Affiliate marketing was born in the late 90s and has since continuously evolved. It became an essential component of the ever-changing world of digital marketing. In the past, affiliate marketing was driven by website visits, with time it became a valuable lead generator for many brands. Once social media got added in the mix, affiliate marketers started utilizing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, to name a few.
As social media developed, a crucial drive in its longevity became its social leaders – or as we know them today, influencers.
Influencers became the bridge in the gap between web traffic conversion and social traffic conversion. Influencers follow a more traditional role in affiliate marketing; they rely on referral promotions to improve traffic and, ultimately, sales. Influencers revamped the world of content marketing by adding a ‘human’ element to it, appealing even to the toughest audiences.
Affiliate market wasn’t going anywhere, but it was ready for a transition. Bloggers turned to Instagram to gain fame for their websites. In the past, brands relied on publishers, affiliate programs, and agencies to drive web traffic. Potential clients and leads are now easier to reach than ever. They are watching your Instagram stories, scrolling through your Facebook feed, and finding you on Linkedin. The question is, what encourages them to buy your product, use your service or sign up on your platform? The answer is simple – influencers.
A key difference between influencer and affiliate marketing the channel as well as the way of compensation. Most affiliate marketers are paid based on web traffic performance, so often that will be Pay-Per-Click or for lead generation. Influencer compensation is often an upfront flat fee in return for advertising the brand on their social channels. Both techniques can be analyzed by the businesses investing in them through Google Analytics. Or the tracking portals of various feeds, such as Instagram Insights, for example.
Affiliate Marketing: Gradual changes
When affiliate marketing first appeared, it felt revolutionary. Digital marketing was at its very early stages of conception, most businesses were more than happy people clicked on their websites. Publishers started earning commissions from the referral banners on their websites and were finally able to track the cost of their marketing efforts.
But with time, that stopped being enough. Businesses no longer need just clicks on their website; they are seeking to interpret consumer behavior. They want to know who is buying their product, why, and whether they return or not. Brand loyalty became much more important than one-off purchases.
As influencers emerged with the help of YouTube and other social media, it became evident that they played an important role in building the relationship between clients and brands. Influencers start their channels with no back up from companies at all. Mostly, they focus on quality content first to gain subscribers, once that happened, they will focus on what they advertise. In the world of forex, we will usually see a website or YouTube channel with plenty of content (like blogs, for example) on trading-related topics. To be successful, this content most relevant and up to date.
But influence marketing changed too…
Despite being a relatively new concept, influencer marketing has had its own makeover – it became more transparent, focused, and, ultimately, more effective. Influencers started generating sales-driven results. There aim is not for someone to click on your site but for a transaction to occur between you and your client.
It’s not difficult to identify the ideal influencer for your business. Most companies with a focus on audience demographics, the kind of content the influencer posts. If you just type ‘forex influencer’ on YouTube, you will find different content that is aimed at different kinds of traders. Some influencers will focus on education. They will post videos, presentations, blog posts, etc. to help teach people to trade. Others could look at ‘life as a trader’, highlighting it’s perks and it’s difficulties. Every influencer has their own audience motivated by various elements – some are in it for the wealth generation, others enjoy the complexity and adrenaline that comes from the process.
It’s important to choose the right influencer/s for your business, regardless of what industry you are in. Apart from increasing your sales, influencers must become brand ambassadors of your business. They should know and appreciate the story that you are looking to tell and convert leads into long-term clients. Affiliate marketing is a proven source of lead generation without which entire industries would cease to exist, but by including influencers into your marketing mix, you can see your business diversify like never before.