Affiliate marketing is a cost-effective marketing tool that involves a business rewarding its partners and affiliates for channeling each customer or viewer through the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. Such marketing utilizes high-traffic monitoring tools to
track all hits, visitors, sales (within a certain period of time) and repeat visitors for some, to produce accurate reports and accountability for all
involved parties. There are even rewards sites, where users are rewarded with gifts or money for the fulfillment of an offer and the referral of friends and
others to the site.
The industry consists of four main participants:
the retailer, the network, the publisher (or affiliate), and the customer. This industry has different layers of organizers and professionals, including: affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates, and specialized third parties.
There is some overlapping, with other types of internet marketing, involved in affiliate marketing. This happens due to the inevitability of logical, effective advertising methods. Those methods include:
paid search engine marketing, optimizing the search engine, display and placement advertising, and, of course, e-mail marketing. Some of the other
affiliates prefer to use a different approach by posting reviews of products and services offered by a partner, and earn on sales incurred from each
successful review used to convince the potential customer to make a purchase.
Using one website to direct traffic to another is considered a form of online marketing. Unfortunately, this particular tool in marketing is often overlooked by advertisers and businesses. Search engines, e-mail, and website syndication hog the attention of most online retailers; affiliate marketing carries
a much lower profile and priority level. Despite the lack of promotion and education about affiliate marketing, affiliates still play an important role in
online retailers’ marketing tactics to many businesses who know how to effectively utilize it and play this game.