The complete guide of Affiliate Marketing and how to get started
What is Affiliate Marketing?
In short, affiliate marketing is a process by which a publisher (or affiliate) earns a commission for marketing another company’s or person’s goods, services or when an action has been completed.
An affiliate will use his own online network and audience to promote this product or service to earn some of the profit realized on each sale.
These sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another using a tracking tag. According to the T&Cs of the advertiser, the publisher may earn a fixed or variable commission.
What is a Publisher?
A publisher can also be called an Affiliate, or Partner. A publisher has an online audience such as a website or email database.
The publisher will use his virtual sales force and his online presence to advertise a product, a service or the completion of an action through images, banners, logo and text links.
- Purchase of a service such as a web hosting plan
- Purchase of a good like a lamp or a book
- Completion of an action such as an application form, or the booking of a test drive
When one of the publisher’s online traffic realize a purchase or complete a certain action, the publisher will receive a commission.
NOTE: terms and conditions of the commission may vary. Please read carefully the T&Cs.
Can anyone become a publisher?
To become a publisher and start your affiliate marketing you will usually need the following:
- Company Name
- Tax Residency
- First Name
- Last Name
Several platforms exists to help you and get in touch with Advertisers such as AWIN.
What is an Advertiser?
An Advertiser, also referred as the ‘merchant’ or the ‘retailer’. The advertiser is an online company which sells products and/or services through a Publisher’s online traffic.
The Advertiser can either pay a certain percentage on the final purchase or pay a fixed commission according to the T&Cs upon completion of a certain action (a sale, a form filled, etc).
Can anyone become an advertiser?
If you wish to become an advertiser you will simply need to create your account, pay the set up fee (this fee may vary between affiliate marketing platform providers), fill in the T&Cs accordingly and set up the commissions for your publishers.
How does Affiliate Marketing work?
Well, affiliate marketing works by spreading the product or service marketing across several parties. It allows the Seller to increase its reach while the publisher (affiliate) earn a share of the profit.
To make a success out of your affiliate marketing you need:
The Seller or Advertiser
The seller, also referred to as an advertise,r can either be a solo entrepreneur or a large enterprise. The advertiser is the merchant trying to sell its products or services. As we have seen, the seller can also need affiliate marketing for other purposes as increasing its newsletter opt-in or a completion of a form, etc.
The advertiser does not actively participate in the marketing of his products or services. They instead let the affiliate handle this, in exchange for certain compensation such as a share on the profit realized.
This can can help small business owners and even bloggers to increase their revenue by displaying an “ad” on their website.
For example, The Plumbing Inc trying to reach a new audience by paying affiliate websites to promote their plumbing services. Or the seller could be a Web Hosting Provider offering a voucher on their Web Hosting packages. (Get -50% on all our hosting plans here.)
The Affiliate or Publisher
A publisher as we explained earlier can be an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product using appealing designs such as banners, icons, text links.
In other words, the affiliate promotes the product or the service to convince the consumers about its added-value, leading to the product or services being purchased. In most cases, when the consumer ends up buying, the publisher will receive a commission.
NOTE: Affiliates may have a very specific audience on their website and not all audience will suit with your products or services. As a publisher you may want to be select carefully what to promote and how if you don’t want to end up losing traffic because of this.
The Consumer or Buyer
Most of the time the consumer is not even aware his click may generate a commission. But the buyers are the drivers of affiliate marketing. Sometimes the affiliate will decide to be upfront with his audience and will disclose they are receiving commission for the sales or the clicks they make.
Either way, the product or service price will rarely if never be higher than the price without affiliate marketing. The commission given to the affiliate is often included in the retail price and the product or service sold is exactly the same as if the purchased happened without the affiliate marketing.
In short, when the consumers buy the product or the service, the advertiser and the publisher share the profits.
How do Affiliate Marketers get paid?
One of the fastest and inexpensive method to make money without actually selling a product is through affiliate marketing. If you are looking increase your income you may consider starting affiliate marketing. How would you get paid though?
