June 21, 2023

Affiliate Marketing is the Key to Social Commerce Strategy

4.9 billion people worldwide use social media in 2023 and people are still joining every day. Social media platforms continue to diversify and add new features that keep their current users invested and attract new users. In the last couple of years, social media sites like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest have developed social commerce platforms, allowing users to shop directly from their feed. Social commerce is the blend of e-commerce with social media, and users are rapidly accepting it as the new norm for their shopping experience. Shopping via social media sites generated nearly $730 billion in 2022 and is expected to exceed $6.2 trillion by 2030.

Brands are taking part in the proliferation of social commerce in a few different ways – paid, partner, and personal. Paid referring to paid advertisements, partner meaning working directly with affiliates to promote products, and personal being through the brand’s own social media accounts. Ideally, it’s great to have a diverse investment in social commerce set up for multiple channels to create a more seamless and memorable experience. This provides a chance to retarget the same users in a new way. Using a multi-channel strategy increases conversion rates by reaching users using different strategies, streamlining the shopping funnel at every step by merging discovery and purchase. 

When I say paid advertising I’m talking about brand owned advertisements. These are usually more expensive than partnering with a creator or publisher to make content about your brand, but the upside is you get to control exactly what the ad looks like. Your marketing team, or an advertising agency, creates the message and design to your liking and you pay the social media platform to show it at a certain reach and frequency. With this method you also have some control over the demographics you can target. However, because of how much it costs and the limitations on negotiating with these large social media sites, paid advertising isn’t always feasible for smaller brands.

Relying on your personal marketing team to go viral and get a million followers overnight isn’t really fair either. Building your online presence and dedicating time and effort to your company’s branding is incredibly important, but without an audience to hear you, do your words hold that much weight? When a new customer does come across your product through organic means or paid, you need the infrastructure to be a compelling brand that a user wants to purchase from. But how are you going to get that initial traffic?

Partnership marketing is becoming a staple in brand’s marketing budgets. Partners aren’t just social media influencers. Our affiliate network consists of partners in a dozen classifications from major content publishers and news outlets, to shopping and loyalty sites, marketing and tech platforms and more that help brands make connections with people. So while affiliate marketing can help a brand in more ways than one, we’ve noticed that our clients are keen on recruiting and optimizing with content and influencers to capitalize on the shift in shopping trends to social commerce. 

Working with affiliates, you have more room to negotiate packages and commission rates that work for your brand’s needs and budget. Working with an agency that has established connections in the industry can make this even easier. Because of our long-standing history with top-publishers we’re able to leverage our portfolio of clients to secure promotions and competitive rates for the brands we manage. We also have access to over $3.5B of affiliate performance data from our clients’ campaigns, which lets us build proven strategic maps to show us which affiliates to recruit and optimize with. 

Brands are seeing high returns from affiliate marketing in part because of the ability to negotiate and the performance based payment model, but also because of consumers’ intense level of trust in third party recommendations. When an individual or another business talks on a brand’s behalf it seems more authentic than brand-owned media because it’s not fully in the brand’s control. People are growing more skeptical of the narrative brand’s build about themselves and are looking to other sources to tell the truth. This is where an affiliate program comes into play, building your non-owned digital presence and reputation. 

Investing in affiliate marketing might be the best decision you could make to grow your brand right now by expanding your reach and enabling users to shop directly from partner content. Reach new audiences authentically by building a strong affiliate portfolio. Reach out to one of our team members to learn how you can get started today.

Are you getting started in affiliate marketing or looking to improve your current program?

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