15 Frequently Asked Questions About Affiliate Marketing

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Here at Advertise Purple, we work with potential clients, early stage clients who just recently developed an affiliate program, and some of our long-time clients who have seen the channel in action and know it works. We field thousands of questions daily from all three.

There’s a lot of information online regarding affiliate marketing. I figured it made sense to put together a comprehensive list of some of the questions that pop up most often and answer them in as simple and concise a manner as possible.

Take a look at the 15 most common FAQs below.

1. What is affiliate marketing?

Of course, this question typically comes from a completely fresh potential client who hasn’t yet run a program. Often times we work with new clients who at least are familiar, but for those of you who are not, have no fear. 

The simplest explanation is that affiliate marketing is when you offer your product or service to publishers (aka affiliates) to promote on your behalf. In return, you’ll be expected to pay a commission every time a sale is made that can be directly attributed to that publisher (or affiliate). 

Since affiliate marketing is inherently performance-based, you only pay for results in the form of increased revenue.

2. What is an affiliate program?

An affiliate program is the all-encompassing package you create for your product or service that is then presented to potential publishers. It should include details about the product, the retail value of the product, commission levels and promotional materials.

An agency such as Advertise Purple can manage your program on your behalf, and we work with all of the affiliate networks to make sure you have access to all of the best – and only the most productive – affiliates who can help your business grow.

Which leads me to my next question…

3. What is an affiliate network?

Affiliate networks exist to act as a platform to connect publishers to advertisers. We work with all the major ones. A few examples you may have heard of include ShareASale, CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), Awin, Rakuten Marketing, and Pepperjam to name a few.

The networks make money through fees charged to the merchants they work with. These fees are agreed to with each individual advertiser and are usually paid as a percentage of each sale made. At Advertise Purple, we negotiate the best deals with the networks because they know we are bringing them lots of business.

4. How big is the industry of affiliate marketing?

Global investment in the industry is at or above $13 billion and in the U.S. it is around $6.8 billion.

5. How can affiliate marketing help my business?

Affiliate marketing can help you grow your business in the following ways:

  • It allows you to save time and money on marketing, which is time you can dedicate to focusing and spending on other aspects of your business
  • It gives you access to professional marketers (affiliates/publishers)
  • It exposes your products to new audiences through promotional efforts by your team of publishers (affiliates)
  • It’s cost effective and has unmatched ROI

6. How do I find quality publishers?

The best way to work with qualified affiliate publishers is to hire an affiliate marketing agency that works with all the networks. The networks provide access to affiliates who’ve been rigorously vetted and had to go through a long application process to be included in the network.

Rather than working with only one of the networks, leave the recruiting of affiliates to us. We have years of data and expertise on our side which will make it much easier to match you with the right affiliates, instead of having to play the guessing game.

7. How does affiliate marketing work alongside other marketing channels?

The great thing about affiliate marketing is that it adds incremental value in the form of revenue without disrupting your other advertising strategies. Because affiliates are so unique and different, you can find partners who will amplify your brand without overlapping in benefits with other tactics you may have in place.

Through transaction detail reports, we have access to the IP address of the purchase, which browser it showed up on, time it took place, and other key details that can let you know what triggered the end result: the purchase.

At Advertise Purple, we have a team that can track all of this information for you easily on your behalf. Our team of data analysts will make sure you’re not double charged when a sale could possibly be attributed by, say social for example, if there also was an affiliate link.

8. Are affiliate sales incremental?

Incremental sales refer to units sold through a specific marketing campaign. These campaigns can be in the form of affiliate marketing, but also influencer, social, media ads and other channels.

For it to be an incremental sale, someone outside the company (not the company itself) has to drive the lead that results in that purchase. That sale could not have been made without the push from that partner, affiliate, or social media channel.

Affiliate sales are indeed incremental.

9. How do you know which affiliates would perform well for my (brand) program?

Most merchants we work with are anxious to understand why and how we develop the strategies we end up recommending. Because we work with a wide array of clients, we have a lot of data on almost every vertical you could think of.

We know which affiliates perform, we know how to tap them and how to project their output, and we have the ability to see strong performance in 90 days or less. We don’t work with a client unless we are pretty close to certain they will see success.

To answer the questions more succinctly, though, we do our due diligence. We look at your brand, truly soak in as much information as possible about your business model, look at comparable brands we’ve worked with, optimize and perform split-tests on different campaigns and get to that 90 day point with confidence that if we did our job right, we should see results in the form of incremental revenue.

10. Are affiliate marketing and performance marketing the same thing?

Performance marketing is a marketing method that integrates different price structures, dependent on the performance of the ad. Examples include how many times a product was viewed or clicked or how often a sale is made. It includes methods like PPC (pay-per-click) or display advertising.

Affiliate marketing actually falls under the umbrella of performance marketing, as commissions are paid on performance, which is typically the moment that a sale is made. 

So, they are not the same, but when speaking about one’s affiliate strategy the term “performance marketing” is certainly liable to come up.

11. What is a super affiliate?

A super affiliate is someone who has built a thriving and influential affiliate business and consistently drives a large majority of the sales from any program they promote, compared to other affiliate partners involved in the program. They make a large income from affiliate marketing, which is usually in the range of five or six figures.

12. What is an affiliate disclosure statement?

When a reader visits a website for a brand that’s running an affiliate program, an affiliate disclosure statement is necessary to reveal to the reader legally that a commission may be paid to the publisher if the reader clicks affiliate links or a sale is made. 

Think about on social media, how when an influencer is selling a product Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, etc have to include a tagline mentioning that it’s sponsored content. The goal for this statement is to be as transparent as possible with the reader and potential purchaser.

13. How do we track publisher sales activity?

Every publisher has a unique publisher ID, which is used in tracking cookies to record which publisher generates what sales. This activity can then be viewed within the affiliate network dashboard.

14. Can we have an affiliate program in multiple countries?

The beauty of the internet and our globally connected world is that affiliate programs can be promoted in any country. If you are working with affiliates in multiple different countries, it’s important to tailor the content to those differing sub-groups.

So, language is an important thing to consider for affiliate strategies that you plan to set internationally.

15. What are the advantages of this type of marketing versus others?

Because affiliate marketing only pays out commissions on sales, there is minimal risk that promotions will not generate ROI. It also exposes your product to new audiences, while tapping into the different skills of your publishers. 

Budgets are easy to manage and maintain due to the visibility and transparency the channel offers. If you use an affiliate network, managing your program is straightforward, including dealing with returns and customer service.

If you have any more questions that we didn’t address, please reach out to [email protected]. Would love to talk further and see if we can get those answered for you. Good luck out there!

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