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How Affiliate Networks Work and Benefit Advertisers and Publishers

Stay ahead with instant insights and detailed analytics to optimize your affiliate performance effortlessly.

Waking up with the chickens, logging onto the computer, and spending an entire day performing repetitive tasks while sifting through endless emails can feel incredibly monotonous. But what if there was a better way to earn a living?

Rather than enduring the daily grind solely to earn enough to make it through the month, imagine the possibility of making more money whenever and wherever you please - even while you're asleep. That's the magic of affiliate networks.

In 2023, the affiliate marketing industry reached an impressive valuation of $17 billion worldwide. With an increasing number of businesses adopting affiliate marketing strategies to advertise their products and services, the industry is expanding at an unprecedented pace. Consequently, affiliate networks are adapting and improving their services to meet the growing demand and changing market dynamics.

And while it is possible to work directly with affiliates, it can be time-consuming and require the integration of specific software to track and monitor campaigns and publishers. Working with affiliate networks eliminates much of this hassle, which is why it is the preferred method for 83% of advertisers.

What is an affiliate network?

Affiliate networks have emerged as a popular online marketing strategy that can drive sales and generate significant revenue. This approach is advantageous for both businesses and affiliate marketers, and recent industry reports indicate that it is experiencing growth. According to one survey, 70% of advertisers intend to increase their affiliate marketing expenditure in the coming years.

In an affiliate network, marketers receive a commission for promoting another company's or person's products. They earn a share of the profit from each sale they make, and their leads and sales are tracked through unique affiliate links that direct prospects from one website to another.

How do affiliate networks work?

For an affiliate marketing network to operate effectively, advertisers and publishers must first sign up for the network. Advertisers can add their programs to the network once they are accepted, and publishers then have access to a vast range of affiliate programs and promotional materials.

Publishers are given the option to apply to any program they desire to promote. Once approved by the advertiser, publishers gain access to promotional texts or creatives that can be utilized across various platforms, including social media, email, or websites.

After registering with the affiliate network, publishers are given a distinct publisher ID, which is used to track their program's sales. They can integrate affiliate links into their promotional materials, and once a customer clicks on the link, they are redirected to the advertiser's website to complete the transaction. The affiliate network tracks the ID to assign the sale to the publisher. Both publishers and advertisers can access their dashboards on the affiliate marketing network's platform to manage and analyze their programs at any time.

Expert management and consultation are available through affiliate networks like TheAffiliatePlatform, providing support to both advertisers and publishers to cultivate and enhance each affiliate program.

The success of an affiliate network relies on the harmonious cooperation of three parties:

  • The seller or product creator
  • The advertiser or affiliate
  • The customer

To gain a deeper understanding of how affiliate networks operate, it's important to explore the intricate relationship between these three parties.

Seller or product creators

The seller, who can be a large enterprise or a solo entrepreneur, is a product creator, vendor, retailer, or merchant with a product to promote. The product could be anything tangible, such as electronics and household goods, or a service, such as a gym application or meditation classes.

The seller also referred to as the brand, doesn't necessarily have to be actively involved in the affiliate network but can profit from the overall revenue share by being an advertiser. For example, a digital marketing company that recently began offering Shopify development services might want to attract new customers by paying affiliate websites to showcase or market their latest offerings.

The affiliate or advertiser

Also known as the publisher, the affiliate can be a company or an individual who markets the seller's products and services in an appealing way to potential customers. In other words, the affiliate persuades potential customers that the products are valuable. If the prospect purchases the product, the affiliate earns a percentage of the profit made.

Affiliates usually target a specific audience and cater to the interests of that audience. This creates a personal brand or a defined niche that helps affiliates attract prospects who are more likely to complete a conversion action. For example, popular figures can make a fortune through affiliate marketing by advertising numerous brands on their social media pages.

The customer

To fully comprehend how affiliate networks operate, it's important to consider the consumer's role. Why? Because, whether they know it or not, consumers are the primary drivers of the affiliate network. Affiliates share products with them on websites, social media, and blogs.

When consumers purchase products, the seller and the advertiser or affiliate share the profits. Sometimes, affiliates are upfront with their audience, disclosing to consumers that they receive commissions for the sales they make. However, consumers are usually unaware of the affiliate network infrastructure behind their purchases.

In either case, consumers rarely pay more for products they purchase through affiliate marketing, as the overall retail price already includes the affiliate's share of the profit. Consumers complete the buying process and receive the product as they normally would, without being affected by the affiliate network's structure in which they play a significant role.

How are affiliate marketing networks superior to direct affiliate marketing?

One of the most efficient ways to promote products is through affiliate marketing. However, when it comes to choosing between a direct affiliate marketing strategy and an affiliate marketing network, the latter provides many more benefits. With direct affiliate marketing, an advertiser is responsible for seeking and approaching publishers to promote their products. This process is much simpler and more secure with an affiliate network. Here are some of the benefits of using an affiliate network:

1. Managed affiliate solution

Running an affiliate program can be complicated due to several factors, but an affiliate marketing network simplifies the process by providing account management, technology, and end-to-end tracking. The network also handles commission payments and offers reporting options to make monitoring and tweaking easier.

2. Effective use of your advertising budget

Unlike other advertising methods that demand a predetermined fee with no guarantee of results, affiliate networks only charge commissions when a sale is generated. This enables businesses to optimize their advertising expenses and only pay for marketing efforts that drive conversions.

3. Your products are only promoted by trustworthy publishers

The affiliate network will ensure that your products are only promoted by suitable publishers that have been approved through the network's approval process.

