Learn what is affiliate marketing

What is affiliate marketing? It is a type of marketing in which a business or merchant rewards one affiliates or publisher for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts via a specific link. Let learn what is affiliate marketing in some more details.

Like if you click this link you will join an affiliate program that accepts beginners.

The most known affiliate marketing so far was the MLM (multi level marketing) or network marketing system. Where an affiliate is paid for his sales and for the sales made by the person recruited.

In practical terms, affiliate “A” signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If affiliate “A” attracts affiliates “B” and “C” to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by affiliates “B” and “C” will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for affiliate “A”. You can read more about it in this article.

But here we are gonna focus on the standards affiliate program, here is its structure:

Learn what is affiliate marketing structure

The industry has four core players:

1. The merchant, he is the one who brings the products, we can also call him the brand, the seller or the industry.

2. The network, it plays the role of the middle man, between the merchant and the affiliate. Regulating the business transaction and paying the affiliate. So the network is like the market place where the merchant meets the affiliate.

3. The publisher is the affiliate. The name publisher is most useful because, as an affiliate, you are to publish the offer of your merchant online (with or without a website) in order to bring leads or sales.

affiliate marketing

5. A Customer is a person who ends up clicking the affiliate link and buys or not.

A. Advantages for a merchant in affiliate marketing

Merchants favor affiliate marketing because in most cases it uses a performance based payment. Pay for performance or pay per action model. Meaning that the merchant does not incur a marketing expense unless results are accrued. Excluding any setup cost.

As long as the affiliate does not bring the result required, the merchant will not release any payment. This is great for the merchant because for any single cash spent there is a sure result. It is an effective way to advertise because the result always meets the expense.

Affiliate marketing options

In house program

Some merchants run their own affiliate programs using dedicated software. This can be costly and requires adequate knowledge or to employ a software specialist. While others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates, they join a network.

An affiliate network

learn what is affiliate marketing

There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants. Standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant by the network. Consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.

Both affiliates and merchants prefer to use an affiliate network because it creates more trust. For the affiliate trust that the payment will be made in time. And the merchant trust that the affiliate is qualified to bring in results required.

B. Advantage of the affiliate network

The affiliate network, like an advertising agency, is here to make sure that both parties are in good business. A network always sets requirements for both parties to join.


For a merchant, it can be the business experience, the quality of the product and the revenue of the company. For the publisher it is the business experience, the number of visitors per day or month received on the website, even the total visits since creation.

After applying, the network has the freedom to accept or refuse, because they do not always disclose all the requirements. But being accepted is a great business move.


for a merchant

It is time to discover new ways to market your products and new niches to explore in conjunction with yours. Anytime a marketing campaign is ready, affiliates will apply and you have the choice to study the application according to what you need. You are free to accept or not.

For an affiliate

Once accepted, you have the freedom to choose among a large number of a merchant according to what you think can be best for your niche. The other great thing is that you can be accepted with one website. But you can apply for campaigns and use your unregistered website to publish your affiliate links. You can even create a special social media campaign without a website and make money, read more about it here.

The network makes sure to get a better merchant and publisher to ensure that business will go on, and the network commission will be coming in. The merchant should be genuine, the publisher qualified and receive payment on time. To meet that goal, they also train both parts on how to improve their business. And they bring in new marketing tools, such as banners, cookies, custom links and more…

C. Advantage for publishers

The publisher is looking for a way to monetize his/her website. Affiliate marketing is one of the simplest ways to do so. And if you learn what is affiliate marketing, it will give you the edge you need to work better.

online marketing

*How to become an affiliate

Becoming one is not easy because of the network requirement. Especially the number of visitors required implies for the publisher hard work and investment even before joining the network.

Many people think you can just create a website and become an affiliate. It can be the truth for some individual merchants running their own affiliate program. But to get all the support needed as you are new to the business and get a high commission, you need a network.

When you have all the requirements you can apply, once accepted, you have a whole new world at your fingertips.


Choose the merchant with relevant products to your niche and start your marketing. You have the freedom to market as you would like (unless stipulated otherwise). Also, you have the training and tools available to help you create relevant content to your audience, learn more about content creation here.

You can choose to do search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, social media marketing and (in some sense) display advertising.

*having a website

Though to apply for an affiliate network, a website is compulsory. Advertising your affiliate products is not always done from a website.

Some affiliates have made fortune by advertising on social media only with their affiliate link. The cost can be just as much as one running a PPC campaign. Still, it is a great way to make money because basically all you do is advertise your affiliate content on social media and make sales.

But again in order to find great products for such, you need to have a network. Where, you have high paying affiliate products. And where you can use multiple products and get your commission under one roof. Instead of having many individuals companies to deal with.

D. The advantage for the customer

As a customer, you get to know about the product online that otherwise, you would not. Because the merchant does not have a branch in your town or country. But also because the merchant does not present the product to you as the affiliate does. Also, because there is already a trust between you and the affiliate.

Because of the market competition, customers get access online directly to their phone. For some people, it can be annoying but for most, it is a time-saving option. They get to shop while at work and save the most visited website and become regulars.

How do you find an affiliate program

You can search in the affiliate program directories, join an affiliate network platform and check directly the merchant’s website.


