Why Do People Promote Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing Tips: The 10 Biggest Myths

They exist in every culture: myths. The Duden also describes a myth as "a mostly blurred irrational idea". We also observe irrational ideas in online marketing when we are confronted with a wide variety of questions and claims about our specialist areas. So let's try to take up the myths and fallacies in affiliate marketing and untangle the threads ...


1. Affiliate marketing is only "something for the really big ones"

In fact, an affiliate program can only be economically successful if the online shop already has a certain level of traffic - i.e. it is no longer a niche site. Because the better known your shop is, the easier it is to generate strong partners.

However, affiliate marketing is no longer a playground where only the really big shops cavort.

The last few years have shown that affiliate marketing can be worthwhile for smaller shops. The initial investment is worthwhile, because with the help of affiliate marketing, even small shops can enter into cooperation with a large number of different partners (e.g. influencers). Affiliate tip: Smaller shops in particular with innovative products can score well with publishers if they communicate their USPs correctly.

2. Affiliate marketing annoys customers

"Affiliate-Marketing - the customer is constantly being shown annoying banners everywhere?"

Yes and no. It is true that in affiliate marketing banners are mainly used as advertising media to draw potential customers' attention to the shop page. Every user has probably already been to a page and wanted to close their eyes to all the "bling-bling". But that is no longer the norm. Your affiliate marketing will not be perceived as annoying if you consider the following points:

  • Design of your banners
    • Use appealing product images
    • Put the USPs of your shop in the foreground
    • Use as little text as possible
    • Put as little as possible on "bling-bling"
  • When choosing partners, do without banner networks & Co.
  • When using retargets, agree on the key data beforehand, for example how often the user should be confronted with the advertising service (keyword "frequency capping")

3. Affiliate marketing generates sales quickly

If a merchant has decided to advertise his shop via affiliate marketing, the above sentence could come up quickly. Why not, you might think at this point. With the other online marketing channels, quick acquisition works (mostly) as well. Unfortunately it is false. In affiliate marketing, partner acquisition takes some time before they have registered for the program and the advertising service is provided. Here, real people become active as partners and not pure technologies - i.e. just press the button to get it going is probably affiliate marketing of the future, but currently not feasible.

If the application is also made via retargeting, you must first have collected enough data about the users in order to be able to "provide" potential buyers with the necessary information.

How long it takes on average for your affiliate program to be profitable ultimately depends heavily on the products advertised, the partners and the support of the affiliate program. The latter can also lead to the next error.

4. Affiliate marketing is a "no-brainer"

Constant adjustments to the market also require that you keep your affiliate program up to date. This includes, among other things, keeping an eye on the competition in terms of commission paid. If the competition offers significantly more attractive commission models, your partner can quickly switch to the competitor.

If the banners that advertise your shop are out of date because the products displayed on them are no longer up-to-date, the click rate will likely decrease and fewer customers will come to your shop to complete a purchase.

If the affiliate feed is not kept up-to-date, retargeters and price comparators will display products that are no longer available.

Do you miss the latest trends when choosing a partner? If you don't keep an eye on your already registered partners, you quickly fall victim to attempts at fraud, such as brand bidding.

One of my most important affiliate marketing tips is to regularly maintain your program and to communicate with the publishers, as cooperation is always based on trust. If you neglect your account for too long and do not validate your sales regularly, for example, invalid sales, customer cancellations and, in extreme cases, attempted fraud can quickly result in high costs. Optimization attempts, to put it positively, have been and still are in individual cases on both the publisher and merchant side, unfortunately in individual cases also outside the gray area. Publishers generate sales that they are not entitled to; this must be monitored regularly. Merchants, on the other hand, illegally “cancel” sales in order to save commission. But be careful: Merchants who cancel their valid sales too often will have long-term problems. Because publishers also look at their KPIs and can quickly terminate the collaboration.

5. Affiliate marketing is not the future, it is dead

The myth that affiliate marketing is dead due to various disadvantages has been around for many years and is constantly being stimulated by recurring comments from supposed online marketing experts. Affiliate marketing is complicated, past-oriented, prone to fraud, negatively charged and nowadays no longer compliant with data protection law. But this is not the case. Some points of criticism are justified, there may be a few disadvantages to affiliate marketing, but many have long been a thing of the past.

