What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate Marketing May 10, 2024

Affiliate marketing is a marketing model in which companies (or creators) pay affiliates (also called partners or publishers) to promote the company's products. Companies use affiliate marketing to get their products or services in front of a larger audience..

Affiliates receive payouts on every sale they make on behalf of the company. Affiliate commissions can be a flat rate or a percentage of every sale. 

Affiliates can be bloggers, influencers, and content creators, but they can also be anyone who likes your products and has an audience to promote them to. Common affiliate marketing channels include:

  • Social media posts
  • Podcasts and YouTube channels
  • SEO content
  • Email marketing
  • Direct referrals

Types of Affiliate Marketing:

Pay-Per-Sale (PPS):

In PPS affiliate marketing, the affiliate earns a commission when a sale is made through their referral link.

Example: Sarah is a fashion blogger who promotes trendy clothing brands on her website. She includes affiliate links to specific products, and when her readers make a purchase through those links, she earns a percentage of the sale as a commission.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC):

With PPC affiliate marketing, affiliates earn a commission based on the number of clicks generated from their referral links, regardless of whether a sale is made.

Example: John runs a tech review website. He includes affiliate links to various gadgets and electronics. Every time a visitor clicks on those links and lands on the merchant's website, John earns a small commission, regardless of whether they make a purchase.

Pay-Per-Lead (PPL):

PPL affiliate marketing involves earning a commission when a referred visitor takes a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter or filling out a contact form.

Example: Emily promotes online courses on her blog. She partners with an educational platform and includes affiliate links for free trial sign-ups. For every visitor who signs up for a trial through her link, Emily earns a commission.

How Affiliate Marketing Works:

Affiliate marketing operates on a simple premise: a collaborative effort between merchants and affiliates to drive sales or traffic to the merchant's website. Let's break down how it works with a practical example:

Example: Sarah's Jewelry Blog

Sarah is passionate about jewelry and runs a popular blog where she shares fashion tips and trends. She decides to monetize her blog through affiliate marketing by partnering with jewelry retailers.

Affiliate Enrollment:

Sarah signs up for an affiliate program offered by a well-known jewelry retailer. Upon approval, she gains access to a dashboard with promotional materials and unique tracking links.

Receipt of Unique Tracking Links:

In her affiliate dashboard, Sarah generates unique tracking links for specific jewelry pieces she wants to promote. These links contain a special code that identifies Sarah as the referrer.


Sarah integrates these tracking links seamlessly into her blog posts, recommending her favorite jewelry pieces to her audience. She also shares them on her social media accounts and includes them in her email newsletter.

Visitor Interaction:

One of Sarah's blog readers, Emily, is intrigued by a necklace Sarah recommended and clicks on the affiliate link embedded in the blog post.


Emily is directed to the jewelry retailer's website through Sarah's affiliate link. Impressed by the necklace, Emily decides to make a purchase. She adds the necklace to her cart and completes the transaction.

Commission Payout:

The jewelry retailer's system recognizes Sarah's unique affiliate code in the transaction. As a result, Sarah earns a commission on the sale of the necklace, which is credited to her affiliate account.

In this example, Sarah leverages affiliate marketing to monetize her passion for jewelry blogging.

By partnering with a jewelry retailer and promoting their products through her blog and other channels, she earns commissions for driving sales to the merchant's website.

This symbiotic relationship benefits both parties: the merchant gains increased exposure and sales through Sarah's promotional efforts, while Sarah earns a passive income stream by monetizing her content.

Affiliate marketing offers a lucrative opportunity for both merchants and affiliates to generate revenue. By understanding its types and mechanisms, individuals and businesses can harness its power to drive sales and expand their online presence. Whether you're a blogger, social media influencer, or website owner, affiliate marketing presents a viable avenue to monetize your online content.

So, if you're looking to monetize your online presence or boost your sales, consider exploring the world of affiliate marketing—it might just be the game-changer you've been searching for!