Browse Definitions:
Definition

affiliate marketing

Contributor(s): Corinne Bernstein

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy in which one company pays another for referred business. The main goal of affiliate marketing is for website owners to reach new markets.

This technique, used commonly in online marketing, involves revenue-sharing between website owners (i.e., online publishers or salespeople) and advertisers or merchants. In exchange for a share of the profits, the website owner places advertisements on the site either to help sell the merchant's products or to send potential customers to the merchant's website. Compensation is usually based on sales, clicks, registrations or a combination of these and other factors.

Affiliate marketing relies on first-party cookies that “remember” the link or ad on which a visitor to the site clicks, the time and date of the click, and what types of sites or content interest users. With affiliate marketing, no sales promotion is required.

Content quality is crucial in affiliate marketing. Using search engine optimization and researching the proper use of keywords can help convert website traffic to purchases and should be part of an affiliate marketing strategy. Additionally, affiliates need to continue posting fresh content to hold viewers’ attention.

Affiliate marketing takes a great deal of time and effort to establish. Choosing a popular, lucrative niche and fostering the right relationships is crucial. Although merchants can put their ads on many different websites -- some experts say more websites mean more exposure for merchants -- others maintain that when it comes to the number of partnerships, quality is more important than quantity.

A potential challenge can occur if an affiliate uses unsavory tactics to attract customers to a website or the site contains material that some might consider objectionable. Researching partners beforehand can help avoid this and other problems between partners such as an affiliate refusing to pay or moving or changing its site. Each party involved should try to ensure that the relationship is mutually beneficial.

Terms related to affiliate marketing include affiliate software, which companies use to create an affiliate program for their offerings; affiliate links, which track the progress of these programs; and affiliate ID, which is similar to an affiliate link and is used by some companies to track the progress of an affiliate program. 

This was last updated in June 2017

Continue Reading About affiliate marketing

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

How do you use affiliate marketing to expand your market reach?
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • audit program (audit plan)

    An audit program, also called an audit plan, is an action plan that documents what procedures an auditor will follow to validate ...

SearchSecurity

  • insider threat

    Insider threat is a generic term for a threat to an organization's security or data that comes from within.

  • ransomware

    Ransomware is a subset of malware in which the data on a victim's computer is locked, typically by encryption, and payment is ...

  • hacker

    A hacker is an individual who uses computer, networking or other skills to overcome a technical problem.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • 3D XPoint

    3D XPoint is memory storage technology jointly developed by Intel and Micron Technology Inc.

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close