An Introduction to Affiliate Marketing.
Affiliate Marketing, Performance Marketing
Within retail, many brands are trying to move away from being associated with site-wide discounts or promotions and certainly don't wish to be reliant on these tactics in order to generate revenue. Adding Affiliate Marketing into your channel mix offers a unique way to continue to offer promotions to clear stock etc without having to actively promote sales.
Affiliate Marketing, like most channels, has evolved over the past 5-10 years but still remains an effective and relatively risk free way of broadening your audience and capturing new consumers who are further down their purchase journey.
However, managed poorly and you will see no results. Affiliates have to be nurtured and optimised, exactly like you would any other channel. If you've not looked into Affiliate Marketing before, the following information should give you a brief introduction of how Affiliate Marketing works and what you might need to consider in order to get the most from the channel.
The Basics of Affiliates.
Affiliation is a digital marketing channel that compensates a "publisher" for making a sale on behalf of a brand. The benefits and what make affiliate marketing attractive is that the brand only pays when a sale is made and validated. The brand will be referenced as an "advertiser" and the affiliate is called a "publisher."
The risk is taken by the publisher and not by the brand.
There are many different types of publishers including: Voucher code websites, Cashback offerings, bloggers, Youtubers and social influencers and even Display Advertising Networks.
In order to be a publisher/affiliate, some form of digital media (like a website/landing page) is needed that can send a click to the brand's site where the sale is generated.
An Affiliation Platform/Network's primary function is to be a transparent middleman between the Advertiser and Affiliate.
They track and account for sales made by the affiliate and ensure they are paid for their performance and will also ensure the brands against frauds.
Brands will not affiliates directly. The network will be paid, including their own commission, and they distribute funds to their affiliates.
They can also support in facilitating relationships between brands and affiliates. It is in their best interest to generate as many sales as possible through their network.
The most well know of the Affiliate Networks is AWIN who's recent research reported an average 14:1 ROI and average additional revenue of +37% across advertisers. They partner with Publishers such as Buzzfeed, Sole Supplier and Gener8 - to name a few.
Win with Networks.
Top affiliates own medias that can gather up to 50M visits/month while some affiliates on the networks don't get any visits at all. It is paramount to identify the best performing affiliates for your market.
Those top affiliates have a limited real estate for featuring advertiser content and need this space to make the biggest possible returns.
They will offer their best spaces/exposure to brands that run a higher probability of making them commission.
The key is to have a constant relationship with representatives from top affiliates and acquire their best ad spaces as often as possible. Brands need to be making them exciting and exclusive offers both in terms of commissions and exclusive vanity voucher codes for their audiences.
Even once you can get access to those advertising spaces on a regular basis, brands still need to ensure that the product and site experience is exceptional in order to yield a strong conversion rate/return on affiliate investment.