Affiliate marketing is a form of web-based marketing that brings together advertisers, publishers, agencies and developers to pool resources and drive revenue for each individual business. It works through a process of clicktracking, where an affiliate, also known as a publisher, places ad banners and links for an established retailer on their website. When visitors click on these tracking links, they are directed to the appropriate page of the given retailer. If that visitor then goes on to make a purchase, the publisher receives a commission for their part in the referral. It’s a similar principle to ‘refer a friend’.
An affiliate network acts as an intermediary in the whole process, managing the relationship between publisher and merchant, as well as running the affiliate programs. Affiliate networks help publishers to find more suitable affiliate programs that are appropriate to their content and help establish their identity in order to maximise their revenue. Affiliate networks also help merchants reach a larger, more targeted audience by advertising themselves on all those websites signed on to their affiliate program.
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