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How does affiliate marketing work?

If you have heard about affiliate marketing and wondered what affiliate marketing is all about and how to get started, then read to the end of this article. This guide would explain

  • What affiliate marketing is all about
  • Best affiliate programs or networks to join. 
  • How to promote affiliate products

Revenue sharing or giving commission for referred businesses began long before the internet came. This is one of the fastest ways companies and businesses grow with the help of other people. So, affiliate marketing has been in existence for a long time. If it’s done well, this can have a massive impact on our financial goals and can also be the main source of income or side hustle. 

What is affiliate marketing? 

What is affiliate markerting

Affiliate marketing is a process where you get paid some commission from the revenue that’s made after promoting a product or service made by another retailer or advertiser. Most of the programs pay per sale, but some programs would pay you a reward for leads or even clicks or actions taken like downloads of apps or signing up to a website, or even when an email or number is collected. 

Affiliate marketing is free to join, which is advantageous as no high startup costs. 

How does affiliate marketing work?

How does affiliate marketing work

As it is in the image above, the first thing to do is find a product you would like to promote, then you would be given a unique link that you could use to promote the product. The link would be tracked and anytime someone buys the product or performs an action then you’ll be given the agreed commission. 

The common ways affiliate marketing pays are:

pay per sale (PPS): You get paid anytime you make a sale. This is the most common way affiliates are paid. This will require a bit of expertise to make someone buy the product. 

Pay per lead (PPL) You get paid anytime someone signs up for something. It’s also popular as companies may use it for sweepstakes or lead generation. It’s easier to get a lead than make a sale. So, you can try it if you’re a beginner.

Pay per click (PPC). You get paid anytime a visitor clicks on your link. Although it’s rare some companies still try it to get visitors to their websites. 

Pay per action (PPA) You earn a commission if you get someone to act. It could be a form submission or a contact request.

Pay per install (PPI). Commissions are earned if your visitors download an application or software. This is also popular among some companies looking to advertise their applications and get more users.

Steps to get started in affiliate marketing

1. The First step is to find and focus on a niche market and find the product you would want to promote. 

2. Find an affiliate network or program that is centered around your niche market to apply to join.

3. After you have completed the registration, you can get a special link that will allow the merchant to track who clicks the links and their activities.

4. Promote the link to persons in need of the product

5. If they buy the products or complete an action that is required of the program, they earn a commission.

6. You will get paid after the commissions are approved and at their payment schedule.

You may wonder how the merchants become aware anytime you make a sale. Well, they do track your affiliate links. ss

The common type of tracking is with a cookie. When you click a link, a cookie will be stored on your device and if a sale is made, the merchant would know it’s from you.

With affiliate marketing, you could make from the range 0- million. Yeah, I know people who don’t earn and I know others that do. If you do it well, then you can make a good income from this. On the other hand, if you don’t do this well, you won’t earn a dime. It’s all based on your traffic and you’re getting the visitors to make you a sale.

What are the most common ways people promote affiliate Products? 

  1. Social media
  2. Forums
  3. Blog
  4. YouTube videos
  5. Paid ads

Social media

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money online, and you can promote links without a website. Social media is one of the most popular ways people promote affiliate products.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are one of the most popular social media platforms that you can use to promote your affiliate products. Their high number of engaged members and communities there makes it a target for marketers.

Facebook has the highest number of active users, which is over 2 billion, which makes it the best platform for promoting your affiliate products. You can create an account with Facebook and a page for your product or company. Another thing you can do is create a Facebook Ad campaign to promote your product or company on Facebook.

You can also join niche market communities and find people interested in what you have to offer.

Creating a plan for your affiliate marketing campaign would be best as you can’t just start posting affiliate links without any working strategy. The next social media you can try is Instagram

There are several ways of promoting your products on Instagram. 

You can start by using relevant hashtags related to the niche market or using the hashtags of popular influencers and companies in your niche. This would also help you get more followers who may be interested in that niche market.

You can also try Twitter which would also be based on posting relevant hashtags. Pinterest is also great too as long as you’re consistent in posting relevant pins. Quora is also widely used since it is a question-and-answer site that has lots of active users. You can answer questions related to your niche market and blend your offer there. 

Forum groups

Forums are another effective method to promote affiliate products, as they can allow you to post links and other promotional material there. You can go to google and find several forums related to your niche market and pick the 

forums that have high traffic and would be very effective in generating sales for your affiliate products.

Join and offer some value there first. You can later put your links out there. This will prevent your account from getting banned. They are also very sensitive to promotions like this so just do everything moderately. There is a way to search for forums on google but I would suggest that you download a third-party chrome extension called the discussion button for google search.


The best way to promote your affiliate products is by having a blog. To me, it’s the most lucrative method as you can just simply write about products, add links to them, review the products, and get sales. You could make money with several methods on a blog and not only just affiliate marketing.

Some affiliate networks provide you with banners that you could just place in the desired part of your website. 

 Another good thing is that you can make a lot more from it if you have a large number of emails on your email list.


The key to success in using YouTube for affiliate marketing is to find an audience that will respond to your marketing message. YouTube is one of the best places to promote affiliate products because it has a strong and engaged community where tons of people are looking for content you would likely share.

You can promote your affiliate product by creating a video review, including a call-to-action for viewers to click on the link in the description, or by creating an unboxing video. You could also create another type of video with a link back to your product page as an annotation in the description box

Paid ads

When promoting affiliate products with paid ads, there are some things that you need to keep in mind. There are 3 main types of paid ads: Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, and Instagram Ads.

You also need to know where your target audience is spending most of their time online before deciding which type of ad you want to run on which platform. For example, if you’re promoting beauty products, then it would be best to use Facebook and Instagram ads because so many people are on social media these days engaging in such subjects.


More of YouTube affiliate marketing

More of Social media for affiliate marketing


One thought on “How does affiliate marketing work?

  1. This article is so nice. Thank you
    It really helped leave a guide. Simple concise and straight forward.

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