What is the Difference Between Affiliate Marketing and Influencer Marketing? You ask. Well, affiliate marketing and influencer marketing have a lot in common. Both are focused on bringing in quality traffic and converting them into sales or leads. Both types of marketers work on the same principle of providing quality content. It is promoted and syndicated through various platforms.
Changes in algorithms have seen influencers and affiliate marketers branch out. Affiliate marketers have come to realise that they cannot solely rely on search traffic. Influence marketers have come to realise that building an audience on one platform is not prudent. In this post, we will cover both forms of marketing in detail before comparing them.
We will look at:
- What is Affiliate Marketing
- What is Influencer Marketing
- What is the difference?
- Why affiliate marketing may be better
- Why influencer marketing may be better
- How to combine affiliate marketing with influencer marketing
What is Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a form of online marketing in which you earn commissions by promoting other company’s products. Affiliate marketers identify markets with the highest conversion rates and offer solutions to target specific audiences within these markets. All this is achieved without the use of expensive advertising campaigns or using any personal resources.
By promoting other company’s products, affiliate marketers get a commission for every visitor that clicks on their links and makes a purchase. It relies on cookies. Once a visitor clicks on a link, you have a set period in which purchase must be made for it to be credited to your account.
Amazon’s Affiliate program has a 24 hour cookie period, one of the lowest in the industry. They make up for this by having an extensive catalogue of products. They are also a well-oiled conversion machine.
Other programs offer 15 days, 30 days, 45 days, and so on. The price of the product that you are recommending will make all the difference. Think of it as a difference between the basket fillers that stores have next to the till and pricier products. Customers may need time to think things through. A 5 buck product may not require the same consideration. In any case, the role of the affiliate marketer is to help the buyer along their decision-making journey.
How far along the journey the buyer also comes into play. Are they ready to make the purchase? Are they convinced that this is the right product for their need? A good affiliate marketer will have content to nudge the buyer along each step of their journey.
What is Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing is the process of finding people who can help your business grow by helping you reach people who are already interested in your product or service. This works because you will approach a person and offer them some compensation for sharing their expertise with your audience.
There are two types of influencers, organic and paid. Organic means that someone has naturally earned their following or brand loyalty, and paid means a company paid them to promote their product.
We can consider influencer marketing from a business that collaborates with influencers and from that of the influencer.
Influencer marketing sees the businesses approach people they think are a good fit for their brand or a specific campaign.
Affiliate marketing sees individuals and influencers connecting with brands that they feel would fit in well with the content that they are creating. You can probably tell where the bargaining power is in each instance. The one who approaches will often be on the back foot of any negotiation.
What is the difference?
Affiliate marketing is generally considered the byproduct of influencer marketing. While neither has clear precedence, most would consider influencer marketing to be the more modern term.
In influencer marketing, there is generally some level of compensation involved in the collaboration process. While this can mean money for simply sharing your brand with their followers, it usually refers to money or giveaways for posts that are promotional in nature. Influencers are often given free products with which they test or review as part of their campaigns.
Why may affiliate marketing be better?
While influencer marketing often involves some level of compensation, affiliate marketing has no real payouts. You are paid on results. There is no pay to play. There is no back-and-forth negotiation. While many might consider influencers to wield more power when they approach, sometimes just the suggestion of collaboration can have great sway over an influencer.
Influencer marketing is more likely to come from a platform where you have built trust with your audiences. Affiliate marketing can come from any industry or platform that you are comfortable with.
Why influencer marketing may be better
Influence is based on trust. That is what the brands are buying into when they collaborate with influencers. They have an audience that will take their recommendations to heart. This will mean good conversion rates. There is a reason top influencers charge an arm and a leg for a post.
Influencer marketing allows people to take on the role of a brand ambassador. This means that they are presenting themselves as your representative. It allows you to always have someone in front of a camera or behind social media posting about your products.
That can lead to an increase in sales with an influencer’s audience, especially when posting about their opinions of your product. Since there is more credibility and authenticity involved in influencer marketing, it is better at fostering trust within a consumer base.
Working with the wrong influencer is costly for a business. It will mean paying in advance for results that you will not see. Due diligence is a must.
For earning, we will look at it from the perspective of the influencers and affiliate marketers. The top influencers will net millions for a single post. An average influencer will 100s of thousands of followers will charge upwards of a thousand for a post. If they are to be booked for 25 days of the month, that is upwards of 25k. There is no guarantee that there will be 25 bookings. Some months may see more or less than that.
Influencers that are brand ambassadors can have bigger paydays. In most cases, they receive a fixed fee. Guaranteed income is a weight off the shoulders.
If an influencer weren’t online for a while, their earnings would take a hit. That is not the case for affiliate marketers. Provided their content is ranking, earnings will continue to flow from content month after month.
Perhaps the most distinct difference between the two is that influencers are paid in advance. The payment is not dependent on results. On the contrary, affiliate marketers are paid for results. It comes down to the traffic that converts to sales.
How to combine affiliate marketing with influencer marketing
A good affiliate marketer will invariably become an influencer. Their content will build an audience (influence). Once they become an authority in their niche, people will value their recommendations. There is a linear correlation between growth in influence and earnings.
An affiliate marketer can build influence by growing social media channels, featuring on notable podcasts or publications. Some may even start their own. The more they can get their name out there, the better. Pairing earnings from influence and those from affiliate programs is the holy grail.
Influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are like mixing oil and water. Oil floats on top of the water. This is the role that influencers play. As for affiliate marketers, they will create a wave that will spill into every nook and cranny of the internet.
You may have the best influencer in the world – if your affiliate marketing strategy is floundering, you won’t see a dime of profits.