How do Affiliate Programs Work

How do Affiliate Programs Work

You are probably interested in affiliate marketing and want to know how many advertisers are looking to create their own affiliate program.

This article will make it easy to understand. Keep reading to learn everything you need about affiliate programs.

ffiliate marketing explained

To explain affiliate marketing, I love to use an example. This is where affiliates began in the offline world. These are the pioneers in affiliate marketing.

How do Affiliate Programs Work

This example is simple.

A large inventory of irons is required to be sold by an appliance factory. They call very smart salesmen and offer them a commission for every unit sold. They give the items to the factory and sign a contract that outlines exactly how much they will receive for each unit sold. They’ll need to use all of their marketing skills to make the iron attractive so that people open the doors to buy it. Alex does not get a salary for his work. He only receives a commission from the factory for the 8 irons that he sold.

The vintage affiliate transaction has 3 parties, as shown in the following:

The AdvertiserThe PublisherThe customer

Can you identify who is who?

How do Affiliate Programs Work

The appliance’s manufacturer is the advertiser. Alex is the affiliate, and the person at the door is the customer. It’s that simple.

Let’s now look at the principle of affiliate.

What is an Affiliate Programme?

Affiliate programs are also known as associate programs. They allow e-commerce sites to pay publishers a commission for traffic, sales qualified leads, or other leads.

These websites or affiliate publishers post links within their content that direct the visitor to the merchant website and they are paid according to a specific agreement.

Affiliate agreements are typically based on how many people an affiliate sends to the brand’s e-commerce site, or whether they send people who purchase something or take other desired actions.

Affiliate marketing programs pay affiliates based on the number of conversions, a percentage of a sale, or an action.

Affiliate sites are paid according to the terms of their agreement if a link from an affiliate site brings traffic to the merchant site or makes money.

1. The Advertiser

The advertiser in affiliate marketing is, just like the example above, a brand. A brand has a product or service to sell. The advertiser creates and maintains the terms and conditions for the affiliate program.

Advertisers are open to working with skilled affiliate marketers who will promote their digital or physical products in return for a commission. An affiliate link is a link that an advertiser provides to each publisher.

Advertiser examples: eBay partner network, Amazon, Etsy, Norton, Bluehost.

2. The Publisher

Just like the pioneer, the publisher is the one who will use digital marketing to get customers interested and then buy the advertiser’s product. Bloggers, YouTubers and influencers are all possible publishers. Journal websites, as well as content creators who use affiliate marketing to monetize traffic, can also be publisher.

Publishers select affiliate offers that appeal to their audience and then they sign up for the programs. The affiliate link is sent to them and they then add the content. Some examples of publishers areWirecutterUSNewsCnet

3. The customer

The customer is simply someone who clicks on an affiliate link and purchases the product. The customer does not pay any additional cost for visiting the merchant site via an affiliate link. This commission is part of the advertising investment and is paid directly by the advertiser to the publisher.

Online affiliate marketing is made up of a fourth party, the affiliate network.

4. The affiliate network

An affiliate network allows advertisers to meet digital marketers and talented publishers who work with niche-relevant content. Publishers also find the most valuable offers from advertisers.

Affiliate programs can be managed internally. This means that the advertiser designs, creates, and manages its affiliate program, as well as the relationships with its affiliates. The brand does not need to be part of an affiliate network.

A brand can decide to partner with an affiliate network and focus on their business while a team member of affiliate experts will manage, control, and set up the program. Lemonads(r), an affiliate network, offers a comprehensive platform that allows both advertisers and publishers to track their performance in real time.

Affiliate network examples: CJ affiliate (commission junction), ShareASale, lemonads.

Let’s now look at how affiliate programs work.

What is the working principle of affiliate programs?

This idea was popularized by Amazon as an Internet marketing strategy. This is a way to get publishers to link to specific items, such as books or electric appliances. They offer a portion of the profits to anyone who clicks on the link, and then makes a purchase.

Many blogs have Amazon affiliate links. Amazon is the only company that does all the selling. They receive the order, collect the money, and ship the product directly to the customer.

Amazon is only one example. Mediakix and Business Insider report that 81% of brands use Affiliate Programs and that approximately 15% of the digital media industry’s revenues come from affiliate marketing.

What are the differences between affiliate programs?

Apart from the products, what makes a program different is the payment model, commission rate and cookie lifetime. Affiliate programs that pay high commission are more appealing to publishers, but the cookie life is also longer, which makes them more attractive to publishers.

ffiliate Program Payment models

We have already mentioned that an advertiser must first understand the purpose of their affiliate program before they can create it. The strategy’s goal will determine which type of payment model is best suited for it.

1. Pay per sale. This is the most popular affiliate marketing structure. PPS affiliate programs pay a commission to the advertiser for each sale, which corresponds to a certain percentage of the sale price.

2. Pay per lead. (PPL)

Affiliate programs that pay per lead compensate the affiliate for qualified leads. The advertiser must convince the consumer to visit their website and take the desired action. You can fill out a contact sheet, sign up for a free trial, subscribe to a newsletter or download software or files.

3. Pay per click. (PPC)

PPC affiliate programs pay affiliates for directing consumers from their marketing platform into the merchant’s site. This means that the affiliate must engage consumers to the point where they will go to the merchant’s website from the affiliate’s. Affiliates are paid according to the amount of web traffic.

Cookie lifetime

Cookies are small files that are stored on the computer of the user to help identify site visitors. Cookies are used in affiliate marketing to track affiliate referrals.

A cookie is placed on the computers of potential buyers after customers click an affiliate link. The cookie is activated when a buyer clicks on an affiliate link. This is when the cookie is placed on the browser of the buyer and he becomes the affiliate who promoted the link.

The cookie’s lifetime is determined by each advertiser. Amazon’s cookie lifetime is 24 hours. The affiliate will be paid if the referee buys within 24 hour of clicking the affiliate link.

There are many different life spans. Some programs have a cookie lifetime of 7 days, 30 or 90 days. Publishers will find affiliate programs more interesting if they have a longer cookie life. Amazon’s conversion rates are very high, which makes them appealing to publishers.


Publishers can make money online through affiliate programs. They promote the products and services offered by online merchants. There are many affiliate programs available in all niches. Website builder affiliate programs, website hosting services, financial services such as credit repair or consumer loans and meal kit affiliate programmes, dating affiliate programs are just a few of the many.

Amazon Associates is one popular affiliate program, but it is not the only one. Affiliate marketing is a strategy that can increase revenue for 80+% percent of companies. Brands can reach new audiences by working with professional publishers such as social media content creators or other professionals in publishing.

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28-Minute Affiliate