Difference Between Influencer and Affiliate Marketing. Which is Better?

Marketing on social media platforms and tapping on celebrities and influencers made Influencer Marketing popular. How about Affiliate Marketing? It’s been around for a time now but it’s not as familiar as Influencer Marketing. Which of the two is a better strategy? 

How Influencer Marketing Works?

Influencer Marketing is a strategy of partnering with influential people of a specific niche and getting their help to promote products and services on their platforms. This form of marketing is one of the quickest and most powerful ways to get brand exposure in a short amount of time.

There is no specific qualification in being an influencer. However, it’s fair to say that a minimum of 5,000 followers on at least 1 social platform should be met.  

To measure whether the implemented Influencer Marketing Campaign has increased brand’s awareness, the following must be met:

  • Gain of new followers. 
  • Increase in social media engagement (comments, likes, shares, link clicks, etc.).
  • Rise of website traffic. 
  • New email sign ups/registers. 

Below is a common example of Influencer Marketing. Dunkin’ Donut have tapped the TiktTok star, Charli D’Amelio to promote their new line of drink. The influencer is paid to post engaging contents on her social platform about the brand.

How Affiliate Marketing Works?

Affiliate Marketing is a technique of promoting products on someone else’s website or social platform. When users see the ad, click and then purchase, the affiliate — the site that the ad appears on — receives a percentage of the sale.

Unlike Influencer Marketing, Affiliate Marketing relies on building partnerships with established blogs, websites, companies and publishers vs. influential people. The aim of this technique is to increase sales by offering the audience special offers, discounts and sales.

Below are some metrics to gauge the success of an Affiliate Marketing Campaign:

  • Increase in sales.
  • Growth in site traffic. 

Which is Better?

The following should be considered:

  • Goal
  • Audience
  • Budget

Goal

Launching any product soon? Is there an upcoming event? Crazy sale to look forward to? Then use Influencer Marketing. Influencers are a great medium since they are active on their social media and have a great influence towards the targeted niche. They have a good reputation towards their followers that could possibly give positive results to the brand.

On the other hand, if the goal is to get people to promote the quality and credibility of the product,  then use Affiliate Marketing. Work with bloggers, companies and publishers to write reviews of the product. 

For a company that sells bicycles, partner with health and fitness publishers that focus on triathlon, weight loss, healthy eating and more. This approach of speaking to specific customers with specific needs works because Affiliate Marketing is designed to generate leads and revenue.

Audience

When choosing between the two marketing strategies, the brand should consider who the audience is and where they spend the most time online. For example, if the product caters to millennials, then spend more time using Influencer Marketing.

Budget

The preferred approach should also depend on the budget. With larger budget, the brand can work with larger influencers who can give much exposure. Another option is to target micro-influencers who don’t have millions of followers but have thousands of highly engaged followers.

With Affiliate Marketing, the brand only pay after every conversion (e.g. purchase, sign-up, etc.).

Keep in mind that both strategies can be switched as needed. Also, an A/B Test can be done to know which one will drive more sales. 

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