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What Is Affiliate Performance Marketing? And Why Is It Better?


Performance affiliate marketing is an area of focus that a lot of businesses are looking past. But what is it about it that makes it so fascinating? What makes performance marketing especially important is the way it works for businesses. Marketing spending is based solely on the performance of the client. Businesses can leave upfront spending in the past. Instead, they can shift to spending only when their marketing efforts perform for them. But how exactly does performance marketing work?

Affiliate performance marketing is a way for businesses to work with — what we’ll call them for now — contractual marketers. Why “contractual marketers”? When we talk about affiliate performance marketers, we’re talking about a relationship built off the following relationship: Brands hire marketers to connect consumers with their products and services. The performance aspect relies on how well an affiliate performs. That performance will depend on how well they are able to send consumers to a brand website. The success of that interaction then depends on whether or not a specific action was completed by the consumer.

That will depend on the conversion chosen by the brand, whether that’s having a consumer just visit their website, sign up for email, go to their online store page, or complete a sale. Traditional paid performance marketing works in a different way from affiliate performance marketing but in a slightly different — yet greatly notable — way.

When we discuss the roles of affiliates — from brand affiliates to influencers, to brand ambassadors, the key difference between paid and affiliate performance marketing lies in when they are paid and how long the relationships last. Paid performance marketing has a specific problem that makes it difficult for affiliates to use for long-term success. The trouble with paid performance marketing is that it requires a cash injection upfront from businesses. This means they’re paying before they even see results.

This can be troublesome for affiliates because it means that businesses want to create short-term relationships based on small, quick payments across the spectrum. You, as an affiliate, get paid, you need to produce, and if you don’t immediately do so, you’re left at the curb. However, affiliate performance marketing differs in a significant way: Businesses only pay when that specific conversion action is completed. What makes this great is the benefit it offers to both businesses and affiliates.

Rather than paying before they see results, businesses can move to pay only when they receive results. This is beneficial for affiliates because it requires consistency to get regularly paid. This point, combined with the former, makes for good news for affiliates. Why? Businesses will be more willing to create long-term, reciprocal relationships with their affiliates.

Rather than jumping into a contractual partnership, businesses will be able to determine whether or not they trust an affiliate. With immediate results, they’ll be able to determine how well the partnership works for them. And if you, as an affiliate, are consistently performing, a business will be ready to put more faith into you. Best of all? That long-term relationship, fueled by your commitment, means you’ll keep getting paid with regularity. Work hard, and you might even see an exceptional raise along the way.

Best of all, businesses are bound to see notable growth, thanks to affiliate performance marketing over traditional paid performance marketing. That organic traffic is essential to bringing consumers in through the door.

Pura Vida, a niche bracelet crafter, sought out marketing assistance, hoping to improve their site traffic. Upon using the Refersion platform, they began to see an organic network developing with ease. By utilizing the help of brand ambassadors, Pura Vida was able to improve and accurately analyze its marketing performance. Since their site relaunch and the development of their marketing program, Pura Vida saw the following results:

  • 3x traffic to their site
  • 126,000 North American brand ambassadors as of 2020
  • 590% increase in annual revenue

That support mattered to them. While increasing their marketing reach with ease, they were able to create a base of trusted brand ambassadors who could effectively promote their brand and products.

If you’re an affiliate looking to improve your acumen, you should get started as a performance marketer. Begin reaching out to businesses and teach yourself more about the basics of affiliate marketing programs. With a little elbow grease, you can court a business and perform for them, creating an ongoing relationship that works for the two of you.

Special thanks to our friends at Refersion for their insights on this topic.
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