Affiliate Marketing And Its Success In Recent Years

Affiliate marketing is a business model that allows influencers to promote products/brands of specific companies and earn a percentage from sales. To market their products or services, brands collaborate with influencers, publishers, and other content providers.

Each sale that those partners make earns them a commission. Affiliate marketing allows a new wave of tech-savvy entrepreneurs to work remotely from anywhere in the world.

Man using his MacBook for affiliate marketing
Man using MacBook Pro for affiliate marketing. Source: Author: Campaign Creators.

All affiliate marketing schemes are based on this fundamental premise. However, since its inception in the late 1990s, the sector has changed drastically. If you’re a player in the field, you need to be aware of those developments and the evolution of the affiliate structure to stay in the game.

Statistics About Affiliate Marketing in 2021

  • Over 80% of companies use affiliate marketing programs.
  • The search interest for “affiliate marketing” has been steadily rising each year.
  • Affiliate marketing accounts for 15% of overall digital media advertising income.
  • The cost of affiliate marketing is roughly $12 billion per year.

Brief History

Affiliate marketing has existed for a long time. Businesses have traditionally rewarded people that bring in new clients. Online referrals or affiliate marketing, on the other hand, did not begin until the mid-1990s.

PC Flowers and Gifts, an online flower business started by William J. Tobin, was the first to provide an affiliate network on the internet.

The e-commerce site went online in 1989, and the company quickly adopted an innovative marketing strategy. By 1993, the initiative was bringing in millions of dollars each year. By 1995, it had over 2,500 affiliates from all over the internet.

Tobin filed a patent application for affiliate marketing and tracking in 1996. Tobin received patent approval in the year 2000.

However, PC Flowers and Gifts was far from the only affiliate marketing company at the time. Other firms saw the method’s effectiveness and wanted to apply it to their business. Amazon happens to be one of those companies.

Amazon’s Influence on Affiliate Marketing

Amazon Associates, the company’s well-known affiliate program, was launched in 1996. It wasn’t the first affiliate program, but it was the first one open to the general public.

Amazon's app on Samsung smartphone being used for affiliate marketing
Black Samsung Galaxy smartphone displaying Amazon logo. Source: Author: Christian Wiediger.

Members who signed up for Amazon Associates were able to create personalized banners that connected back to Amazon. The program has become an unstoppable force in recent years. However, it had a radically distinct appearance in its early days, owing to two factors:

  • Back then, Amazon exclusively sold books.
  • The firm was just one year established in 1996, and its initial public offering (IPO) was still a year away.

For more than two decades, Amazon’s growth has been spectacular. Part of that success, according to some, can be attributable to Amazon Associates. To date, the program still exists, and its scope has expanded to include much more than books.

Why Are Affiliate Marketing Networks Growing in Popularity?

The first affiliate marketing networks went public in 1998, and they’re still going strong today. You’ve undoubtedly heard of Commission Junction or Clickbank if you’re an affiliate marketer.

Affiliate marketing networks have fundamentally influenced the market. These platforms allowed small businesses to expand without requiring the technical skills to set up an affiliate program. They also give affiliates the option of picking and choosing which items to market.

Joining an affiliate network gives businesses the tracking and payment tools they require to expand and scale.

What’s Next?

Affiliate marketing is a rapidly expanding sector with no indications of slowing down. Whether you operate a small or large internet business, launching an affiliate program is now easier than ever.

You may choose the programs or networks you want to join as an affiliate. Affiliate marketing is a lucrative method to monetize your website or social media presence if you have an audience and know what items or services they’re interested in.

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