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Driving Traffic and

Customer Activity
Through Affiliate
Marketing

Surabhi Singh
Jaipuria School of Business, India

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Marketing, Customer Relationship
Management, and E-Services
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Names: Singh, Surabhi, editor.


Title: Driving traffic and customer activity through affiliate marketing /
Surabhi Singh, editor.
Description: Hershey : Business Science Reference, [2017]
Identifiers: LCCN 2017007559| ISBN 9781522526568 (hardcover) | ISBN
9781522526575 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: Multilevel marketing. | Affiliate programs (World Wide Web)
Classification: LCC HF5415.126 .D75 2017 | DDC 658.8/72--dc23 LC record available at https://
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Encouraging Participative Consumerism Through Evolutionary Digital Marketing ...


Hans Ruediger Kaufmann (University of Nicosia, Cyprus) and Agapi Manarioti (The Brand
Love, Cyprus)
Business Science Reference • ©2017 • 222pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781683180128) • US $160.00

Strategic Marketing Management and Tactics in the Service Industry


Tulika Sood (JECRC University, India)
Business Science Reference • ©2017 • 393pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781522524755) • US $210.00

Narrative Advertising Models and Conceptualization in the Digital Age


Recep Yılmaz (Ondokuz Mayis University, Turkey)
Business Science Reference • ©2017 • 360pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781522523734) • US $205.00

Socio-Economic Perspectives on Consumer Engagement and Buying Behavior


Hans Ruediger Kaufmann (University of Applied Management Studies Mannheim, Germany
& University of Nicosia, Cyprus) and Mohammad Fateh Ali Khan Panni (City University,
Bangladesh)
Business Science Reference • ©2017 • 420pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781522521396) • US $205.00

Green Marketing and Environmental Responsibility in Modern Corporations


Thangasamy Esakki (Nagaland University, India)
Business Science Reference • ©2017 • 294pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781522523314) • US $180.00

Promotional Strategies and New Service Opportunities in Emerging Economies


Vipin Nadda (University of Sunderland, UK) Sumesh Dadwal (Northumbria University,
UK) and Roya Rahimi (University of Wolverhampton, UK)
Business Science Reference • ©2017 • 417pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781522522065) • US $185.00

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Editorial Advisory Board
Naseem Abidi, Jaypee Business School, India
Mukesh Chaturvedi, PDC Educational Services, India
Sheeba Hamid, Aligarh Muslim University, India
Mohd. Naveed Khan, Aligarh Muslim University, India
H. G. Parsa, University of Denver, USA
John Walsh, Shinawatra University, Thailand

List of Reviewers
Shailja Dixit, Amity Business School, India
Jaspreet Kaur, Trinity Business School, India
Marianne Ojo, George Mason University, USA
Sarah Newton, University of Kent, UK
Nidhi Sinha, Bennett University, India
Table of Contents

Foreword.............................................................................................................xiii

Preface................................................................................................................. xiv

Acknowledgment..............................................................................................xviii

Chapter 1
Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction.......................................................1
Surabhi Singh, Jaipuria School of Business, India

Chapter 2
Affiliate Marketing: Experiences of Different Companies...................................11
Ritu Narang, University of Lucknow, India
Prashant Trivedi, University of Lucknow, India

Chapter 3
Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India.....................................................33
Jaspreet Kaur, Trinity Institute of Professional Studies, India
Deepti Wadera, G. D. Goenka World Institute, Lancaster University,
India

Chapter 4
Amazon Associates: A Model of Affiliate Marketing..........................................51
Taranpreet Kaur, Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Management Studies,
India

Chapter 5
Affiliate Marketing Empowers Entrepreneurs......................................................64
Mukesh Chaturvedi, PDC Educational Services, India


Chapter 6
Affiliate Marketing for Entrepreneurs: The Mechanics of Driving Traffic to
Enhance Business Performance............................................................................81
Shailja Dixit, Amity University, India
Hitesh Kesarwani, Amity University, India

Chapter 7
Driving Traffic and Customer Activity Through Affiliate Marketing:
Understanding and Addressing the Differences Between Affiliate Marketing
in the USA...........................................................................................................101
Sarah Newton, University of Kent, UK
Marianne Ojo, George Mason University, USA

Chapter 8
Investigating the Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing Through Digital Content
Marketing: A Key for Driving Traffic and Customer Activity...........................113
Parag Shukla, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India
Parimal Hariom Vyas, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda,
India
Hiral Shastri, Independent Researcher, India

Chapter 9
Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement
Programs.............................................................................................................129
Surabhi Singh, Jaipuria School of Business, Ghaziabad, India

Related References............................................................................................ 141

Compilation of References............................................................................... 177

About the Contributors.................................................................................... 226

Index................................................................................................................... 230
Detailed Table of Contents

Foreword.............................................................................................................xiii

Preface................................................................................................................. xiv

Acknowledgment..............................................................................................xviii

Chapter 1
Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction.......................................................1
Surabhi Singh, Jaipuria School of Business, India

The different tools used in digital marketing are meant to increase the web traffic.
One of the important components is Affiliate Marketing. This chapter will bring
huge transitions in industry of digital marketing. The affiliate marketing has benefits
of increasing customer satisfaction and value driven efficiency in any organization.
The study of affiliate programs need to be activated in organizations in order to
exploit the potential of same. The companies like Amazon, snapdeal, and flipkart
are running affiliate programs and the brand of these companies remain unbeatable.
The purpose behind affiliate marketing is to use publisher or affiliate website for
promotion of merchant’s own products. The underlying benefit is its low customer
acquisition cost and marketing expenses.

Chapter 2
Affiliate Marketing: Experiences of Different Companies...................................11
Ritu Narang, University of Lucknow, India
Prashant Trivedi, University of Lucknow, India

The emergence of internet as a strong medium of communication has led to the


emergence of numerous marketing avenues with many companies realizing its
potential towards promotion of their products. Online marketing platforms offer
various opportunities for directing costumers towards the products through online
advertising, affiliate marketing, search engine optimization, direct mailers etc. Affiliate
marketing is a performance based marketing and known for its cost effectiveness.


we have suggested a framework MECHULUP indicating Mobile Friendliness,


E-Commerce, Content Quality, Honesty, Audio/Video, Link Building, Social Media,
and Persistence.

Chapter 3
Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India.....................................................33
Jaspreet Kaur, Trinity Institute of Professional Studies, India
Deepti Wadera, G. D. Goenka World Institute, Lancaster University,
India

Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing in which one refers
someone to any online product. When the consumer buys this product on the basis
of the given recommendation, then the person who has referred him receives a
commission. This commission could vary from $1 to $10000, on the basis of the
type of product which has been referred. The rapid development of the term “Affiliate
marketing” which is a performance based internet marketing practice, has made the
online selling market even more competitive. Many companies are now venturing
into the forming or improving their affiliate programs and giving higher incentives to
keep the affiliates loyal. This study is a qualitative study about the Affiliate program
presently run by Amazon Company.

Chapter 4
Amazon Associates: A Model of Affiliate Marketing..........................................51
Taranpreet Kaur, Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Management Studies,
India

Affiliate marketing, without a doubt, is the quickest and easiest way to make some
profit on the World Wide Web. Aside from this, affiliate marketing brings many
benefits like minimum to zero financial investment to start out with this earning
stream, a variety of programs to choose from, unlimited number of programs to join,
extravagant commission schemes ranging from 20% to 90% of the selling price,
get paid as you produce results. You’re not handcuffed by time, you can work at
your own pace; No limit as to how much you can earn. Because of these amazing
benefits, millions of online users have tried their hands in affiliate marketing. The
affiliate marketing space has matured quite a bit since 1994, when the Olim brothers
began their first affiliate program at CDnow. The “buy web” program revolutionized
advertising and marketing on. The Internet by shifting the “burden of response”
from advertisers to content producers.


Chapter 5
Affiliate Marketing Empowers Entrepreneurs......................................................64
Mukesh Chaturvedi, PDC Educational Services, India

The earliest forms of the more recently coined term “Affiliate Marketing” came into
being with the advent of Tupperware and Amway. Tupperware, a home products line
that includes preparation, storage, containment, and serving products for kitchen as
also household plastic containers used to store goods and / or foods, was launched
by Earl Silas Tupper of Orlando, Florida, in 1948. He developed his first bell shaped
container in 1942, and branded it later. Amway, short for The American Way, is
a company that uses a multi-level marketing model to sell a variety of products
primarily in the health, beauty and home care markets. It was founded by Jay Van
Andel and Richard Devos of Ada Township, Michigan, in 1959. The core concept
of both Tupperware and Amway is “revenue sharing” – paying commission for
referred business, which is also the idea of Affiliate Marketing.

Chapter 6
Affiliate Marketing for Entrepreneurs: The Mechanics of Driving Traffic to
Enhance Business Performance............................................................................81
Shailja Dixit, Amity University, India
Hitesh Kesarwani, Amity University, India

Selling and marketing of both the products and services have undergone sea changes,
in the last decade or so, with greater focus on internet marketing Expanding coverage
of internet allows spreading of products without involving huge additional investments
in distribution system. The internet technology has existed for more than 40 years
now, yet it was the introduction of the World Wide Web (WWW) that caused its fast
market penetration. In only four years, the internet reached an audience of 50 million
users in the USA. It took the television over 13 years and the telephone over 75 years
to reach this number. Considering that, the internet can said to be the fastest spreading
information media in today’s world. The strength of the WWW was the power to
provide easy access to information using a network of web sites. Of course, many
people realized the huge possibilities of this media. Companies saw big marketing
opportunities as internet user numbers increased. The chapter will try to seek the
performance and effectiveness of current techniques of internet marketing and at
the same time to identify the potential of new and emerging techniques for further
strengthening the internet marketing with special emphasis on Affiliate Marketing.


