Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing, becoming an effective strategy for selling several types of products and services, which has helped businesses gain new leads, and increase conversion rates. So, working with an affiliate marketing company can help you benefit from all the advantages the marketing format has to offer.
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While affiliate marketing is a great way to drive sales and significantly increase online revenue, it can help both the brand as well as the affiliate marketer lead them to their individual success. With affiliate programs being so complex in nature, it is important to understand how to start affiliate marketing, and from where.
In this guide, we have put together all of the crucial information you need to choose the top affiliate marketing companies, programs and agencies from our directory below. Find out how to start getting the cash to flow instantly with affiliate marketing, along with bespoke strategies and tactics.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a format, in which publishers earn a commission for marketing a product or service by another advertiser or brand, typically for each sale. However, some advertisers may also reward publishers for every lead, free-trial user, click to their website or app download they receive through your promotion.
This concept is a performance-based format that can make your online business idea profitable, securing a consistent income. The success of affiliate marketing can be achieved through good web content, social media as well as a product integration.
Affiliate marketing comes with a variety of types, business models and verticals that make the concept so complex. So, before choosing the best affiliate marketing company, let’s dive into its different types to understand which one will best suit your business.
What is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program is usually established by a company to help it to sell products or services. It regulates all relationships between the company and affiliates who are signed up to that program.
Affiliate programs provide affiliates a dashboard to manage advertising campaigns they run, track commissions they earn and creatives they can use to advertise the company’s products or services.
How do affiliate programs work?
Affiliate marketing provides a variety of possibilities for marketers and publishers to create a more effective strategy to gain a considerable amount of profit. And to make affiliate programs work successfully it is important to understand the main players that must be involved:
These three parties work collectively to create a constructive marketing strategy. Their relationship can be complex, but, in essence, the seller pays an affiliate site, aka a publisher, to promote and advertise their products and services.
The affiliate markets the brand, and persuades their audience of its value and benefits, ideally convincing them to purchase the product. Once the product is bought, the publisher receives a percentage of the profit that is made.
To better understand the cycle of how the parties function, the illustration below will hopefully provide a better insight:
The Affiliate Marketing Cycle
It doesn’t just stop here. A publisher does not always have a direct connection with the brand that they market, and the content marketing method that is used can vary given the plethora of strategies of communication available out there.
In this case, we want to dissect the different types of affiliate marketing and offer to see how the concept can take different forms depending on the nature of the advertisement.
Types of affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing can be a bit of a mystery when you’re trying to understand whether a publisher really uses the product or service, or if they are simply promoting it for the commission.
The complex nature of this marketing format allows us to categorize it into 3 affiliate marketing types. Having insight into these types of affiliate programs will show you the many ways that publishers make sticky income in this industry.
The first type of business model is referred to as unattached affiliate marketing, in which the marketer has no direct connection to the product or services they are promoting. They also don’t have authority over the niche of the product, so they cannot claim they actually have used it.
Typically, unattached affiliate marketers run PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaigns with an affiliate link that users will ideally click on and buy the product, and they would earn a commission.
Unattached affiliate marketing can be beneficial, as it does not require a lot of legwork, with publishers relying on the trust with the target users. You do not need to invest in building customer relationships, nor in the product itself, ensuring easy wins and money.
Related affiliate marketing is a business model where publishers market a product or service they don’t necessarily use, but that is related to their niche.
Consider this form the medium between unattached and involved affiliate marketing, in which these types of marketers have a mild influence and authority over the target audience, due to their adequate expertise in the field.
The only risk that comes with related affiliate marketing is that because you have never used the product before, you may risk recommending bad quality service, which could potentially lead to losing your audience’s trust.
Featured Mobile Affiliate Companies
As the name suggests, the involved affiliate marketing business model consists of publishers recommending products and services they actually used and approve of. This format therefore relies on trust and authenticity, which ensures secure income and customer loyalty.
Instead of relying on PPC campaigns and banner ads, building and maintaining organic social media posts and extensive blogs about a product in a genuine way can promise a sustainable business. While this kind of credibility with your users can take time to create, it is an effective method to generate revenue long term.
Types of affiliate program models
The affiliate market has been instrumental for selling many kinds of products and services, helping businesses in particular gain new leads, offer coupons, and get more subscribers.
With the advance of mobile technology, new types of offers have been introduced, the most common being mobile content, mobile subscription, mobile games and app installs. Let’s take a closer look at each of these:
With mobile content, affiliates help merchants to increase their sales with mobile channels. A few examples of popular digital content that affiliates help to market products are music, movies, books, audiobooks.
Businesses that operate on a mobile subscription model are always eager to increase their subscriptions to compensate for their churn, and to increase their revenue. Good examples of such offers include music and video streaming services, TV, online radio, and digital magazines.
