What is affiliate marketing? Find out its meaning and definition and how marketers and business owners use affiliate marketing to increase sales. Do you need help setting up a successful affiliate marketing program? contact us 🙂



Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing technique that encourages affiliates to promote an advertiser/vendor’s products in exchange for a monetary commission. Equally used both in business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B), the whole process is tracked, managed and optimised generally by an Affiliate network/platform.

Who is the vendor (aka the advertiser) in the affiliate marketing relationship?

A vendor/advertiser/merchant is any business, company or organisation who are looking for other individuals, companies or organisations to help them promote their products and services and are happy to pay a monetary incentive (commission) for quality leads that convert into sales.

In the world of affiliate marketing, an advertiser or vendor can be a company selling a product like electronics, airline tickets, clothing or car parts, or an advertiser could also be an insurance company selling policies. You are a vendor/advertiser if you are ready to pay other people to help you sell and promote your business.

Through an Affiliate Program, a vendor/advertiser contractually agrees to work with an affiliate, then provide the affiliate with creative – in the form of links, banner or text ads or even unique phone numbers – that the affiliate can incorporate into their digital platforms: website, blog, social media posts. etc.


An affiliate can be anyone who has a strong desire and hopefully an affinity to promote and encourage other people to buy and use a specific product or service. Successful affiliates generally are great content producers who know the best way to promote a vendor/advertiser’s product or service in exchange for earning a commission. An affiliate can be:

In order for a successful affiliate to earn great commissions from a vendor, an affiliate should:


Affiliate programs can be easily run by affiliate platforms that manage, optimise and make affiliate payments on the vendor’s behalf. The vendor will pay a management fee to the platform and pay a flat dollar amount or a percentage of the total sale to affiliates.

To make affiliate programs work more effectively, vendors can also offer exclusive promo codes (discount codes) to affiliates so they, in turn, promote these offers and deals in their own websites, apps or platforms so it is easier for affiliates to earn commissions as a final user has an incentive to click on a specific vendor’s offer.

Affiliate networks are cloud-based software platforms that allow a vendor/advertiser to connect to relevant affiliates and manage all the processes of generating trackable links, managing first-party cookies ( read below what a cookie is) and offering creative and payments.

This way, an affiliate network or referral software is a platform that serves as an intermediary between an affiliate and vendor/advertiser.

Check out some of these best Affiliate Marketing software and start generating affiliate sales for your business.

Who is the user/consumer?

The final component that completes the affiliate relationship is the consumer.

The user or consumer is the  (either by clicking a link or by submitting their information via a form) that takes them from the publisher’s website to the advertiser’s to complete the action, which is normally called: “a conversion”.

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a technology that works with web browsers to store information like user preferences, login or registration information and shopping cart contents. Have you ever opted-in to have a website “remember” your password and username for one of your online accounts? That’s a cookie. Ever notice while searching the web for “travel deals” and you suddenly start seeing travel display banners on other websites? Those ads are appearing for you because you’ve been “cookied“.

A Cookie remembers the link or ad the visitor to a website clicks on. Cookies can also store the date and time of the click, they can even be used to remember what kind of websites or content you like most. There are many different types of web cookies and uses, but the kind of cookie affiliate marketing relies on is called a first-party cookie.

When a user clicks on an affiliate link ( ie. text link, banner ad, etc) the visitor’s browser receives the specific affiliate network tracking cookie that identifies the advertiser, the affiliate, the specific creative and commission amount. This data is stored within the link information in what are called “parameters” and can include even more anonymous data used for attribution.

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