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May 8, 2020 · 6 min read

Affiliate vs Advertiser

If you have your business or entity up and running and you are looking to enter the affiliate industry, the next step is signing up to an affiliate network. The question is do you sign up as an affiliate or an advertiser?


For those in the industry, the difference is clear, however for businesses and individuals who are just starting out, it can be a mind field. Affiliate marketing may live within the digital space, however, it comes with its own terminology and references specific to it. 


What is an advertiser?

An advertiser is an online company that sells products or services. In short, if your site is transactional you would fall under this term. An advertiser can also be known as a merchant, retailer or brand.

As an advertiser, there are many benefits for a company starting in this channel, however, one thing to remember is, it is a long-term marketing strategy, rather than a quick win for a business. Unlike other digital channels, such as paid search, it has many moving parts and does require resources and nurturing, instead of a set and forget approach. Affiliate marketing should be an extension of your digital marketing activity, rather than replace what you are currently doing.  

Within the affiliate marketing channel, you will have companies driving traffic and potential customers to your site, these companies will earn a commission only when a sale is made. 

What are the benefits of affiliate marketing for advertisers?

  • Low Risk and cost-effective - As an advertiser, you only pay when a sale is made and you set the commission rates.
  • Diversity & reach - With the different companies i.e. affiliates,  promoting your brand, you gain access to a wider audience, that your brand may not have reached otherwise. 
  • Brand awareness -  Affiliates can give you increased exposure on their channels. 
  • Reach new audiences - If there is a demographic you are looking to target, you can use affiliate marketing to tap into audiences your brand does not have direct access to.
  • Transparent and measurable - Advertisers can review performance in real-time via affiliate networks and can easily measure the effectiveness of the channel

What is an affiliate?

Affiliates can be an individual or a company that will promote a product or service to their audience. The affiliates can also be known as publishers or partners and recently some businesses have started using partnership marketing terminology, but all are essentially referencing the same channel.

Over the past 20 years, the term affiliate has evolved to include other forms of online marketing, under a cost per sale or performance model. It is no longer referring to websites referring their audience to advertisers’ websites, but it now refers to social & influencer marketing, brand to brand collaborations, technology partners and many more. 

For some businesses, affiliate marketing is an additional revenue stream to supplement existing content that is not yet being monetised. It may be the way an individual chooses to monetise their Instagram followers, a blog or review site on a specific niche or youtube channel. Whether a business or an individual, it is worth noting, it takes time to write content, identify what works for the business and most importantly for their audience. Successful affiliates provide added value for their audience, which is how they keep their audience engaged. Are you an authority in a specific sector? Are you passionate about certain topics? Is your content interesting and compelling? These are all things to consider if you are just starting out as an affiliate. 


What are the benefits of affiliate marketing for affiliates?

  • High average order value  - Depending on the sector, you can look to do well in certain sectors such as travel, telecommunications & finance, however, keep in mind fashion & retail, food & drink, health and beauty, you will see more frequent purchases
  • Competitive payouts - Advertisers’ payouts will vary, which you will have visibility on and choose advertisers accordingly. It is also worth looking at other metrics to decide which advertisers to work with.
  • Punctual payouts - Depending on payment terms, the network facilitates the payment of commission. Do keep in mind that the frequency will depend on customer returns and the time it takes for the retailer to approve sales. 
  • Working with reputable brands - Using an affiliate network, you get access to a wide range of advertisers from large corporations to SMEs, which you can take your pick from. 
  • Transparent and measurable - Affiliates can review their advertiser performance in real-time via the affiliate network they partner with.

If you are a business or individual looking to start an affiliate program or promote advertisers as an affiliate, do take into account that this channel does require resource and time, however, it is highly rewarding and the channel adapting itself for consumers and with the advancement of technology. 

You may also find the following useful: - 

Become an Advertiser                          Become an Affiliate

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