Home Marketing An Introduction to Online Affiliate Marketing

An Introduction to Online Affiliate Marketing


What is Affiliate Marketing?Affiliate Marketing is a niche market in the world of e-commerce, a niche market worth a few million dollars. It became a predominant aspect of e-commerce after the success of Amazon’s Affiliate Marketing Program in 1994. The Amazon Affiliate Program brought to light the ease and efficacy of an affiliate program for a business’ advertising. Affiliate Marketing began with the simple idea of using a secondary site to advertise a primary one. This principle is not exclusive to e-commerce but it has proved significantly more successful within the online context than the print one.

The Form Affiliate Marketing Takes

Affiliate marketing is a highly recognizable form of Marketing for the online user nowadays, though it is not always known by that name. Affiliate Marketing most often takes the form of banners, pop-up pages, or external links. These forms are the most easily recognisable and popular. They are eye-catching and demand attention from the customer. There are various other formats of Affiliate Marketing which may be less intrusive such as blog posts, reviews of a service and email notifications. The major downside to Affiliate Marketing is the irritation factor. Many customers of the affiliate may get frustrated, angry or even refuse the use an affiliates services anymore if the marketing format is too aggressive or intrusive.

Who’s Who

Affiliate Marketing has four individuals that function in relation to one another. The first is the Merchant, a merchant is a company that seeks advertising through the means of an affiliate. This they are the party that is being advertised. The Affiliate is the party that will be doing the advertising. This party can be a secondary business or a competitor or often simply an individual with a publicly visited blog site or social network profile. The third party is the Affiliate Network Program. This network is the middle-man between the Affiliate and the Merchant. The Network is responsible for linking up Merchant’s with compatible Affiliates and ensuring that Affiliates are paid by Merchants. The final component is the customer, a self-explanatory participant.

How Affiliate Marketing Works?

The system imposed by most Networks is that an Affiliate is paid per the amount of clicks or purchases made by a customer on a Merchant’s site, which have been diverted from said Affiliate. This system is usually dictated on a per-click basis. Affiliate Marketing also employs the use of Cookies to tally the number of clicks each Affiliate receives. This system is both beneficial and at times erratic. The best part of Cookies is that they are unobtrusive for the customer, this ensures that while a customer’s movements are recorded they are not invasive. The negative sides of the Cookie system are dependent on how frequently customers check or clean out their Cookies, thus effectively zeroing their tally for a specific Affiliate.

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate Networks function to make the lives of the Merchant and Affiliate easier, they ensure that both receive their dues. The Network is also responsible for the monitoring of the advertising on the Affiliate’s page. This ensures that if the advertising is not appropriate for the Merchant it can be corrected. There are hundreds of different Networks online. Some of the best are: Rakuten Linkshare, Commission Junction, ShareASale, Amazon and Facebook. These are trusted affiliate marketing networks.


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