Proof that Influencers are the Best Affiliate Marketers

When you think of influencers as marketers, what benefits come to mind? Awareness is the easy answer, as is brand lift, brand loyalty, and cost effectiveness. 

But what most marketers overlook is that influencers are sales drivers, particularly in affiliate marketing.  


What is Affiliate Marketing?

The traditional definition of affiliate marketing is “The process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products.”  The long and short of it is that two parties partner together in order to bring in and share revenue resulting from a purchase of a product or service.  

Affiliate marketing can take place between the following parties: 

1) The seller of the product (the retailer or e-tailer) & the product creators (The Brand) 
    • Ex: Amazon promotes a product of one of their sellers and Amazon gets a percentage of the profit 
2) The Brand & the Publisher 
    • Ex: Buzzfeed creates an article with affiliate links that focuses on a product or products by The Brand. Buzzfeed gets a cut of the profit from products sold via the affiliate link from the article. 
3) The Brand & the Consumer 
    • Ex: A lifestyle influencer posts a video, blog post, or image about The Brand’s product(s) with an affiliate link. The influencer then gets a portion of the sale resulting from their post. 

Think of it as a referral program that your favorite brands are services are always offering to you such as “Refer a friend and get $10 off your next order” only you are the brand and your friend is the retailer, publisher, or the consumer.  


Why is Affiliate Marketing Important?

Now that we know WHAT affiliate marketing is, what’s the big deal and why should it be important to marketers?  

  • Low costs for digital content creation
    • Most affiliate programs are built around a performance model. This means that a marketer only pays their affiliate partner when a sale is made. 

  • Targeted traffic
    • Affiliate partners, specifically the Consumer and Publisher partners, have dialed in audiences that fall with certain demographics. This allows the brand to zero in on their ideal audience to garner more sales. 

  • High Marketing Campaign ROI
    • Only paying when a sale is made vs. paying in full for content up front allows for a better return on investment (Multiply the revenue by the profit margin (revenues minus costs) and divide the result by the campaign’s cost.) 

  • Easy Campaign Scalability
    • Not only is the affiliate model easy to set up, but also allows for the cross promotion of multiple products within a brand’s portfolio, thus casting a wider net.  


How Does Influencer Marketing Tie Into Affiliate Marketing and How Are Sales Affected?

Influencers are commonly used as affiliate partners for a few reasons: 

  • Credibility & Trust 
  • Targeted, relevant audiences 
  • Low-cost, high-quality content
  • High-quality lead drivers 

Perhaps most importantly, influencers can provide authentic opinions and reviews of products to their followers who often look to them for product recommendations and ideas. According to our 2022 Q2 Social Commerce Report, 59% of survey respondents are loyal to the influencers that they follow and make purchases based on the influencer’s recommendations.  

Think of it as looking to a friend (the influencer) for advice or solutions, you’d much rather trust someone you feel like you know versus a stranger off the street whose motivations are unknown (the brand.)  

Other benefits of influencer affiliate programs include: 

  • Repurposing of Digital Content: Many influencers will grant usage rights or their content, allowing marketers to use their high-quality content across multiple digital mediums such as paid social, email marketing, digital display, etc.  

  • Cross-Social Promotion: Many influencers will not only post on their primary channel but will also cross share across their other accounts. This casts a wider net in order to drive consumers to discover your products and potentially expose new audiences. 

So, the next time you are looking at your marketing mix (especially in the new year), make sure to consider influencers to help take your affiliate campaigns to the next level! 

Want to learn more?  Schedule a demo with our team of experts.