What is Affiliate Marketing in 2020

Only 20 years ago companies would blow out their budget on various marketing promotions from television ads to newspaper ads. Now with the click of a link, anybody can make a commission from referring customers to a brand. 

Not only does this benefit the brands making profit but people that click on the link and follow through may get incentives while those that share the link also benefit financially. 

“70 out of the top 100 retailers in Australia currently have an affiliate program” 

Marketing Mag

What Affiliate Marketing means

Affiliate marketing is a method of advertising used by brands to gain more customers without spending massive money into advertising.

If you refer a company’s products or services to potential customers, you are assisting the brand in generating a sale and you earn a commission in return.

“There’s a 10.1% increase in affiliate marketing spending in the US each year, meaning that by 2020, that number will reach $6.8 billion.”


Affiliate Marketing generally involves four parties: 

  • The affiliate is the owner of a website 
  • The affiliate network that gives payments to affiliates
  • The advertiser is any business being advertised
  • The buyer aka customers 

All you need to begin your journey on Affiliate Marketing is a phone or a PC and an internet connection and you’re ready to start.

How does Affiliate Marketing work?

Find a Business

If there’s a certain product or service that fits within your niche or is aligned to your values you can promote it on your digital platform. Find the company’s website online and join their affiliate program (if they have one). This is free of cost. 

Affiliate Link 

Once you have joined their program, you will receive a special link to promote their products or services. Also known as an Affiliate link, it contains an ID or reference code that is unique to your affiliate account.

For eg, if you joined the SEMrush affiliate program then your link will look something like this:


Next, you will copy and paste your unique link onto your digital platform ie. YouTube, blog, website and so on. 


Depending upon the terms and conditions of the affiliate program, sometimes you can make a commission for simply sharing the link, or you may only make money from people that click the link (Pay per click) or you might get paid only if someone purchases something through your link (Pay per Lead)

Typically, commissions are paid for any clicks or purchases through the link within a 12 month period, however this also depends on the company. 

Payments are normally paid through PayPal or Webmoney through the affiliate network. 

For example, SEMrush’s Affiliate program pays commissions through ‘Berush’, so by putting in your PayPal account details on Berush, you will be notified whenever there are new payments in your Paypal account. 

Affiliate Cookies 

Most companies save “affiliate cookies” on the user’s devices that click on your affiliate links. These cookies are small text files that contain an expiry date and your affiliate ID. This is saved, so you can be credited for a commission even if a purchase hasn’t been made right away.

As long as the cookie is present on the device, you’ll get paid for any purchases that user makes through your link, even if it’s 30 days later.

Once you’ve shared your link, the companies you’re promoting take care of everything else. 

Source: Chatbots Magazine 

Why be an Affiliate Marketer? 

Passive Income: 

Alongside generating earned income, affiliate marketing offers you the opportunity to make money while you sleep. All that is needed is time invested in advertising the brand to your audience, and over time potential customers will produce returns for you through your referral. 

Work from Home: 

Typically, you have to travel to your job to earn wealth. With affiliate marketing, you can afford the luxury to kick back at home and promote products online in your own time and monitor statistics or payments through the internet. 


All it takes is the will and time to advertise somebody else’s brand, through an affiliate link, and you’re on your way to earning passive income. Neither do you pay tax nor do you pay any starting fees. 

No customer support 

If anything goes wrong in terms of customers complaining about the affiliated product or service, you are not liable to deal with handling customers or giving customer satisfaction. This is the responsibility of the advertised brand to deal with potential customers. 

Global audience 

Your advertisements reach potential customers internationally through the internet. So without leaving your house you can provide value to millions of people through your recommendations. 

No shipping or handling 

With other forms of passive income such as owning your own business, you deal with the tension of delivering products safely and securely while ensuring it gets through border security without damage to the package. However, working as an affiliate marketer allows you to leave the shipping and handling worries to the advertised brand. 

Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels 

Social Media Influencers 

An influencer holds a lot of power on a large-scale audience to impact their purchasing decisions. Because of their great influence, an influencer can greatly benefit from affiliate marketing. Through social media posts or stories, they’re able to direct their followers to another company’s products by showcasing the product personally on their digital platform. The influencers then receive a commission from the profit they’ve helped generate. 


Website owners may use their platform to share another business’s website. Advertisers either contact them via the affiliate program or through their contact details for using references to promote their services. Specifically, site owners with high domain authority are very successful in leading prospective users to the company’s website. Furthermore, websites dedicated to reviewing the latest and the trending, they benefit too because of the image they’ve built for their website. 

Email Listing 

Email marketing is one of the traditional sources of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates use their email lists to promote the other’s products/services. This is achieved through hyperlinks within email newsletters or using that product/service and featuring how it was used or the end outcomes produced from using it. 


Bloggers can rank organically in search engine queries and so they can increase a seller’s conversions. The blogger is known to share personal stories or giving knowledge, so bloggers typically review products/services and then offer their final thoughts or pros and cons. Furthermore, blogging in a certain niche allows for sellers to reach out to these bloggers because they’ve built their reputation for educating or talking about the niche. 


Making affiliate money on YouTube is different from generating revenue from YouTube ads. Affiliate marketing involves posting links in the description of a video on your channel or mentioning it in the video itself to drive sales. YouTube affiliate marketers generally push viewers to click on an affiliate link and drive traffic to the advertised website. YouTube marketing is continually growing so not only does a viewer get some type of incentive or discount but you make a commission too, sometimes just by sharing the link! 


Affiliate marketing is for those that wish to gain control of their own income by focusing on performance-based revenue. From the comfort of your home through blogs, social media and other platforms you can convert your audience into potential customers and create your next paycheck while you sleep.

For more information on how to utilise YouTube to earn income from affiliate marketing and ad-sense head over to Online Creator Institute’s YouTube Masterclass

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