The 10 most common misconceptions about affiliate marketing

The 10 most common misconceptions about affiliate marketing

Affiliation is a well-known strategy in the online marketing landscape. However, some persistent misconceptions can make it difficult to understand and adopt these practices. In this article, we’re going to demystify the most common misconceptions about affiliation.

Here are the 10 most common misconceptions about affiliation:

1. “Affiliation is only for e-commerce websites.”

Not true! Affiliation is not just limited to BtoC e-commerce companies. It can be used in a variety of sectors such as services: banking, insurance, energy, real estate, the media, travel, etc. For these service sectors in particular, affiliation generally takes a different form: the visitor is directed to a form to fill in, often on a landing page, which enables leads to be collected that can then be requalified by phone or other means.

BtoB companies are also well advised to work on their affiliation programme in order to collaborate with content publishers who can promote their products or services in a targeted way.

2. “Affiliation is only based on clicks.”

This statement isn’t true either! Although clicks are often used to measure performance, affiliate marketing is not limited to this action alone.

Clicks may be the starting point, but affiliate success is measured by other types of conversions depending on the customer’s need, such as: sales, leads, registrations or downloads. These make it possible to evaluate the performance of an affiliation campaign in the best possible way.

3. “Affiliation programmes are only effective for large companies or well-known brands”.

Contrary to this common misconception, affiliation is also a powerful and accessible strategy for small and medium-sized businesses looking to increase their visibility and boost their sales.

Through affiliation, these players can benefit from exposure to a wider or niche audience, taking advantage of already well-established affiliate networks.  Affiliates can become true ambassadors for emerging brands, boosting their profile with a new audience.

Our SKALE with Kwanko offer is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, among others, because it’s tailored to their needs: self-service, 0% platform commission, so you only pay for results and limit the risks!

4. “Affiliation only works on last-click sales.”

There is a tendency to believe that the results of affiliation are only measured on the last-click, thus attributing all the conversion to the affiliate who generated the last click before the purchase. Although last-click is still widely used, more and more companies are adopting multi-touch attribution models to recognise the entire consumer conversion journey.

These models take into account all the relevant touchpoints that contributed to the conversion, allocating commissions to different affiliates based on their impact throughout the buying process. This is a fairer approach that recognises the crucial role that different affiliates play in the consumer’s decision-making process, and so fairly rewards the efforts of all partners involved in converting visitors into satisfied customers.

When the advertiser activates various levers other than affiliation, our team will help you to clarify the complex conversion data to ensure that each player is fairly rewarded. As an intermediary between advertisers and affiliates, our team makes itself available to facilitate transparent communication between all parties. Our commitment also extends to optimising campaigns in line with your objectives. In short, we offer support that goes beyond simple conversion management to ensure the overall success of your marketing strategy.

5. “Affiliate commissions are too high.”

A common misconception is that affiliation platform commissions are excessively high, making them prohibitively expensive for businesses. This is a misconception, because it is important to understand that affiliation platforms adapt their commissions according to various factors such as: the sector of activity, the type of product or service offered, the competition and the specific objectives of each company. In this way, platform commissions are tailored to each customer so as to be as fair as possible.

In addition, commissions are generally based on actual performance, which means that companies only pay when tangible results, such as sales or leads, are generated. Compared with the fixed costs of some other marketing methods, affiliation can offer an excellent return on investment.

Our SKALE with Kwanko offer is very simple: 0% commission! All the remuneration is paid to the publishers for one very simple reason: this is a self-service offer, meaning that you launch and manage your own affiliate programme. However, if you wish, you can also choose to be supported by our experts by subscribing to our “à la carte” offers, in which case the price is fixed.

6. “Affiliation only generates short-term sales.”

A common misconception about affiliation is that this strategy only generates short-term sales, without providing any lasting benefits.

Whereas it can also help to build brand awareness, expand the customer base and establish long-term relationships with affiliates. Affiliates who specialise in quality content can create a ripple effect, attracting organic and engaging traffic that can continue to generate sales long after an initial campaign has ended.

In addition, a strategic approach to affiliation can lead to the creation of strong, mutually beneficial partnerships that endure over time. By working with quality affiliates, companies can cultivate long-term relationships that bring a steady stream of conversions. So, to consider affiliate marketing only as a quick-sell strategy is underestimating its potential to shape the long-term success of a business.