App developers have a robust channel to acquire more app installs and build their app user base, making app installs another key offer type of affiliate marketing.
Mobile games stand out from the rest of the mobile apps because of the significance mobile games have gained over the years. The competition is extremely high due to the bulk of the industry’s revenue.
In such an environment, affiliate programs are vital for game app developers to reach a wider user base, than marketing on the App Store / Google Play marketplace usually allows them to.
How do affiliate marketers get paid?
Now that we have defined the different types of affiliate marketing and offers, we can tackle the pressing question of how affiliate marketers get paid.
In actuality, the products or services are not always in high demand by potential consumers, so purchase is not always guaranteed. Therefore, according to the affiliate program and marketing strategy, the way publishers and marketers get paid will be measured differently.
There are two major types of affiliate networks, with the first type being publishers who are paid a certain share of the revenue generated by them for merchants, and the second that involves paying publishers a commission, each time a visitor completes a specific action on a publisher’s site.
The affiliate program industry landscape consists of a range of players, from corporate companies to niche firms that focus on a specific marketing area, such as mobile apps. Thanks to the mobile app ecosystem’s exponential growth in the previous years, the latter has become the most dynamic and lucrative industry for affiliates.
On today’s affiliate networks market there are several major business models for affiliate programs, such as:
- PPS (pay-per-sale): with this model publishers or affiliates are paid for each sale they generate for advertisers.
- PPL (pay-per-lead): this type of affiliate program is based on the conversion of leads, so an affiliate is paid a commission when they get a potential consumer to complete a desired action, such as clicking through to the seller’s website.
- PPI (pay-per-install): as the name suggests, the affiliate gets paid each time they manage to lead a user to the seller’s website and install the product, which is usually a mobile app or software.
- CPA (cost-per-acquisition): with this model affiliates are paid each time the brand acquires a lead, and the user takes an action, such as subscribing to an email list.
- PPC (pay-per-click): this model entails affiliates getting paid for each click on an ad that leads to an advertiser product page.
- CPM (pay-per-mile, 1 mile = 1,000 ad views): this affiliate model entails affiliates being paid for driving views to advertisers ads in their online inventory.
What are the most profitable affiliate offer types?
There are several ways to find out what are the most profitable offer types amongst current affiliate programs, such as signing up to multiple affiliate networks and seeing what offers show up more frequently.
Another option is searching on Twitter, LinkedIn group forums and other social channels for top offers as well as top mobile offers to spot those that affiliate networks push on a regular basis.
Nonetheless, it is important to realize that the value and popularity of affiliate offer types keep changing over time. But having said that, it surely is possible to list the many types of offers that historically have a high and continuous value:
Affiliate Marketing – Offer Types
Which platform is best for affiliate marketing?
When looking for the right platform to partner with for your affiliate marketing campaign, you want to find a program that provides services for your specific business vertical and niche. These verticals can range from sectors, including travel and dating to eCommerce and finance.
Depending on your niche and the affiliate type, such as the unattached, related or involved programs we discussed earlier, you can narrow down your options to the most suitable affiliate marketing company that will ensure maximum profit for your business.
So, which platform or company is best for affiliate marketing?
There are several ways to find an affiliate program, run by an accredited affiliate marketing company that provides offers for a specific business vertical. The key is to apply multiple techniques to eliminate any possible bias.
The place to begin your research would be affiliate networks directories. To evaluate multiple networks you may pick up from a directory and evaluate people’s feedback on these networks on online forums, such as LinkedIn and Quora.
Make sure you try multiple search queries for these resources to find as much feedback as possible, avoiding comments that are strictly negative or positive, and focusing on constructive feedback is usually in between these two extremes.
How to choose the best affiliate marketing company?
Let us take a look at the specific ways and methods to choose the best affiliate marketing company to partner with to increase revenue for your product.
In this case, you want to look for an affiliate marketing company that offers sticky income, minimal customer support as well as one that is cost-effective, flexible and highly performance-based.
The best affiliate program is therefore one that ideally consists of the following qualities:
Top Affiliate Program Attributes
Due to a great number of mobile apps on the market, it becomes progressively more difficult for app businesses to make a profit from their apps. Hence, finding an alternative revenue channel becomes essential.
App affiliate networks allow marketers to leverage their established relationships with advertisers, and get access to traffic offers in various verticals and locations.
Reaching out to advertisers with specific traffic needs and business goals is a task that is not always easy to accomplish on your own effectively. It can be time-consuming, and therefore requires a good level of expertise to maximize profit and success of your product.
That is why we have compiled a list of the top affiliate marketing companies and agencies for you below, covering a plethora of accredited affiliate programs that specialize in various offer types. This should allow you to expand your research and find just the right company that suits your unique business goals.