What is Affiliate Marketing; How Does it Work?

Affiliate marketing is widely used on instagram amongst niche audiences

Here at Humana, we specialise in digital marketing and the current, past and future trends that rise to prominence. Affiliate marketing programs are a popular advertising technique adopted by companies worldwide. It is particularly effective through social media, web and blog channels.

By definition, affiliate marketing is a process involving an individual or affiliate marketing another person’s or company’s products. The simple process includes an affiliate searching for a particular product that they are interested in; then promoting it through their own channels before taking a fragment of profit from each sale. Each sale is tracked through affiliate links from one website to another.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Effective affiliate marketing requires three parties to function. These parties are made up of sellers and product creators, an affiliate or advertiser and the consumer.

Because affiliate marketing is measured by the success of each bracket, it is able to share the responsibility of product advertising; utilising a variety of individuals in order to squeeze the most out of a marketing campaign.

We can delve deeper into the relationship between each of our three parties; looking carefully at how they create boosted sales and spread brand awareness.

Product Sellers and Creators in Affiliate Marketing

No matter the nature of the seller, whether they are a worldwide enterprise or a solo business endeavour, is always a merchant in some way shape or form. This means that there will always be goods and services to be accessed by consumers.

The seller is the brand, they are the entity that desires to boost brand awareness, customer retention and most importantly, sales. The seller can take a back seat when it comes to marketing the products and services or they can opt to advertise their merchandise and profit from the revenue being shared with the affiliate marketer.

The Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate marketers can also be referred to as publishers and usually take the form of either an individual or a larger collective such as an organisation. The publisher’s role in affiliate marketing is to promote a company’s products or services in an interesting and appealing way. 

When done effectively, the affiliate convinces the consumer that the product in question has value and should that interaction lead to a sale – affiliates receive a portion of the revenue.

Affiliates often operate within specific target markets in order to garner the interest of niche audiences. Targeting niche areas has more of an impact than broadcasting to a wider demographic because the product on show has more of a personal link to them; therefore, generating more interest.

The Consumer

Customers are the most important factor in affiliate marketing, they hold the responsibility of being the driving force. Consumers can access the products and services being promoted by affiliates across social media, blogs and websites.

When a purchase is made, the affiliate and the seller both share the revenue collected. In some cases, the affiliate chooses to make their audience aware of their intention to receive a sales-based commission. In other cases, the customer has no recollection of interacting with affiliate marketers.

Affiliate marketing rarely results in customers having to pay more for the products through an alternative party than the original retailer. This is because the affiliate’s wage is included in the retail price of the product or service. The customer will complete the purchasing process as normal and receive the product seamlessly, as though there were no extra practices underway.


Now you know what affiliate marketing is and the three integral factors that create, enhance and drive the digital marketing process. Here at Humana, we’re partnered with Doncaster’s innovative digital marketing firm Be My Social. From here, you can access all your digital marketing needs and questions.