Well the answer can get complicated and may vary.
The payment method may be different depending on the terms and conditions you have agreed to when starting with an advertiser. You may earn a commission even though the consumer did not purchase the product or service but simply because he clicked on your banner or link.
As an affiliate marketer, you can get paid as per:
Pay Per Sale or PPS
This is often considered the most common payment method in the affiliate marketing structure. The advertiser or merchant will pay the publisher or affiliate a certain percentage on the total amount of the consumer ‘s purchase.
There is no particular time frame for this payment method. Some advertiser will pay you once the client’s trial period has expired or when the invoice is actually paid. In other words, the publisher will be compensated only when the consumer paid.
Pay Per Lead or PPL
PPL is slightly more complex than PPS or PPC. The Pay Per Lead programs are based on the conversion of leads. As an affiliate, you will need to persuade your audience or traffic to visit the advertiser’s website and complete a desired action.
This action could be filling out a contact form, subscribing for the newsletter, signing up for a service trial, or downloading a brochure, etc…
Pay Per Click pr PPC
If you never heard of PPS or PPL you may have heard about PPC or Pay Per Click. The PPC method is very famous and broadly used not only for affiliate marketing. The PPC focus on inviting the publishers to redirect their audience to their website or platform.
According to the number of click, their validity and potentially the time consumers have stayed on the advertiser’s page, the affiliate will be paid accordingly.
How to get started with affiliate marketing?
Why joining Host4u Group affiliate marketing?
Get up and running with Host4u Web Hosting affiliate program in just minutes, with quick and simple sign-up on one of the biggest Affiliate networks in the world. Enjoy unbeatable commission rates, exclusive promotions, and competitive bonuses
For 20 years Host4u has provided affordable and powerful hosting solutions to businesses and individuals. With 2 Data Centers; London and Sydney, your audience will surely find satisfaction and interest in our products and services.
In the Host4u affiliate program, take advantage of unbeatable commission rates on all sales made when referring visitors through your website. Our standard commission rate is 30%, however we offer higher commission rates for higher performing affiliates. The more sales you get, the more you earn from each sale! We will gladly offer you 50% commission above 11 sales realized.
We provide unique strategies and designs to help you grow, increase your website’s visibility, and drive more sales. We want to build and nurture a trustful and profitable relationship with our affiliate. So we can save both time and money. Our Web Design Team will gladly provide you for free all the designs and content you need to generate sales with your audience.
A dedicated team
You will have direct access to an affiliate expert who understands your business and your goals. Host4u will work with your team and our conversion rate experts to maximize your commissions and earnings per click. We provide 1-on-1 support through our ticket platform.
Promotion made easy
In your dashboard, you will have easy access to our pre-made text links, banners and content. Promote AUHost4u or UKhost4u anywhere on your site by simply inserting our affiliate links on your pages.
The most common linking methods
As a publisher you will have a fair share of options when to link the merchant’s website. We have gathered the most common and preferred methods here below.
As an advertiser, you should provide your publishers with as many linking methods as possible. You can provide active, dynamic content to publisher websites, quickly and easily, and our system allows you to track every click and commission to your website.
The graphical banner links
Graphical Banners are one of the most popular methods of linking to Advertisers. They are small standard sized images that advertise your website and any products on it. However, you will find that they represent the lower proportion of your click through to your website. For this reason we recommend that you create at least one of every different size and then offer your creative services to your Publishers for custom made banners and linking methods. (See banner specification PDF within the documentation section of your account)
The static marketing tools
Often creating text that can be used by Publishers to promote your website is useful, as links in text appear as part of the editorial of a website, rather than an advertisement, this makes visitors take notice of them more, and hence are more likely to click on the link and visit the Advertiser’s website. With ‘Copy groups’ you can create information that can be used by Publishers to sent out amongst an email list they may run, or perhaps show a review of the Advertiser’s website on their pages.
