What is Affiliate Marketing?

by Brittney Muler Last updated
What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing has become the usual term in the present digital world.

It can give you the money you need to fuel your passion and keep going. Some people even make a full-time living by promoting products with affiliate marketing.

You can build up a passive income with affiliate marketing (despite what many people say) but I will say, it isn’t something that will make you rich overnight. It does require that you put the work in.

Remember, this isn’t a get rich quick scheme, it’s a real business.

So, are you ready to start learning about affiliate marketing and how to implement it into your blog?

Let’s get stuck in!

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts – wikiPedia.

While search engines, e-mail, etc. capture much of the attention of online retailers, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Still, affiliates continue to play a significant role in e-retailers’ marketing strategies.

In simple words, affiliate marketing is a form of web monetization and a way to make money online. It provides opportunities to ordinary people to earn more as much they like.

Affiliates get paid by selling retailer’s products online. Online or offline retailers hire an affiliate to generate sales and to get more traffic through their referrals.

There are 3 parties involved in a process:

1. Brands (Advertisers/ Merchants)

Companies that sell a product or service are often called as brands, merchants, or advertisers. Industries include B2B, retail, subscription services, direct-to-consumer, financial services, travel, telecom and broadband, gaming & entertainment, e-commerce, marketplaces, B2B and more.

2. Affiliates (Publishers, Partners)

Affiliates are people who promote merchant’s products for commission or incentive. They can be bloggers, social media influencers, niche content sites, website owners, review websites, shopping sites, mobile apps, etc. and even other brands.

3. Affiliate Networks

Affiliate networks like manage all tracking, reporting, and payment to affiliates. They also give brands access to a network of affiliates who apply to join their network, which also gives these affiliates access to hundreds, even thousands, of affiliate programs offered by merchants.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

The following illustration will try to explain the process behind affiliate marketing.


  • Affiliate promotes a merchant’s products or services using their unique affiliate link.
  • Customer clicks on the unique affiliate link to visit the merchant’s website and a cookie is then stored on the customer’s browser; this is what makes it possible for the affiliate network to track the consumer’s progress from the affiliate’s website through to the merchant’s shopping cart.
  • The customer is redirected to the merchant’s website.
  • The customer buys a product/service from the merchant’s website.
  • The affiliate network then automatically pays out a commission to the affiliate for driving that sale.
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