Affiliate marketing is a commission based revenue system where a third party (an affiliate) brings leads/sales to a product owner/company website.
It is a process of earning commission by promoting other people’s / company’s products.
In simpler terms –
- You find a product you like,
- You promote it to your audience and,
- For every sale that is made because of you within your audience, you earn a profit commission from the product owner.
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer.
Four core players :
The one who owns the product / the creator of the product. The product can be anything ranging from SaaS applications to physical products (like shoes), it can also be a digital product (like eBooks). So basically, a merchant is someone who is selling a product online. In order to increase his sales online, a merchant is most likely open to get affiliates on his website.
The one who takes up the product links from the merchant and promotes it within his own audience to send traffic to the merchant’s property (website). He uses different Digital Marketing campaigns and tactics to sell more of the merchant’s product and earns commission for doing the same.
A platform or a place where both Merchants and Affiliates co exist, Merchants sign up to list their products in the affiliate program, and Affiliates sign up to find the products they like and enroll in the affiliate program. This network (platform) also settles the payments between merchants and the affiliates in a structured manner.
The one who makes the purchase on the merchant’s property (website) and completes a sale. This is the end customer who doesn’t know the relationship between an affiliate and merchant in most of the cases (though it is recommended for affiliates to disclose that they are promoting).