affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Last updated on: 2023


Affiliate marketing has become a lucrative strategy for many beauty brands in the last few years, but many of us are still confused as to how exactly this strategy works and the major differences between affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. So today…

Let’s get affiliated with affiliate marketing!

affiliate marketing

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Affiliate Marketing is…

…a performance-based marketing strategy where brands pay affiliates a commission for promoting their products or services and driving sales or leads to their websites. These affiliates are typically independent companies or individuals, but some influencers have leveraged their relationships with brands and have become affiliates. This strategy is proven to provide a potentially less costly alternative with more return on investment to pure influencer marketing.

Big affiliate commerce companies like Amazon Associates, ShareASale, LTK, and ShopMy are the key players in fashion and beauty, and the Amazon Associate Program has 43% of the marketing share. These companies allow individuals to select their vertical, find relevant products to promote, and start generating links for their consumers to follow to unite them with a brand.

The New Top Strategy

The height of the pandemic brought major growth to affiliate marketing and, more generally, e-commerce. Glossy reports that more than 50% of affiliate marketing programs increased their revenue during the initial lockdown. The global industry is now worth over $17 billion and is a top revenue source for 31% of publishers as of February.

Even after the lockdown, affiliate marketing seems to still be a successful strategy. M.M.LaFleur reported in 2022 that affiliate marketing generated 13% of the brand’s revenue. Jennifer Bett Communications found that one client’s affiliate revenue saw a 134% increase between Q4 2021 and Q4 2022. In another instance, one of the agency’s clients exceeded $150,000, in total affiliate revenue.

Isn’t This Influencer Marketing?

Of course, influencers could be affiliates for brands, but the focuses of these respective strategies differ greatly. Brands would measure top-line growth and customers acquired by affiliates, whereas influencers are mostly focused on building brand awareness.

But each customer’s path to a brand is unique, and affiliate links couldn’t capture all the sales an influencer potentially drives. There are benefits to both strategies, but it’s important for brands to consider what they can afford when weighing their options. It may be best to start with creating strong relationships with influencers on social media that could eventually become affiliate partnerships. This would allow brands to not only collaborate with powerful and knowledgable influencers, but also foster a dedicated consumer base in these influencers’ followings.

Do you plan on incorporating affiliate marketing into your brand’s strategy? Let us know in the comments below!

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