Cori Pivar

Associate Director, Affiliate

Affiliate Marketing Strategies: Do you Believe These 4 Common Myths?

Have you recently considered launching an affiliate marketing program? Or perhaps you’ve already launched one, but you’re looking for new ways to optimize or improve your affiliate marketing strategies. If this sounds familiar, you’re in good company. Forrester Research predicts the affiliate marketing industry to reach $4.4 billion by 2016 as companies look to expand revenue through this popular marketing medium.

But like most marketing strategies, there are a few common myths that surround affiliate marketing. For even the savviest marketers, it can be hard to tell what is fact and what is fiction. To help you get the most out of your affiliate strategies and answer the sometimes confusing question of “what is affiliate marketing?” here are a few of the top myths debunked.

Myth #1: Affiliate Marketing is a Cheap Way to Earn a Quick Buck

Many marketers believe that signing up hundreds or even thousands of affiliates will create instant, even overnight results. However, just like any other channel, even the most finely executed affiliate marketing strategies will take time to perform.

In addition, affiliate marketing is not cheap. This type of program requires a good amount of upfront resources and time as you develop the most effective affiliate and recruiting strategies to attract the right types of partners to your program.

Myth #2: The More Affiliates the Higher the Earnings

More isn’t always better when it comes to affiliate marketing. For example, having 40,000 affiliates isn’t necessarily more effective than having 400. In fact, most of the time it’s a small amount of affiliates that produce the bulk of your traffic.

Take for example a large company with 30,000 affiliates signed up for their program. If you look at their numbers closely, you might find that only 80 percent of the revenue is generated by 40 affiliates. For this reason, it’s important to focus on a group of highly effective partners, even if the group is very small.

Myth #3: Affiliate Marketing is Risk-Free

Especially since affiliate marketing weighs heavily on someone else’s work, this type of program comes with real risks. For example, you have less control compared to other marketing methods, such as a straight media buy. Potential problems can include:

  • Poor quality affiliates
  • Affiliates that generate a higher volume than your budget
  • Affiliates who misrepresent your product or services

And of course, you always have the risk of affiliates “gaming the system” through forced clicks, pop-ups or other tactics.

To minimize your risk, it’s important to review changes in performance when you notice them. We suggest that in the beginning when a company requests to become an affiliate, you should manually approve each one for an added layer of security.

Myth #4: Affiliate Marketing Programs are Only for Large Companies

While it’s true that many large companies facilitate highly successful affiliate programs, this doesn’t mean that smaller companies can’t get involved as well. To get the most from your affiliate marketing strategies, track and update poorly converting links and banners on a regular basis.

Keep careful track of affiliate program costs, and focus on going deep with your existing affiliates, versus going wide. From the start of the relationship, give each affiliate the same amount of attention and time, because it’s difficult to tell upfront who will be your next big earner.

And in the end, understanding these myths – what’s true and false – will help you understand what it takes to generate a program that benefits both the advertiser and affiliate and will help successfully grow your business.

04/25/2014 at 06:35

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