The email newsletters
You may have a newsletter that you send to your existing customers. You should upload it there, so your Publishers know about the latest developments for your business and can even forward that information to other people. You can directly put the HTML source code in the box in your account. You can also use this to store your email newsletters that you send to your own Publishers so that new sign ups have access to your history of information about your program.
The promotional emails
Our best Advertisers are often shopping sites that send newsletters as a matter of course with special offers and vouchers to their database of contacts. If you want them to promote you that way, you need to prepare a Promotional Email that they can use easily. Even if you make them in HTML and include pictures, you need to keep the total size under 100Kb.
What should I put in it? Quick description of my website/business Featured products with pictures (best sellers, high margin and unique products, etc.) Special offers. Vouchers, discounts…
How can I make it available to all my Publishers? Upload them under Current Links / Static Marketing Tools / Promotional emails It works like a text link, so you just need to paste your HTML code there. Don’t forget to link the images to the appropriate address on your site because we don’t host them as we do for banners.
When and how often should I do it? On a monthly basis. When you launch a new product. When you have Special offers. When you organise a Competition. When you have Vouchers or Coupons available.
Essentially all the types of static tools act in the same way – the types are there to help Publishers to distinguish the purpose for each group.
The promotional text
For instance, you could provide your Publishers with Testimonials, Press Articles, Editorial or any kind of Advertorial. We recommend that you add at least two pieces of promotional text. One a short description of only one sentence, and the other consisting of 3-4 sentences explaining what you offer to customers and why a customer should use your products or services – along with a ‘click here’ or ‘visit site’ link at the end. You need to ensure that at least one link is set up, for example:
<a href=http://www.yoursite.com>Click Here</a>
The Publisher Window system will then add your Publisher’s unique tracking code to this link when they get the code.
Keyword list: list the keywords people type on search engines when looking for your products. This is useful for Pay-Per-Click Publishers and Search Engine Optimisation specialists.
The dynamic text links
These are normal text links Publishers can’t customise because you control the content. This is the ideal tool for you to advertise on your Publisher’s site. Because, once they have placed it on their site, you control the information displayed, you don’t need to ask your Publisher to download a new version of the Text Link, you only need to update the Link in your account. You control a small part of your Publisher’s site!
The application forms
These are ideal for Advertisers paying per lead.
Instead of waiting for the visitor to click on a link on the Publisher site and then fill the form on your site, why don’t you directly provide the form to your Publishers?! That way, people will directly fill the form on the Publisher site. Publishers love that kind of link because they don’t lose the traffic by sending it somewhere else.
Use these to advertise the competitions you organise for your visitors. This can also be a form that your Publishers can host on their website so that their visitors pass the information directly to you.
The deep linking
It is possible to link not only straight to an Advertiser’s website, but also deep link directly to any product, special offer or service on the site. This can get much better results as the visitor to the site has no need to navigate the Advertiser’s site to find the product he/she is after once they have arrived at the Advertiser’s homepage. This tends to be much more effective than just plain linking to the index of a site.
Some Guidelines for Publishers
1. Host all images on your site and reference them with full URLs within your code.
2. Don’t include <html>, <head>, and <body> tags as Publishers will already have these in place within their pages they include your code on.
4. Ensure that the form method is set to #get as opposed to #post.
5. Ensure the ‘action’ parameter is set to the destination URL within your code. E.g. action=”http://www.yoursite.com/index.htm”
6. If you wish to use style sheets preferably include the style sheet in line within the code or reference a file hosted on your server.
*Affiliate marketing jargon
(also known as Publisher ID) The Affiliate ID is a unique number that identifies the Publisher on the Network. It is used within all tracking links so that the system knows which Publisher to assign a sale to. It also tracks any banner impressions as well as clicks referred from the Publisher’s website.
Example tracking link with the Publisher ID highlighted in red: http://www.
Affiliate Marketing Programme
(also known as Pay for Performance Marketing, Performance-based, Partner Marketing or CPA)
A type of revenue sharing programme where a Publisher receives a commission for generating a lead or sale for an Advertiser online.