Chapter 7
Driving Traffic and Customer Activity Through Affiliate Marketing:
Understanding and Addressing the Differences Between Affiliate Marketing
in the USA...........................................................................................................101
Sarah Newton, University of Kent, UK
Marianne Ojo, George Mason University, USA

This chapter aims to contribute to the extant literature on Affiliate Marketing through
promoting a better understanding of how differences in cultures and environments
can be mitigated – as well as facilitating the awareness of how best practices within
Europe and the United States could be achieved. Should influential and wealthy
corporations be compelled to pay back taxes after having entered into agreements and
investment with a foreign corporation? Whilst many applauded the recent European
Commission’s ruling with Apple, in the sense that sovereignty (from the European
perspective) had prevailed in the ruling, many would also claim that interference
with a national sovereignty – and a jurisdiction’s already existing agreement with an
investing partner also amounts to an infringement of national sovereignty. Clearly,
greater clarity is required in reconciling jurisdictional differences – given lack of
clarity - as demonstrated in the recent Commission ruling, which also serves as a
deterrent for potential investors who are uncertain or have fear of the investing climate.

Chapter 8
Investigating the Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing Through Digital Content
Marketing: A Key for Driving Traffic and Customer Activity...........................113
Parag Shukla, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India
Parimal Hariom Vyas, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda,
India
Hiral Shastri, Independent Researcher, India

The domain of online marketing and internet advertising is going through radical
changes. In context to Indian online market, according to Internet and Mobile
Association of India (IAMAI), the digital commerce market has seen a growth by
33% reaching to a figure of 62,967 Crore in the year 2015 which is predicted to
touch $50 to $70 Billion by the year 2020 owing to the increasing popularity of
online shopping and increase in internet penetration. Affiliate marketing is referred
as performance marketing and associate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a type
of online marketing technique where an affiliate/promotes a business through an
advertisement on their web site and in return that business rewards the affiliate
with commission each time a visitor, customer generates sales. The objective is to
analyze by conceptualizing the mechanics of affiliate marketing through judicious
and optimum use of digital content marketing by e-tailers so as to engage customers
and create boundless business opportunities for growth, expansion and profitability.


Chapter 9
Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement
Programs.............................................................................................................129
Surabhi Singh, Jaipuria School of Business, Ghaziabad, India

Integrating digital activities into the broader strategy can be challenging for institutions
providing online education they don’t have yet strong digital capabilities. Indian
educational institutes and universities lack in digital strategy skills to conceive a
comprehensive plan for responding quickly to customer queries. Digital activities
are an increasingly important part of any marketing and sales strategy. The ability
to harness the power of digital platforms in delivery of educational courses cannot
be denied. The organization should no longer be only concerned with simple act of
providing digital course, but also with the innovative strategies through which they
interact with students and create learning environment that is innovative, active, and
challenging. Digital learning plays a vital role in the skills landscape.

Related References............................................................................................ 141

Compilation of References............................................................................... 177

About the Contributors.................................................................................... 226

Index................................................................................................................... 230
xiii

Foreword

Marketing, Strategic Marketing, Services Marketing, Business Marketing, Rural


Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing, Direct Marketing, Direct Selling, Cyber
Marketing, and then, came Affiliate Marketing. Since the beginning of Marketing
in the 1950s/1960s in the classroom, its evolution has been quite radical over the
last six-seven decades.
The idea of Affiliate Marketing is as creative as the birth of Direct Marketing in
the 1980s. As Direct Marketing has evolved from General Advertising and Personal
Selling, Affiliate Marketing has its origins in Direct Selling and Cyber Marketing.
This work, Driving Traffic and Customer Activity Through Affiliate Marketing,
is not only very timely, but also most fascinating as it covers a wide range of topics,
besides the basics of Affiliate Marketing, for a clear understanding of the subject.
The different chapters included in the book are:

• Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction


• Affiliate Marketing: Experiences of Different Companies
• Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India
• Amazon Associates: A Model of Affiliate Marketing
• Affiliate Marketing Empowers Entrepreneurs
• Affiliate Marketing for Entrepreneurs: The Mechanics of Driving Traffic to
Enhance Business Performance
• Driving Traffic and Customer Activity Through Affiliate Marketing:
Understanding and Addressing the Differences Between Affiliate Marketing
in the USA
• Investigating the Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing Through Digital Content
Marketing: A Key for Driving Traffic and Customer Activity
• Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement
Programmes

I compliment and congratulate the publishers, and, also thank them for inviting
me to contribute a chapter to this pioneering work. I wish this work all the success!

Mukesh Chaturvedi
PDC Educational Services, India
xiv

Preface

The book is based on Affiliate Marketing and its significance in driving traffic and
customer activity. It also encouraged contributions from researchers and practitioners
across academic institutions and industry worldwide.
The book apprises the reader with divergent views of authors on different areas
of affiliate marketing its role in increasing the traffic and customer activity.

THE CHALLENGES

The challenges of affiliate marketing are Selection of Right Niche, Budget Plan,
Targeting Right Audience, Targeted Traffic Generation, Conversion Optimization,
Real Time Efforts and Maintenance, Proper Copy Writing, Investment Intention.
The affiliate model currently works on the ‘last click wins’ basis, which means that
the affiliate whose link is clicked last overwrites any existing cookie in the user’s
browser. Imagine you are a smaller affiliate just getting some traction. You are doing
some SEO on a blog which users are visiting and clicking links. If they click the
link but conversion does not take place, then there is usually a cookie lifetime set
i.e. if they come back to the advertiser site within 30 days, the commission is paid.
After leaving the advertiser site, the user then gets an email from a large affiliate
with the same link. User clicks link in the email and conversion happens. The last
click wins. Large affiliate gets paid 100% of the commission.
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit
the advertiser’s website before the affiliate receives commission. The advertiser
must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest for the affiliate to send the
most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of
a conversion. The risk and loss is shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
Affiliate marketing is also called “performance marketing”, in reference to how
sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically
paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance
Preface

incentives for exceeding objectives. Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser
whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to
affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers’
internal sales department.
The phrase, “Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business”, which is
often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary
difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little influence on a
possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the
advertiser’s website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control
and influence up to the point where the prospect signs the contract or completes
the purchase.
This model worked well when the affiliate channel was in its infancy, but now that
things are advancing and increasingly more companies are building their businesses
around the affiliate model, this needs to change, to give the smaller affiliates a chance
to gain traction. Affiliate marketing is overlooked by advertisers. While search
engines, e-mail, and website syndication capture much of the attention of online
retailers, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Still, affiliates continue
to play a significant role in e-retailers’ marketing strategies. Affiliate networks that
already have several advertisers typically also have a large pool of publishers. These
publishers could be potentially recruited, and there is also an increased chance that
publishers in the network apply to the program on their own, without the need for
recruitment efforts by the advertiser.
Relevant websites that attract the same target audiences as the advertiser but
without competing with it are potential affiliate partners as well. Vendors or existing
customers can also become recruits if doing so makes sense and does not violate
any laws or regulations (such as with pyramid schemes).
Almost any website could be recruited as an affiliate publisher, but high I traffic
websites are more likely interested in (for their sake) low-risk cost per mile or
medium-risk cost per click deals rather than higher-risk cost per action or revenue
share deals.

SEARCHING FOR A SOLUTION

Affiliate Partner Program combines the most advanced, accurate tracking technology
with flexible contracting and an automated payment processing system for direct
affiliate management and program growth.

xv
Preface

ORGANIZATION OF THE BOOK

The book is organized into nine chapters. A brief description of each of the chapters
follows:
In the first chapter, “Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction,” Surabhi Singh
intends to investigate the influence of affiliate marketing for customer satisfaction.
In the next chapter, Dr. Ritu Narang and Prashant Trivedi study the experiences
of different companies regarding affiliate marketing in their chapter “Affiliate
Marketing: Experience of Different Companies.”
Dr. Jaspreet Kaur’s chapter, “Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India,”
focuses upon the strategies adopted by Amazon in executing affiliate marketing.
Chapter 4, “Amazon Associates: A Model of Affiliate Marketing,” authored
by Taranpreet Khurana brings insights on Amazon as one of the successful model
of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing
methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods.
Chapter 5, “Affiliate Marketing Empowers Entrepreneurs,” authored by Dr.
Mukesh Chaturvedi explores the importance of affiliate marketing in empowering
entrepreneurs. Affiliate Marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The
e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing gimmick in the early days of the
Internet, became an integral part of the overall business plan and, in some cases,
grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business, due to commissions
from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel,
telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual
advertising programs. The three sectors expected to experience the highest growth
are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors. The entertainment (particularly
gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors come next.
The next chapter, “Affiliate Marketing for Entrepreneurs: The Mechanics of
Driving Traffic to Enhance Business Performance,” authored by Dr. Shailja Dixit,
highlights about the strategies which are needed for driving traffic using affiliate
marketing.
Chapter 7, authored by Sarah Newton and Marianne Ojo, titled “Driving Traffic
and Customer Activity Through Affiliate Marketing: Understanding and Addressing
the Differences Between Affiliate Marketing in the USA,” reviews several approaches
to affiliate marketing and address the difference between affiliate marketing in USA.
The eighth chapter, titled “Investigating the Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing
Through Digital Content Marketing: A Key for Driving Traffic and Customer
Activity,” is authored by Parag Shukla, Hiral Shastri, and Parimal Vyas and studies
the different ways to explore affiliate marketing through digital marketing.

xvi
Preface

The final chapter, “Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill
Enhancement Programs,” authored by Surabhi Singh examines the benefits of digital
learning for skill enhancement programs.

