Affiliate Marketing Publisher’s Guide for 2021: All You Need to Know

This article covers everything you need to know about affiliate marketing, starting as a publisher and continuing on to the future.

You’ll often hear the term “affiliate marketing” used in digital spaces, but you might not be familiar with its meaning. It has been around online for quite some time and has stood the test of age. It may seem strange to you, but what exactly is it? Is it right for you? How can you do this well?

This Affiliate Marketing Publisher Guide will explain what affiliate marketing is and how it works. We’ll also discuss the differences between merchants and affiliates and the various ways you can generate income as an associate. We will also talk about the future of affiliate marketing and how lucrative it can be. Finally, we’ll give you some insider tips that will help you get started as an affiliate.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing, also known as publisher, is a type of marketing in which an affiliate (also called a publisher), generates awareness and sells for a merchant (also known by a brand or advertiser), and then is awarded a commission for any sales they make.

Although their methods of creating sales may differ, we will discuss them later. The most important aspect of affiliate marketing is that the publisher acts like a middleman between the consumer and the product/service.

Publishers may be able reach audiences in ways that advertisers can’t or won’t, which could result in more sales.

Affiliate marketing is often considered passive income by publishers. This is because, aside from the initial setup, affiliate marketing doesn’t require them to alter what they are doing in order to generate revenue. This can be true in certain cases, especially if the publisher has an engaged and committed audience. ShareASale views affiliate marketing as something that is always evolving. Therefore, there are always new ways to improve and adapt your marketing program to maximize profits for you and the merchants with whom you work.

Affiliate marketing is, in essence, a digital version of word-of-mouth marketing. When a merchant offers a product that is valuable, a publisher will tell their friends (followers and visitors, subscribers, email list members, subscribers, or subscribers) about it.

What is the secret to it?

Depending on the type of product, publishers will recommend or promote a merchant’s product or service to their audience with a specific link to the advertiser or product page. This link, also called a deeplink or a publisher link, can be used by merchants to track clicks and sales generated by their link. As a reward for helping to sell the product, the retailer pays a fee to the publisher. The retailer may pay a fixed amount or a percentage of the sale amount.

You will need to sign up for an affiliate network, request merchant programs, choose products and services to promote, and create deeplinks to your affiliate site. Although it may seem complicated, we can assist you with everything.

What is affiliate marketing?

There are no limitations on who an affiliate marketer can be. Publishers can be any business or individual who wishes to increase their audience or generate new revenue streams. Publishers can use websites, blogs, social media, and other digital platforms to promote sales and traffic to advertiser’s products or services.

A publisher basically runs an advertisement for the advertiser. However, this ad may be packaged in many different ways.

Different publishers may have different approaches to communicating with their audience. Advertisers might need to work with a number of publishers in order to communicate to a wide range of market segments.

What does it mean to be a merchant in affiliate market?

Merchants are businesses or brands that have a website that allows them to transact. They seek partnerships with publishers in order to reach new customers. Their goal is to increase brand reach and eventually sales for their business.

Affiliate marketing can often be a valuable component of a larger marketing strategy. It is important that retailers find qualified and verified publishers to promote their brand, product, or service.

Merchants can also set parameters about how their offering will be promoted. You can limit the use of images or exclude words from being mentioned. Merchants can also approve and invite publishers to their affiliate program. This gives retailers control over where and how their brand is featured on publisher platforms.

What is the difference between a publisher and a merchant?

Although they share the same goal of increasing sales and maximising profit, the advertiser owns the brand, product, or service. Publishers are able promoters of the product. They drive traffic to their website via consumers clicking on the publisher-specific links.

What does an affiliate advertiser look like?

All these things are connected in an affiliate network. Affiliate networks are also known as an affiliate market.

ShareASale connects driven publishers with businesses and brands. Our platform makes it easy for both users and publishers to reach suitable agreements. This creates long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships.

Our network has a dedicated platform that allows advertisers to notify publishers about available affiliate programs. These programs can be reviewed by publishers and compared to the products available from different retailers. Publishers can then decide which program is best for them.

