Influencer Marketing vs. Affliate Marketing: What’s the Difference?
Tier10 | On 26, Feb 2020
Maybe you went to college and earned a marketing degree years ago. Maybe you were an entrepreneur a decade ago but decided to take a break. Whatever the reason – if the landscape of today’s marketing looks entirely foreign to you, you’re not alone.
Trends in marketing shift all the time, techniques change, and with them so do the surrounding buzzwords.
To bring you up to speed, two current, buzzworthy marketing trends today are:
- Influencer marketing
- Affiliate marketing
Regardless of your role, if you’re promoting a brand, product, or service – nearly anything that’s promotable – these are two of the most important types of marketing you should know about.
Within these two types of marketing, there are similarities as well as certain areas that seem to overlap. But there are also some distinct differences that make each marketing type unique.
What’s Influencer Marketing?
When brands research, choose to work with and then pay internet “celebrities,” or influencers, upfront in exchange for posting the brand’s content on said influencer’s social platforms, this is influencer marketing. Influencers can be subject matter experts, influential individuals, or actual celebrities. In most instances, a brand makes an effort to discover and work with influencers who already have shown an interest in the brand. In other words, it’s a fresh take on word-of-mouth advertising.
What’s Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing occurs when a brand pays an influencer or another type of content creator for successful referrals after the fact – actual sales or leads that end in sales.
How are Influencer and Affiliate Marketing the Same?
With both affiliate and influencer marketing, you’re entrusting your brand’s name and reputation to internet influencers. These influencers normally post the content on their blog, website, or social media channels.
These two types of marketing can intersect and overlap. For instance, with influencer marketing, you pay upfront for the influencer’s services – meaning you could lose money if the campaign is not a successful one. But it is possible to recruit some of your best influencers to become brand affiliates – meaning you’d only pay for successful leads and sales. Implementing influencer marketing tools can also be of assistance.
What’s Different Between Influencer and Affiliate Marketing?
As touched on above, one of the main differences between these two types of marketing is when payment occurs.
Brands normally use influencer marketing as a starting point for increasing brand awareness. You typically pay an influencer upfront. Their social standing is such that you’re willing to do so. Payments aren’t directly influenced by the campaign’s outcome, and you have no guarantee that it will be successful. Influencers also don’t necessarily have a cap on what they can earn. If you’re interested in a specific influencer, payment should be discussed during negotiations.
When negotiating payment with an affiliate marketer, you’ll define specific audience actions that you’re willing to pay for. For instance, if you decide to pay commissions for every sale, the marketer is only paid after they demonstrate driven sales. So, say you agree to pay 5% per qualified lead, each lead must meet the specified qualifications for payment. It’s common to pay from 5-10% commission. Certain products or services customarily receive higher or lower commissions.
Affiliate marketing costs are tied to the actual outcomes of the marketer’s efforts. These types of campaigns are normally used by established brands to increase web traffic, or sales, or to discover new leads.
Brands can, and do, use both of these marketing types, and both are effective methods of discovering new customers, building awareness, and driving sales. Both methods are great for boosting your overall market share, so you don’t have to feel as though you can only choose one or the other. If you’re not already, consider adding some of both to your arsenal of marketing tactics. It’s one of the easiest ways to boost brand awareness and your bottom line.