FAQ: Affiliate and Influencer Marketing
Within the last few years, the affiliate space has grown to include influencer marketing, an extremely effective component of affiliate strategy. Though influencer marketing can earn an average of $7 for every $1 spent, its relatively new status to the digital marketing world makes the rules and boundaries of the field mostly undefined.
A frequently asked question I receive is “What is the difference between social, affiliate, and influencer marketing for brands?” Social media for brands is when they utilize their own brand’s social media accounts to market themselves to their audience. All marketing content is promoted, and in the case of social media strategy, it’s directly promoted from the brand’s owned social media accounts.
On the other hand, influencer marketing is when a brand creates a partnership with an individual and pays the individual to create unique content to market their products/services, with all marketing for the brand existing on that individual’s page. In that way, the brand is tapping into an entirely new audience by being promoted to the influencer’s niche following. In short, influencer is not the actual brand doing the marketing, but a paid partnership with an influencer to drive brand awareness and conversions.
At Rise, we define an affiliate as a publisher who receives a commission for driving a sale by marketing a brand. Affiliates are incentivized by commission rates to post content and many affiliates use their commissions to promote the content across their social platforms. Therefore, affiliate payout is retroactive and whereas influencer payout is often a flat fee advanced. We define an influencer as someone who receives a determined flat fee to post content to drive a sale. Influencers are contractually obligated to negotiated, predetermined content. With the introduction of hybrid payout models, such as ‘flat fee + commission’, affiliate and influencer quickly blend into each other.
While there are significant differences between affiliate and influencer marketing, brands and publishers have started to combine the two models seamlessly into one channel. The line is blurry but both channels have the same goal of working as a partnership for a brand. Rise encourages a strategy for all clients that implements both influencer and affiliate, and we work to break out budgets designed to achieve each client’s individual goals.
“What KPIs are used to measure affiliate and influencer campaigns?” This question actually brings up another difference between the two models. Influencer marketing defined measurements consist of social engagement rates, such as likes, follows, and shares, in addition to comments, hashtags, story swipes, and CPMs. Affiliate, however, consists of CPA, CPL, conversion rate, AOV, and ROAS.
Stay tuned for more of our perspective on Affiliate, including a deep-dive into its changing role in the media world and the impact on brands. Looking to integrate affiliate marketing into your strategy? Contact Rise.