What is Affiliate Marketing in Digital Marketing? Everything to know


It is estimated that only 15 of the top 100 retailers in New Zealand utilise affiliate marketing. While the rest of the world pushes ahead with this bold digital marketing strategy, companies in this country are being left behind. So how can you get ahead of the curve?

Founder / Head of Growth
July 22, 2022
  (NZDT - GMT +12)

It is estimated that only 15 of the top 100 retailers in New Zealand utilise affiliate marketing. While the rest of the world pushes ahead with this bold digital marketing strategy, companies in this country are being left behind. So how can you get ahead of the curve?

Part of the problem is that many people do not know what affiliate marketing is or what the benefits are. Read on as we answer the question "What is affiliate marketing?"

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when a product gets promoted online by a third party. When a lead or sale occurs, they take a small percentage of the profit. You can either find marketers to promote the product for you, or you may be a marketer yourself looking for brands to promote.

What Is an Affiliate Marketer?

An affiliate marketer is a person who promotes the product, not the company using the service. Anyone can become an affiliate marketer. However, the most successful ones are websites with high amounts of traffic, social media stars or bloggers with dedicated followings.

In the past, affiliate marketers did not have to disclose that the links they promoted were affiliate links. This has now changed, and you may see statements about affiliate posts on websites and at the top of articles. Even video content has to state if it has affiliate links.

Three Types of Affiliate Marketing

While affiliate marketing can be done in a number of ways, it can be broken down into three main types. These are Unattached, Related, and Involved.

1. Unattached Affiliate Marketing
Unattached affiliate marketing is when the affiliate marketer has no connection to the product they are promoting. They're not an authority or the subject nor do they make claims about how well it serves its purpose.

2. Related Affiliate Marketing
Related affiliate marketing is when someone markets the product in a niche related to their expertise. They will have enough of a following and reputation to generate traffic, though it still may not be an exact match.

3. Involved Affiliate Marketing
Involved is when the affiliate marketer is an authority on the types of products or services being promoted. They can drive huge amounts of traffic because of this. The flip side is that they will have a reputation to uphold which may be damaged by the promotion of substandard products, so they do need to be honest.

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has a lot more advantages than disadvantages. The first major one is that it exposes you to a much broader audience. People who may have not typically bought or thought of using your product become exposed to it.

It is also a very low-cost form of advertising. If no one clicks, the affiliate marketer does not get paid. Yet your product has still been promoted.

The downsides are that it is easy to commit fraud as an affiliate marketer. Using an affiliate marketing platform that has people monitoring unscrupulous activity is one way to combat this.

Affiliate Marketing Process

One of the major benefits of affiliate marketing is that it is extremely easy to get started, both for the merchant and the marketer. It all begins with the affiliate network. This is a website where stores and their products get listed so that marketers can find them.

There are a number of affiliate marketing networks online. They can range from general ones to others designated for specific industries. Look around and see which is most suited to you.

Once a merchant has found one, they can begin uploading products. A link for these products gets created for the affiliate marketers to place on their blogs and social media. This is the referral link and once clicked, it takes the seller to the merchant's website, logging any sales made.

These websites often offer a lot more than just a product link. They may allow code for adding banners on websites and advertisements. Some very good ones even allow merchants to give sales and special offers to their affiliate marketers to share with their audience.

Who Will Market My Products?

Once you sign up, affiliate marketers will find you on the website and contact you. You can then decide if you want them to promote your service.

Influencer Marketing

Using influencers is one of the most popular forms of affiliate marketing. They are people who have a presence on social media that have built a following. This can be either as a celebrity in its own right or for dedication to a particular niche or occupation.

A brand can pay these influencers to promote their products or share affiliate links. There are multiple platforms where you can go to find influencers. You may be able to message themed directly via their social media accounts.


Bloggers are people who write about a specific topic or niche. This can also incorporate larger websites, who cover an area or genre. Including affiliate links in their content is a great way to monetize what they do.

The more traffic a blog or website has, the more likely it is to drive traffic to your product. Make sure you only work with blogs and websites that are relevant to your product. You may even be able to send the products for review or demonstration.

How Do I Track Its Effectiveness?

There are a few different metrics that can tell you how well the campaign is going. This requires an article in itself and involves looking at your overall return on investment, your ad spending, and overall revenue.

Click-through rate is a term used to describe how many clicks the referral link actually gets. You then need to cross-reference this with the number of sales being made. This can then be judged against the overall amount spent.

Getting Started

Now you can answer the question "What is affiliate marketing?" you can begin to devise a strategy. Do this in conjunction with your normal marketing strategy. Take time to find a platform and get the right affiliate marketers for your brand.

Your first stop should be Virtual Marketers. We are reimagining the way clients work with digital marketing solutions. Contact us here and let us grow the presence of your digital brand.