How Media Companies are Tapping Into Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has been one of the success stories in the world of e-commerce over the past few years and its potential shows little sign of abating. For any business start-up it offers an excellent opportunity to set up income streams at relatively low cost: the only initial outlays are domain registration and web hosting.

Affiliate Marketing

From then on the budding entrepreneur can embark on their strategy of tracking down suitable affiliate programs to integrate with their website or blog.

Naturally, the affiliate marketing business model of promoting products on someone else’s behalf in return for commission is scaleable, and has been latched onto by a range of enterprises. Media companies are the latest outlet to be considering the opportunities afforded by a marketing technique that has been described as ‘win win’ for affiliate and advertiser.

Take the example of Shopify. An e-commerce solution to make it easier to launch an online store, this offers the facility to customize a shopfront, process payments and track orders. Because affiliate marketing is a reward-based system, marketers are incentivized to promote products. Signing-up to affiliate programs is a surefire way of boosting sales through a Shopify store.

Recently Shopify have started collaborating with BuzzFeed, the social media and entertainment platform with the aim of raising the visibility of Shopify merchants. This gives the clearest signal yet of the large media organization’s willingness to embrace the potential of affiliate marketing. As with any other affiliate program, the methodology is straightforward but it is this simplicity that makes it potent.

The model is based around BuzzFeed providing hyperlinks in a selection of its articles that will route the user back to Shopify. The merchant will then receive their commission in the event of sales conversions. The incentive for BuzzFeed is a substantial cut of the revenue from each purchase – anything between 10 to 25%.

It’s fair to say affiliate programs now account for a substantial turnover for the majority of online media companies. In 2016 New York Times bought over The Wirecutter for around $30 million. This is a classic example of the retailer in the affiliate relationship harnessing the sales potential of a niche audience.

The Wirecutter is devoted to the best and most efficient gadgetry, items of universal interest arranged in lists so potential customers can save time and effort by making selections conveniently.

Head of revenue at The Wirecutter, Jessica Spira, discussed what had inspired her company to accept this deal: “Performance marketing has been the main source of Wirecutter revenue since its launch. We’ve translated reader intent into high conversion rates by creating context around the purchase decision and including calls to action at the point of purchase consideration.

This intersection of content and commerce works well in performance marketing by allowing advertisers to partner with us in a cost effective and efficient way.”

Where the sales model once relied on archaic concepts such as cost-per-click, the point of travel is clearly focused on making the most of the more comprehensive and rounded performance-based structure offered by affiliate marketing.

What the advertiser is cashing in on are affiliate results rather than impressions. Where retailers once relied on front-end design concepts like banner adverts, wasteful unsolicited page ads, or hyperlink triggers that would generate a tiny amount of revenue when clicked, the emphasis is now on a far more proactive approach.

In conclusion, media companies in particular appreciate audiences need more stimulation. The affiliate also sees that for their part in this system to work they can’t just rely on casual web browsers alighting on pages and hitting the right links.

Affiliate Marketing Made Simple

This performance partnership model is all about tapping into an existing and proven market. Affiliate marketers can go out of their way to entice customers, not by offering glib sales pitches, but by impressing how beneficial a product can be.

Because media companies are at the cutting edge of what audiences are responding to, accessing marketing data, they have a handle on all the latest trends and market fluctuations. Advertisements can be targeted in a far more sophisticated way, leading to more clicks, and therefore conversions.

The so-called ‘win win’ aspect of affiliate marketing shows every sign of producing more more lucrative winners.  So don’t stay aside and no matter if you are a big media company or just own a small website join and start earning with affiliate marketing.

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