Affiliate marketing has taken the influencer marketing industry by storm for an incredible partnership. Seen as a win-win for both brands and creators, affiliate marketing has become an essential part of many influencer marketing strategies.
On the creator side, influencers can provide value to their audience through discounts and promo codes on products or services. On the brand side, companies can extend their sales efforts beyond internal teams and connect with their target markets through trusted influencers.
In the age of social media, every brand is looking to rise above the competing ad noise online. With the power in the hands of consumers, making the purchase process easy and trustworthy is paramount to any marketing strategy.
Affiliate marketing presents the opportunity for brands to impact their bottom line and generate conversions for a fraction of the cost compared to alternative means of marketing. There are affiliate marketing forms outside of influencer affiliate marketing, but for the purpose of this article affiliate marketing and influencer affiliate marketing are one and the same.
What is Influencer Affiliate Marketing?
Influencer affiliate marketing is an agreement between a brand and influencer where the brand pays commission to influencers for clicks or sales generated from the influencer’s referrals through affiliate links or promo codes. Influencer affiliate marketing is often used as a bottom-of-funnel marketing strategy for brands to increase conversions on social media platforms efficiently. Both large and small businesses can incorporate affiliate programs to provide more exclusive promotions and build trust with prospective audiences.
What Is The Difference Between Influencer Marketing and Affiliate Marketing?
One of the main differences between influencer and affiliate marketing is in the types of brand goals they are used to accomplish. Influencer marketing can take a variety of forms to achieve different goals for brands like content creation, ratings and reviews, referrals, and research. While influencer marketing can be effective in bottom-of-funnel marketing, it is more often valued for its effectiveness in top-of-funnel marketing and driving awareness.
Affiliate marketing is primarily used for bottom-of-funnel marketing. For affiliate marketing to be most effective, brands should be focused on key metrics like average order value, sales volume, and site traffic.
While influencers often make good affiliates, good affiliates do not always make good influencers because they are less focused on quality content creation. Think of affiliate marketing as a tool like a hammer that helps marketers accomplish a single goal (conversions), while influencer marketing is a swiss army knife with more flexibility in the value it can provide (brand awareness, consideration, conversions, etc.).
Why You Should Consider Influencers in Your Affiliate Marketing Program
As previously mentioned, influencers can be powerful affiliates in your program. Influencers are always looking for more ways to monetize their content and many are already involved in affiliate marketing. Here are three reasons why you should consider influencers in your affiliate marketing program.
New Audiences and Channels
By engaging with influencers in an affiliate arrangement, you gain access to their audience of consumers. When finding the best influencers for your affiliate program, pay attention to their content, theme, voice, tone, and values.
If these criteria align with your own brand values, it is likely their following will be interested in the products you promote. Like catching fish in a barrel, brands can hyperfocus ads on their target audience by partnering with creators who have already established said relevant audience.
Brand Social Proof
Social media brands want you to trust them and to appear authentic. This is easier said than done when the average person encounters around 5,000 ads a day all trying to emulate the same authenticity. A core principle of Mavrck is helping brands establish Social Proof.
In marketing and advertising, social proof is the idea that what consumers say online is more trustworthy than what brands say to consumers. Affiliate marketing allows brands to access the trusted networks that influencers have created in their followings and through partnerships become a more trusted brand themselves.
A recommendation Mavrck makes to all its brand clients in their influencer content briefs is to leave room for creativity in the content creation process. Influencers are naturally creative, their creative input into content can show you new ways to promote products or more effective messaging around promotions and strategy.
Another distinct rationale is that influencers have built their audiences and know what content performs best. By allowing creative freedom, influencers as affiliates can create content around your brand and products that will engage, excite, and entice consumers to purchase.
How Do I Contact Influencers For Affiliate Marketing?
Finding the right influencers for your affiliate program is the most difficult part. You have the option to sift through different social feeds till you find one, but this could take weeks or even months just to find a handful of potential influencers.
A far better alternative would be to use Mavrck’s influencer platform where you can discover influencers based on demographic, geographic, social platform, engagement rate, cost, keywords, or even influencer audience data. Book a Mavrck Demo to learn how easy finding the right influencers can be.
Percent Influencers Earn From Affiliate Commissions
This percentage can vary depending on the product or service as well as your influencer partner and industry, but for the most part, the average is between 5 – 30%. There are alternative forms of payment like a flat rate based on each sale, however, this is less common than commission-based programs. It is more likely an influencer would be willing to join your affiliate program given a commission structure than a flat rate.
How Do Affiliate Payments Work?
When creating content, influencers are given a unique affiliate link or promo code to disseminate amongst their followers and content (Ex. MAV2022). Links and promo codes that are used by consumers are attributed to their respective influencers and tracked based on their performance.