Surabhi Singh
Jaipuria School of Business, India

xvii
xviii

Acknowledgment

I extend my deepest appreciation and gratitude to all the Advisory Board Members
for their constant supervision, support and guidance. A special thanks to Dr. Mohd.
Naved Khan and Dr. Mukesh Chaturvedi who have helped me extensively in
completion of my work. I deem it my proud privilege to acknowledge the help and
encouragement given by the Reviewers. Their extensive experience and knowledge
helped me at every stage of the project. At critical moments, they showed keen
interests in resolving the obstacles and always provided a constant motivation to boost
my morale. I feel that words are not sufficient to express the immense contribution
given by all authors of the book.

I am grateful to all family members their tremendous support during the past few
years in successful completion of the book work.
1

Chapter 1
Affiliate Marketing and
Customer Satisfaction
Surabhi Singh
Jaipuria School of Business, India

ABSTRACT
The different tools used in digital marketing are meant to increase the web traffic.
One of the important components is Affiliate Marketing. This chapter will bring huge
transitions in industry of digital marketing. The affiliate marketing has benefits of
increasing customer satisfaction and value driven efficiency in any organization.
The study of affiliate programs need to be activated in organizations in order to
exploit the potential of same. The companies like Amazon, snapdeal, and flipkart
are running affiliate programs and the brand of these companies remain unbeatable.
The purpose behind affiliate marketing is to use publisher or affiliate website for
promotion of merchant’s own products. The underlying benefit is its low customer
acquisition cost and marketing expenses.

INTRODUCTION

The different tools used in digital marketing are meant to increase the web traffic.
One of the important components is Affiliate Marketing. This chapter will bring
huge transitions in industry of digital marketing. The affiliate marketing has benefits
of increasing customer satisfaction and value driven efficiency in any organization.
The study of affiliate programs need to be activated in organizations in order to
exploit the potential of same. The companies like Amazon, snapdeal and flipkart
are running affiliate programs and the brand of these companies remain unbeatable.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2656-8.ch001

Copyright © 2018, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction

The purpose behind affiliate marketing is to use publisher or affiliate website for
promotion of merchant’s own products. The underlying benefit is its low customer
acquisition cost and marketing expenses.

BACKGROUND

Affiliate marketing has the important ways to generate revenue for bloggers and
other website owners. The companies are improving on the transparency in the
business deals. Earlier Google Ad sense was the only option for bloggers for revenue.
AdSense license was difficult to come by. Affiliate means a type of online marketing
technique where an affiliate promotes a business through an advertisement on
their web site and in return that business pays the affiliate with commission each
time a customer generates sales. Affiliate marketing is also called performance
marketing and associate marketing. The three parties involved in affiliate marketing
are:-Advertiser, Publisher, and Customer. Advertiser can be any company selling
products like electronics, books, clothing, and air tickets online or could be insurance
company selling policies etc. Publisher is the one who promotes advertiser’s products
or services through its website or blog. The final part of this cycle is customer who
sees the advertisement, the click takes him from publisher’s website to advertiser’s
website and on purchase it is called conversion. Amazon had started amazon.in in
India to promote sales.
The companies choose affiliate to drive traffic to their own website and increasing
the conversion. The satisfaction of customer is enhanced when you sell any product
to customer. The conversion actually makes the customer aware about the company’s

Figure 1. Parties Involved in Affiliate Marketing

2
Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction

product and satisfaction becomes enhanced. Yepme.com also have same nature of
generating sales. They give affiliates fix commission of 5%. Some of the users of
affiliate marketing network in India are online businesses like Flipkart, Amazon,
MakemyTrip, and Yatra.com. The important attribute of advertiser is that it will pay
the partner websites when it generates business. Merchants are required to open an
affiliate or associate program on its website where affiliates can register. Through
this portal a merchant shall provide affiliate with all the necessary technology
support like codes and links for the products and services.
Affiliate Program by Online Job Sites Searching job online is becoming very
popular and profitable in India. There has been a 25% (CAGR) hike in online job
posting in 2014. Therefore many online job portals want to increase their market
through affiliate marketing. Some of them are: Monster.com, CareerBuilder.co.in.
Some other important Affiliate Marketers are some miscellaneous affiliate program
providers from different online categories: Apple.com (Online Apps and music
store), Radisson.com (Hotel chain), Reebok.com (Sports shoes, apparels maker),
Hostgator.in (web hosting provider), QuickHeal.co.in (IT security provider), Fropper.
com, Zapak.com (Online gaming portal), GaneshaSpeaks.com (Online Astrology
website), iforex.com, Indiamart.com (Online B2B marketplace), Bigrock.com (Web
hosting). And GoDaddy.com (Website hosting) click) which takes him from publisher’s
website to advertiser’s website and after making a purchase it is called conversion.
In case of Indian online market, according to IAMAI, the digital commerce market
has seen a growth by 33% to Rs 62,967 crore last year as against Rs 47,349 crore.
And it is predicted that this online market will become $50-$70 billion by 2020 for
the increasing popularity of online shopping and increase in internet penetration.
Online retailers like Flipkart, Amazon, and Yatra.com have already started affiliate
marketing in India and the technique is gaining popularity in digital market.
Many companies opt an external agency who run affiliate programmes, in order
to ensure best handling. To avoid problems between channels, the optimal support
from an agency includes handling all performance-marketing channels. Affiliate
Marketing is an advertising foundation for companies to maximize their brands’
awareness and sales. The benefit is a distribution channel with low risk and good
measurability, as companies only pay for the already-made action. Advertisers use
affiliate models to expand their range online. The mistakes in affiliate marketing
that can be avoided are underestimating the relevance and expenses, avoiding short
term expectations, wasted opportunities through lack of openness. According to a
report published in Articles dashboard, the reason affiliate marketing is gaining a
momentum in growth and popularity worldwide is because of the reason that it has
so many advantages over traditional advertising practices. Previous research findings
reveal that most search engines including the most popular ones like Google, MSN,
and Yahoo confirm analyzing the presence and characteristics of hyperlinks on the

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Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction

World Wide Web to determine the relevance of a URL to a specific search query
(Cutts, 2005). Affiliate marketing potential is almost the best kept secret in the
internet advertising, Jupiter research projected almost 14 percent consecutive yearly
increase through 2012 in the gross affiliate ad space revenue (Jupiter, 2007). Online
affiliate marketing program is estimated at almost a 7 billion business pie, putting it
at the fastest growing among online ad selling segments (Marketing Sherpa, 2007).
Data regarding online retailer business shows about 80 percent of the top 100 online
retailers outsource their affiliate programs (eBay, 2007). The most common type of
affiliate program is the commission based program that offers websites a chance to
make a percentage of sake resulting from referrals. Commission typically ranges
from 1% to 15%. In 2011 NMA published a research report conducted by the ID
factor, surveying the attitudes of 105 UK affiliate advertisers. The results revealed
many advertisers expect budgets for affiliate marketing to increase or stay same
even in the times of recession (Amazon.com, 2011).

CONTROVERSIES

The variation in cost is one where the customers pay huge amount when they
buy from Big Chain stores like Best Buy, Target, Home Depot and many others.
However, consumers if they buy from amazon.com can pay without tax. The big
stores have both physical stores and online presence, they need to collect sales tax
and pay it to the state. In this front, the stores have this suspicion that amazon is
taking unfair advantage.
Online shopping is growing dramatically. The tax percentages which the consumers
pay if they buy the same from brick and mortar store. These big brand chain store
retailers who have to collect and pay sales tax are not happy with Amazon sales.
The internet retailers in US are over one lac only and about 2,000 of them operate
affiliate programs. Online purchases from these online retailers are not subjected
state taxes. The amount of commission earn by affiliate in different companies
are not same. Flipkart gives 15%commission to its affiliates on each of their sale.
Snapdeal gives 10% commission to its affiliates on sale. In tripadvisor.com the
affiliate can earn upto 50%.
Old advertising methods are compared, the ROI is measurable as the commission
over each sale is fixed. This indicates that the payment would be made only on a
successful deal made by a consumer which makes Indian affiliate market face a win
win situation. The cost of acquiring the consumers is much low when compared
with other modes used for similar purpose. This makes the businesses enjoy better
lead generation. The return of affiliate markets are much high than the ones enjoyed
by the campaigns of digital marketing which makes it highly beneficial as it needs

4
Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction

very low investment. Affiliate marketing has become the preference of many since
it improves the processes involves in building a brand. In addition, it leads to
exceptional amounts of e-commerce business and web traffic to brands. The sales
and use of coupons also gathers momentum. The feature of affiliate marketing can
be measured and makes it very clear for the online shopping sites and brands.
The affiliate marketing model is a strong marketing model for b2b businesses.
However, most ecommerce platforms in India are yet to exploit the benefits of the
same. The main reason is that most platforms do not like the idea of sharing revenue
with partners.
However, one such successful ecommerce affiliate program is run by Zepo. With
more than 2,000 registered partners and more than Rs 15, 00,000 spent in partner
earnings, it is one the most established ecommerce affiliate programs in India today.
In an online affiliate program advertiser offers their affiliates revenues based on
provided website traffic and associated leads and sales. If a website decides to join
another websites affiliate program, it has to host a coded link on its website that
directs a visitor to the parent website

PROBLEMS

Managing affiliate marketing and measuring its effectiveness is a challenge. This


programme is beneficial as it saves the cost of action. For an effective affiliate
programme, businesses should bring in transparency in the activity, keep checks on
ROI’s of the activity, and determine true value of each participant in the programme.
This type of network helps the brands to use cost-per-action programme effectively.
In countries like India and China the possibilities of frauds and bureaucratic setup
of rules and regulations are considered and it is difficult to get Ad sense license
and it takes around 6 to 12 months to get the license. The list of industries which
offer affiliate program in India are Online shopping Companies, Matrimonial Sites,
Tours and Travel Websites, Online Job and some other miscellaneous industries.
Affiliate networked marketing faces many challenges as it involves many parties
having their own objectives. Affiliate marketing is viewed as an extra shop on the
internet rather than a new approach. This creates difficulty in positioning of brands
and sub brands.
Affiliate Marketing is a good base for companies to maximize their brands’
awareness and sales. This is distribution channel with low risk and good measurability.
The companies only pay for the already-made action. This is especially the case
when a company choses the option, which only pays a commission for every order.
Advertisers can use various affiliate models to efficiently expand their range online.
Along with Google Adsense, Affiliate Marketing is a company’s’ form of monetization

5
Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction

for their own website. This is equivalence to offline distributors. To maximize the
results of both online and offline, it‘s essential to have basic knowledge on this topic,
in order to avoid some common mistakes like not underestimating the relevance
and expenses, short term expectations and disappointment, wasted opportunities
through lack of openness, hidden cost in affiliate marketing.

SOLUTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The solution of same is “Internet Sales Tax” or Marketplace Fairness Act. The
proposed bill which has already passed the U.S. Senate will level the playing field
according to supporters. If passed, online retailers will be required to follow the
local sales tax, no matter where they are located and whether they have a presence
in the state or other taxing jurisdiction or not.
While Amazon and many affiliate give support on the solution but the controversy
remains a hard hit for small companies. Online retailing best practices are realized
and this serves as best-selling channel.
The success of affiliate marketing has encouraged the analysts to come out with
solutions. The solutions are the future trends for strengthening of relationship between
merchant and affiliates. Centralized payment systems if implemented can benefit
greatly to the merchant and their affiliates. Micro payment schemes are introduced
by merchants into their affiliate programs. They can incorporate sales of contents
and services in place of product sales. The referral payment can be supported by
the advanced software meant for affiliate marketing. This will enable the merchants
to share the referral fee to the “referrer of the referring sites.” For instance, there
is a video game review website which provides links that gives additional reviews
posted on its partner sites. If a visiting user follows the trail and finalize to buy
the game on partner sites, the first referring site can also get a share of the referral
fee from the merchant. Merchants will make new incentives that are based by the
reference of site’s performance, loyalty and hard work. In the world of affiliate
marketing, attribution is important. Over the past few years Affiliate Marketing
has been developing other digital marketing channels such as display and search,
but with a different shaped commercial structure, performance. Affiliates engage in
these digital marketing activities on behalf of brands in exchange for a percentage of
sales and without an upfront budget. The search and display advertising on mobile
devices will only become a main-stream affiliate marketing practice if the tracking
dilemma is resolved and affiliates can see how they can make money in mobile.
The time, skill and budgets will be invested.

6
Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction

The issue affiliate marketing has with mobile devices is the fact that they are not
cookies based. We have become too reliant on cookies as a tracking device because
it is so easy, but this will need to change quickly. Affiliates need a sacure method for
sales attribution or they are not going to fully embrace the mobile paradigm shift.
This requires stitching together a new way of tracking much like fingerprinting,
but across data sources across devices. It will have to be universally accepted and
respectful of privacy data.
They will increase conversation rates over time of service. Affiliates can also
encourage their visitors to visit their websites by giving accumulated discount
amount to products that are present on the website. Affiliates give more focus to a
customer’s lifetime value rather than immediate sales. For example, if a prospective
buyer reads reviews on your website and decides to buy the product at later time or
date, the referral fees for the event can be received.

FUTURE RESEARCH DIRECTIONS

There should be a program that will realize this kind of tracking service as well as
adjust the value of user over time. It will become reasonable that the referral fee
from a new customer who buys a product for the first time be higher than its later
purchases. The global strategy can be formulated which should include channel related
considerations for affiliate models. Affiliate marketing has grown considerably over
the past few years. Online Performance Marketing Study from the IAB in conjunction
with PWC estimated that advertisers spent £1.1bn on the channel in 2014. With
the increase in spend, it is no surprise to see the channel coming under a greater
amount of study with data analysis and understanding the value delivered. Affiliates
are rewarded for driving valuable customers rather than penalized for influencing
existing customers to purchase from a retailer again. With the significant volume of
data available, advertisers are now in a good position to understand the true value
of customers referred through the affiliate channel and reward accordingly.

CONCLUSION

The customer satisfaction towards online affiliate marketing programs is clearly


affected by the the problems mentioned in this paper. The consumers are likely to
use affiliate links if they feel they will get some benefits in the form of incentives and
if the levels of trust towards affiliate links are higher. Marketers have a tremendous

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Affiliate Marketing and Customer Satisfaction

degree of elasticity in negotiating commission agreements with individual affiliates.


For publishers that are sourcing low-value customers, for example, consider lowering
the commission rate. For publishers that report a high percentage of “existing
customers” vs. “new customer” sales, consider different commission rates for new
and existing customers. For affiliates who bring customers with high value have to
consider developing better commission structures or running an exclusive promotion.

REFERENCES

Affiliate Marketing Sherpa. (2007). Marketing sherpa special report. Retrieved


October 8, 2011, from http://www.marketingsherpa.com/pdf/Affiliatereport07.pdf
Ahuja, V., & Medury, Y. (2010). Corporate blogs as e CRM tools- Building customer
engagement through content management. Journal of Database Marketing &
Customer Strategy and Management, 17(2), 91–105. doi:10.1057/dbm.2010.8
Background paper future of e commerce web. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.
assocham.org/upload/event/recent/event_1113/Background_Paper_Future_of_e-
Commerce_web.pdf
Bennett, S. (2014). How Much Online Business Is Done Every 30 Seconds? Incredible
E-Commerce Statistics! Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/ real-
time-ecommerce/499958
Boesler, M. (2012). The state or world economy. Retrieved from http://www.
businessinsider.com/world-bank-world-economy-2012
Chandra, P., Satish, & Sunitha, G. (2012). Tailing – The Mantra Of Modern Retailer’s
Success. Journal of Arts, Science & Commerce, 3(3).
Cutts, M. (2005). Google newsletter for librarians. Retrieved December 2005, from
http://www.google.com/newsletter/librarian_2005-12article1.html
Digital impact on in store shopping research studies. (n.d.). Research Debunks
common myths. Retrieved from https://think.storage.googleapis.com/docs/digital-
impact-on-in-store-shopping_research-studies.pdf
Ebay. (2007). Ebay analysis on 2007 on internet retailer top 500 guide data. Ebay.
Ecommerce in India - Accelerating Growth. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.
pwc.in/en_IN/in/assets/pdfs/publications/2015/ecommerce-in-india-accelerating-
growth.pdf

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Etailing in India. (n.d.). Technopark Whitepaper. Retrieved from http://www.


technopak.com/files/E-tailing_in_India.pdf
Haq, Z. U. (2012, April). Affiliate marketing programs: A study of consumer attitude
towards affiliate marketing programs among Indian users. International Journal of
Research Studies in Management, 1(1), 127–137.
Hariharan, G. (2008). Profile and perception of retail consumers. Indian Journal
of Marketing, 38(2).
Hossain, N. (2012). Why the Interest graph is a Marketer’s best friend. Retrieved
March 30, 2015 from http://mashable.com/2012/06/19/Interest-graph-marketer
Infographic: The Importance of Social Media in E-Commerce. (n.d.). Retrieved
from: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/02/16/
Jupiter Research Corporation. (2008). US online affiliate marketing forecast of 2007
to 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2011, from http://www.marketresearch.com/Jupiter-
Research-Corporation-v2544/Online-Affiliate-Forecast-190091 7.
Kamboj, D., & Nair, S. (2014). Social Media in Retail Industry. Infosys Lab Briefings,
12(1).
Kaplan, M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and
opportunities of SocialMedia. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59–68. doi:10.1016/j.
bushor.2009.09.003
Key Challenges Facing Retailers in the Online World. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://
www.artificial-solutions.com/wp-content/uploads/protected/wp_retail-challenges.
pdf
Laxmi, P. G. (2007). The prospects and problems of Indian Retailing. Indian Journal
of Marketing, 37(10).
Marketing, A. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2011, from http://www.amazon.info/
affiliate-future-advertisers-survey-reveals-positive-attitude-towards-affiliate-mar
keting/
Pearson, M. (2012). Social Media plays growing role in online retailing. Retrieved
from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-
marketing/sales/social-media-plays-growing-role-in-online-retailing/article4179338
PwC. (2014). Affiliate Window: The unsung hero of marketing has much to sing
about. Marketing Week.

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Shih, C. (2009). Facebook is the future of CRM. Customer Relationship Management.


Sikri, S., & Wadhwa, D. (2012). Growth and Challenges of retail industry in India.
Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing And Management Review, 1(1).
Swamy, V. (2010). Creating a buzz in social CRM. Silicon India, 22-23.

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11

Chapter 2
Affiliate Marketing:
Experiences of Different Companies

Ritu Narang
University of Lucknow, India

Prashant Trivedi
University of Lucknow, India

ABSTRACT
The emergence of internet as a strong medium of communication has led to the
emergence of numerous marketing avenues with many companies realizing its
potential towards promotion of their products (Liang & Huang, 1998). Online
marketing platforms offer various opportunities for directing costumers towards the
products through online advertising, affiliate marketing, search engine optimization,
direct mailers etc. Affiliate marketing is a performance based marketing and known
for its cost effectiveness. we have suggested a framework MECHULUP indicating
Mobile Friendliness, E-Commerce, Content Quality, Honesty, Audio/Video, Link
Building, Social Media, and Persistence.

