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The digital and social media landscape has vastly changed marketers’ jobs in the past few years, fuelled even more so by the Covid-19 pandemic which forced us all to shift focus and made it clear that online marketing is here to stay. Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are two such channels that are consistently gaining in popularity, with no signs of a decline any time soon! For more on what affiliate marketing is, have a listen to this week’s podcast.
Affiliate marketing has been around for more than a few years now but has really caught the eye of marketers more recently with increasing numbers of businesses getting in on the action. So, what exactly is affiliate marketing? Simply put, from a brand’s perspective, affiliate marketing is promoting your product or service on a third-party website/platform who earn a commission every time you make a sale. In other words, publications, magazines or influencers are given a unique link to your product or service that leads consumers to the respective website, where you then reward each affiliate for each sale made through the channel as a thank you because they have led their audience to your link and made a purchase. There are primarily three types of affiliate marketing:
1. Unattached – this is when the product or service is not directly related to the advertiser and there is no connection between the customer and platform. Perhaps, one of the least effective types, but a great tool to generate additional income.
2. Related – related affiliate marketing is when the advertiser cannot personally vouch for the product or service but is relative to their niche so there is a higher likelihood of capturing the interest of the brand’s target market.
3. Involved – this type involves advertiser’s influence over their audience to sell a product, usually one they can vouch for having personally used it. This type is perhaps the most difficult to build but delivers the most credibility.
Contrary to affiliate marketing, influencer marketing is a channel most marketers are now well-versed in and have seen first-hand the impact this strategy can have on campaigns. Both small scale and global brands are now looking into separate budgets for influencer marketing, where they collaborate with one or a few suitable content creators to improve brand awareness, recognition and visibility. Luckily enough, there is an influencer out there for every niche, which makes the idea even more feasible for brands to connect to their target audiences through a person they trust! For more on how the pick the right influencer for your brand, check out this blog.
As influencer marketing gathers marketers’ attention, it is also a segment that the regulatory authorities are keeping an eye out for in terms of ethics. It is crucial for brands to be mindful when working with influencers to make sure there are formal contracts in place and ads are disclosed properly to make sure consumers are not being misled. The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK stipulates that every paid or gifted product/service mentioned by influencers must be disclosed with #ad or a clear paid partnership icon.
Both influencer and affiliate marketing campaigns can be highly effective tools for small and large businesses alike, with a variety of options available. In the initial stages both tools have low entry costs as businesses can choose to give a smaller commission on their sale lowering the out-of-pocket expense for affiliate marketing. Similarly, many micro-influencers are happy to review or recommend products without a monetary payment by gifting them the product. Thus, both tools can be used in a cost-effective way. For well-established brands, a wide array of options is available to utilize these tools to their full capacity like taking on board macro influencers to create mass brand awareness or engaging with complex media affiliate programs on platforms that have highly relevant web traffic. For both tools, however, the key is choosing the right platform and influencer to ensure that impressions are being made on the brand’s target audience. For more on what affiliate marketing is and how you can make the most of it for your business, have a listen to this week’s podcast.