What is affiliate marketing?

What is affiliate marketing?

What is affiliate marketing? How does it work? What are the benefits? These questions are often met with confusion among digital marketers.

Which is why Bannerflow has set out to answer the most common queries surrounding affiliate marketing, as well as give you an idea on how you should be working with affiliate display advertising.    

For if it’s done right, affiliate marketing presents exciting opportunities for brands to reach consumers on a hyper-targeted level.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when a publisher (websites owner) promotes a specific advertiser’s or affiliate network’s ads in exchange for a commission on every sale or conversion that comes from that ad.

There are many ways in which affiliate marketing works. An affiliate ad can take many formats:

Affiliate ads encourage click-through in a way that ordinary display ads do not. Obvious page placement, attention-grabbing design, and enticing offers make up a large majority of affiliate display ads – contributing to their overall success.  

How does it work?

There are two ways you can begin:

The first option is to connect to an affiliate program, this will significantly reduce set-up time and costs. Make sure to do your research on the types of networks available and what they offer in terms of publishers and the percentage of sales they will take.

Some of the more popular programs include ClickBank, ShareASale, and Commission Junction.

Alternatively, you can set up your own affiliate referral URL/link program – cutting out the middleman – you just need to set up your own tracking system for the links provided for your ads to the affiliate website.

For more information on creating your own referral links, read more here.

Best practice for affiliate marketing

Once you have built the ads for different websites, simply provide the affiliates with a tracked ad link to place on their site.

Important note: It can often be difficult to get affiliates to update ads with new pricing or offers. For the most effective ads, use a creative management platform (CMP) that allows for editing in real-time after publication.

Crucially, decide how much of a percentage of your sales you’re willing to share with websites who display your ads. The higher the percentage you offer, the more sites eager to promote your product.

Make sure to check conditions for your ad placement before handing over to affiliate sites, including ad sizes, ad placement, and ad context. It’s important that the message and quality of your affiliate ads matches the rest of your brand marketing.   

The benefits of affiliate marketing

For marketers, the opportunities for affiliate marketing with display ads are considerable. Where in ordinary display advertising the focus is more on brand awareness, for affiliate marketing, the CTR rates are usually much higher so there is a clearer indicator of return-on-investment.

Aside from higher CTR and conversion rates, display advertising with affiliate has other advantages. Such as:

1. Large inventory:

Using affiliates you have a huge selection of different websites to choose from for your advertising. You can experiment with sizes and placements not always available on the ordinary display network.

2. Wide reach:

For each affiliate network, there are literally thousands of publishers to choose from. Get your product ads out in front of far more viewers for a fraction of the cost.

3. Hyper-targeted audience:

The high conversion rates of affiliate ads are due to the fact that relevant audiences almost come as standard. With thousands of publishers both small and large to pick from, you can choose to display your ads on only the most relevant of websites.

4. Immediate results:

With affiliate marketing, there’s no long delay between awareness to conversion in the funnel. Affiliate ads have high conversion rates and only cost when a viewer completes a goal. No need to try to measure the effectiveness of a brand awareness campaign – the results are right there in front of you.

5. Small budget:

With little to no start-up costs, the budget is dictated by how much you’re willing to give off each sale or goal completion. Unlike ordinary display advertising, you don’t pay for impressions, only conversions.

5 quick tips for effective affiliate ads

  1. Keep the ads simple and direct with a clear call-to-action (CTA).
  2. Page placement: make sure your ads are placed above the fold.
  3. Make sure there is consistency between your ads and your landing pages.
  4. Continually test and optimise both your ads and landing pages.
  5. Stay informed on your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and the quality of the leads that your affiliate sites are generating.
  6. The larger variety of banner sizes you produce the more affiliates websites you can reach.


Affiliate marketing isn’t always the first option for many brands, yet the opportunities for reach and sales are considerable. With relatively low start-up costs and access to millions of viewers in your target market – it should be a key strategy for your digital marketing.

Get in contact with us if you would like to learn more about how you can easily create display ads for affiliates with Bannerflow.

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