Affiliate Programs: The Forgotten Tool

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Affiliate advertising was a huge buzz term just a few years ago, with hundreds of marketing companies realising the potential of this heavily targeted method. It allowed businesses and website owners to make a steady income by offering advertising space on their websites, and gave big brands the opportunity to reach incredibly niche markets.

What are Affiliate Programs?

Affiliate programs allow businesses to insert targeted advertising on third-party websites. The best way to look at affiliate programs is by separating the parties involved, which can be classed as affiliates and merchants.

The affiliate is the company or person who owns the digital asset, and “leases” space on their asset for other companies or people to advertise. The affiliate can sell the space in any way they wish, which is usually per click, per impression or as a percentage of direct sales made.

The merchant is the company or party who pay for the advertising, generally to help them sell a product or service, or simply to improve brand recognition.

The third party typically involved in affiliate programs is the provider, which may be in the form of an agency or even the plugin used to manage the campaigns and payment.

So why aren’t affiliate programs used as much lately?

The reason most companies don’t consider utilising affiliate programs as much anymore is they are deemed too complicated to manage. However, this is a myth. With the number of affiliate program plugins readily available through CMS platforms such as WordPress, it’s now easier than ever to setup and make a significant profit.

What are the advantages of affiliate programs?

The main benefit of using an affiliate program is that, similarly to Google Adwords and Shopping, once the campaigns are set up they basically run themselves.

Financially, affiliate programs are also very cost-effective. If set up correctly the merchant is only required to pay for the advertising if the user interacts – so if the ad is clicked on or a sale is made as a direct result.

Furthermore, the more localised and personalised the advertising is, the more successful the campaign will be. In an eCommerce environment, it allows the merchant to capture data about their traffic and then customise the ads to the shopper’s interests.

For example, if someone visits a retail website and views a certain product, the merchant can capture this data and then advertise the very same product on an affiliate website – perhaps with an added incentive in place. This prompts the user to reconsider and hopefully revisit the merchant’s website to complete the purchase.

What types of industries can benefit from affiliate programs?

The best examples of successful affiliate programs are typically in the eCommerce space, as they can generate new leads and encourage instant transactions.

In terms of which industries can benefit most, there are really no boundaries. We have seen huge success from companies in fashion, retail, travel, insurance, hospitality, real estate and finance, among others.

What are the best affiliate programs available?

The easiest way to setup an affiliate program is by installing an affiliate plugin. Especially with WordPress, there are a number of plugins readily available, so it’s important you review the functionality of each to ensure they suit your needs.

Affiliate WP is perhaps one of the most popular WordPress plugins available, as it offers easy setup, reliable tracking, unlimited affiliates and even coupon tracking. Find out more about Affiliate WP via the website: www.affiliatewp.com.

Other popular affiliate plugins include Affiliates, Affiliates Manager, Auto Affiliate Links and Easy Affiliates Links. We recommend speaking to someone who has used these plugins before installing on your website.

Want to know more?

Here at Digital Thing, we pride ourselves on knowing just about everything there is to know about online marketing. We have been involved in creating and implementing huge affiliate advertising campaigns for our clients – and we can help you too.

If you’re interested in finding out more about affiliate programs then please contact us directly. We’re always happy to sit down for a chat, taking the time to look over your website and discuss your online goals.

About the Author -

With a successful career in web development and digital marketing under his belt, Chris has been a driving force behind major projects for brands including Telstra, Heart Foundation, Laurastar and Noodle Box, Melbourne Mint and more.