Get more from online advertising with affiliate marketing

The internet has revolutionised business in such a way that consumers now expect their favourite brands and companies to have an online presence. However, for many companies, promoting goods and services on the web is much more than simply having a website.

Finding the best route to your target market may have been a headache for companies in the past, but new and innovative ways of reaching consumers online have changed the playing field for a growing number of digital-savvy organisations.

One digital marketing approach which is providing huge benefits to businesses every day is affiliate marketing. As well as providing strong results, it can also give firms access to vital data that can be used to drive them forward and influence future campaigns. So, how does it work?

A three-pronged approach

Affiliate marketing basically involves three different types of people: the advertiser, the publisher and the consumer.

Advertisers are exactly who you would expect them to be. They are the companies which have established an online presence but now want to ensure that consumers can reach their website and, ultimately, their goods and services.

To do this, they want to advertise and are willing to ask for help from other websites, particularly those which the advertiser believes are visited by potential consumers. That’s where the publisher comes in.

Through an agreement with the advertiser, the publisher will be paid commission to promote products and services through their websites to their regular visitors. This could be achieved in a number of ways including linking to a company’s site, promoting a special phone number or even simply featuring advertisements on their webpages.

The final piece of the jigsaw is the consumer, who visits the publisher’s website and then takes an action to interact with the advertiser’s content. In marketing speak, a click or call to a phone number is described as a conversion – when marketing efforts are ‘converted’ into a lead for the company involved.

Cookies are key

The success of affiliate marketing rests with the use of cookies. While many web users will be familiar with the term nowadays, not all realise what they do.

In short, they allow web browsers on smartphones, tablets and laptops to store information on the activities that users get up to. As part of this, they can be used to ensure that web users see advertising and marketing which is tailored to their needs or interests.

One of the real benefits of cookies in affiliate marketing is the storing of data on the link or banner advert that a user clicked on, as well as the time and date of when the interaction took place. They can also track information on the advertiser, the publisher and the commission that the latter is now entitled to.

Smart advertising

Affiliate marketing therefore gives advertisers an ideal opportunity to not only boost their online presence, but also gather data which can go on to inform future marketing campaigns.

Did a certain type of advert prove more popular with consumers than others? When did the most interactions with the marketing take place? All of this and more can be found in the information gathered from such advertising, ensuring that businesses can understand the route to their prospective customers better than ever before.

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