We help advertisers create links specific to publishers that they work with, and then track all data to allow both parties to analyse and review their performance to make informed decisions moving forward.

There are many types of affiliate marketers

There are many ways a publisher can approach their affiliate marketing, as we have already mentioned. Publishers often require a website in order to start working with affiliate programs. There are many digital platforms and spaces where affiliate marketing can be done. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should invest in money. It can also refer to the effort and time spent creating clickable content.


This is the most common type of affiliate publisher. Webmasters can be described as website owners. Webmasters can also refer to website creators who can assist publishers in creating websites that they can use to market their products. They can place deeplinks to their websites using banner ads or create content and blogs pages, or even form subsequent websites that link through to the advertiser’s website.

Find affiliates

To increase leads, search affiliates often use a second step in their affiliate marketing strategy. This could include using Search Engine Optimization (SEO), creating Google Ads or Facebook Ads to push their audience to a sales funnel that leads to the advertiser’s product. While this method can be extremely beneficial, there are some things you should keep in mind.

You will often be responsible for the advertising costs as a search affiliate. To ensure that you still make a profit from each sale, you will need to calculate the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). You should not confuse Cost Per Click (CPC), as clicks may not convert into sales and you could lose money. Pay-per-click advertising is not allowed by some advertisers because they could be competing with their marketing strategies.


Affiliate marketing is a great and popular way to blog. Blogs can be many things these days and bloggers often have niche readers who are dedicated to their content. Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money.

Bloggers are content creators who share their opinions and thoughts. Although there has been an increase in awareness that audiences are being’sold’ to bloggers over the years, blogging is still viewed as a genuine form of online communication. Bloggers and their readers have a level of trust that can be transferred to advertisers and their products if the placement is right.

Trust is something that can be difficult to build, but it is rewarding. This is particularly true for brands trying to market to a new audience with a high level of marketing awareness. The consumer wants to feel authentic from companies they purchase from. Having someone they trust as an advocate for a brand is a way to bridge this gap faster than the advertiser could have done.

Voucher sites

Coupons have been a very popular marketing tool. Many consumers are motivated by price points. Knowing that they will receive a discount or offer can motivate them to make the sale.

Voucher websites work with both consumers and advertisers to offer discounts codes. Sites that work closely with their loyal users provide voucher codes that they are familiar with. Other sites work directly with advertisers to offer their codes. Some sites do both. The most important thing is that the links used by the publisher to direct the consumer to the site are affiliate links. These links can be tracked.

Advertisers can reap the benefits of this platform as many consumers will choose to shop on sites that offer financial benefits. Having their brand displayed on such a platform exposes them to these consumers.

Advertisers try to avoid this type of marketing because they feel it devalues their brand. However, voucher site publishers can sometimes increase traffic and awareness, as well as pushing their profit higher than it would without them. When working with or for a voucher site, it is important to consider the direction of brand alignment and profitability assessment.

Review sites

Publishing a site dedicated to reviewing brands and products is a popular way to get published. Consumers now have an awareness of brands that market directly to them. They will instead seek advice from their peers on the best places to spend their money.

Although it is not necessary for consumers to be able to trust the reviewer, they can still consider them valuable when making a purchase decision. This model is used by Yelp and TripAdvisor to power their businesses. It can also be a great way to market products.

Publishing a review website or contributing to one can make it a very profitable way to market your links to an already ready to buy market. A person who is looking for reviews on a product or service that they want to purchase will be at the bottom of the sales funnel. They are hoping someone will point them in the right direction.

Email Marketing

Email marketing has been around for nearly as long as email itself. We are certain Ray Tomlinson didn’t intend to use email as a mass-marketing system when he invented it in 1971. The first email marketing message in style was sent out in 1978. It is believed that it generated $13 million. The rest is history.

Consumers are used to receiving email marketing messages. This has its downsides. Although people are willing to receive email advertising, it can prove difficult to cut through the noise. Marketers and publishers spend a lot of time and effort building an email list and nurturing them into valuable customers.

Advertisers might already have an email marketing list, but it is possible to access a publisher with a unique list and expose their brand to potential buyers or customers.

