10 Types of Affiliates
- Coupon sites
- News & media sites
- Content sites
- Review sites
- Loyalty sites
- Shopping comparison
- Search affiliates
Looking to begin an affiliate or partner marketing program? Great! Confused about the types of affiliates you can find and work with? You’re not alone. There’s a lot of information out there, and it can be difficult to know exactly which type of affiliate is best for your business. You’ll find that your specific affiliate or partner program may only be applicable to a handful of partners. Or your program might be flexible enough to impact them all. Knowing your audience is always critical to a successful business.
Take a look at the affiliates who have signed up with your program and see if you start noticing some patterns. Do those sites have a lot in common style-wise or are they all over the place? Depending upon your audience (or potential audience) you may want to create several completely different campaigns to promote your business. Go after new types of affiliates or streamline things and focus solely on one or two of the strongest types.
But what exactly are all the different types of partners or affiliates? Glad you asked! We’ve put together the following list, which should give you a great overview of the many types of affiliates spreading the good word on the Internet. Keep in mind that some sites can certainly cross over into more than one type.
Coupon or Deal sites are easily the most popular type of affiliate site out there today. And for good reason: They are eCommerce-friendly websites that consumers turn to when they’re looking for a deal–and that is the majority of online consumers. Affiliates will offer coupon or discount codes to their users and earn commissions on any sales that result from someone clicking through one of their links to a merchant site. RetailMeNot, Offers.com, Coupons.com, and Red Plum (soon to become RetailMeNot Everyday) are great examples of this type. Some even allow users to upload coupon codes of their own.
News & Media Sites
Yep, news and media sites are getting into the affiliate game. While it doesn’t help “fake news”, many of the large media companies are monetizing content and doing native advertising within articles using affiliate links. Media giants like Ziff Davis are acquiring online publications on a regular basis while others are diversifying revenue streams to combat dying ad sales. Either way, these are big players in the game.
Gossip, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, etc. If a website is comparable to a magazine, you know it’s a heavy content site. These sites offer content articles and columns on a regular basis, monetizing through affiliate banners and links and even sponsored content at times. Sites that are solely user-generated, such as discussion forums, can fall into this category as the entire site is nothing but content created by users.
These sites review different advertisers, usually in a niche. One of the most popular places to find these is on Amazon, and affiliates and partners are told that creating an Amazon review site is one of the best ways to build their business and start generating profits. But don’t just choose any one. Look for those that have keyword-rich URLs; clean, uncluttered content without a whole lot of popups or widgets, and thoughtfully considered reviews that are geared toward the needs of the reader.
Loyalty or Cashback Sites
Cashback sites are quite popular with users, too. They actually give back money to members based on purchases they’ve made through the site’s affiliate links. Basically, the cashback site would get a commission for every sale, but now they give a percentage of their commission right back to the user who made the actual purchase. It means a lower profit for the publisher with each sale, but they more than make up for that by highly encouraging members to make purchases through various promotions and incentives. eBates is the most popular and widely used.
Bloggers are really a subset of content types, but you’ll find many blogs that specialize in specific niches. These range from personal hobbies to consumer product reviews to tips and tricks on everyday-life topics like saving money or parenting. Depending on the blogger, they may use affiliate banners or include affiliate links peppered throughout their blog posts. But be careful, not all bloggers are created equal. Choose bloggers that speak to your target audience about issues relevant to your products.
Sites that offer eCommerce tools like comparison shopping rely heavily on data feeds full of products tied to affiliate links. Sites like Shopping.com let users search for millions of products, returning appropriate results. When a user clicks through a product to purchase on a merchant’s page, he or she is using an affiliate link, helping the comparison shopping site earn a commission.
Despite text messaging being uber-popular, people do still use email to communicate. And many affiliates use it to make money. Large publishers have built email lists as a way to rely less on Google traffic and penalties from algorithm updates. Email campaigns targeting a specific customer demographic are common as well as multi-merchant email opportunities that feature deals or special promotions are a few examples. But Caveat venditor (Latin for “let the seller beware”): Working with email affiliates can be risky, especially if they’re not CAN-SPAM compliant. Affiliate fraudsters will sometimes categorize themselves as “Email” affiliates in the networks because their promotional activities tend to not be as visible to the merchant/advertiser.
Certain sites build in affiliate links to their apps. That goes for coupon or shopping comparison sites that have an app, but it also goes for standalone apps themselves. Popular apps like Shazam and Pandora actually use affiliate links to send users to Apple’s iTunes Store while free gaming apps monetize via incentivized offers.
These are entrepreneurs who leverage search engines, Facebook and other paid advertising sites.
The bottom line, merchants need to consider how each affiliate drives traffic to promote their offers to ensure they’re appropriate for the product they’re trying to promote and ultimately sell, compliant and playing by the rules.
Affiliate marketing is evolving with new partnership opportunities emerging for advertisers. Need help navigating? Contact us today for a free consultation and ask us why top brands trust iAffiliate Management.