What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a way for you to earn commissions for sales that you drive to a retailer, brand, product or service. If you’re an influencer or a blogger and you’ve ever talked about a product or service in any of your posts, then you’ve probably driven a sale to a company that you talked about, and that company would have likely paid you a commission for that sale.
A Few Terms Used in This Article:
advertiser/merchant: the company that produces the products or services that you promote as an affiliate/publisher. Can also be referred to as the store.
affiliate/publisher: YOU! this is the term for the individual/influencer/blogger that is promoting products in exchange for receiving commission on the sales they drive.
affiliate link: a link provided to you by the merchant that includes a unique tracking code specifically assigned to you so that the merchant can track the sales that you generate for them.
commission/CPA (cost per action): the amount that an advertiser is willing to pay for generating a sale.
conversion rate: the number of sales you’ve divided by the number of clicks you’ve generated (explained in more depth below)
cookie window: the time period in which the person who clicked your link must make a purchase for you to earn commission (also explained more below)
How exactly do affiliate links work?
Affiliate links are links that have a unique tracking code that allow advertisers (i.e. Macy’s) to know whether or not you generated a sale (and therefore if they should pay you commissions). There are a couple main ways that you can get affiliate links:
- you can sign up for affiliate networks, where you apply to each merchant individually and, if they accept you, you can get affiliate links from them.
- you can sign up for a third-party affiliate manager that allows you to instantly get accepted into affiliate programs.
There are benefits to both methods. For affiliate networks, you can find the merchants that you want to apply to if they’re not available on the third-party affiliate managers. For third-party affiliate managers, you’re able to get instant access to a large number of retailers, but may not necessarily have access to all of them, and will also pay typically 25–35% of your earnings back to the manager for the convenience of getting access to all of these programs. The good thing for you is that many of these third-party affiliate managers have a ton of publishers, so they can get much higher rates than you’d be able to get on your own, which sometimes makes their fees not actually hurt you (or even maybe benefit you).
My co-founder and I initially started Weave to make it simple for influencers and bloggers to get affiliate links and give them automatic access to over 70,000 affiliate programs. We wanted to relieve the pain of applying to each advertiser individually. With Weave, we also try to go a step further to find the products or services that you want to link to and give you the highest paying links. To get an affiliate link on Weave, all you have to do is type in names of the product or service you want to promote/link to, and Weave gives you affiliate links so you can start earning. When a viewer makes a purchase from that link, you get paid. Check out this video to see how easy it actually is to build links for your content:
Weave does all of the affiliate link tracking so, when your link is clicked, we let the retailer know and, if the viewer that clicked on the link makes a purchase within a certain time frame, you are paid a commission for that purchase.
What is the commission that I earn from affiliate linking?
Commissions vary heavily by retailer and even by product. Some affiliate retailers only offer a few percent commission for every sale that you drive, while others can offer 20%, 50% or even higher! Weave’s platform clearly shows you how much you earn for each sale that you drive:
One important thing that you should know about affiliate programs is that there is much more that will impact your earnings than the commission number. Here are the factors that matter and will depict how much you will make for sales at different retailers:
- commission percentage: the percent of the total sale that you earn from the retailer (for example, if the retailer offers 20% commission and you drive a sale to them worth $100, then you will make $100*20%=$20 on that sale)
- cookie window: the time frame that your viewer needs to make a purchase in order for you to get paid (for example, if the retailer offers a 30 day cookie window, then you get paid as long as the person who clicked on your link makes a purchase within 30 days, if you were the last person to refer them to the website)
- conversion rate: the percentage that actually make a purchase after clicking your link (for example, if your conversion rate is 5%, then you will drive an average of 5 sales for every 100 clicks. This number will change based on the merchant - some have much higher percentages than others)
- average order size: the average dollar amount spent on a single purchase at a merchant. This is very important to you because if you drive a sale to the retailer, they pay you for the total sale (for example, if you include a link for a pair of shoes in your YouTube description to Macy’s, and someone clicks and ends up buying a shirt and purse, then you still get paid a commission on that shirt and purse even though you did not link to it or talk about it in your post)
Why do all these factors matter to you?
Ultimately, it is the combination of all these factors that determines how much you make as an affiliate. Fortunately, Weave does all of the optimizing of links for you so that you can focus on creating great content.
How do I get started?
Click on get started here to apply! You must have a social following of at least 5,000 on one of your social networks or an equivalent amount of monthly blog traffic. If you have any questions send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to working with you soon!