Affiliate Marketing 101: 5 Things Every Publisher Should Know

Sovrn Commerce Team // September 9, 2021

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Affiliate marketing is a relatively simple concept. Content creators (also called “publishers”) promote products or services provided by another company (the “advertiser”) by including monetized links in their content. When a consumer clicks on the link or makes a purchase, the publisher receives a commission from the advertiser for the referral.

Essentially, it’s a form of revenue sharing where the publisher provides outsourced marketing services for the advertiser, who creates and delivers the product or service. Each party gets a share of the total revenue based on their contribution to the process.

High quality content is the foundation of successful affiliate marketing. Whether you’re a lifestyle influencer, an electronics reviewer, or a travel blogger, you’ll need to identify your audience, understand their behaviors, and deliver commerce content that speaks to their interests. You’ll also need to understand SEO best practices — because even great content won’t make you any money if people can’t find it.

That’s affiliate marketing in a nutshell. Here are five important things every publisher (or would-be publisher) should understand.

  1. The market for affiliate content is growing fast — with no end in sight.

    The Covid-19 crisis drove more consumers to shop online and pushed online purchase behavior to new heights, but it’s just one factor in an ongoing trend. eMarketer estimated global eCommerce sales of $4 trillion in 2020, and they expect 2021 numbers near $5 trillion. According to Statista, the affiliate marketing industry is worth nearly $8 billion in the US alone, up from $5.4 billion in 2017 — and we predict this trend will continue in the years to come.

  2. Affiliate marketing is a great way to diversify your earning potential.

    As online commerce continues to evolve, smart online entrepreneurs are looking for ways to diversify their revenue sources. In recent years, publishers have seen their earnings decline from traditional sources like programmatic and display ads, which rely on consistent ad spend from businesses. Publishers who expand their monetization strategy to include affiliate marketing are better protected from economic shifts and changing market conditions.

  3. Your options for building affiliate content are practically limitless.

    Affiliate links can be used in many types of content: product reviews, buying guides, listicles, recommendation websites, incentive sites offering coupons or cashback, and many more. But written content isn’t the only way to take advantage of affiliate marketing. Millions of content creators focus on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and other social channels using shoppable images, reviews, and link-in-profile placements. Others develop apps, software, search engines, or recommendation generators. There are countless ways to use affiliate links, which means the opportunities to earn are only limited by your imagination.

  4. When it’s done well, affiliate marketing benefits everyone involved.

    Affiliate marketing lets publishers leverage a changing purchase funnel. As commerce continues to move online, consumers are basing more of their purchase decisions on advice, reviews, and recommendations from trusted sources. By providing high quality, commerce-driven content, publishers can become that trusted source and capitalize on purchase intent. Consumers get the insights to find exactly what they want; merchants get additional exposure and sales; publishers make money. Everyone wins!

  5. Getting started is easy!

    Affiliate marketing has a number of advantages over other monetization models. It’s approachable and easy to understand. It requires less scale to produce results, versus subscription-based models. It also demands very little technical know-how to implement, compared to display advertising. And with zero start-up costs, it’s a virtually risk-free way for publishers to expand their earning potential

Ready to start earning with affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is one of the most logical options for content creators looking to increase their earnings. It’s simple to get started, has massive potential, and every publisher — no matter your size, category, or industry — has the opportunity to succeed.

That said, getting started with affiliate marketing can be daunting. And even if you’re already making money through affiliate marketing, you may be looking for new ideas and ways to enhance your strategy.

In the weeks to come, we’ll dig into five ways you can capitalize on affiliate marketing and monetize your high-quality content, including:

  • Creating eCommerce-driven content
  • Sharing affiliate links on social media
  • Affiliate marketing for search engines
  • Shopping discovery through apps
  • Offering curated shopping experiences

Plus, we’ll share important tips for building your affiliate marketing strategy and optimizing your earnings.

If you just can’t wait that long, download our free ebook, 5 Ways to Make Affiliate Marketing Work for You in 2021. You can also visit our website to learn more about Sovrn Commerce, the fastest and easiest way to start earning through affiliate marketing.

Want to learn more?

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