate. The price you pay for the product will be exactly the same.
Consumers reach affiliate digital channels (blog, social network…) and if they are interested in any of the products they see, they can click on an affiliate link and complete the purchase on the seller’s page.
From a technical point of view, there are a number of elements that we must take into account in order to fully understand how affiliate marketing works. The most important are the following:
- Affiliate links. When an affiliate joins a vendor’s affiliate program, they receive a set of affiliate links unique to each member of the program. These links make it possible to identify and follow each time a consumer arrives at the seller’s page through a specific affiliate.
- Cookies. At the moment in which a consumer arrives at the seller’s page through an affiliate link, a cookie is placed in his browser. This cookie allows you to be identified and to follow your activity in the online store.
If the consumer ends up buying one of the products, the cookie will let us know that that consumer is an affiliate. Based on this information, we can attribute the corresponding commissions to the affiliate for each of the sales they generate in our e-commerce.
Types of affiliate marketing
In general, affiliate marketing is usually divided into three types. These are classified based on the affiliate’s relationship with the brand and with the products or services it promotes:
The affiliate has no connection to the products or services they promote. He has not tried them and does not know much about the brand. Simply, you were looking for an alternative to monetize your digital channel and you have opted for affiliation. It is not very common to find this type of affiliation, since it is not usually very effective and it is more of a kind of advertising. In fact, brands do not usually work with this type of affiliate.
The affiliate has a blog, a web page or a social network focused on a specific niche to which the seller’s brand belongs. Therefore, your audience might be interested in the products you promote. However, this does not mean that the affiliate has tried or used the products they sell.
In the latter case, the affiliate is dedicated to testing and analyzing the products that it promotes among its audience. It is usually the most common case in cosmetic or hygiene products, as well as clothing.
How affiliates get paid
Not all affiliate programs work the same. Depending on the business model of the seller, different formulas can be used to pay affiliates. In general, we distinguish 4 main ones:
In this case, the affiliate receives a commission for each sale generated in the seller’s online store.
For example, if a user clicks on our affiliate link and ends up buying the product we promote, we will receive a portion of the profit. This is the most common type of program, with Amazon being one of the best known.
In some cases, the company may not seek to sell physical products, but to obtain potential customers. In this case, a fixed fee is paid to the affiliate for each lead they generate for the seller.
What is considered a lead will depend on the company in question: it can be a user who registers on the web, a user who downloads content, a user who subscribes to the newsletter…
It is a model frequently used by insurance companies, economic services, etc.
There are also quite a few affiliate programs that pay affiliates for each click they generate towards the seller’s website, as if it were an advertisement. On many occasions, pay per click can be combined with pay per sale, offering the affiliate a small income for each click and a more juicy one for each sale.
It is one of the least frequent. It is usually used mainly in betting houses and casinos. Here, the seller shares a percentage of the profit generated by the consumer with the affiliate, throughout their entire relationship with the company. Normally it is usually divided into 60% for the seller and 40% for the affiliate.