4 Sales tracking all in one place

Affiliate networks provide you with a comprehensive dashboard that allows you to track impressions, clicks, conversions, sales, and revenue, making it easier to optimize your affiliate marketing efforts.

5. Compliance monitoring is part of the service

Affiliate networks are equipped with extensive expertise in identifying fraudulent activities and taking measures to prevent unethical practices. They implement strict guidelines and protocols to prevent such activities and promote transparency in the network. This not only safeguards the interests of the advertisers and publishers but also ensures a secure and trustworthy environment for all parties involved.

6. Collaboration with social influencers

Collaborating with affiliate marketing networks provides the opportunity to leverage the reach and influence of various social media personalities, ultimately amplifying your brand's visibility and potentially expanding the partnership options within the affiliate marketing sphere.

7. Provides rapid ROI

Measuring the return on investment (ROI) for your marketing campaigns is critical, and an affiliate network can offer a fast and efficient way to achieve this. By leveraging the benefits of an affiliate network, you can expect to see a timely and positive impact on your marketing ROI.

8. Decreased Staff Overhead

When you join an affiliate network, you'll be assigned an experienced and dedicated account manager who will oversee your program, handle day-to-day program management, and assist you as needed, depending on the level of service. The affiliate network manages your tracking and payment systems, while your publishers promote your product. Additionally, expert support teams are available to assist with any technical issues. With this team in place, you can reduce the in-house support needed to manage a direct affiliate program.

9. Increased Brand Awareness

Every visitor that a publisher sends to your e-commerce site creates an opportunity to establish a new relationship. Affiliate networks like TheAffiliatePlatform have a vast global reach with publishers worldwide, allowing you to expand your brand across multiple markets and a wide area. By having publishers promote your products, you can increase brand exposure to previously untapped audiences and new markets.

Using affiliate networks makes it easy to maintain your brand identity by allowing you to upload your logos and creative materials that are associated with your brand for your publishers to use. This ensures consistency in your brand messaging. You can also share your brand guidelines with publishers to ensure that your brand, logo, and representation are accurately portrayed.

10. Proven Success

Despite claims from some in the digital industry that affiliate marketing is dying, 81% of brands continue to adopt it, making it a channel that's still growing in popularity. The industry remains strong, with an annual estimated growth rate of 10%. With more than two decades of solid data, it is evident that affiliate marketing through a dedicated network is a profitable and reliable endeavor.

Final Words

Undoubtedly, affiliate networks like TheAffiliatePlatform offer a highly effective platform for advertisers to connect with authorized publishers to promote their products. Moreover, they provide an organized and straightforward business model for managing campaigns with ease and convenience. Utilizing a global affiliate network is similar to outsourcing work to freelancers or contractors, which enables you to leverage a vast pool of skilled professionals without the need for in-house staff.

In addition, affiliate marketing networks establish a communication channel based on trust, which enables the formation of partnerships and lasting relationships. This trust-based approach is essential to the rapidity of sales and returns on investment, making affiliate marketing a unique selling point and distinguishing it from other marketing channels.

While you’re here, you may want to learn more about…

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21 Best WordPress Themes For Affiliate Marketers

Powered by, TheAffiliatePlatform is a comprehensive software solution that allows for multi-brand campaign creation and tracking while keeping each brand's affiliate registrations and access separate.

With this affiliate system tailor-made for online casinos and sports betting, you can build strong partner relationships and expand your affiliate network on your terms. Its flexible tools can also help you optimize your affiliate marketing spending with surprising efficiency.

This white-label platform is designed specifically for casino, poker, sportsbook, and fintech operators.

In addition, TheAffiliatePlatform offers the following features and benefits:

  • Collaboration With Partners — Dedicated Account Manager is part of the service via any of the instant messaging apps (Slack, Skype, Teams) and Jira.

  • Convenient Pricing — We don't charge by your results, clicks, or conversion — one price for all.

  • Ease of Use — Allows your team total control over your entire affiliate operation, including overseeing your team of affiliate managers, affiliate management, real-time reporting, payments, and comprehensive BI reporting.

  • Total Control In One Customizable Platform — Tap into the power of a fully customizable affiliate management solution designed to manage your affiliate marketing campaigns, payouts, creative assets, and more. Upload, update, and manage all your creatives across your entire affiliate network.

  • Track Everything In One Place, Build The Partnership You Want — TheAffiliatePlatform can make your next campaign the most successful one yet. It is a powerful affiliate software platform bringing casino and betting operators advanced solutions for creating, running, and tracking multi-brand affiliate marketing campaigns.

  • Comprehensive Feature-Rich Tracking — TheAffiliatePlatform provides real-time and accurate conversion tracking and records via API integration, FTP solutions, traffic sources, and media placements. It also features broadly advanced no cookie dependencies methods like Server 2 Server (S2S/Postback), Image pixel, iFrame, Client JS Block and Facebook pixel, which are ideal for advanced affiliate marketers.

  • Multi-Product & Multi-Brand System — TheAffiliatePlatform allows for multi-brand campaign creation and tracking and keeps the affiliate registrations and access separate for each brand. Different commission plans can be assigned per product and brand. Unite your iGaming brands into one affiliate program and manage them from one admin panel.

TheAffiliatePlatform offers many more tools, and, driven by customer requests, new features, and functionalities are released every month. To book your free in-depth demo, please click the "Request a demo" button at the top of the page.

TheAffiliatePlatform team wishes you the best of luck on your journey as an affiliate marketer!

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