(Also known as Performance Marketing Networks)
A Network acts as an intermediary between Publishers and Advertisers. It provides the tracking technology, account management tools and support required to run performance marketing programs & campaigns.
Banner is the term for an online graphic advertisement. We support standard IAB banner sizes, as well as custom sizes required by certain Advertisers. We support the following formats: GIF, JPEG/JPG and PNG and HTML5 Banners.
(also known as CPA or reward)
Commission is the term for the money paid to a Publisher for providing leads or sales on an Advertiser’s Publisher program. It completes two payment runs each month, once at the start and one mid month.
Commission Tiers can be established to reward Publishers increased commission for achieving greater amounts of volume. This can be based on the quantity of sales or the amount of revenue.
For more information see Performance Tiers
Commissions can be divided into groups in order to reward different amounts for different items purchased.
For example, Play.com sell a variety of products which have varying levels of margin. They have established separate commission groups for DVD, CD, Games, Clothing, Electricals, Mobile, Books, Computing, Gadgets and Games Consoles. This allows them greater control of their ROI as well as granular reporting on category performance by publisher.
The commission group “code” is passed for each item in the customers basket within the “aw_parts” parameter in the tracking tag.
The number of sales divided by the number of clicks. This figure represents the percentage of people who go on to purchase after clicking on a publishers link.
CPA stands for “Cost Per Acquisition”. This is the amount that the advertiser is willing to pay for an acquisition/lead. The cost per acquisition may be set as a percentage or fixed value, and is also a metric used to monitor performance and to set targets to.
Cost per click (CPC) is one of the online payment models by which advertisers pays for each click through made on their advertisement. Prices typically range from 2 pence to over 50 pence per click-through. This is an ideal method of payment for advertisers who need to guarantee they only pay for those viewers of the banner that click on it and visit a page on their site.
Cost per thousand (CPM) is one of the online payment models by which advertisers pay for every 1000 impressions of their advertisement. Prices typically range from £1 to over £50 per thousand impressions. This is an ideal method of payment for advertisers who want to guarantee only the number of people who sees their banner. The “M” in CPM is from the Roman numeral for 1000. The Roman numeral M was derived from the Latin word “mille” meaning “thousand”.
A unique name that identifies an Internet site. Every domain name consists of one top or high-level and one or more lower-level designators. Top-level domains are either generic (e.g. .com, .org) or geographic (e.g. .co.uk, .fr). Duplicate Commissions A duplicate commission is a commission that has appeared on the advertiser control panel more than once, normally due to a visitor refreshing the confirmation/thank-you page.
A domain name is the friendly name that we use to get to a website, for instance www.mysite.com
The average Earnings per Click is one of the calculations publishers will look at when considering to promote an advertiser. It is perhaps most important for PPC publishers whom need to assure that their EPC is greater than the cost per click paid to the search engine.
EPC is calculated by dividing the total publisher commission within a certain timeframe by the number of clicks that were generated.
For example, Affiliate X made £950 in commission for June, and achieved 1,200 clicks, £950/1,200 = 79p.
So their EPC is 79p per click.
Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML) is a computer programming language that in which most webpages are contructed, it contains the instructions for how a website should appear to a visitor. An HTML editor is a software program that enables one to easily create HTML pages.
The format most commonly used to transfer documents on the World Wide Web.
The number of ad spaces available for sale on a web site.
Internet protocol numerical address assigned to each computer on the network so that its location and activities can be distinguished from other computers.
The specific web page that a visitor reaches after clicking a link.
A lead is information that may be used later to provide a sale later on. This is normally a request for a quote, the ordering of a brochure or the completion of a questionnaire.
Leakage is the term used to describe mechanisms on an advertisers website that result in customers either purchasing in a non-trackable manner e.g/ over the phone, cause the customer to leave the site, or purchase from an area of the site that the publisher is not awarded sales on.
This is the code that a publisher uses to link to an advertisers website.