For example, in a commission-based payment structure of 10%, an influencer could have a link in bio or promo code “MAV2022” to promote a Mavrck hat at $10. For every hat sold, that influencer would earn $1. In a flat rate payment structure using the same example with a $2 flat rate, for any hat or product sold (regardless of price), the influencer would earn $2.
Affiliate Models: Pay Per Click or Cost Per Acquisition?
Pay Per Click (PPC) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) are two different criteria of performance for affiliates based on consumer actions. These two affiliate models will assist in how you measure the success of your program. When choosing between a PPC or CPA model it is vital to consider the goals of your affiliate program.
A PPC model means affiliate performance and compensation will be based on consumer clicks typically when driving website traffic. If increased web traffic, brand awareness, or top-of-the-funnel activities align with your program goals, a PPC model will help you accomplish them.
A CPA model pays affiliates when specific actions are completed by the consumer, like purchasing or sharing a referral link. If your affiliate program aims to drive conversions at the bottom of the funnel, a CPA model may be the superior option.
What To Look For When Prospecting Influencers For Your Brand
A cornerstone of any influencer marketing or affiliate program is finding the right influencers to partner with your brand. As previously mentioned, a core goal of both influencer and affiliate marketing is to portray brand authenticity and build consumer trust. When influencers and brand values are not aligned, the content will feel inauthentic to the audience and most likely your messaging will reach the wrong consumer groups.
When brand and influencer values are aligned, the content will feel authentic and normal amongst preceding creator posts. The right influencer will know how to connect your brand and product messaging with an audience already interested in what your brand has to offer.
There are many factors that play into the potential partnership between the brand and the creator. Use the following criteria to ascertain how valuable an influencer could be to your affiliate marketing program.
- Voice – Who is this influencer and what is their story? Does this persona align with your target audience from a demographic perspective?
- Tone – What does this influencer content feel like? Is the style and theme of the content reflected in your brand image?
- Values – How do the values depicted in influencer content align with brand values? Are there distinctions between brand and influencer values that could affect content reception?
- Theme – Does the creator use themes in their content that could be relevant to your brand? How do themes like humor, entertainment, creativity, and style pair with your brand?
How To Add Influencers To Your Affiliate Marketing
The 2 most important aspects of adding influencers to your affiliate marketing program are:
- Separating influencer and affiliate strategies
- Finding a supporting technology.
As influencer marketing and affiliate marketing accomplish two different goals, they should be utilized differently. Many brands make the mistake of using affiliate marketing in pursuit of increased brand awareness and top-of-funnel marketing activities that should be reserved for influencer marketing. The reverse is true as well.
If the two strategies are not kept separate, it can have a negative impact on both, where inadequate methods are used to increase brand awareness or drive conversions. Thinking of both programs as tools for specific jobs, you would not use a screwdriver to hammer a nail and vice versa.
The best way to start adding influencers to your affiliate marketing program is to build out a robust affiliate strategy and assign team leaders to coordinate key tasks and goals. Examples of key tasks are:
- Selecting products to promote
- Creating affiliate commission and pricing strategy
- Finding a supporting technology
- Affiliate recruitment
- Managing affiliates
Affiliate marketing is almost impossible without the help of supporting technology. Because affiliate programs perform best at scale and involve a mass amount of attribution and tracking of unique links and promo codes, it cannot be done well manually and can require multiple technology partners to succeed. Rakuten and Mavrck have teamed up to help support hundreds of brands in their influencer or affiliate marketing programs and we might be able to do the same for you.
FAQ: Influencer Affiliate Marketing Common Questions
Are Affiliate and Influencer Marketing the Same Thing?
No, influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are not the same thing. While they have similarities, influencer marketing can accomplish many different goals like brand awareness, building trust, and driving conversions across the marketing funnel.
Affiliate marketing is used more exclusively to drive clicks and conversions. Influencers often make good affiliates, but affiliates don’t always make good influencers. Many times brands will include affiliate marketing as an aspect of their influencer marketing strategy, but they should not be confused or the efficacy of your marketing funnel will suffer.
How Many Followers Does an Influencer Need to Be an Affiliate?
If you are looking for an ideal range, micro-influencers with 1,000 – 100,000 followers have a high likelihood of good affiliate performance. That being said, there is no exact number of followers an influencer explicitly needs to be a good affiliate marketer.
The best way to ensure your affiliates have enough followers is to analyze the amount of followers they have paired with their engagement rate. If the follower count is within the aforementioned range and their content receives an average engagement rate above 4.5%, the influencer has strong potential to be a good affiliate.
Anyone with any amount of followers has the potential to perform well as an affiliate. Unfortunately, that potential can be difficult to manifest without a significant and established follower base. Again, with no precise science, good affiliates can come from outside this range and bad affiliates can be within it.