INTRODUCTION

Internet technology is penetrating into the customer domain with a rapid pace leaving
other media like television and telephone far behind in terms of reach (Angeli &
Kundler, 2008). Internet undoubtedly is set to become the fastest medium of marketing
communication. Marketers also are looking it as a potent medium to promote their
products and services (Zeff & Aronson, 1999). It has become an instant source of

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2656-8.ch002

Copyright © 2018, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Affiliate Marketing

information using a wide array of search engines and numerous websites leading
to increasing user-base.
The reason for adoption of internet as a marketing platform can be attributed
to a variety of reasons. Reasons cited by Chaffey (2000) for its fast growth include
interactivity between user and website, intelligence in the form of information
reservoir, individualization by one to one interaction, integration into existing
communication media, industry restructuring through redesigning of strategic
outlook and independence of location.
Interactivity: Internet provides an opportunity for two way communication to the
user which is mostly initiated by the user himself. It works as a platform to share
dialogue in place of one dimensional ad which only conveys a message and lacks
instant feedback.
Intelligence: Internet works as a source of pertinent information which provides
user all the information he requires at a click, be it price comparison, attribute
comparison, methods and procedure, reviews, etc.
Individualization: The best part of internet is its ability to offer one to one
interaction, which can facilitate personalization and a customized approach towards
the user and help providing user with filtered information and offerings.
Integration: It provides a platform to complement marketing endeavours by
integrating personalized and non-personalized marketing messages through audio
visual static and dynamic ads and forms.
Industry Restructuring: Internet has compelled companies to rethink and redesign
their marketing campaign as newer ways of approaching and operating can be
facilitated through web interface.
Independence of Location: Internet and its use has eased the biggest constraint
associated with place. Now offerings are independent of location and can be reached
from any location equipped with internet facilities.

AFFILIATE MARKETING

The emergence of internet as a strong medium of communication has also led to


the emergence of numerous marketing avenues with many companies realizing its
potential for promotion of their products (Liang & Huang, 1998). Online marketing
platforms offer various opportunities for directing customers towards the products
through online advertising, affiliate marketing, search engine optimization, direct
mailers, etc. Moreover, it also facilitates segmentation of users based on their interests
which may be targeted by marketers subsequently.
Though affiliate marketing has its history before the advent of internet (Buhalis,
2001) but later offers various new opportunities. Affiliate marketing is proving

12
Affiliate Marketing

itself as a method of promoting product in very less time (Brown, 2009).It has been
described as a process where “an online retailer places a link for its business at a
host business’s site. The host earns commission whenever a visitor clicks the link
and consummates a transaction with the sponsor” (Papatla & Bhatnagar, 2002, p.69).
Amazon is one such company which utilized affiliate marketing in the middle of
90’s to boost its business and set an example for others.
Affiliate marketing is profitable for all the parties that is, the merchant and the
affiliate. The merchant is the seller who places his banner, ad, etc. on the other’s
website which is owned by the content provider i.e. host or an affiliate. The affiliate
earns commission for each referral which is tracked by cookies (Bandhyopadhyay
et al.,2009).
Duffy (2005) suggests that companies engaged in mass marketing of products
can make better use of affiliate marketing to suit their needs as they have to pay
only when the leads result into sale (Hoffman & Novak, 2000). Cost effectiveness
of affiliate marketing is one of the major factors which attract marketers towards it
(Gallaugher et al., 2001) as the merchants have to bear negligible initial cost (Zeff
& Aronson, 1997). Moreover, the affiliate also enjoys lack of any financial risk
(Barker, 2012).It is regarded as a win-win situation for both the parties (Duffy, 2005).
Value creation through affiliate program may require a proper blend of commerce,
content and communication (Hagel & Armstrong, 1997) which has to be supplemented
by speed, flexibility and fluidity (Byrne et al, 1993). A report from (Forrester, 1998)
also advocates high quality content, ease of use, quick to download and frequently
updated content as essential requirements for its success. So, while choosing an
affiliate it should be kept in mind that it is able to reach and attract precise target
audience rather than build heavy website traffic (Bhatnager & Papatla, 2001). The
major factors for success of affiliate program described by Parasuram et al. (1985) are

• Quality of Content: The quality of content present at the website has a major
role to play towards success of an affiliate program. Information delivered
through website content is expected to be easily understood by user so that it
may drive him towards acting accordingly i.e. motivate the user to click and
visit the merchant’s website.
• Website Infrastructure: The website should be designed to suit the need of
the user. It should contain easily downloadable media i.e. images and other
audio visual materials and support variety of browsers. Now, it is becoming
imperative for the websites to be mobile friendly as well.
• Ease of Getting Response: The front end of the web interface should be well
supported by the marketing team at the back end so that the users can get a
quick and appropriate response.

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Affiliate Marketing

• Response Quality: The quality of response by customer support is very


important as it helps the user to take further action. Adequate information in
a friendly manner along with promptness can boost the attractiveness of an
affiliate program.
• Customer Privacy: Security of customer information also plays a role in the
success of an affiliate program. Confidential and personal information should
not be shared while messages should be properly encrypted so as to avoid any
leak of information.

The success of marketing campaign is considered to depend upon proper


reinforcement of message through different channels (Assail, 2011), which may help
the user in recognizing and recalling the ad and decipher its message, leading to
quick response. Milne & Gordon (1993) have also stressed upon the importance of
advertising the product on related platforms as it may be difficult to generate traffic
for unrelated product. This calls for coordination across different communication
channels including affiliate marketing by the merchant company for successful
promotion.
Affiliate marketing suffers from certain limitations also, any false commitments
from the merchant may pose a risky situation for the affiliate by putting his image at
stake (Duffy 2005). Further, Sweeney (2000) has pointed out that very small number
of visitors actually click on the banners ads. Even the marketers are not very sure
about the pricing models to be used in affiliate programs and encounter uncertainty
while choosing proper medium (Hoffman and Novak 2000).

MAJOR EXPECTATIONS OF AFFILIATES FROM A PROGRAM

Most of the affiliate programs encounter a situation where the number of active
affiliates is far less than the actual number of registered affiliates. Further, the number
of affiliates actually generating revenue is five times lesser than the active members
(Forrester Research, 2010). Affiliates joining a program have some minimum level
of expectations from the affiliate program. Any discrepancy in meeting of those
expectations may result in non- performance and a passive approach on the part
of affiliate. Fiore & Collins (2001) have pointed out some major expectations of
affiliates from the affiliate programs which include the following:

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Affiliate Marketing

Treatment as a True Business Partner

An affiliate joining an affiliate program expects to be treated as a true business


partner where his business goals are also respected by the affiliate company and
their interests are fulfilled through this mutual cooperation.

A Long-Term Relationship

Affiliate companies have a large number of affiliate partners but affiliates usually get
associated with one or few number of programs as they seek a long term relationship
rather than being a short term advertising vehicle.

Good Commissions or Revenue Generating Potential

Publishers may require a sustainable source of income and depend upon affiliate
program for their financial requirements. Thus, they may expect a nice and adequate
commission which is at par with the industry standards and trends.

Access to Life-Time Value of the Customer


With Life-Time Commissions

Affiliates are mostly paid for the purchases made by the customers through interface
on their websites. Gain accrue from immediate purchase or the purchases made by
the customer within the cookie life. As the lead is generated and converted into
customer with the help of an affiliate they expect the payment for all the purchase
made by the customer in the long run as well.

Restrictions on the Number of Affiliates in the Program

They also desire to have some restrictions on the number of the affiliates to contain
over-competition within the same geographic area.

Adequate Communication With the Merchant

Publisher may require communication regarding many issues related with the proper
operations including clarification of doubts. Sufficient support in the form of proper
communication may help the affiliate in serving its clients and generating more
leads for the merchants.

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Affiliate Marketing

Adequate Information on the Product or Service

Merchants may introduce new products and services from time to time or add new
features. Publishers expect to get adequate knowhow about the various offerings to
serve their role better.

Good Graphic and Text Links That Sell

The quality of content is of prime importance in the business of affiliate marketing.


Thus, affiliates expect to get a good quality graphics and text links which are attractive
to the customers and yield traffic.

Adequate Marketing Support

Affiliates require complementary marketing endeavours on the part of merchants so


as to generate awareness about the product and cultivate a feeling of trust towards
the product through various brand building exercises.

Be a Part of Community of Other Affiliates

Affiliates are keen and expect to be a part of communities of other affiliates to


discuss various issues. Being well-knit team players they may be of use to each
other for further development of business, including cross selling.

A Good Reporting and Tracking Program


Available for 24 Hours a Day

Proper and updated reporting and tracking of business generated by the affiliates is
expected to be available any time to an affiliate so that he can plan further activities
and develop more business for the merchant and stay attracted to the program.

An Honest and Credible Program With a Trustworthy Merchant

Nobody wants to be deceived. Affiliates also look for affiliate programs which they
can trust. They expect to get transparent and honest approach from the merchants.

Clear and Fair Affiliate Agreement With No Hidden Clauses

Proper revelation of all terms, norms, conditions and policies are expected by the
affiliate as any hidden clause may hinder partnership and lead to a feeling of distrust.

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Affiliate Marketing

Offers That Are Continuously Updated to Appear Fresh

The offers are expected to be at par with the market trends and industry standards
which may attract the customers. Offers which are not updated may result in loss
of traffic and ultimately affect the sales and commissions adversely.

A Wide Selection of Products for Sale

A wide array of products with complete assortment is another expectation of affiliates


to serve different customers. Even the publishers focusing on niche segments require
serving the complete segment through offerings in the form of variants within the
same brand.

On Time Payment

On-time and regular payment is one of the most sought after expectations. Any
discrepancy in payment may lead to conflict and adversely affect the partnership.
The companies engaged in affiliate programs need to ensure efficiency in payment.

Good Service for Customer

The affiliates also expect a standard level of service for the customer directed from
their link over to the merchant website. There is a risk of getting their image and
credibility adversely impacted as the customer was originally their visitor and may
judge affiliates on the basis of performance of the merchants.
The above mentioned areas, if properly served may lead to a long lasting and active
partnership between the merchants and affiliates resulting in mutual benefits for both
parties and serving of the required purpose in an efficient manner. Any lacuna as far
as these requirements or expectations is concerned may lead to underperformance
or non- performance. Affiliate programs should adequately address these issues.
The terms and conditions need to be simple and vivid so that even the beginners
may understand. Adequate backend support adds an edge to the credibility and
performance of the affiliate program which also enables their partner to generate
more and more business for mutual profit and cooperation.

