What is Affiliate Marketing & How Does It Work?

What is Affiliate Marketing & How Does It Work?
What is Affiliate Marketing & How Does It Work?

In the current scenario, affiliate marketing is a popular tactic to drive sales; and generate significant revenue in the digital world. This is an extremely beneficial money making method to brands and affiliate marketers both. This is a new push towards less traditional marketing tactics has paid off.

Over 81% of brands and 84% of publishers are leveraging the power of affiliate marketing today. And this statistic will continue to go high as affiliate marketing spending increase every year in the United States.

We will be seeing the same growth of affiliate programs in India as well.

The best part is that affiliate marketing is a skill-based approach, anyone could learn that. This is one of those segments of the digital world that does not need any degree or formal education.

We, at The CEO Magazine, thought to come up with this post to help you understand what Affiliate Marketing is? And How Does It Work so you can gain maximum advantages. Either as an Affiliate Marketers or an Affiliate marketing Merchant.

The idea behind affiliate marketing is that you promote other people's products, often through an affiliate network. Earning a commission if people actually buy thanks to your marketing.

This is based on revenue sharing, if you have a product and want to increase your sale; you can offer some financial incentive through an affiliate program. In case, you have no product and still want to make money. Then you can promote any product that you believe contains the value; and earn a good income from it as an affiliate marketer.

So without any further ado, let's get started!

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is referred to as a channel. This is really a model that allows brands to partner with individuals or companies; to track and measure their performance and do so in a cost-effective, efficient, and scalable way.

Affiliate programs also called associate programs; they have arranged in which an online merchant web sites a commons to send them traffic. The sites post links to the merchant site and are paid as per the particular agreement. This kind of agreement is mainly based on the number of people the affiliate sends to the merchant's site or the number of people they send who purchase something or do some action.

According to Pat Flynn, "Affiliate marketing is a process of earning a commission by promoting other people's products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make." 

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Since affiliate marketing works by spreading the responsibility of product marketing and creation across parties, it maintains to leverage the abilities of different people for an effective marketing strategy while offering contributors with a share of the profit. Three different parties are involved under this affiliate marketing:

  • Seller and Product Creators

  • The Affiliate or Advertiser

  • The Consumer

Now, delve into the different relationship these three parties share to ensure your success in affiliate marketing:

Seller and Product Creators

Whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, the seller is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, such as service, makeup tutorials or household goods, etc.

Also known as the brand, the seller does not involve in the marketing directly, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing related to affiliate programs.

This is the party that makes the product or designs a service.

The Affiliate or Publisher

The affiliate, also known as a publisher can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller's product in an effective way to potential customers.

In other words, the affiliate or publisher promotes the product to persuade the consumer that is useful for them and suggest them to purchase that product. If the consumer purchases that product, the affiliate gets a portion of the revenue made.

Generally, affiliates have a specific audience, to whom they market, adhering to that audience's interests. It builds a specific niche that helps the affiliate attract visitors who will probably perform on the promotion.

With this promotion activity, an affiliate marketing business can earn a few hundred dollars in commissions each month or tens of millions of dollars.

The Consumer

The customer is the base making the affiliate system go round. Without making any sale, there are not any commissions to hand out and no revenue to be shared.

Whether the consumer knows it or not, they are the main drivers of the affiliate program. Under this process, affiliates share products with them on social media, blogs, and websites.

When a consumer purchases the product, the seller and affiliate share the revenue. Sometimes, the affiliate will be upfront with the consumer by disclosing that they get a commission for the successful sale they make. Next time, the customer may be totally oblivious to the affiliate marketing infrastructure behind their purchase.

Either way, they will not pay more than the product's actual cost through an affiliate program; the share of the profit is included in the retail price only. The consumers will finish the entire buying process and get the product as normal, unaffected by the affiliate program in which they are a vital part.

Other Important Players in the Affiliate Marketing Model

Software as Service (SaaS) Platforms

In affiliate marketing, SaaS platforms provide companies with performance tracking, reporting, and payment. Although, they do not maintain affiliate programs or offer companies with access to a network of affiliates.

