The pressure is on for today's marketers who are on the hook to demonstrate real value for every campaign.

Perhaps that's why affiliate marketing has become the go-to strategy for driving sales and brand awareness; it is, after all, one of the most easily measured strategies. It's no wonder experts predict it will generate $5.37 billion this year, a 12 percent jump from 2016. Measurable tactics make marketers' jobs easier because they can monitor in real time what’s working and which partners are delivering the greatest return on investment. And the most effective affiliate campaigns involve cross-channel strategies that are closely monitored and optimized at every opportunity.

Why affiliate marketing works

There are literally thousands of options for establishing and measuring affiliate campaigns. But whatever methods you choose, the goal is always the same: driving traffic and sales. Traffic doesn’t come free, and with so many brands vying for people’s attention, it’s increasingly difficult to break…

Everything you need to know to manage affiliates

Affiliate marketing is a recent development in marketing methods. One party (the affiliate) brings customers to a second party (the retailer or merchant) and gets rewarded for each customer. As opposed to referral marketing, the incentives in affiliate marketing are purely financial.

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What is affiliate marketing?

The affiliate network is the go-between for retailers and affiliates. It helps the former find affiliates and the latter to receive offers. While retailers have traditionally used more common methods for marketing (search engine optimization, email marketing, pay-per-click deals, content marketing and display marketing), affiliate marketing is becoming more important. Affiliates are free to use these other marketing techniques to direct customers to a retailer, though they also use less orthodox methods. For…

Affiliate marketing is a fairly straightforward concept: Brands use other people to promote their products by offering financial incentives for leads or sales.

Despite its conceptual simplicity, affiliate marketing as a whole is still misunderstood — just 22 percent of CMOs feel as if they’ve mastered it [although strictly, affiliate marketing is only relevant for transactional ecommerce]. Part of the disconnect has to do with how brands approach their affiliate partnerships. Many affiliate program managers reach out to affiliates with consumer-focused messaging (e.g., XYZ Company has really great products that you should promote!). This approach rarely resonates because the affiliates aren’t the audience you should be trying to sell your products and services to; it’s their audience you want to reach. You have to look at affiliates as an indirect sales force and then approach them as such.

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How influencer and affiliate marketing can work in tandem to win you more loyal customers

In life and in marketing, it’s always tempting to create dichotomies: those who like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain and those who don’t, for example. But times have changed, and technology has fundamentally transformed how we consume information and make decisions. Even Jimmy Buffett isn’t taking out personal ads in the newspaper anymore, just as consumers are no longer waiting for brands to give them the information they want. Instead, people have access to instant information at the click of a button. Through social media, they can also post to large followings, whip up their own movements, and educate themselves — all before reaching out to brands. These changes mean marketers need to constantly think about how to engage and connect with consumers. Plus, they need to avoid false dichotomies when it comes to prioritizing who can…

Affiliate marketing needs to be run effectively to get the best results. Don't leave it on the back-burner.

Affiliate marketing inherently involves using middlemen — affiliates — to help bring in customers or drive conversions. Get it right and it can contribute significant online sales volume as this compilation of the top sales driving channels shows. Automating affiliate marketing comes with many positives: a marketplace of affiliates seeking you out, automatic approval of affiliates based on your company’s preferences, and cross-currency sales tracking. But to reap those benefits, it’s critical to manage your affiliate partners continually. A successful affiliate management programme following the affiliate best practices explained in the Smart Insights members' guide requires active recruiting and optimizing partners on an ongoing basis.

Avoid the “Autopilot” Trap

The mindset that affiliate programs run on “autopilot” is common but will be detrimental to your program — and might ruin it altogether. Yes, affiliate…

An interview with Dave Chaffey with Grant LeBoff

Affiliate marketing presents win-win opportunities, but can also fail to boost revenue if not executed strategically. In this latest talk, Grant LeBoff of the Sticky Marketing Club talks to Dr Dave Chaffey about his thoughts on how businesses can benefit from affiliate or 'partner' marketing. Watch the video below to find out how Smart Insights has used partner marketing to achieve some great results.


In a noisy office or on a train but have no headphones? - No worries, you can always read the transcript below! Grant Leboff: Dave, one of the things that I think, a lot of people have heard the term, but are a bit confused by it, is affiliate marketing. How can that be effective for businesses? Dave Chaffey: I'd say affiliate marketing is not actually relevant for most business if you go for the tight definition of it which, for me,…

Trends in affiliate models from 2007 to 2015

Affiliate marketing has been a core acquisition channel for transactional consumer sites for many years now. But over the years, the popularity of different types of affiliate marketing have changed dramatically. PerformanceIn have published an interesting compilation of the popularity of different affiliate types based on research by Affiliate Network Affiliate Window. The chart below shows the top 20 Publisher Type in the Fashion Sector: You can see that there was an initial focus on search marketing, through both SEO and PPC with many affiliates specialising in these active. But, it's no secret that Google doesn't favour affiliates, so its algorithms now favour destination sites and it has developed its own comparison tools. PPC through AdWords has also become more important. The graph shows how popular voucher codes and cashback…

New research on the importance of discount codes for retailers

If any evidence is required that voucher codes are mainstream currency, then look no further than the success story of Mark Pearson founder of My Voucher Codes. Having identified US coupon sites as a lucrative business model and realised that no-one was replicating it in the UK, he launched his business with a £300 website and eight years later, sold the business for over £60m. Whilst I’m sure good management is partly behind the success of this and its competitors, contrary to popular belief, it’s also the case that recession-generation businesses can often perform well if they capitalise on the mood of the people, as is the case here. One the whole, the financial pain felt by many is lifting but our love of voucher codes is not diminishing and whilst their use was previously a clandestine operation, we’re now…

Running promotions with your affiliates is an important part of growing your affiliate programme. Whether you want to target the whole programme, or just a few key players, it is important that you work to maximise the returns you see.

When talking about a ‘promotion’ in affiliate marketing, I mean something aiming to get more exposure on an affiliate’s site. So whether this is increased commission, a bespoke deal for their audience or a paid-for placement, you will benefit from making sure that you follow these tips.

1. Understand what you want to achieve

Affiliate promotions are there to grow your sales with that affiliate, or with the base a whole. But before you start, define what that means for you. Do you want more sales? Or do you want higher-value sales? Or new customer sales? What does success look like? Understanding what you want to achieve before you start will mean that you…

Performance marketing valued at £14bn in the UK showing the continued contribution of affiliate marketing

The IAB recently released their annual survey into the size of the Online Performance Marketing Channel. The industry, which includes Affiliate Marketing and Lead Generation, saw £1bn spent by advertisers in 2013 (an increase of 15% compared to 2012). Some of the interesting top level numbers  I picked from the report include: UK consumers made 150 million purchases via affiliate websites (this works out at almost 3 for every British adult), Advertisers saw a return of £14 for every £1 spent, 39% of the UK population visited a comparison site 35% visited a voucher site 21% visited a cashback site, Online Performance Marketing can now claim to account for 10% of UK e-commerce retail sales, Up to 20% of OPM advertiser spend comes via mobile and tablet devices. The return of investment from Affiliate Marketing is impressive, with £14 returned for every £1 spent based…

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