Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to earn money as an online publisher. Unlike some other tactics (like programmatic advertising), affiliate marketing is simple to understand, relatively easy to implement, and flexible enough to give many types of publishers the opportunity to succeed.
Not to mention, the affiliate industry is experiencing massive growth. Statista estimates the affiliate market is currently worth nearly $8 billion in the US alone, up from $5.4 billion just five years ago.
One reason for this explosive growth is that, when properly executed, affiliate marketing can be mutually beneficial to everyone involved: the publisher, your audience, and the affiliate merchant. By creating high-quality commerce content, publishers can deliver valuable information to readers while also earning commissions when a user clicks a link or makes a purchase from an affiliate partner.
The power of commerce content
Over the past decade, publishers of all types — including news organizations, blogs, newsletters, and more — have increased their focus on commerce content with the same level of editorial objectivity they would bring to a political or environmental story. You’ve likely seen this everywhere, from sites like BuzzFeed and Digital Trends, to Refinery29 and Food & Wine, which seamlessly weave buying opportunities into their editorial content.
As a result, readers have come to view publishers as a trusted source for buying advice, product recommendations, gift ideas, and deals. In turn, content creators can diversify revenue streams to include commerce-focused journalism that provides a true value-add for readers.
That said, the upside for publishers goes beyond pure monetary gain. In addition to its role as a feel-good revenue stream, commerce content has a unique ability to create stickier, more engaged audiences. It also can tap into traffic optimization strategies and smart search engine optimization (SEO) to drive more page views per session.
The journey to build and scale commerce content
Getting started with affiliate marketing is relatively straightforward. The investment required is minimal, there’s little to no risk, and tools like Sovrn Commerce make the execution quick and easy.
That said, there’s a big difference between a novice affiliate marketer and a well-oiled commerce content machine. In order to tap into the full potential of commerce content, you need to understand affiliate marketing at a granular level, recognize opportunities for optimization, and leverage the wealth of content options available to publishers.
It can be helpful to think of the path to commerce content maturity as a holistic journey, with its own distinct phases and critical decision points.
In this blog series, we’ll explore each stage of this journey in detail, to help guide you through the process of building and scaling your commerce content operations. We’ll also point out potential pitfalls along the way — and demonstrate how Sovrn can help with your journey.
Next Up: Link Creation and Affiliation