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Difference Between Affiliate Marketing and Influencer Marketing

Over the past few years, social media has for sure boomed. This has led to new marketing tools including paid ads, new marketplaces, influencer marketing and various interaction methods through different channels including Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn, just to name a few. While this currently has a wide share in online marketing, other avenues such as affiliate marketing have also become popular, giving the world a wide array of marketing options. In this article, we will look at the difference between affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. 

Affiliate Marketing

This is a marketing strategy where brands promote products through individuals, commonly referred to as affiliates, on websites other than the brands. When consumers purchase a product or service through the leads such as clicking on a link, the affiliate receives a percentage of the sale. 

They hence act as third-party advertisers who connects businesses to the consumers and earn a commission for each successful registration, sign-up or sale. Although anyone can apply to become an affiliate marketer, individuals with engaged and large online followings benefit more from these programs. 

Benefits of affiliate marketing include: 

  • Brands only get to pay for leads that have converted to a sale 
  • It is easy to implement as it does not require much effort to set up
  • Results are easy to measure
  • It is a flexible marketing method
  • It is cost-effective as payment is only made for sales made
  • It requires a minimal initial investment 

However, affiliate marketing has a few disadvantages

  • It can ruin the reputation of a brand in instances where affiliate marketers use questionable tactics such as false advertising as well as spamming email lists
  • They are also prone to fraud through the use of fake email lists and the use of bots
  • Brands have limited control over the content produced by affiliates

Influencer Marketing

This is a marketing strategy that allows brands to collaborate with social media influencers to promote products and services. Although this is not an entirely new marketing strategy as brands have used celebrities in the past to promote products and services, social media channels such as Instagram have made it possible for other content creators to influence consumers. 

While influencers can be analysts, content creators, journalists and bloggers just to name a few, they should have a strong online presence, be able to convey strong brand affinity, build trust and credibility with their audience and have a significant social media footprint. 

Influencer marketing has become popular in the past years as it is one of the most powerful and quickest ways to get brand exposure in a short period. A successful influencer marketing collaboration should, however, create social media engagement, increase website traffic, increase the number of followers and most importantly, more lead generation to a brand. 

Advantages of influencer marketing include;

  • Brands have the ability to reach out to larger audiences in a short time
  • It can help build credibility and trust in a brand

However, disadvantages include; 

  • It can ruin a brand’s reputation if the wrong influencers are used
  • It can be difficult to track the success of a campaign without the right tools

Similarities between Affiliate marketing and Influencer marketing

  • Both are third party advertisers
  • Both base their work on online platforms

Differences between Affiliate marketing and Influencer marketing

Definition

Affiliate marketing refers to a marketing strategy where brands promote products through individuals commonly referred to as affiliates on websites other than the brands. On the other hand, influencer marketing refers to a marketing strategy that allows brands to collaborate with social media influencers to promote products and services.

Payment

While affiliate marketers are only paid a commission when a lead converts to a sale, influencers are paid through a flat rate, free product or payment per post. 

People involved

While affiliate marketers are companies, publishers and blogs, influencers are bloggers, industry leaders, celebrities and media personalities. 

Measure

Examples of methods used to measure track the effectiveness of affiliate marketing include conversion rate, Average Order Value, Customer Lifetime Value, Cost Per Acquisition, sales, subscriptions, orders and email signups. On the other hand, examples of methods used to track the effectiveness of affiliate marketing include shares, new followers, Cost Per Impression, potential reach, giveaway entries and social engagement. 

Affiliate marketing vs. Influencer marketing: Comparison Table

Summary of Affiliate marketing vs. Influencer marketing

Affiliate marketing refers to a marketing strategy where brands promote products through individuals commonly referred to as affiliates on websites other than the brands. On the other hand, influencer marketing refers to a marketing strategy that allows brands to collaborate with social media influencers to promote products and services. Despite the differences, these two online marketing strategies can propel brands to the next level. However, care should be taken as they can ruin a brand’s reputation when used by the wrong influencers or affiliate marketers.  


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References :


[0]ANUJ TANWAR. DIGITAL PAYBACK. Blue Rose Publishers, 2020. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=dJj7DwAAQBAJ&pg=PA14&dq=Difference+between+affiliate+marketing+and+influencer+marketing&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjQ8YfDgqPsAhX_DmMBHYDhBNAQ6AEwAHoECAQQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20affiliate%20marketing%20and%20influencer%20marketing&f=false

[1]ANUJ TANWAR. DIGITAL PAYBACK. Blue Rose Publishers, 2020. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=dJj7DwAAQBAJ&pg=PA14&dq=Difference+between+affiliate+marketing+and+influencer+marketing&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjQ8YfDgqPsAhX_DmMBHYDhBNAQ6AEwAHoECAQQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20affiliate%20marketing%20and%20influencer%20marketing&f=false

[2]Emiliano Giovannoni. Digital Marketing Planning. Chasefive.com, 2020. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=n3LLDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT98&dq=Difference+between+affiliate+marketing+and+influencer+marketing&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjQ8YfDgqPsAhX_DmMBHYDhBNAQ6AEwAnoECAEQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20affiliate%20marketing%20and%20influencer%20marketing&f=false

[3]Ranchordás S & Goanta C. The Regulation of Social Media Influencers. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=8SfnDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA10&dq=Difference+between+affiliate+marketing+and+influencer+marketing&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjQ8YfDgqPsAhX_DmMBHYDhBNAQ6AEwA3oECAIQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20affiliate%20marketing%20and%20influencer%20marketing&f=false

[4]Image credit: https://www.picpedia.org/handwriting/images/affiliate-marketing.jpg

[5]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/da/photos/influencers-markedsf%C3%B8ring-instagram-5215924/

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