Affiliate Marketing Training:
What is Affiliate Marketing?

By Sarah Jamieson

Affiliate Marketing Training: What is Affiliate Marketing? Affiliate marketing allows users called affiliates to earn a commission when they refer a visitor to a merchant's website, and the visitor makes a purchase.

Affiliate marketing is performance-based, because the affiliate website only earns a commission when a referred visitor takes an action the merchant wants.

Affiilate marketing programs sometimes pay for other actions than a sale, such as a lead referral.

Affiliate referrals made using "affiliate tracking links" that include the affiliate's unique ID embedded in the link.

In order for the affiliate to get credit for a sale, the visitor has to click the affiliate's unique link to visit the merchant's website.

The visitor is then tracked, usually with cookies. If the visitor buys, the system registers a commission to the referring affiliate.

The tracking cookie is usually set to last for a set period of time, so if the visitor leaves the merchant's site but then returns later and makes a purchase, the affiliate will still get credit for the sale.

Merchants either run their own affiliate marketing programs using affiliate software to track referrals and sales, or else they use affiliate networks like Clickbank or Commission Junction.

These networks provide a range of programs for affiliates to choose from, as well as providing tracking and payment.

These are some things affiliates should consider when comparing affiliate programs:

  • How long has the merchant been in business?
  • How competitive is the market?
  • How would the affiliate promote the program, and how much would promotion (like advertising) cost?
  • Can the affiliate create a unique selling proposition to provide a competitive advantage?
  • Does the market lend itself to repeat sales?
  • If the customer pays a recurring fee (like a subscription paid monthly), is the affiliate paid recurring commissions, or simply a one-time commission?
  • What kind of help and support does the merchant provide to affiliates?
  • What are the merchant's terms for affiliates - for example, can affiliates advertise on the merchant's branded keywords?
  • How are affiliates paid?
  • How often are affiliates paid?
  • What is the affiliate payout threshold?

Affiliate Marketing Training > What is Affiliate Marketing? > How to Find the Best Affiliate Programs