MAJOR AFFILIATE MARKETERS AND THEIR EXPERIENCES

According to Giang (2015), William J. Tobin started the first campaign of affiliate
marketing called as PC Flowers & Gifts over Prodigy network in 1989. He initiated

17
Affiliate Marketing

the idea of internet affiliate marketing on his company’s website. In 1994, Jason
Olim with his twin brother Mathew created CDnow which has initiated WebBuy, a
marketing program based on providing music lovers, the reviews of various albums
and artists. Geffen Records collaborated with them and their links were posted on
WebBuy to attract more fans which when clicked were directed to Geffen. This
arrangement proved to be a win-win collaboration. WebBuy with 700,000 visitors
and 5 million page views per day became the fourth most visited shopping site
(Donna & Thomas, 2000).
Amazon, in the mid of year 1996, came up with its affiliate program. It gained
popularity and is considered to be among the most famous associate program
worldwide (Hourigan, 2013). The affiliates placed link, banner, etc. on their personal
websites which redirected the user to the website of Amazon. The affiliate earned
commission for the visitors which were directed to Amazon webpage from their
links. In 1998, two other affiliate networks came into picture.Five students from
University of California, Santa Barbara established Commission Junction and Tim
and Eileen Barber started Clickbank Network.
The most popular US Affiliate Networks include:

• www.amwso.com, www.cj.com, www.linkshare.com, www.mediatrust.com,


www.pepperjam.com, www.shareasale.com.

The popular UK Affiliate Networks are:

• www.affiliatefuture.com, www.afilinet.com, www.Affiliatewindow.com,


www.brandconversions.com, www.buy.at, www.cj.com, www.clixgalore.
co.uk, www.DGM.com, www.linkshare.com, www.profitistic.com, www.
paidonresults.com, www.tradedoubler.com, www.webgains.com.

While www.cj.com, www.cibleclick.com, www.webgains.com, www.zanox.com


www.onlinemediagroup.com, www.tradedoubler.com, www.tradetracker.com, are
the popular European affiliate networks.
The following section discusses the experiences of some of the popular affiliate
programs.

Amazon Associates

Amazon is one of the most sought after affiliate program. The range of products
offered by Amazon is very large. It contains over 1.6 million vendors offering huge
number of products. The number of affiliates associated with Amazon is said to be
several thousands. Affiliate program offered by Amazon is known for its user friendly

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Affiliate Marketing

mechanism which is easy to understand. This turns it into a perfect system for even
those affiliates who are less equipped with technical knowhow but are business
oriented. Simultaneously, it is equally good for techno-savvy people. The advanced
features such as API are an example of how people with rich technical knowledge
are handled by it. Generally, Amazon has been perceived as just a network offering
general products with average revenue earning potential but deeper analysis reveals
its potential as a huge source of revenue. People engaged in business of affiliate
marketing acknowledge Amazon’s presence and earning potential.

Advantages of Its Affiliate program

• User Friendly: The interface is easy to use and even conducive for not so
techno savvy people as it is self- explanatory and uncomplicated, which
makes it suitable for both newcomers and veterans of the business.
• Huge Variety: There are numerous items sold under the banner of Amazon
which provides freedom to the affiliates to choose products which they want
to promote through their websites.

Disadvantages

• Less Pay-Out: For a beginner, the commission offered by Amazon is only


4% which means one needs to accumulate large number of sales through his
website to keep the system feasible.
• Bigger Pay Cycle: Amazon uses net-60 model of payment whereby money
earned by an affiliate is transferred after 60 days from the date of sale which
makes it less attractive for a new entrant.

Google AdSense

One of the most pervasive names in the business of search engine, Google also
owns and runs a lucrative affiliate program called Adsense or Google Adsense. It
offers advertisements in the form of units to the publishers who are registered with
them. They have to place those ads which are posted by Google on the websites or
blogs which they own. The registered users are provided with a unique ID which
upon signing up starts generating advertising codes so that the business developed
by them can be tracked and they are adequately compensated. Adsense is one of
the most preferred affiliate programs among networks and bloggers. The advantage
and disadvantages of Adsense are discussed below:

19
Affiliate Marketing

Advantages

• Low Traffic is Acceptable: Adsense also approves publishers whose websites


contain something unique or possesses quality content, even those with traffic
as low as 100 unique visitors. It is not rigid in terms of top level domain; even
a sub level domain is acceptable to Adsense.
• Multiple Revenue Options: As a publisher, one may also earn money
through search feeds, mobile sites, video, games etc. along with posting ads
directly on their websites.
• Multiple Language Support: Google AdSense supports over 30 different
languages. It is the only publisher network which allows posting of ads in
languages other than English.
• No Waiting Time: Google Adsense starts showing up ads as soon as the
code is entered. The reason for this is that a large number of advertisers are
associated with Google Adword.
• Multiple Ad Formats: The ads can be posted in different formats. They may
be text ads, link ads, video ads, banner ads, etc.
• Lion’s Share for Publishers: Google Adsense is very lucrative as it offers
68% revenue share for content and 51% revenue share for search which is
huge when compared to other affiliate companies.
• Country Specific Payment Methods: Google Adsense also offers facility to
receive payment using options which are specific and pervasive in a country
to which the publisher belongs.

Disadvantages

• No to Plagiarism: Adsense is very strict as far as the uniqueness of content is


concerned. It is very rigid against plagiarized content as it believes that even
a small amount of plagiarism can ruin one’s chance of earning.
• Payment Threshold: They allow withdrawing only when an earning
accumulates to $100, which may hinder small players from becoming a
publisher.

Commission Affiliate by Conversant

Commission affiliate by Conversant was formerly known as Commission Junction.


It is one of the networks which have shown great growth. Anyone who has some
knowledge about affiliate marketing is likely to be familiar with it. The numbers of
merchants listing their offers on it include all the major players leading to establishment

20
Affiliate Marketing

of its image as an all- under-one roof. For instance, Apple, Home Depot, Turbo Tax,
etc. are its merchant. It has always offered a large choice in terms of advertisers with
wide array of products, and requires a high standard website which is professionally
managed. It also seeks an approval from the merchant before posting an ad. It offers
web oriented offers through email and gives a platform for direct communication
between the affiliate and the advertisers. It also offers a facility which notifies the ‘not
working’ link or ad. Real time reporting regarding transaction and list of incentives
are also provided. The affiliate is free to choose the ads of his choice. The publisher
is also enabled to track the links through reports. It requires constant monitoring and
is different from other user centric systems like Adsense. One requires maintaining
at least $50 in order to receive payments monthly.

Advantages

• Free and Easy Sign Up: Joining Commission affiliate is comparatively


easier and free of cost. It is also fast in operations.
• Vast network- It offers a wide network of merchants offering varied products.
• Flexible Affiliate Linking and Different Sizes of Banner Ads: It offers
flexibility in terms of different banner sizes and links.
• Payment System: It uses the net 20 payment system and is known for making
monthly payments.
• Mobile Ads Available: It also offers ads that support mobile interface.
• Intuitive Search Tools: The search tools are easy to operate. By following
the directions given on the website one can operate it conveniently.
• Excellent Reporting Features: The reporting facility offered by it is very
prompt.
• Access to Multiple Affiliate Websites: The facility to get access and utilise
multiple websites owned by single affiliate publisher is another advantage.

Disadvantages

• One of the disadvantages with Commission affiliate is the absence of PayPal


payment option.
• The customer support facility is through phone and web form only. The
option of email is not available.
• The commission rates offered by it are generally lower than other top
programs.
• Some users find its’ operations difficult to familiarize.

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Affiliate Marketing

LinkShare

Linkshare is also among the old players in the industry. Now, it has become a part
of the Rakuten affiliate network. It has been reported that it is losing its lustre in the
recent years when compared to its counterpart. It started in 1996, but its merchant base
is around 1000 only though it has a special feature of rotating a number of banners
for a product which optimizes the performance of website and provides ease of site
administration. Another distinct feature is its deep linking which allows one to choose
various web-pages from the website which can be customized by the publisher to
directly target the product to its potential customers. One more favourable point is
the presence of Popshop which is its sister site and is a top data feed program that
offers access to multiple plug-ins to improve the experience of site visitors.

Advantages

• Real-Time Reporting: It offers the facility of real time reporting which


provides leverage to the merchant and publisher and helps in proper
administration.
• The dashboard presented is very user friendly and makes it easy to navigate
through the program.
• The option of flexible deep linking capability is a big advantage.
• It offers transaction reporting facility to update the affiliates and merchants.
• It offers ease of access to help centres with a number of training tools and
tutorial videos to get started.

Disadvantages

• One of the disadvantages is that the numbers of advertisers registered with it


are comparatively less.
• Its payment terms are not time bound and lack reliability.
• Its reporting features are comparatively less efficient and user friendly.
• Its customer service lacks promptness and pervasiveness.
• There are comparatively fewer online service merchants in comparison to its
competitors.

eBay Partner Network

eBay is also one of the popular affiliate program. It works in collaboration with
Commission Junction in the US and UK and with Afflinet in Germany. One of the

22
Affiliate Marketing

key features of this program is that it offer huge commission and pays affiliates even
if a user registers on eBay through an affiliate link and places a bid in a period of 30
days from its click. It also pays for user participation in a live auction and is enabled
by well-designed buttons and banners which offer an attractive and friendly interface.

Advantages

• Large Array of Products: It offers a large number of products properly


categorized giving publishers the option to choose the ones he wants to
promote.
• Seasonal Discounts: To take advantage of the holiday season, it offers
seasonal discounts on new products which further boost the sale and earning
of an affiliate.
• Prompt Payment: It uses paypal system to disburse the payment to its
affiliates which is much quicker when compared to payment terms of other
players.

Disadvantages

• Difficulty in Approval: For getting approved as an affiliate one requires a


running website with a requisite number of visitors. Without adequate traffic
or website, it is rather impossible to get an approval from it.
• Unpredictable Earnings: The earnings depend upon the users and is based
on per click mechanism.

