Why affiliates are considered genuine internet influencers | Intelligence | Turn on the microphone

If not the essence of influencer marketing, then what is having others market your product or service for you? Here, we explore the intimate relationships between influencers and affiliates, how they differ, how they overlap, and where they’re headed in the future.

How are influencers and affiliates different?

As discussed in other articles on The Drum, influencer marketing can be about the idea of ​​having someone tell your brand’s story for you. This is the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth and is not always directly related to a specific traffic or sales KPI, although it is preferred.

Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, can be defined as an advertising model that uses publishers on a commission basis to generate sales, leads or traffic.

In other words, affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are related in a similar way as marketing and sales; both are designed to generate income, although one is purely transactional and the other is transactional as a byproduct of relationship psychology. As I discussed in an interview for Insivia, the line between influencers and affiliates is blurring.

Let’s explore how they are more alike than different.

Affiliates are a cross-channel concept, similar to influencers

On marketplace platforms like Amazon, there is little distinction between affiliates and influencers. In fact, Amazon’s current affiliate strategy represents a significant shift away from website affiliates based on data flow and toward content creators who can provide a personalized experience for specific products. Based on the latest change, it’s easy to see that Amazon’s adoption of Vine Voices shows that their internally vetted affiliates who create impactful videos and reviews will be given more weight than the unvetted reviews that cover the platform.

In the realm of organic SEO, affiliate links with bloggers that involve direct or indirect monetary exchange once again blur the lines between influencer and affiliate. In this example, the link itself can be considered the main affiliate aspect of the link, while the content surrounding the link acts as an influence or selling point to the audience, driving them to click the link.

The change we’re seeing in the Amazon marketplace is also reflected in the blogosphere. The decades-old method of providing simple affiliate links as compensation is embedded in content is now being replaced by the influencer blogger’s personal experience requirement, providing a link for context when describing their experience. Google’s recent inclusion of ‘experience’ in EEAT helps drive home this change, as a writer’s personal experience is now more important than ever, regardless of general subject matter expertise.

Even on traditional social media channels like YouTube, what started as simple affiliate links in a video’s description to add modest ad share revenue has evolved into an influencer channel owner providing unique experiences with a product or service within the video itself. personalized coupon codes.

Within YouTube, the credibility of channel owner monetization by audience has grown because the product is often hyper-related to the subject of the video. In addition, the audience is presented with a personalized coupon or link related to the contextual content they just consumed, tying the impact to the affiliate transaction.

A great example of this is from one of my favorite YouTube channels, Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur. Near the end of each episode, Isaac will touch on one of the key concepts covered by the video’s partner sponsor, such as Curiosity Stream or Skillshare, with a specific value proposition to viewers.

What does the future hold for participating affiliates as influencers?

I can foresee a future where both affiliate and influencer channels continue to evolve and merge, especially with the forces of recession. It won’t be enough for brands to commit to high-impact budgets without specific KPIs that help expand a sales funnel beyond high-level awareness and branding.

Similarly, jaded Internet demographics that increasingly display ad blindness will continue to make non-contextual affiliate links less effective. Only by combining the influencer’s product story with affiliate monetization can both concepts flourish. My guess is that this will happen with a mixed monetization that takes into account guaranteed payment for creative content and performance income related to affiliate activity.

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