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What is Affliliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

What is affiliate marketing you may ask yourself? Affiliate marketing is a performance-driven form of online marketing where an individual promotes an someone’s product and if a sale is completed due to the promotion, a commission is earned from part of the sale.

Bloggers that don’t know what is affiliate marketing are missing out another a revenue-sharing process where they could use their platform to promote consumer goods then earn a percentage of the sale when one of their page visitors buys the promoted product from the blogger’s page.

Who is Involved in Affiliate Marketing?

The four parties involved in affiliate marketing include the merchant or advertiser, the affiliate network, the publisher or blogger and the customer. Each party has their own unique involvement and role that helps explain what is affiliate marketing:

  • Merchant: Also called the advertiser, the merchant is the party that creates and sells the products the consumer buys
  • Affiliate: Often referred to as the publisher, the affiliate can be an individual or a company using their site or social media channel to promote the merchant’s products. If the
  • Affiliate network: The affiliate network serves an intermediary between the blogger/publisher and the merchant. The network hosts all the merchant’s banner and text link ads for the publisher to use, as well as handle the payment process
  • Customer: The consumer buys the merchant’s products from the affiliate’s promotional work and the consumer’s purchase generates a sale for the merchant and a commission for the affiliate/publisher.

Which affiliate marketing companies to work with

Affiliate marketing companies involve the affiliate networks which merchants run their affiliate programs through. A merchant may only allow publishers to manage their affiliate program through a certain affiliate network.

The affiliate network serves as a hub for all the merchant’s products with the publisher having the choice to promote whatever product they see fit.

Major performance marketing companies include:

  • Commission Junction: One of the largest companies, this network has one of the largest collection of affiliates and merchants
  • Rakuten: While Rakuten may be one of the older companies, their also one of the most innovative with deep linking to individual pages and
  • Awin: Mostly a UK and European network with over 13,000 publishers and 100,000 publishers (affiliates)
  • ShareASale: Has over 4,000 merchants to choose from with over 1,000 that are exclusive to the network
  • ClickBank: Offers digital products focusing on e-books and e-courses

Determining which Affiliate Marketing Programs to Choose From

With tens of thousands of various performance marketing programs at your disposal across numerous networks, there is no shortage of verticals to utilize. From retail, investing, car sales, education, entertainment, health, energy and nearly every other vertical, the range of programs is nearly endless.

The decision for the type of performance marketing program to utilize depends on the type of content the publisher is promoting. For example, a running-themed publisher would generally gravitate to using exercise related affiliate programs.

Reaching a more relevant audience is at the top of every publisher’s wish list, so choosing the right program that caters to your audience is paramount.

Getting Started in the Affiliate Marketing World

Now that you understand what is affiliate marketing and the various parties involved, now is the time to start generating revenue off this performance-based marketing avenue.

With performance marketing expected to generate $6.8 billion by 2020,  according to a study by the Rakuten Affiliate Network, this high-value and low-risk strategy to produce revenue is just reaching its peak.

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