7. “Publishers from affiliate platforms are low-quality.”

Contrary to this common misconception, affiliates focus on creating quality content and building authentic relationships with their audience. They seek to provide real added value by recommending relevant products or services, rather than resorting to dubious techniques.

Affiliation platforms are composed of a vast range of affiliates, each with a different impact and objective: affinity players, emailers, influencers, bloggers, deals & cashback, content to commerce, media management, etc. Don’t hesitate to consult our article on this subject, which explains the role of these different types of affiliates, by clicking here.

Moreover, affiliation platforms offer tools for monitoring performance and analysing the traffic and conversions generated by each affiliate, enabling brands to make informed decisions based on tangible results.

For example, with our SKALE with Kwanko offer, you have access to several tools from the Kwanko platform:

  • The “Voucher Tag”, which enables real tracking using a specific promo code allocated to a single publisher so that all sales generated with this promo code are attributed to this same publisher. This is the case even if no affiliation cookie has been triggered or if it has been allocated to another distribution channel. This will make it easier to track sales from social networks, which generally do not authorise affiliation links in posts.
  • The “Marketplace”, which enables publishers to promote their specific deals and advertisers to find interesting offers to highlight their campaigns when they need to boost their visibility during peak periods.
  • The platform’s internal messaging system to facilitate communication between advertisers and publishers and boost your partnerships.

We have also developed an anti-fraud tool to ensure regular quality control of affiliates, in order to guarantee a clean network that complies with our quality and best practice charter. In addition, we have a dedicated publisher team that carries out this regular control and is very demanding when it comes to recruiting qualified affiliates.

8. “Affiliate programmes are difficult and time-consuming to set up.”

It’s common to hear that setting up an affiliate programme is long and tedious. It often requires constant planning, management and optimisation, it’s true!

However, it’s very quick to set up: our programme creation page has been entirely designed to be as simple as possible, in plug & play mode. And we are technically integrated with the main e-commerce solutions on the market, such as Shopify, Prestashop, WooCommerce (and many others) to make your job easier.

It will take you 30 minutes (assuming you already have your distribution media) to set up your affiliation programme on SKALE with Kwanko, so don’t hesitate any longer and get started!

9. “Affiliation is less effective than other digital marketing levers.”

This misconception is unfounded. Affiliation can be a highly effective strategy when it is well executed. It is a lever based on a performance model where commissions are paid only when tangible results are obtained, unlike other levers such as Meta where you pay even before you have obtained the final result.

By working with qualified affiliates and optimising campaigns according to results, companies can achieve significant results in terms of visibility, traffic, conversions and return on investment. What’s more, affiliation can extend a brand’s reach by leveraging affiliates’ networks and audiences, which can generate qualified traffic and new conversions.

Rather than seeing affiliation as less effective, it is essential to assess the specific benefits it can bring to an overall online marketing strategy, leveraging its unique strengths to maximise visibility and profitability.

10. “Affiliation is not a very transparent lever, neither for advertisers nor web users.”

This is a preconceived notion because the affiliation industry has made huge strides in terms of transparency in recent years. Today, affiliate platforms offer detailed tools and dashboards that allow advertisers to monitor the performance of their campaigns in real time.

Our SKALE with Kwanko offer also gives you a high level of visibility over your affiliate network: you have access to the full list of our network of over 150 000 publishers. We are also committed to transparency and the protection of Internet users’ data using a special tool:

  • The “First-Party Solutions”: in a context that has seen the strengthening of user data protection (privacy, consent, the rise of advertising adblocks) with the rise of regulations such as the GDPR, moving to First-Party Cookie tracking is now becoming a necessity for advertisers. That’s why Kwanko has anticipated these changes by developing a series of solutions that are compatible with all browsers and respect the privacy of Internet users.

As we unravel these persistent preconceptions about affiliate marketing, it becomes clear that this strategy is far more versatile, effective and transparent than these preconceptions suggest.

Far from being only reserved for e-commerce companies, affiliation extends to a variety of areas and offers lucrative opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses and emerging brands.

Affiliation has shown that it competes effectively with other digital marketing levers, delivering measurable and positive results. Transparency has also evolved, reinforcing trust between advertisers and web users. This in-depth analysis shows that affiliation is a powerful and relevant strategy that you should take into account in your online acquisition strategy!

Clara Michaud

Aug 28, 2023