Social Media

Social media is a hot topic for affiliate marketing. We have seen a rise in popularity of the term “influencer marketing” over the past few years. This has led to an increase in the value this type publisher can bring to the affiliate marketing industry.

Although they are not the same in traditional terms, it is still a great way to get your affiliate links in front of your followers, whether you’re a publisher or an influencer. To reduce the risk of users leaving their social media platform, some platforms do not allow clickable links to be included in their content. Publishers can still create posts and recommend links to others on certain social media platforms. This handy guide will show you how to use affiliate links across social media platforms.

Is affiliate marketing profitable for publishers?

Publishers can make as much as they like. This doesn’t necessarily mean all publishers are profitable.

Many affiliate networks will convince you that it is easy to become an affiliate marketer. You’ll be able to sign up quickly and quit your job, and earn six figures per year. Although this may be possible, ShareASale believes that affiliate marketing is not easy. It requires long-term strategies.

While we offer a platform that simplifies the process for merchants and publishers, marketing takes skill. When deciding whether to become a publisher, this is something you should think about.

It takes time and effort to build an engaged audience, but it is possible. Affiliate marketing is easier if you have an existing audience. There are bound to be products that fit your niche because there are so many publishers looking to promote products and work with them. To find the perfect product, you just need to use an affiliate network such as ours.

Great publishers must understand their audience to create partnerships that are truly beneficial for the end-user. It’s not a good idea to be a vegan blogger but try to partner with fast-food burger companies. They will quickly see through it. This will cause trust to be lost across all fronts, and it is not good for anyone.

Is affiliate marketing still viable in 2021?

It will not only work but thrive.

Affiliate marketing is a $6.8 Billion industry in the US. Despite the constant evolution and change of the market, there is no indication that it will slow down in 2021 and beyond. The industry will become more targeted as it becomes easier to track certain aspects of online transactions. This will allow for greater profit potential.

Recently, we have noticed a steady increase in users using ad blocking software to control their online behavior. This does not mean cookie disabling is over. It can have a significant impact on affiliate marketing tracking. Instead, we must find ways to address the constantly changing rules and regulations that browsers place on their users.

We will see an increase voice search almost as a certainty. These are the areas that Google, Amazon, and other tech giants have been focusing their efforts. This could lead to a rise in sales for marketers and publishers who create content that is compatible with this type search. It’s important to distinguish your content from others in this space by considering how people ask a question rather than how they type it.

Influencer marketing continues to grow despite social media platforms shifting towards hiding followers and likes in an effort remove social pressures. This is a sign that consumers still seek the type of guidance and advice that affiliate marketing can offer when they make a purchase.

This is also tied to where a publisher falls in the customer’s journey. In the future, affiliates who are able to reach the early stages of the buying process (such as awareness) will be rewarded for their efforts more fairly than those who clicked on the sale. It’s crucial that the influence of affiliates can be tracked and supported with data. This is a sector we expect to see grow in 2021 and beyond.

How to become an affiliate market publisher

It’s a good idea to join an affiliate network like ShareASale. It can be difficult to navigate the maze of merchants. But platforms such as ShareASale make it easy and provide plenty of support.

You need to decide whether you will be creating your audience from scratch or if you have an existing audience that you can use. You have the opportunity to find out which niche is best for you and your knowledge. It is better to choose topics that will be timeless than those that are trendy.

Good quality affiliate networks want to see that you communicate with a targeted audience and are building an online community. High quality leads are better because affiliate marketing doesn’t just revolve around reaching every corner of internet.

Once you have a loyal audience, you can then start looking for affiliate programs that will best suit your needs and those of your viewers or readers. This process is relatively easy when you use a professional platform. ShareASale, for example, offers a merchant search tool which allows its users to search for brands that are relevant to them.

After you have been approved to publish, the fun part begins. You can improve your skills in affiliate marketing by working with a supportive and experienced network. This will allow you to create passive income and exponential growth for your advertisers. ShareASale strives to provide constant value and feedback to its publishers in order to help them succeed together. We hope to be your partner on this journey.

The Affiliate Marketing Publishers Guide for 2021 – All You Need To Know

12-Minute Affiliate

Did you miss our previous article…