What is Affiliate Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide

Unlock the secrets of affiliate marketing: a comprehensive beginner's guide to definition & explanation

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. It is a form of online marketing, where you can earn a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.

Understanding the Basics of Affiliate Marketing

The Key Players

In affiliate marketing, there are three key players:

  1. The Merchant: Also known as the seller, brand, retailer, or vendor. This is the party that creates the product.
  2. The Affiliate: Also known as the publisher. This party could be an individual or a company that markets the merchant’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers.
  3. The Consumer: The final player in the process. Without sales, there aren’t any commissions to hand out and no revenue to be shared.

The Affiliate Marketing Cycle

Affiliate marketing involves a simple cycle:

  1. The affiliate finds a product they are passionate about and promotes it to consumers.
  2. The consumer purchases the product via the affiliate’s marketing strategies.
  3. The affiliate receives a commission for the sales made.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing works by spreading the responsibilities of product marketing and creation across parties. This manages to leverage the abilities of a variety of individuals for a more effective marketing strategy while providing contributors with a share of the profit.

Tracking Affiliate Marketing Activities

To track the progress of affiliate marketing activities, most merchants provide a unique link or affiliate code to their affiliates. This link or code is used to keep track of the traffic that is sent to the merchant’s site. If a visitor clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the affiliate software records that transaction and attributes it to the correct affiliate.

Why Use Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing can be beneficial for both merchants and affiliates. For merchants, it’s a way to reach a wider audience, which can increase sales. For affiliates, it’s an opportunity to earn income, sometimes passively, by promoting products they believe in or feel passionate about.


Affiliate marketing is a powerful and effective marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes and industries. It offers a unique way to monetize a website or blog and can be a great source of income for individuals. Understanding the basics of affiliate marketing and how it works is the first step towards making the most of this online business opportunity.


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