A link is any form of getting the visitor to visit an advertisers website. This is normally in the form of a graphical banner or text link.
A manual commission is money paid to a publisher, which for whatever reason did not go through the normal validation procedure. Manual commissions can be used to fix errors in payments, or give commission to publishers for offline sales.
(also called Retailer, E-retailer, or Online Retailer) An advertiser is a website that rewards publishers for placing links to the advertiser on their own website, normally on a CPA basis. Advertisers place ads and links to their products and services on other websites (publishers) through the marketing affiliate platform for example and pay those publishers a commission for the resulting leads or sales.
Merchant ID/Advertiser ID
An advertiser ID tells us about each advertiser apart on our system. It is our unique reference.
This is a general term for any scams that are run over the internet. Spyware is a type of online fraud as is “phising” which is a technique used to collect sensitive information illegally from a users PC such as passwords and credit card details.
The process of prioritising certain creatives within a campaign in order to serve more impressions of those ads which have a high click-through rate. Some ad serving solutions are able to do this automatically.
This is whatever the advertiser uses as a unique reference for the sales/leads on their website.
PPC stands for Pay Per Click which is a payment model used mainly by search engines and price comprison sites.
If advertisers wish to bid on specific keywords they select a list with each of the search engines. This means that if a user searches for one of the specified keywords they will appear within the “sponsored listings” search results.
If the user then clicks on the advert or “sponsored result” the advertisers will be charged a cost per click.
The price of the advert will vary dependant on how much the advertiser was willing to pay, the position they are trying to achieve and for Google, the quality score.
A product feed is a data file of all of an advertisers products from their website. It contains a variety of fields such as the product ID, name, RRP, price, link to the offer page, image URL, specifications…
Our technical guidelines on what fields are required and how they should be labelled.
A feed can be downloaded in a .csv or .xml format dependant on which type the publisher prefers. Typically these feeds are used by price comparison sites, or publishers wishing to list all of a advertisers deals.
The publisher directory features a profile for each publisher signed up to the network. Advertisers are able to search the directory for
The code which is placed on a publisher’s website which sends a request to the publisher’s ad server for an ad
A sale is any purchase made on an advertisers website.
Files that initiate routines like generating Web pages dynamically in response to user input.
An HTML command, embedded in the text of an HTML document, that describes the document’s logical structure and behavior and determines how the file is displayed in browsers. These tags send the request for an ad to the ad servers.
A tracking tag is the piece of code which sits on the advertisers website to enable us to report within the system when a sale has occured.
Various fields of information are caputred by the tracking tag including total sale value, commission group codes and voucher code (if used).
The tracking period is the length of time that the software tracks a clickthrough from a publishers website. Any sales made during this period will appear as commissions on the advertisers control panel.
URLs that are redirected through an ad server to enable click-throughs in a message to be counted.
Traffic to a website is essentially a measure of the number of visitors a website has during a set period. Website traffic can be increased through things like publisher marketing and search engine positioning.
A transaction is any entry on the system that results in a pending, declined or accepted commission. This is any lead or sale, whether duplicate or not.
Unique individual or browser which has either accessed a site (see unique visitor) or which has been served unique content and/or ads such as e-mail, newsletters, interstitials and pop-under ads. Unique users can be identified by user registration or cookies. Reported unique users should filter out robots.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the Internet “address” of a web site or web page on the world wide web. For example our sites URL is https://www.auhost4u.com. A browser requires this information in its location box in order to load a web page.
A valid domain is the domain that the system recognises as a valid confirmation page code has been shown from. This ensures that people cannot generate sales on our sytstem without having gone through the advertisers website.
It asks that advertisers validate the commissions for their publishers manually, as this ensures that only valid commissions are validated, thus giving the advertisers much more control over how much they pay to publishers.
The amount of time taken for a pending sale to be validated. A short validation period is a sign of a strong advertisers programme.
Simply someone viewing the website, normally from an advertisement, search or directly entering the URL.