What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Antonio author


Guest Writer

⏱ Reading Time: 5 minutes

Based on the promotion of quality content, affiliate marketing relies heavily on improving sales. And it does it quite nicely because of its ability to reach a larger audience. That’s exactly why businesses like Amazon, Shopify, eBay opened up their own affiliate programs.

🚀Read Ecommerce Guide – Introduction & How to Start an Ecommerce Business?🚀

Money is made with a click on a link that has a tracking code embedded. To be more precise, ‘clicking on a link’ makes up for 15% to 20% of total online sales. It’s predicted that affiliate marketing spending in 2022, will be over $8.2 billion. Clearly, it’s time for you to hop on board and explore the sea of opportunity known as affiliate marketing!

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Simply said, affiliate marketing is a type of marketing where you as an affiliate marketer receive a commission by promoting products from other people and companies. Those commissions are received every time a customer buys a product or service through their recommendation.

There are a few ways to earn your commission, but the most common way is by placing affiliate links on your website or blog. When someone buys a product through that link, you earn some percentage of the total price of a product. Commission rates depend on which type of product you promote. For example, on the Amazon affiliate program, if you promote PC and electronic devices you will get 2.5% for every customer you bring through your affiliate link. On the other hand, if you promote women’s fashion and jewelry you can get up to 10% of every sale.

You will want to track those conversions, which is why each affiliate link is unique has its own code. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be possible to know from which associate the customer came. What does this mean for you? This means that you have the opportunity to make money by selling a product that isn’t yours. The more you sell, the more you earn. It’s a great deal since you don’t have to worry about shipping, overhead costs, or customer service!

To make money as an affiliate marketer, you have to understand all parties involved and what they want to get out of the relationship between them. Knowing each role and how they can potentially help you make money is an essential first step when starting out.

Pillars of Affiliate Marketing

1. Advertiser

This is the party that’s selling the actual product or service. An advertiser is the one who created a product and needs to sell it. It can be anyone, from solopreneur to big company. This is the party that you, as the affiliate marketer, will be working with.

2. Affiliate

Affiliate is the publisher, more commonly referred to as the affiliate marketer. This is the individual working with the advertisers/merchants to sell in exchange for a commission. A relation between the advertiser and the affiliate is of high importance. Why? Because both need to make money out of the agreement for the relationship to continue.

3. Consumer

This is the party that will be (hopefully) buying the product that you promote. Therefore, the relationship between the affiliate and the consumer should be one of trust. Will the customer know that he is buying from an affiliate marketer it all depends on the marketer. 

Related: Behavioral Marketing Strategy – How to Get People Clicking

Thus marketer decides if he/she will be transparent and mention that they promote a product through some affiliate program. This is, as of last year, required by law in most countries. In either case, this doesn’t affect on customer either way around. What affects customers the most is the reliance and affiliate’s credit.

4. Network

The network is an intermediate between advertiser and affiliate marketer. Usually, it offers advertisers to offer their products on it, and affiliates to choose the desired affiliate program. One of the most known networks of this kind is as mentioned before: Amazon Associates.

When every aspect of affiliate marketing works together, every party benefits. Consumers get their product, merchants generate revenue, and the affiliate makes a commission.


Picture 1. Your overall affiliate marketing success requires building relationships with three particular parties: Advertiser, Publisher, and Consumer

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

First, it’s the low cost to get started. Most affiliate programs are free, so you can start without a single penny! For that reason, you don’t have to create a product or service. You promote products for others, remember? Since you don’t own any of those products, you don’t need to worry about shipping nor logistic component. It’s great passive income potential with minimal risk. This type of marketing is great for those who want to create an additional income stream without directly working for it. This is the main reason why “passive income” is almost inseparable while talking about affiliate marketing. 

There are challenges when it comes to making money from affiliate marketing. It can take time to generate the needed amount of traffic to result in income. On rare occasions it can happen, because of poor tracking systems, they don’t attribute your credit for the referral. Most importantly, affiliate marketing can easily ruin your credibility. Therefore, it’s important that you choose quality businesses to work with. And also, choose something that makes sense! For example, if you are a beauty guru who always promotes make-up products it will be unnatural for you to promote something totally outside of the niche completely. Your viewers may interpret that as being pushy and untruthful. Your viewers support you because of the bond they have (or think they have) with you so choose businesses carefully! Also, great programs and great products have many promoters. Therefore, there’s a lot of competition among affiliate marketers.

The Reality of Affiliate Marketing

The problem with affiliate marketing is get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast, earn $100k in a few days, and with little effort. This thesis is greatly supported by almost every video with the keyword “affiliate marketing” on Youtube. The reality in affiliate marketing is that it’s like any other ventures; there are a few exceptions who were with the right idea and right place at the time that are filthy rich. This by any means doesn’t mean you can’t be one of them but like with everything, it most certainly doesn’t happen overnight.

Wrap Up

A good number of Affiliates are successful enough to meet their goals but also there are a ton who aren’t making anything. The question isn’t really whether affiliate marketing is a viable income option for you.

For someone that’s willing to go slowly, becoming an affiliate is a dream come true. You can grow as you make money, and eventually can create a higher source of income. What is, even more, greater, a passive one! If you’re missing out Affiliate title, check out the Paldesk affiliate program.

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What Is Affiliate Marketing? was last modified: August 20th, 2021 by Antonio Prsec
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