Affiliate Program directories are one way for affiliate marketers to find a merchant, advertiser, or affiliate network. See the offers available to anybody who would like to join them. Some directories give very specific details about each program and others even rank by score the quality of each program.

An affiliate network is easy to find by a simple web search. But some network is also made private so you need to be invited by a member. You can join network like, “CJ affiliate”, “share a sale”, “clickbank”, “amazon”, …

Merchant. Because, not all the merchants are part of a network exclusively. You can check the website bottom page to find the indication “affiliate” and sign up. Some also if they are part of a network will indicate that you need to sign up with the network to be accepted and then become their affiliate.

How do you get paid as an affiliate?

Affiliate marketing

Affiliates are paid a commission according to the sales they made. There are different methods applied.

You con get paid as PPS or pay per sale, CPA cost per action, CPC cost per click or CPM cost per mile.

Pay per sale, this means that as an affiliate you will get a commission only if your visitor clicks on your link and make a purchase of the product. Otherwise, there is no commission. PPS commission is generally of good value.

Cost per action, here you receive a commission every time someone clicks your link and take an action on the merchant’s website. It can be signing up for a giveaway.

Cost per click, this was mostly used in the early days of online marketing but is less used today. Because of the fraud, people faked the clicks to their links. You would get a commission simply when your visitor clicks your affiliate link. Even if he/she bounces back immediately.

Cost per mile, here the publisher has only the duty to publish the merchant’s ad on the website. And make a commission.

Because of the experience acquired, more and more businesses go for CPA a PPS. Because of the certainty of the result and the share loss in case of no result. But still, depending on which niche you are in you can get paid by CPC or CPM.

What to avoid as an affiliate marketer

First of all. You need to avoid looking like you don’t know what you are doing. That is why you need to learn what is affiliate marketing in detail.

You do not want to spam your potential client, your audience is your source of revenue, the greatest thing you can do is to be truthful. When using an affiliate link let them know, even when you do your email marketing. Let them know that it is not compulsory to continue receiving emails if they do not want. Always give the opportunity to sign out any time.

Do not stuff your website with affiliate links or ads. The visitor experience will be bad and they mostly will not come back again. Find the right balance with your content, to become a problem solver and a seller at the same time without being a burden to your audience.

My recommendation for you after you learn what is affiliate marketing

Here is the affiliate marketing program I use since I was a beginner, click here This program teaches you how to create an online business and you can promote the program to earn cash. Join to learn what is affiliate marketing, how to create a website that will get SEO attraction. Because, free traffic is the best way to get clients with less cost. Therefore make more money.

Check my guide for affiliate marketing, here.

Leave a comment below, Thanks!

10 thoughts on “Learn what is affiliate marketing”

  1. I am an affiliate marketer and I think that your article is the bomb I wish that I had written it for my website. Very Inciteful and well written. I think that if I want to explain what affiliate marketing is to a newbie I would send them to your article. I am not a newbie and I still got valuable information from your article. 

  2. Thank you for writing this. I had a little trouble understanding how the network worked as the middleman, so it would be great if you can go more in-depth on that. When I read the about the cycle I see a merchant, the affiliate marketer, and the customer. Is the network the merchant’s website, or are you talking about who pays the affiliate marketer? Just curious. Thanks!

    • Hi dear

      the network is a middleman, the put in contact mercant and publisher. It is like a safe place where both merchant and publisher can contract in business with the assurance from the network that everything will be fine, no cheating will happen. I will come back with more post on that.

      In the cycle I did not include the network because, it is not part of it. The network is not a must place to be in order for affiliate marketing to happen, but the 3 other members are the one making affiliate marketing, the merchant, the publisher and the cient. 

      I hope this help more.


  3. Thanks for this write-up.  I’m new to the affiliate game and didn’t really know about the affiliate networks, so that’s helpful.  I understand why there are a lot of advantages to using them, but how would you compare them to going through a large company that manages its own affiliates like Amazon does?

    • Going directly to a company have the advantage on the commission. Most of the time commissions are lower in the Affiliate network and more from the company directly. So, it is not a bad idea. The difference is that companies will have way more requirements or the payment may have delays.


  4. Affiliate marketing is a business where there is really low risk and high reward potential. Unless you start by paying for ads (which you should NEVER do as a beginner), the only thing which you are going to pay with is time and effort.

    Also, since you mentioned not to just bombard your readers with affiliate links. I once picked up that an ideal moment
    to put your affiliate links is when your users have engaging with the content in your article and you’ve already peaked their interest.

    • Exactly, you need to make sure that you have given them value or solution to their problem.


  5. Thank you for clearing up the haze through this article. I have read several articles about affiliate marketing but this is something different because it is easily understood. 

    I was clarified of the cycle wherein the merchant is the owner of the product, the advertiser or the network, and the publisher as the affiliate. From the merchant, the network and the publisher, I understand they are all affiliates because they all share the gains being the result of the work of the three should a buyer decides to buy.

    On the part of the publisher, you advise that he/she must not spam your potential client. What can you say about those who send 2 to 3 articles to an email in a day?

    • They end up with a high rate of unsubscribes. You can make a lot by just sending one weekly email to your list. Make it relevant and people will have that appetite of opening your emails and eventually buying your products.



Leave a Comment