What is having others market your product or service for you, if not the essence of influencer marketing? Here, we delve into the tightly coupled relationship between influencers and affiliates, how they differ, how they overlap, and where they’re going in the future.
How are influencers and affiliates different?
As discussed in other articles on The Drum, influencer marketing can be distilled into the idea of having someone tell your brand’s story for you. It is the digital equivalent to word-of-mouth and is not always directly tied to a specific traffic or sales KPI, though it is preferred.
Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, can be defined as an advertising model which uses publishers on a commission basis to generate sales, leads, or traffic.
In other words, affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are related in a similar manner as marketing and sales; both are designed to drive revenue, though one is solely transactional and the other is transactional as a byproduct of relationship psychology. As I discussed in an interview for Insivia, the line between influencers and affiliates is blurring.
Let’s explore how they are more similar than they are different.
Affiliates are a concept similar to influencers, transcending channels
On marketplace platforms such as Amazon, there is little distinction between affiliates and influencers. In fact, Amazon’s current affiliate strategy represents a sizable shift away from data feed-driven website affiliates and towards content creators that can provide a personal experience for specific products. Based on the recent shift, it is not difficult to see how Amazon’s adoption of the Vine Voices program indicates their internally-vetted affiliates creating influencer videos and reviews will hold a greater weight than the non-vetted reviews that…