Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate's own marketing efforts. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as 'retailer' or 'brand'), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as 'the affiliate'), and the customer.
The market has grown in complexity to warrant a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third party vendors.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC - Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, and in some sense display advertising.
On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing fake reviews of products or services offered by a partner.
However, both are distinct forms of marketing and the main difference between them is that affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations to drive sales while referral marketing relies on trust and personal relationships to drive sales.
Affiliate marketing is frequently overlooked by advertisers.While search engines, e-mail, and website syndication capture much of the attention of online retailers, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Still, affiliates continue to play a significant role in e-retailers' marketing strategies.
Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using popular software while others use third-party services provided by intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates . Merchants can choose from two different types of affiliate management solutions: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks.
Payouts to affiliates or publishers are either made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
Related topics: Direct Marketing, Product Marketing, Product placement, Publication Marketing, Referral Marketing,Sales promotion, Service Marketing, Visual merchandising, Loyalty Marketing, Broadcasting Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Television Advertisement, Digital Marketing,Market Strategy, Marketing Effectiveness, Brand Management, Marketing Operations, Marketing Pricing, Market Segmentation, Supply Chain Management, Pricing,Brand awareness, Word of Mouth, Viral Marketing.
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