What Exactly is Affiliate Marketing?

You’ve seen it online on Pinterest.  You’ve seen the success stories with monthly income reports.  But, like many out there:  You Have No Clue What Affiliate Marketing Is! Well, luckily we’ve dedicated a portion of our site to simplifying Affiliate Marketing so much that anyone can understand what it means, and how to apply it to business and life.

What is Affiliate Marketing You May Ask?

Affiliate Marketing has been around since the commerce world has started.  Sure, it’s entirely different today, but the gist of it remains.  Let’s say Caveman A brings a Tasty Treat to his tribe and Caveman B is impressed by the quality of the treat.  If Caveman B goes and successfully hunts for the Tasty Treat, Caveman A should have been rewarded for finding the Treat, to begin with.  Of course, Cavemen didn’t always share, but if there were a reward behind it, that would necessarily be a commission or compensation for showing the way to get to the Tasty Treat.  Affiliate Marketing works very similarly.

Technology and Referring People to Stuff

As a society, we’ve always been referring people to goods and services for as recorded history began.  Whether it’s trendy clothing, food, or cleaning services that act of compensating the person that can connect the dots is what is somewhat new.  And now, because the internet is all about connecting through links and social media, we can measure affiliate marketing and referrals down to the T.  Thus the growth of the Affiliate Marketing world.

Affiliate Tracking Technology itself has been around for nearly 20 years now from utilizing powerful networks, to standalone services the guts remain the same since it’s inception.

  1. Affiliate Software hosts Cookie Tracking Ability
  2. Blogger/Publisher/Social Media Influencer Grabs Approved Affiliate Links
  3. When Readers or Potential Customers Click Links Cookies are tracked
  4. Should Reader End Up Buying – Publisher is Rewarded

Cookies are always a debatable topic amongst security and privacy concerns on the internet, but cookies are also the bloodline to most advertising systems, not just Affiliate Marketing.   Cookies themselves also track where a typical user goes throughout their daily interactions within a browser.  Advertising like Google Ads will tailor their ads based on Cookie movement.  Nothing other than the IP address is typically tracked, so no need to worry about personal information like Credit Cards and such.

Affiliate Networks and Programs

Probably the most frustrating thing to see being an Affiliate Marketer is seeing other popular Pinterest pins failing to differ from Affiliate Programs and Networks properly.  It’s straightforward actually, and if this terminology is confused then, you as a blogger or reader will probably be confused when you see it elsewhere.  Here’s the difference:

  • Affiliate Program:  Is a single merchant like Macy’s or Kohl’s that offers Affiliate Links and Commissions
  • Affiliate Network:  Hosts multiple Affiliate programs, like having Kohl’s and Macy’s under a single roof
  • That’s it

Typically, I’ll see on Pinterest: Top 10 Affiliate Programs and they’ll be ShareASale, FlexOffers, Commission Junction, when these are Affiliate Networks.

Affiliate Links and Commissions

There have been many breakthroughs in the affiliate world, but one major thing remains.  Using your approved Affiliate Links are the guts of what you need to make money.  When you are accepted by not only an Affiliate Network but an Affiliate Program, you’ll be able to extract Tracking Links (Affiliate Links).  When you share these links with your readers, and they end up clicking them Cookies are transferred.  Should a reader buy through the link, you’ll be rewarded with commission.   Rare cases exist when an affiliate program offers Coupon Codes that act as affiliate links, but that is rarer than stumbling upon a 30-carat diamond.

What does this mean?  You need to share affiliate links with your readers to make money.  Bloggers do this strategically through:

  • Creative Content
  • Social Media (Pinterest is approved for it)
  • Messaging

Bloggers that can creatively write and place affiliate links are the ones able to make large incomes through this aspect.

Affiliate Marketing vs MLMs

There’s no doubting that Affiliate is a tad technical.  Those who don’t take the time to actually comprehend it are likely to flock elsewhere for business opportunities.  Some take advantage of this.  MLMs do, or as we like to call Mom’s Losing Money.  We go over MLMs vs Affiliate Marketing a bit here, but really all MLMs consist of are affiliate links you pay for.  Affiliate marketing is really a free marketing aspect and is based on performance.

Ready to Start Affiliate Marketing?  Here’s Your First Lesson!

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