Why Combining Affiliate & Influencer Marketing Just Makes Sense
Affiliate marketing is the ultimate match for influencer marketing. This influencer-driven strategy is a staple for any marketer because of its high-reward potential that can be beneficial for both brands and partnering creators.
Affiliate marketing has become a strategic channel that evolved far beyond deals and discounts. It’s now a key player in driving awareness and advocacy while supporting brand goals. One of the reasons for its success is due to its customizability, which can be altered for any purpose. Because of this, affiliate marketing integrates naturally with influencer marketing, and has been steadily growing since the post-pandemic shift to ecommerce.
Since affiliate marketing is such a hot topic, we knew we had to launch a webinar to share best practices and proof points with marketers like you. Together with our partner Rakuten Advertising, we shared some helpful tips for those interested in bringing affiliate and influencer marketing strategies together. Here are the top five things we learned.
1. Affiliate marketing supports social proof.
Social proof dictates that what consumers say about brands online is more important than what brands say about themselves to consumers. Affiliate marketing is the ultimate supporter of social proof because it relies on creators and users alike to promote a product. Therefore, with a peer standing behind a product and supporting its efficacy, other shoppers are more likely to trust that it’s a worthwhile investment.
Not only is social proof ingrained into affiliate marketing, but it’s also the reason influencer marketing is so effective. Together, affiliate and influencer marketing harness social proof for the ultimate combination of trust and influence.
2. Influencer and affiliate marketing impact the entire marketing funnel.
The marriage of affiliate and influencer marketing is all-consuming and together are great strategies to drive results across the entire marketing funnel. Both strategies thrive in driving awareness, fueling interest, reminding buyers of their desire, and inspiring action. But what if brands aren’t sure if their budgets can support both?
Luckily, new and smaller businesses can still be competitive in their industry against brands with bigger budgets by partnering with nano-influencers, micro-influencers, loyalists, and referrers. Micro- and nano-influencers typically have flexible fees, are open to further collaboration, and usually have a loyal following that is highly responsive. By working with this influencer tier and utilizing strategies that go beyond a standard brand partnership, brands can get the most bang for their buck.
The results speak for themselves. During our webinar, Rakuten Advertising’s VP of Publisher Partnerships, Emili Castañeda, said that creators utilizing promo codes and affiliate links drive 3x higher converting traffic through their content. Additionally, leveraging creator content increases conversion rates by 40%.
And if brands want more? Consider adding a touchpoint to your creative brief that asks influencers to generate ratings & reviews for your brand. This seemingly small contribution has a big impact — it can increase conversion rates by 30%!
3. Influencers have greater optimization opportunities with affiliate marketing.
There are never-ending opportunities to incorporate influencers more comprehensively in affiliate marketing. Influencers are a natural fit for affiliate opportunities because they have such a close rapport with their audiences. Niche influencers especially have strong bonds not just with their followers but with other subject matter experts in their industry.
That’s not all. Influencer activation often creates an easier path to purchase due to this inherent trust element. Plus, influencers are motivated by performance, just like marketers — which means they may be keen to further monetize their partnership with a long-term opportunity, inclusion in an ambassador program, more affiliate activations, or by crafting a star rating & review for your brand.
Though influencer and affiliate marketing have been closely connected for a long time, there is always room for further optimization. And when it comes to combining these efforts, collaboration is the name of the game. Working closely across channels makes the difference in integrated campaigns that drive results.
4. Affiliate marketing works for products of all price points.
The beauty of influencer marketing and affiliate marketing is that both of these tactics can work for products at all price points! When folks love a product or service, they’re often willing to share the love — and though cost may be a factor, it’s not going to stop them from shouting their support to the digital rooftops.
This goes for both creators who are advocating through brand partnerships or ambassador programs, and loyalists and referrers who simply had a great experience and are willing to leave ratings and reviews. Either way, it’s a win for social proof.
Naturally, an affiliate program may be more lucrative for a creator when the product is at a price point that is attractive to consumers, and therefore more likely to see a sales conversion. But that doesn’t mean that niche items or big-ticket products are inherently less likely to turn an affiliate profit. The more powerful testimony, the more likely consumers are to take that step and make a purchase!
5. Affiliate marketing can be adapted for any industry.
Where there’s a product, there’s an opportunity! Affiliate and influencer marketing thrives in so many industries, but some of the most prevalent include fashion & apparel, food & beverage, consumer-packaged goods (CPG), direct-to-consumer (D2C) & ecommerce, travel, and retail.
That’s not to say that industries on this list aren’t suited for affiliate and influencer marketing. Quite the contrary! Niche industries are just a bespoke strategy away from utilizing the power of influencer marketing and affiliate marketing all in one.
If you work in an industry that is highly regulated, don’t shy away from the opportunities that affiliate and influencer marketing provide. Instead, try this: activate creators whose content you already enjoy that is authentic and can easily be applied to your brand. Then, integrate draft reviews that your legal team or compliance team can review.
Finally, work with industry experts like Rakuten Advertising and Mavrck to help you make a creative brief that outlines industry requirements ahead of time; that way, you’re not losing authenticity while also hitting regulatory requirements.
Ready to Make Affiliate & Influencer Marketing Work For Your Brand?
Merging affiliate and influencer marketing strategies can be tricky — but it doesn’t have to be, especially when you partner with experts like Rakuten Advertising and Mavrck.
With an integrated platform that can do it all, brands are taking hold of a competitive advantage provided by Rakuten Advertising and Mavrck’s experienced teams. From creator sourcing to content syndication, paid media to trackable links, and custom campaigns to streamlined processes, it’s safe to say that Rakuten and Mavrck are a match made in digital marketing heaven.
Still not sure? Here’s what Rakuten Advertising and Mavrck can do for you:
- Rakuten Advertising supports clients at any budget and has options that include self-service, support packages, and even managed services. Rakuten Advertising even tracks your entire affiliate marketing campaign from top to bottom.
- Mavrck helps enterprise brands optimize, scale, and consolidate their influencer marketing programs with a broad influencer index embedded into our platform. Our bespoke platform helps you experiment with your strategies and strategize on what’s next.
- Combine your Rakuten Advertising services with Mavrck for a full affiliate and influencer package!
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