Affiliiate marketing has developed strongly in the last five years and the vast majority of publishers, merchants, agencies and networks are expecting increasing sales in 2020 as well. The industry is now consistently fighting against fraud and is constantly adapting to the changed circumstances through technical innovations. More and more networks and merchants are now relying on first-party cookies, master tags and server-to-server communication in order to meet the requirements of the GDPR and the EU's ePrivacy Regulation. New affiliate business models, such as influencer marketing, are enjoying increasing popularity. Affiliate marketing has a future and is far from dead.

6. Communication unnecessary? I'm paying the publisher!

It is actually a common misconception that as a merchant you get every partner you want to advertise your shop. With sites that are in demand and with high traffic, it has long since become typical that you have to “court” your partner or even “let your pants down” by giving them access to the most important key figures for your online shop.

Communication in your existing collaborations should also always be based on partnership and be characterized by transparency: Are changes being made to the affiliate program, the attribution model changing, and the partners not being informed in good time or not at all? A procedure that I strongly advise against!

Affiliate tip: Every day there are new affiliate programs in large networks such as Belboon or Awin that are entering the market. Offended publishers may already be on the lookout for new affiliate programs after faux pas and then prefer to support the competition.

7. Affiliate Marketing Actions = Waste of Time and Money?

This error builds on point six. Often campaigns in affiliate marketing are not started because the shop owner is of the opinion that only the amount of the commission is decisive for the partner.

Even if the amount of commission is an important indicator for many publishers when applying for an affiliate program, the loyalty to you as a merchant also plays an important role. Another affiliate marketing tip is that your affiliates love programs that have something “on top”. Be it the raffle for a lost prize or an increase in the commission in a certain period of time to boost sales.

If you have not complied with a communication obligation or if you have to reduce the commission due to the margin, a stronger bond can help the publisher to maintain the partnership anyway.

You can find out more about the advantages of promotions in affiliate marketing and tips on how to implement them in our affiliate marketing agency services.

8. Blogs generate the most (affiliate) sales

This is actually a myth. Understandably, blogs are often at the top of the wish list of merchants when choosing a partner. But winning blogs as advertising partners for affiliate collaborations has gotten more complicated over the years. Some blog operators want to keep their blog "clean" and generally reject the publication of advertising. Other bloggers know exactly how popular their site is and even offer special media packages for advertising services. However, you have to dig deeper into your pocket than you actually set the conditions for the partner program.

Affiliate marketing has developed steadily over the past few years. Cashback sites, price comparators, retargeter, deal sites and voucher partners generate the most sales to this day. However, new affiliate models are on the rise. For example, while only 14 percent of merchants relied on influencers in 2019, it should be 34 percent by 2020.

9. Voucher publishers and price comparators are only suitable for inexpensive products

It is often said that affiliate marketing consists only of vouchers and that these do more harm than good, since customers would have bought without a voucher. This is partly true, even if there are already various technical possibilities to prevent this phenomenon (basket freeze). In general, it has become more and more important that you as a merchant have a sustainable voucher strategy. For example, other commission classes can apply to voucher partners, vouchers can be explicitly advertised for new customers or only apply to limited promotions or days.

10. Nobody needs retargeting

Oh but! Retartgeting is the best way to address customers who have already visited your shop but have not shown willingness to buy. And in order to optimally complement retargeting, a combination with pretargeting is recommended: Here, advertising banners are displayed to potential customers who have not yet visited the shop, but who have similar interests and purchase characteristics as existing customers. Here you should exchange ideas closely with your partner - in this case the retargeter - so that the "nerve factor" does not become too big, as mentioned above.

Want to learn more about affiliate marketing hacks? In his performance marketing forecast for 2020, Nico also looks at the topic of affiliates.

I hope I was able to give you a little insight into the topic and to clear up alleged disadvantages of affiliate marketing or to refute myths. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Best wishes

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After studying business administration, Svenja initially worked in media planning before she mingled with the affiliates of web-netz. What she particularly values ​​about her job is the personal contact with customers, networks and publishers. Svenja worked at web-netz until March 2017. In her free time, she relaxes with yoga or an exciting crime novel.