ShareASale

ShareAsale was started in the year 2000 and is now a very well established and
popular affiliate program. It offers a wide range of merchants, around 4000 in
number, out of which approximately 1000 are exclusive to them. It offers a huge
variety to suit the needs of all types of publishers. When somebody joins it as an
affiliate he becomes a member who is confined to receive pay per lead and pay per
sale earning only. Once they receive their first payment they become full members
and are also entitled to get pay per click commissions. ShareASale offers a very
transparent backend support and system which is easy to understand. It also facilitates
a one of its kind feature which enables the publisher to get a list of 100 performing
merchants when they search for merchants. ShareASale also provides many relevant
statistics about affiliates– including average commission earned, average amount
of sale, earnings per click, reversal rates, etc.

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Affiliate Marketing

Other key features offered by ShareAsale include unique text ad widget builder
and facility to customize deeplinks to directly navigate to the specific pages dedicated
to a particular product. Affiliates are enabled to download data feed of merchants
through FTP. They can easily compare various offers of the merchants and select
the relevant ones. API tools are present for both merchants and publishers so as
to maximize the output and fulfil business goals. It also allows affiliates to add
merchant videos or even create their own videos.

Advantages

• Expansive Network: It has a huge network of more than 4000 merchants


with around 1000 exclusive merchants.
• Facility to Compare Offers: It offers facility to compare various offers to
facilitate decision making. ShareASale also provides metrics to evaluate
different offers.
• Fixed Payment Date: Date for payment is fixed as 20th of every month. If
one keeps a minimal balance of $50 in his account. Payment options include
either direct deposit or cheques.
• High Ethics: It follows strong anti-fraud practices and maintains high ethical
standards with its affiliates.
• High Commission: Some users say commission rates are typically higher in
comparison to its competitive sites.
• Low Monthly Fees: The fee required from merchants is relatively low.

Disadvantages

• Reporting Isn’t Properly Streamlined: The ‘reporting interface’ lacks


user friendly interface. It does not provide self-understanding features
when compared with its competitors. Therefore the merchants need time to
familiarize themselves.
• Paypal option is not available for payment.

A WAY FORWARD FOR AFFILIATES

The current time is full of opportunities for affiliates. It offers new horizons to
them to boost their business. Simultaneously, it faces various threats prevailing in
the business environment.

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Affiliate Marketing

Marketing is all about discovering and identifying what customers need and
providing them with the products/solutions which best suit their needs. It is important
to not only meet but exceed their expectations. Affiliate marketing is no exception
to this. Understanding the needs of the customers and providing them the desired
solutions is imperative in affiliate marketing as well. We propose a framework
“MECHULUP” based on acronym formed by the first letters of each of the following
words:- Mobile friendliness, E-commerce, Content Quality, Honesty, Use of Audio/
Video, Link building, Use of social media and Persistence for further development
of affiliate marketing. This framework deals with the strategies and solutions to
stay in the business and yield maximum returns from the affiliates. Based on the
experiences of many successful affiliates, affiliate program runners and bloggers
the ‘MECHULUP’ framework elaborated below.

Mobile Friendliness

Prevalence of smart phones has enabled the customers to stay connected every
moment which means that the constraints related with place and digital infrastructure
are losing their venom. Another side of the coin is that now consumers are spending
more time on internet through mobile devices than computers. Further, the count
of mobile customers who are making online buying is also increasing. There-by
necessitating seamless and comfortable purchases through mobiles. So, there is a
need for mobile friendly websites (Schubert, 2016) leading to opening up of new
paths of accessibility for both affiliates and customers. All the parties, especially
the affiliates should realize the potential of mobiles and design their web-pages
accordingly and offer a comfortable interface to the customer through their handheld
mobile devices. Many companies have already started indicating that their website is
mobile friendly (Ungr, 2015). Affiliates can use mobiles as a potent tool for generating
more and more business. For this, they should make the operations easier through
mobiles and synchronize it with the payment gateways that possess standard security
measures. Web-pages should support the mobile browsers; complex processes also
require appropriate tackling (Sullivan, 2014). The users experience through mobile
operations has to be smooth and easy that may lead to better customer retention.

Content Quality

The quality of content has a very important role in affiliate marketing. It differentiates
the affiliate from its other counterparts. While designing content it should be kept in
mind that since it is a decisive factor (Goi, 2011) it should be unique i.e. something
only available with this website, natural i.e.the message must not sound artificial,

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Affiliate Marketing

relevant i.e. it should focus on the information needs of the customers rather than self-
admiration or over promotion of product and unambiguous i.e. the message should
be clear and easy to decipher and have the ability to attract the right set of clients.
There should be simplicity in finding relevant information (Finkelstein 2009). So,
proper presentation with right blend of audio-visual components of media may also
be used to give a nice experience to the user, laying a foundation for further action.

Honest Reviews

Affiliates should understand and assimilate the fact that they have to also serve
customers who are seeking information rather than focussing on those seeking
product purchases. Customers like to make decisions based on correct and complete
information. They are doing more in-depth analysis than before and the websites’
honest reviews and correct product descriptions lead to trust building. The affiliate
should give a neutral opinion about the product. This action is sure to pay them in
the long run as honesty is something which is always appreciated by all. The product
description needs to be pervasive, covering all aspects and give accurate picture
of the product. The experience cited must be real and personalised to create better
presentation. Moreover, use of testimonial and real case studies may also boost the
traffic (Erdem & Swait, 1998).

Use of Audio/Video

Affiliates can connect to their customers directly through videos. A complete


understanding about the products can be formed through adequate usage of audio
visuals. Success of sites such as Youtube has shown the power of videos. Affiliates
can prudently use video tutorials to communicate with customers and send video
sales letters as well. They can also conduct a webinar and connect to the customers.
Further, they may go for podcasting their messages to utilise the audios (Bekkering &
Shim, 2006). The use of these audio/video communications not only helps in better
understanding on the part of the customer but also develops a better relationship as this
makes the operations more interactive and attractive (Ranasinghe & Leisher, 2009).

E-Commerce

Boom in the business of ecommerce has paved the path of success for many other
industries (Narang & Singh, 2014). Aaffiliate marketers should anticipate and realise
its scope and potential. Customers in present scenario are seeking more and more
convenience which drives them towards ecommerce and especially etailing (Narang
& Trivedi, 2016). This calls for setting up of an online store with an interface where

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Affiliate Marketing

users gets all the important information and variety of offerings suiting his needs
and pocket. Affiliates should invest their resources on products which are available
through etailing sites and take advantage of the situation.

Link Building

Along with the efforts one is doing as an affiliate to boost his business one needs
to work on link building as this may help in acquiring better prospects. The tool
for it may be guest blogging i.e. writing reviews for other products. This gives an
opportunity for cross selling. Info graphics and PR are other methods to increase
link building. It can be said that link building can work as a vital tool for the affiliate
so one should be ready to invest in it to outperform others in the business.

Use of Social Media

Social media is not only about sharing your moments with friends on a virtual basis.
It also serves as a platform to build trust (Kietzmannet al., 2011). Relationship
developed over social media platforms may serve as a reference for others. In other
words, winning over the trust of virtual friends and members of communities to
which the company belongs may help in gaining new customers or users for its
affiliate platforms. It may work as a right public relation platform where one sows
seeds to harvest later as the followers in a social media platform who find posts
as honest and relevant are likely to visit the company’s website, or blog. This will
subsequently lead to new business.

Persistence

Any marketing effort requires a sense of discipline and patience from the marketer.
To get success in affiliate marketing it is important for the affiliates to be persistent
in their efforts to deliver along with patience to reap the benefits (Neely et al, 2002).
Hopping is not going to help in the long run but persistence will. One should try
to become an authority site in its niche rather than striving for diversity beyond
one’s control.

CONCLUSION

Affiliate marketing is a potential medium to promote products in cost effective ways.


This is evident from the success of companies like Amazon, ShareAsale, etc. which
have utilized affiliate marketing very effectively. Various paying models like pay

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Affiliate Marketing

per sale, pay per click, pay per lead, etc. have attracted various groups of affiliates.
The companies have yielded cost efficiency in marketing through their affiliates
as they pay upon action; their marketing endeavour is well targeted and reaches
the right audience. The affiliates also benefit through effective utilization of their
web-presence in monetary terms. The extended presence of ‘online’ people through
handheld devices has boosted the growth of online marketing companies of which
affiliate marketing is a part. Like every other phenomenon, affiliate marketing has
its pros and cons. On one side, there is cost effectiveness and on the other, there are
various frauds associated with it. However, affiliates have numerous options available
to them; ranging from established companies to new start-ups. Affiliates need to do
a proper research before registering with a program. The area of research includes:
the technology used by Affiliate program, its user interface, paying terms, number
of merchants associated, history, legal issues, and other factors associated with
Affiliate programs. After doing proper research they can choose an affiliate program
which is close to their needs and is conducive to their environment. For achieving
success, the affiliates may also utilize the proposed framework “MECHULUP”
within their operations.

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KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

Affiliate: The party which puts the links provided by the affiliate company on
its webpage website or blog.
Affiliate Company: Companies which run the affiliate program.
Affiliate Network: The networks are companies which offer bulk affiliates to
the affiliate company.
Click: The impression made by a user on a link through device like mouse,
touchpad, keyboard etc.
Commission: Agreed share of revenue which an affiliate gets on a specified
action through his website.
Digital Infrastructure: Digital Infrastructure refers to the availability of
sufficient equipments to facilitate digital operations for example. Computer sets,
internet connectivity, printers etc.

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Hits: Number of clicks received by a web link.


