How brands are stepping up affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting a company’s products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, then earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make. More than 80% of brands have affiliate programs, so we know it’s a tactic that is becoming increasingly used to support performance marketing efforts. According to Statista, brands are predicted to spend upwards of $7 billion on affiliate marketing by the end of 2021 – and it’s only projected for bigger numbers in the coming year.
How are content creators using affiliate programs?
Creators are ideal for affiliate and influencer marketing because they’re masters of building engaged audiences and creating trustworthy content. By partnering with a creator as their affiliate, brands can benefit from both an ROI perspective and a content creation perspective.
We recommend working with a mix of macro- and micro-influencers to share affiliate links in their sponsored content. Why? Because these creator segments are likely to be motivated by affiliate offers. Plus, marketers can activate macro-influencers and micro-influencers at scale to drive meaningful ROI with a super-engaged audience.
Though brand collaborations involving only content creation are typically more fruitful, affiliate marketing is still used by creators as a supplementary way to generate revenue when sponsored partnerships aren’t as prevalent. In fact, a recent Mavrck survey concluded that 74% of our creator respondents have participated in an affiliate program. Full-time and part-time influencers have reported generating $1,000 – $2,000 per month via affiliate programs.
The best platforms for affiliate marketing
Many influencers are creating digital storefronts to drive affiliate sales, whether it’s for a brand partnership or their own products and services. Influencers are creating their own digital storefronts by leveraging social media and affiliate links shared directly in their bio or via third-party landing pages like Linktree and Linkin.bio. Instagram is even testing digital storefronts directly on select creator profiles, which is perfect for driving traffic to affiliate marketing opportunities.
With social media playing an increasingly important role in how consumers discover and purchase products, influencers are capitalizing on this trend by sharing product-focused content and directing viewers to purchase through their affiliate links.
When it comes to social platforms and their affiliate support, Instagram leads the charge with ideal functionality for this type of marketing. Stories allow all users to now integrate a link sticker to replace the swipe-up feature. Plus, Instagram is going all-in on affiliate marketing, specifically via a new affiliate feature. Currently, in beta-test-mode, Business Insider reports that “…creators earn a commission from products they link using Instagram’s shopping features.”
But Instagram isn’t the only avenue for driving affiliate revenue. Blogs, YouTube, and Pinterest are big creator favorites that have inherently friendly features for affiliate marketing opportunities. Blogs and YouTube content are indexed by search engines and are strong options for long-form content. Blogs can contain multiple affiliate links throughout, which YouTube videos can contain affiliate links in their descriptions. Pinterest’s highly visual functionality allows direct linking to affiliate product pages and landing pages.
Should brands use affiliate programs?
The short answer? Yes! It’s a low-lift way to generate more engagement and revenue, and you can reach out to your pool of existing influencer partners to start. Affiliate programs are the low-hanging fruit that adds that extra revenue driver to your overall marketing strategy.
What brands can do to incorporate affiliate programs into their influencer marketing strategy
- Run test-and-learn campaigns to identify top performers
- Create long-term partnerships to get continuous exposure to your target audience
- Invite loyalists and people who love your brand already to participate in ambassador programs
- Brief creators with your business goals and provide them with high-level strategy briefs to enable creative freedom