What Is Affiliate Marketing?

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing has become a massive online industry over the past several years, emerging as both an effective way for marketers to sell their products and services and for publishers to monetize their audiences. Despite the popularity of affiliate marketing, many publishers still aren’t aware of exactly what affiliate marketing is or how it works. In some cases, these publishers are gatekeepers to an audience that could be very effectively monetized through affiliate marketing, meaning that they’re passing up an attractive revenue stream.

What It Is (And What It Isn’t)

At its heart, affiliate marketing is an online version of a sales structure that has been happening offline for decades. In its simplest form, it involves three primary components:

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  • A merchant, or someone with a product or service to sell
  • An affiliate, or individual with the willingness and ability to sell that product to a particular audience
  • A product or service

For each product the affiliate sells, they receive a portion of the proceeds from the merchant. It’s effectively an outsourced sales team. At its core, affiliate marketing is just that simple.

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