Affiliate Marketing: How Does It Work?

First of all, what exactly is affiliate marketing, and why is there so much fuss about it lately? Everybody seems to talk about it as one of the most remunerative ways to make money online, and without having to invest a fortune. In this article, I’d like to share my experience to clarify some key points, which may be interesting for someone that wants to enter this market.

The Structure and Core Business

Affiliate marketing, in very few words, consists of an agreement between a brand, a network, and a publisher. The brand creates products that are sold in a particular structure (aka eCommerce platform). The publisher advertises the brand’s products through his channels (e.g., blog, social media). You could read more about this on

When someone visiting the publisher’s website, blog, or social pages, is interested in a product advertised and clicks on it, it is redirected to the eCommerce platform where the product can be bought. If the customer buys the product through the publisher’s website, the publisher gets a small percentage from the eCommerce platform or directly from the brand/company that produces/markets it.

Best Ways to Advertise Affiliate Links

Advertising can be done in many different ways. For example, the publisher can decide to write a blog post about a specific type of product, let’s say, Bluetooth speakers. The article can be informative, explaining the advantages and features of the latest speakers on the market. This article will contain one or more links (text or image) that will point to products available for purchase on an eCommerce platform.

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are great channels for affiliate marketing. All I need is a high number of followers. Most e-commerce platforms provide specific links that I can directly copy and paste into my posts.

On another website, I decided to place small, non-intrusive banners on the side of the articles and pages. Some of the banners are dynamic, which means that they are automatically updated by the eCommerce network whenever there are new products or offers.

Best Affiliate Marketing Business Sectors

The commissions are higher on finance products, such as insurance policies and online trading services. It’s why there are dedicated financial services marketing companies that focus wholly on this industry and have specialist knowledge on how best to market finance products. Most digital products, such as PC security software or management systems, can reward you with percentages as high as 30% (and sometimes even 50%) of the retail price. This is very high and why if you are planning on selling digital products online, you may want to look at websites like to see how this can be done securely for everyone involved.

Consumer’s product rates are lower, ranging between 5% and 7% of the price paid by the customer. With e-books, this percentage may get even lower.

Tips and Tricks

When I write a post, it’s always best to keep a low count of links pointing to an external eCommerce. In my experience, I’ve seen that google likes articles with a mix of internal and external links, so I can choose to insert links to some of my previous (and related) articles.

Also, if I really want to make some decent money at the end of the month, I should attract a high number of visitors to my website or social pages. Nowadays, quality content iskey. If a visitor finds one of my articles interesting, there is a good chance that he/she will come back if I publish another one. Don’t just focus on the product, but also on your target audience, and post something that is engaging for the reader.

Be consistent. In my first months as a publisher, I have no idea how many times I wanted to give up. But I knew that I had to persevere if I wanted to get the desired results. My advice is: don’t be afraid of adjusting your ways of communication (some perform better on social media, others on blog posts). Don’t just believe in you, but study the business area, types of products, eCommerce networks, and commissions, before you commit yourself to a project.

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