A question we overhear frequently from our new clients is where to start when setting up an affiliate marketing commission structure with their partners. Not paying enough can make it hard to find reps to work with, but overpaying can slash your profits. We’re here to help. The first thing we recommend is that you segment your affiliates by offers so you can better track your marketing efforts. Second, check out these four questions that will help you determine your commission rates for your affiliate program.
Affiliate marketing is one of the earliest forms of performance-based online marketing. The 90s ushered in the age of the internet. Organizations and individuals began creating websites and content in droves and – when search engines began cataloging websites and pages, making it easy to find and navigate to this content – marketing changed forever.
The two primary players in any affiliate marketing arrangement are the content-creating affiliate and the product-selling merchant. But as affiliate marketers know, networks such as Commission Junction and LinkShare are key components of the “ecosystem” as well. Just as many sites that monetize via display advertising attempt to establish direct relationships with advertisers and cut out ad networks, successful affiliate marketers may wonder about eliminating networks and working directly with their merchants.
When I was a child, my school would have fundraisers that involved us going door-to-door to sell magazine subscriptions (magazines were glossy, soft-cover publications that would be mailed to a subscriber’s house on a weekly or monthly basis). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was right in the middle of an affiliate marketing scheme. The magazine companies had products they wanted to sell. Schools had the ability to sell these products. And for every subscription sold, the magazine companies gave a slice of the proceeds to the school. (In this example, there’s actually a secondary later of affiliate marketing; the schools effectively outsource the actual selling to the students, in exchange for prizes that come with meeting certain sales figures.)
The Publisher is the website who advertises a product or service and earns a commission when their visitor goes on to the site and makes a purchase. There are so many different types of affiliates including influencers, bloggers, or loyalty websites and more non-traditional affiliates too, including paid search, on-site tech solutions and remarketing to name a few.
Developing and monetizing microsites can also garner a serious amount of sales. These sites are advertised within a partner site or on the sponsored listings of a search engine. They are distinct and separate from the organization’s main site. By offering more focused, relevant content to a specific audience, microsites lead to increased conversions due to their simple and straightforward call to action.
Once you acquire a customer through an affiliate, you can then market directly to that customer going forward. It’s important to figure out the lifetime value of your customer as that can also help you decide what commission to pay. With this information you can decide if your acquisition costs are correct or you may decide to be more aggressive with payouts to get those customers in the door.
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If you want to uncover more merchants who partner directly with affiliates, just keep your eyes open. When you see affiliate links, do a quick search to see if the related merchant runs their own program. (We came up with the list above by reviewing a few of the bigger affiliate marketing blogs and investigating the most prominent affiliate links on those sites.)
Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.
The Amazon Associates “Influencer Program” is a country specific program that is available in select countries. You may earn fees by acting as a social media presence facilitating customer purchases as part of the Influencer Program in connection with your participation in the Associates Program. In order to participate in the Influencer Program, an eligible Associate (“Influencer”) must meet Amazon qualitative and quantitative thresholds, complete the registration process, and comply with the applicable provisions of the Agreement, including this Influencer Program Policy.
Another one of the highest paying and most popular dating affiliate programs is eHarmony, which is based on the actual earnings that can be made from each referred sale. Up to $188 can be made from a single sale. In general, the members at eHarmony are typically looking to find serious long term relationships, so many of them are willing to pay extra to find similar people.
Online marketing means advertising and marketing using the internet to drive sales of a product or service.[1] It can increase direct sales via electronic commerce, or it can generate sales leads from websites or emails. You can choose from a variety of specialized areas of internet marketing, including content marketing, affiliate marketing, email marketing and using social media.

The License will immediately and automatically terminate if at any time you do not timely comply with any obligation under the Program Documents (as defined in the Fee Schedule), or otherwise upon termination of this Agreement. In addition, we may terminate the License in whole or in part upon written notice to you. You will promptly stop using the Program Content (including PA API and Data Feeds) and promptly remove from your Site and delete or otherwise destroy all of the Program Content and Amazon Marks with respect to which the License is terminated or as we may otherwise request from time to time.
Amazon will not pay you unless your affiliate sales reach a threshold of $10 if you choose to be paid by direct bank deposit or Amazon gift card, or $100 if you want to be paid by check. If you fail to reach the threshold, your affiliate balance is carried over to the next month and added to the sales you make then. Amazon pays affiliate sales at net 60 days, so, for example, sales that reach the threshold at the end of January will be paid in late March.
Advertisers love affiliate marketing because it involves minimal risk. If a sufficient margin is built in as compensation for the affiliate, it becomes impossible to lose money. That’s because affiliates are generally only paid when a sale is completed (i.e., a lead is converted). Advertisers (or “merchants”) pay nothing for leads that don’t convert.
Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.
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