The affiliate owns a website. That affiliate could be me, you, or that weird guy next door. Seriously, it’s not that complicated to build a website suitable for the job (although marketing that website effectively is another matter, we’ll get to that later).
The website an affiliate owns contains details (or reviews) about a product sold on the advertiser’s website. It also links to the advertiser’s product page via a special link, known as an affiliate link.
The advertiser could be any business which sells a product or service online. It could be John Lewis, Amazon, a car insurance company, or even your local skateboard shop if it has an online store.
The affiliate network
The affiliate network drops a tracking cookie into the buyer’s browser when they visit an advertisers website as a result of clicking an affiliate link on the affiliate’s website. They are effectively the glue which makes affiliate marketing possible, and they’re the guys who send your payment to you.
A working example of affiliate marketing in action
As this article aims to cover affiliate marketing for beginners, here’s a little example for you. So, let’s assume John is an affiliate. He has a website which is all about skateboarding. On it, he has a blog where he shares videos of his latest stunts, pictures of the parks he’s visited, and in-depth reviews of the best and worst skateboards he’s ever used. The reviews contain a deep link to the page on the advertiser’s website where the recommended skateboards can be purchased. The key to this is that the link is not a standard link such as:
But actually, its an affiliate link, which looks something more like:
So, if a visitor to John’s site decides after reading one of the many raving reviews that they really want to buy one of these skateboards right here, right now, the affiliate will be rewarded with a commission for referring the buyer to the advertiser’s site. Result!
On the other hand, they may need longer to think about it. Perhaps they’re waiting for payday, or they’re not quite sure yet whether they prefer the blue one that they also spotted while browsing around the advertiser’s site. They may go away and come back in a couple of weeks’ time, no longer able to resist the urge to blow their wages on a better board.
The great thing is, the affiliate will still be awarded commission for this sale provided the cookie placed by the affiliate network remains in the browser.