Affiliate Marketing Teaches Influencer Marketing – Influencer marketing has seen incredible growth in recent years, which for marketers is a brilliant opportunity because when managed correctly, it can deliver significant revenue growth. As a result, brands are now ready to make an even greater investment in their influencer campaigns and programmes.
It’s estimated that by 2022 spending on influencers will surpass $15B annually. This puts global influencer spend in line with global affiliate spend. But affiliate marketing is still an important part of the partnership mix, providing a proven performance-based revenue source.
As brands continue to innovate and diversify their partnership programmes to include new kinds of partners, traditional affiliate marketers can learn a lot from the newer influencer model, and influencer marketers would be wise to study certain savvy aspects of the affiliate playbook.
The fact is, there are some best practices that apply across the entire partner spectrum, and as the partnership silos continue to come down between affiliate, influencer, and even B2B partnerships, everyone can start reaping the rewards.
What influencer marketing can learn from affiliate
Align rewards with your KPIs
Affiliate programmes typically operate on a CPA basis, rewarding partners who generate incremental value to the programme. In this model, when the advertiser succeeds, the partner also succeeds, and all affiliates are incentivized to contribute to the brand’s KPIs.
All too often, influencer programmes stay stuck in pay-per-post mode, with no linkage to the brand’s KPIs. As affiliate programmes typically do, influencer programmes should apply attribution measurement and commission structures that encourage and reward real value.
Stop fixating on discovery
Influencer managers spend an inordinate amount of time on discovery and recruitment of the next red-hot influencer, and they are often disproportionately fixated on the front end of the partner lifecycle. Then, they let those relationships languish, essentially “ghosting” their partners instead of nurturing and optimizing the partnership to drive better and better results.
Affiliate programmes, on the other hand, typically have a more balanced approach that devotes adequate attention to all stages of partnerships, including onboarding, payment processing and performance measurement.
Of course, large affiliate programmes don’t risk doing it all manually. Instead, they use automation tools that support the full lifecycle of their partnerships, in the process creating more time to focus on higher-value activities, such as finding more strategic partners and optimizing their program.
Diversify + scale
It’s tempting in the influencer world to focus all your effort on signing a few mega- and celebrity influencers. But this not only leaves your entire programme vulnerable to a single celebrity misstep, but it is also less cost-efficient than working with a mix of partners.
Most affiliate programmes include a good portion of smaller long-tail partners who actually deliver higher ROI while spreading the risk around.
The most robust influencer programs follow the affiliate model and include a full spectrum of partners, including micro- and nano-influencers that often deliver the most audience engagement bang for the buck.
Of course, managing a large and diverse network requires the right technical infrastructure to maintain program scale and ROI. It is essential to invest in tools that manage all partnerships throughout the lifecycle rather than trying to support each at an individual level.
Once you have the infrastructure in place, growth can be pretty much unlimited without overloading your team. Continue reading