These software platforms are only focused on the technological aspects of affiliate marketing. Here, brands choose either a SaaS platform or an affiliate network as their technology partner, not both. For a better insight into SaaS platforms and networks, and the kinds of companies that are full under each type.


Under this affiliate marketing mode, agencies also play a major role; they oversee and manage the day-to-day operations, and strategy of a program-on behalf of brands, including partner relationships, partner recruiting, optimization as well as activation.

These agencies work directly with affiliates and with the affiliate connections or SaaS platform that serves the technical aspects of the program.

How do Affiliate Programs Work?

For the beginners, who are not aware of affiliate marketing, they can be confused. If you are on the outside, the inner workings of affiliate marketing programs seem mysterious for you. Some marketers even think that this is a channel that you can turn on and turn offline you can with paid social or search.

No doubt, affiliate partnerships are multifaceted, this is a structure created on transparency and real relationship, no one-off transactions.

The ultimate goal of affiliate marketing is to build a win-win structure for brands as well as affiliate partners- a model that, when established in the right way and properly managed, can make a significant optional of a brand's digital revenue, with high ROAS and low CPA.

Process- How does Affiliate Marketing Works?

  • First step: Affiliate partners promote a brand's products or service on their site or YouTube channel or directly share their affiliate links on social channels.

  • Second Step: Consumer clicks on a brand's promotion, not the affiliate's site. Then the cookie is stored on the consumer's browser; here it makes it possible for the affiliate networks or SaaS platform to track the customer's progress from the affiliate's website through to the brand's shopping cart.

  • Third Step: Now, the consumer is redirected to the brand's website.

  • Fourth Step: Consumer buys a product or service from the brand

  • Fifth Step: The Network or SaaS platform then pays out a commission to the affiliate as per the rules of the brand for driving the sale.

How does affiliate marketing function?

Affiliation marketing remains a potential business lever for those affiliates who are looking for passive online revenue. In addition, an increasing number of companies want to take advantage of this profitable and cost-effective opportunity to increase their business. This technique based on pay-for-performance is indeed advantageous for both the affiliate and the advertiser. 

On the advertiser's side, the affiliation marketing campaign will increase their visibility through the advertising banners. Furthermore, there are no fees for the affiliate until a sale has been made. 

As an affiliate, if you are looking for trustworthy platforms, there is no shortage of opportunities on affiliate marketing platforms. To make your search for an affiliate campaign easier, don't hesitate to choose among the Top Affiliate Programs In 2022 with High Payout. The remuneration is usually a commission or a percentage of the sale made. 

For reference, there are 3 basic payment methods used in affiliate programs. Here they are: 

• CPC or Cost per Click: allows the advertiser to increase sales;

• CPL or Cost per Lead: intended to increase sales;

• CPA or Cost per Action: enables the advertiser to collect high quality traffics.


Affiliate marketing is a perfect option for those looking to gain control of their own income by giving their focus on performance-based revenue. Working in tandem with a seller, an experienced affiliate marketer can achieve a passive income from the comfort of their home without taking stress about producing their own product or service.

This is a proven effective way to earn expected revenue either as a parity career or as a profitable side job. However, the success of this program completely depends on the marketing skills of an affiliate.

Follow a strategic and straightforward process, involve in affiliate marketing through blogs, social media, reviews, and other platforms and get maximum advantages from the new frontier in marketing. First, understand the basics and then move to the next step.

In this affiliate marketing series, this is the first post where we talked about what affiliate marketing is and how it works. In upcoming posts, we will go deeper and explore its benefits, types of affiliate marketing, affiliate marketing in India and much.

Keep reading, implement these tips and you will be able to engage your audience, convert passive readers into active consumer, as well as increase your paycheck easily.

Planning to start your Affiliate Marketing business, check complete guidance on How to Start Affiliate Marketing in India.

Hopefully, you found this post on Affiliate Marketing helpful and interesting. For any doubt or confusion, comment below, we will be happy to hear from you.

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