How Is Influencer Marketing Changing The Affiliate Marketing Scene?

Contents

Influencer marketing is a method that is not going away anytime soon. As companies and brands have grasped the difficult realities of marketing to younger populations such as Generation Z, it has become evident that traditional advertising just does not cut it anymore. They’ve had to change tactics to see what works best.

Many brands are now reaching out to influencers who these younger groups trust. Influencers are changing marketing as we know it, especially affiliate marketing. However, with the rise of social media influencers who appear to operate on a “pay me, get a shoutout” basis, does this mean affiliate marketing is no longer relevant?

No, not always.

This post will look at how influencers can help your affiliate marketing plan get the boost it requires. Then, I’ll walk you through a few points to remember while working with influencers as affiliates and ambassadors of your brand.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Affiliate Marketing the Old Way

Before we get into how affiliate marketing is changing in the age of social media influencers, let’s take a look at the “traditional” style of affiliate marketing.

How Is Influencer Marketing Changing The Affiliate Marketing Scene?

The vast majority of affiliates were traditional bloggers or publishers.

Many brand affiliates were classic bloggers or media publishers who ran their own blogs to promote or review a brand before social media became such a powerful factor in our lives. Only from these types of publishers will you get to see product demos, walkthroughs, tutorials, tips and tricks for a certain product, reviews, etc.

Many affiliates would not promote just a single brand.

Because many of these bloggers and media publishers were attempting to monetize their own content, they frequently concentrated on expanding their membership in multiple affiliate programs to increase their chances of receiving affiliate commissions from a broader set of readers with varying preferences.

As a result, these content creators frequently joined all of the prominent affiliate programs—often rival brands—and did not favor one brand over another (unless the commission for the ceratin product was fatter). 

This makes it more difficult for a brand to be perceived as a “top pick” unless, again – they offer more lucrative commissions.

Affiliate Marketing in the Age of Influencers

The “traditional” approach to doing affiliate marketing is still very much alive. Many publishers make a substantial income by participating in various affiliate schemes. The challenge is that the traditional approach to affiliate marketing does not necessarily highlight the unique characteristics that influencers bring to the table, particularly for brands.

How Is Influencer Marketing Changing The Affiliate Marketing Scene?

So, how are influencers changing the affiliate marketing landscape—and why is this a positive thing? Let’s look at the significant changes. Based on mutual trust between the influencer, the brand, and the followers.

You’ve undoubtedly already heard that 92% of people trust influencers more than traditional celebrity endorsements or advertisements. That’s because if you work with the proper influencer, you’ll know they’ve built an engaged, trust-based community.

Real, high-quality influencers don’t advocate items they don’t use or trust, and their large audiences are well aware of this. As a result, influencers are among the best brand ambassadors you can have. They will support your items and recommend you more than the ordinary customer or traditional publisher since they are actual fans of your brand.

Influencers deliver testimonies, demonstrations, and calls to action all at the same time.

How Is Influencer Marketing Changing The Affiliate Marketing Scene?

In relation to the preceding point, one of the reasons influencers make such good affiliates is the manner in which they promote your brand.

Influencers are content providers. Thus, they prioritize delivering high-quality content to their followers. 

Followers of these influencers may see how items are used, how they may benefit them, and what the influencer – already regarded as a reliable source in the business – feels about the product in general.

This indicates that influencers are assisting their audiences in moving through the conventional sales funnel, from awareness to consideration and finally purchase. The difference is that they do it in a personal, authentic way that their followers trust and relate to.

How to Acquire Influencers as Affiliates?

Are you ready to start recruiting influencers as affiliates for your brand? 

How Is Influencer Marketing Changing The Affiliate Marketing Scene?

Here are four steps you should consider.

1. Make sure they aren’t already promoting your competitor.

First and foremost, ensure that these potential influencer-affiliates are not already strong supporters of your opponent. While some brands in particular industries, such as beauty and fashion, can collaborate with the same influencer, you’ll normally want your influencer affiliate to support your brand exclusively.

If you discover that a potential influencer is currently talking about your competitor, you can offer a free trial or sample of your product to see if they will make the switch.

Pay attention to how your influencer speaks about any competition. Is there a referral code or an affiliate link to these brands? If not, you may be able to offer them their first affiliate opportunity that is unique to your brand.

How Is Influencer Marketing Changing The Affiliate Marketing Scene?

Following on from this point, keep an eye out for false influencers, who typically have a large number of “ghost” followers or promote brands as if they were partnered with them.

2. Offer to launch co-branded landing pages in collaboration with the influencer.

Giving your influencer affiliates a customized landing page just for their followers is one approach to truly personalizing your experience with them. To give it an exclusive sense, build a co-branded page that mentions the influencer or their brand.

Depending on the terms of your agreement with the influencer, you can host the landing page on your website or on theirs if they have one.

3. Create “ready-to-use” content for your influencers

Conduct a thorough content audit of these potential influencer-affiliates to determine the type of media they post on their accounts. Some influencers have multiple platforms, including Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

If you spot a potential, send any relevant content type to your influencers. They’ll probably like a few “done-for-you posts” as long as they fit their feed or content style and aren’t overly branded.

Of course, allow your influencers to incorporate their own brand when discussing your product. On the other hand, having pre-made material that matches their style makes it easy to simply provide consumers with a more convenient option.

4. Consider providing a special affiliate rate.

You can offer a unique higher referral rate to certain influencers with large followings. So, if your standard referral fee for other affiliates is 30%, you can offer a higher rate, say, 35–40%, to a few significant influencers.

You should absolutely investigate several factors that may warrant a higher charge per successful referral. 

Lifetime affiliate commissions - affiliate programs

When pitching this collaboration to potential influencer-affiliates, make sure to mention the special rate that is only available to them. This shows them that you’re serious about your partnership offer and have complete trust in their web brand.

Conclusion

To be a leader in affiliate marketing, networks and agencies must understand that advertisers want more than just one-time leads or incremental revenue. They seek brand ambassadors and storytellers who can engage potential customers, exhibit vertical expertise, and increase brand loyalty to encourage long-term engagement. 

Influencers enable brands to reap all of the benefits of affiliate marketing, such as transparency and guaranteed exposure, while also adding the ability to connect with customers and strengthen brand affinity. 

Both advertisers and their affiliate networks now have the chance to embrace influencer marketing and make it as cost-effective and transparent as affiliate marketing can be in the ideal world scenario.

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Elizabeth Sramek
Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.
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