rakuten_woman_computerAffiliate Marketing has been plagued by myths that can cause apprehension and a lot of questions as to the validity of the channel. I’d like to address these myths head on and provide the facts to dispel common misconceptions that damage the credibility of this effective and efficient marketing channel.  

Myth: Affiliate marketing is for discounts and coupons.

Fact: Coupon and discount sites are still a very important part of affiliate marketing, but brands also look to affiliate marketing for full price promotion. With the new innovative Publisher models emerging, affiliate marketing has certainly evolved in the past 20 years. Specifically, brands are looking to bloggers and influencers to get their message out. The best fashion brands recognize that these influencers contribute millions of dollars in new customer revenue just by reaching the right audience with their style and personality. According to a recent study, 72% of millennials and 51% of Gen Xers follow fashion bloggers; more importantly, 90% of wealthy consumers who follow fashion bloggers make purchases as result of the blogs.

Myth: Affiliate marketing isn’t relevant nowadays.
Fact: According to recent research, it’s quite the opposite. By the end of 2016, affiliate marketing is predicted to exceed $4.5 billion with an annual growth rate of approximately 17%. More and more retailers are creating affiliate programs to match the growing number of affluent shoppers and popular influencers that spend their time online. Affiliate marketing is native, original content and that resonates with brands, now more than ever. Also, the pay for performance model reassures advertisers that any spend will produce ROI.

Myth: Affiliate marketing won’t drive new customers.  
Fact: A recent Forrester study reported online shoppers that start their research on an affiliate site spend slightly more on average than other shoppers.  That same study reported that the affiliate channel is PROVEN to deliver new customers. Consumers today want to research their purchases, find specific information and shop around the web. The purpose of affiliate marketing is to connect these consumers to the right sites that will encourage a conversion. These consumers trust the research available and turn to influencers to make their final decision. In the age of internet and social sharing, the purchasing power of these influencers is at an all-time high.

Myth: Affiliate marketing links aren’t good for SEO.
Fact: This just isn’t true. Search engines use the number of incoming quality links on a page to help determine its popularity. With a quality link classified as valuable content that comes from another web page, it isn’t the only important factor – you still need quality content and traffic and should use “nofollow” on your affiliate links. “Nofollow” tells the search engine that a specific link shouldn’t be followed or factored into the page’s quality score. It is important for affiliate marketing because all of the links point to the same top level URL and the search engine inspectors could think you are trying to falsify your traffic. Overall, the “nofollow” element is the best way to maintain the quality of your site and affiliate links.

Affiliate marketing has proven its worth as an effective digital marketing strategy. Although some outdated perceptions may raise questions of this channel, the spending growth and increase in demand for influencer opinions speak to the lasting legitimacy of this thriving industry.

About Rakuten Affiliate Network
Rakuten Affiliate Network (formerly LinkShare), connects content sites and social influencers directly with their favorite brands, enabling them to earn commissions by promoting products they already use. Our network works with the top brands and publishers from around the world and offers vertical expertise, white glove service and the tools and technology to help you outperform your revenue goals. Advertisers and Publishers alike have voted Rakuten Affiliate Network the #1 Affiliate Network four years in a row. Find out why by contacting us today.