Affiliate marketing has become a massive online industry over the past several years, emerging as both an effective way for marketers to sell their products and services and for publishers to monetize their audiences. Despite the popularity of affiliate marketing, many publishers still aren’t aware of exactly what affiliate marketing is or how it works. In some cases, these publishers are gatekeepers to an audience that could be very effectively monetized through affiliate marketing, meaning that they’re passing up an attractive revenue stream.
For sites looking to monetize their existing traffic through affiliate marketing, a major determinant of success is picking the right offers to run. The difference in earnings from a bad offer and a good one can be enormous. Unfortunately, finding the “right” offer isn’t exactly easy; if you’re using an affiliate marketing network such as Commission Junction (now part of Conversant), SharesASale, or LinkShare, you will have literally thousands of affiliate offers available to you.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.