Link: Digital vehicle which takes a user to the requested webpage on clicking.
MECHULUP: Acronym formed by the first letters of Mobile friendliness,
E-commerce, Content Quality, Honesty, Use of Audio/Video, Link building, Use
of social media and Persistence.
Merchant: Merchant is the party which offers its product for sale through
affiliate companies.
Publisher: An affiliate is also called as a publisher.
Payment: Payment includes various options available to affiliates to get their
share in the form of commission, etc.
Paypal: A popular gateway to transfer money.
Traffic: Number of users visiting a particular website in a fixed period of time,
e.g. 24 hrs.
User: Somebody visiting the website of affiliate.
Visitor: Same as user.

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33

Chapter 3
Affiliate Marketing Strategy
of Amazon India
Jaspreet Kaur
Trinity Institute of Professional Studies, India

Deepti Wadera
G. D. Goenka World Institute, Lancaster University, India

ABSTRACT
Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing in which one refers someone
to any online product (Open Topic, n.d.). When the consumer buys this product on
the basis of the given recommendation, then the person who has referred him receives
a commission. This commission could vary from $1 to $10000, on the basis of the
type of product which has been referred (Open Topic, n.d.). The rapid development
of the term “Affiliate marketing” which is a performance based internet marketing
practice, has made the online selling market even more competitive. Many companies
are now venturing into the forming or improving their affiliate programs and giving
higher incentives to keep the affiliates loyal. This study is a qualitative study about
the Affiliate program presently run by Amazon Company.

INTRODUCTION

It analyses the success and failures of the programs when it comes to increasing
sale of their products on their online portal. Internet marketing is crucial for the
market today as many companies are resorting to the online selling platform. It is
understood by many that the process of affiliate marketing, is a process of paying
money for a successful marketed order of a merchant or a partner. (Duffy, 2005,

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2656-8.ch003

Copyright © 2018, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

161 - 163). But when it comes to the true essence of affiliate marketing the same is
more complicated. Affiliate marketing is by far the lowest risk marketing as there
is a direct payment to performance marketing and low profile. Affiliate marketing
is the type of Internet marketing which uses methods like SEO, Paid Search Engine
Marketing, and E-mail Marketing etc to help the merchant sell his product. In affiliate
marketing, the business pays for one or more affiliates on the basis of each visitor
or customer who buys the product through the affiliates’ marketing campaign. Thus
affiliate marketing has three core parties: advertisers, publishers and consumers.
According to the “worldwidewebsize” website (2015), a 12 web application
that records the number of index web, there are at least 4.79 billion pages. Thus the
affiliate can share information to the rest of the world just by one click. It is due to
affiliate marketing that many a business sees a lot of scope in online selling.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Different business has different business requirements. Affiliate marketing has


many versions. A business selects an appropriate affiliate marketing method which
is based on the objective of advertising and the targeted customers. The same must
also be in synch with the marketing campaign.
Affiliate marketing has become a very profitable online marketing tool for many
companies. As explained by Prussakov (2007), the affiliate programs are a new
type of marketing strategy in which the partners or affiliates advertise products of
the company. It has also been explained that this type of marketing is performance
based, as the compensation is based on the amount of clicks.
Gallaugher et al. (2001) explains that these affiliate programs provide a site
operator (who is the affiliate) with a commission which he would get if any of the
products of the partner site (merchant) is bought by customers.The affiliate marketing
program was seen to be more effective as compared to the traditional online ads.
Fiore & Collins (2001) have explained that simple banner ads, which just try and
build a brand image, will turn out to be very expensive. Also their effectiveness was
decreasing over the years. As per the Forrester Research (Fiore & Collins, 2001) the
banner ads had a click-through rate of 40% in 1994. At present however the return
rate has fallen to as low as 0.5% CTR (Pick, 2008). Thus banner ad now cannot be
seen to bring in Assured sales.
Prussakov (2007) also has a view that an affiliate program could benefit
e-commerce a lot more in increasing sales. This is because the affiliate program
helps the n online business companies to sell products on its own website, and
also provide links of products on other website thus creating a larger reach for the
customers. Affiliate programs are also known as associate, revenue-sharing, or

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

partnership programs. In an affiliate program, the merchant approves to pay the


affiliate a commission (Prissakov, 2007). This form of selling becomes best for the
partner as the commission is paid only of the costumers actually makes a purchase.
Prussakov (2007) explains that a partner or merchant will allowed be in a winning
situation as fraudulent or invalid sales will not count. Affiliate marketing and Referral
Marketing are but two different type of marketing. Affiliate marketing is dependent
on the financial motivations for increasing sales at the same time Referral marketing
depends on trust and personal relationships to increase sales.

EVOLUTION OF AFFILIATE MARKETING

Another pioneer in the field of Associate marketing is Amazon’s Associates Programs.


This Affiliate program by far has over 1 million partners today (Prissakov, 2007).
The first affiliate marketing program was known as PC Flowers & Gifts on Prodigy
network which was started in 1989, and founded by William J. Tobin. Tobin. He
formulated the idea of internet affiliate marketing and tried to implement the same
on his company website. The second most prominent affiliate marketing program
was WebBuy of CDnow in 1994 by CDNow’s Buyweb Program. This was brought
in by the need of Greffen Records who wanted the fans of its artists to buy online
music easily. For the same Greffen did not want to build an online shop. Thus he
contacted CDnow for the sales service of his CDs. CDnow agreed, and Greffen
then put links on its website which redirected its users to the CDnow’s webstore.
This is how Affiliate marketing started initially (Hoffman & Novak, 2000). With
this prominent affiliate marketing program, the company made a profit of $14.
CDnow received revenue of 3% from the sales. This affiliate marketing program
made WebBuy the fourth most-visited shopping site with 700,000 visitors and 5
million page views per day (Donna and Thomas, 2000). This program was present
for his website till 1996.
The most prominent affiliate marketing program was that of Amazon which was
launched in July 1996.This program is known till date as the most famous associate
program done on a global scale for an online company (Hourigan, 2013). In this
program, Amazon’s affiliates place banner or link on the personal sites and also
on their individual books which connect to the prospect directly to the Amazon
website. When the consumer reaches the Amazon webpage from associates’ links,
the associates gets a percentage of commissions. It has been seen that Amazon had
been granted a patent (6,029,141) for its affiliate program in the year 2000 (Collins,
2000). In the year 1998, there was an establishment of two affiliate networks:
Commission Junction formulated by five students at University of California Santa
Barbara and Clickbank Network formulated by Tim and Eileen Barber. These were

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

a revolution for the affiliate marketing trend as these websites gave access of the
benefits of affiliate marketing to the small vendor’s. Also the exchanges among the
sellers and associates increased with the upcoming of these websites. At present
Commission Junctions known to be the largest affiliate marketing network in the
world. In the year 2000, the United States’ Federal Trade Commission formulated
the “Dot Com Disclosures: Information about Online Advertising” which was a
set of regulations to enter the internet-based advertising world. Also the renovation
from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, brought in a revolution in the utilization of the affiliate
marketing application on their own sites. At present there are many affiliate channels
on the Internet which have enhanced their creativity which will turn the online
market into a more attractive one. Also many an affiliate program is run today by
eBay, Amazon and Google which allow internet users to place their commercials
on their own blog posts.
Affiliate marketing ever since then has been seen to be a very effective way of
online marketing. In a report by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) it has
been stated that 100 million direct transactions have been done by UK buyers that
brought in £8 billion revenue, which was generated by affiliate marketing. After this
British Affiliate Marketing consisted of 6% of UK Internet Economy (Prussakov,
2013). Along with the tangible financial advantage, affiliate marketing has many
intangible benefits like the establishment of reputation and market control for
companies.
In the process of Affiliate marketing the content provider, who is also called the
affiliate, places an advertisement creative which could be a banner or text link or an
advertisement link on his website. If a user clicks on the banner, he gets redirected
to the merchant’s site (partner’s site). In case the user continues to make a purchase,
the same is tracked and will lead to a commission for the referring affiliate. Thus
the affiliate program is beneficial to both parties. It is crucial for the partner or
merchants as it receive traffic and increase the sales, at the same time the affiliates
receive commission or money for the users sent.

AFFILIATE MARKETING METHODS

There are many affiliate marketing methods which are being used by companies
nowadays. Some of the most popular methods are Pay Per Click, Email, Social
Media, Website/content Search Engine Optimization etc (Heitzman, 2011). As per
Heitzmans, the theoretical nature of affiliate marketing theory is simple .when it
comes to the practical terms affiliate marketing is a very complex process. The most
crucial task is to select a suitable, and effective method to apply to the marketing
campaign. The most prominent methods have been listed below:

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

Pay per Click (PPC)

This is a popular technique in the paid search method. The partner or merchant
selects some most appropriate keywords which are related to his brand or products.
The method lacks in many ways. The partner has to choose a set of words which
might not be the exact words which the consumer might type for a particular product.
Thus the partner or the merchant needs a good knowledge of the AdWords and the
company also has to keep a track of whether those exact “set of words” are being
able to generate traffic on the company’s website. The key words thus must be
relevant to track the transformation (Heitzman, 2011).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is another trend in Affiliate marketing methods which is a good way of


promoting the company. With the help of the SEO, the company will be put among
the top result pages. It is the appearance of the website which will then increases
the likelihood of the consumer users clicking on its URL. Thus here again this
method is reliant on using the right keywords on the website which will then give
it a higher rank on the result list.

E-Mail Marketing

This is a simple way of contacting the consumer. This could also contain a link which
could direct the consumer to the company’s website. The same will be more fruitful
when a consumer volunteers to receive newsletters from a website and provides the
company with his or her e-mail address. This email address is then added to the
subscribed list that delivers promotions via e-mails.

Social Media

Social Media is another form of marketing in which much of information could be


shared on social media networks quickly. The distributing speed of social media is an
added advantage for the merchant and the customers. This media is a multipurpose
method as the same promotes products and receives feedback and sells products
all together. When the link of the company shows on the social networks, the same
also allows the advertisers to track their affiliates with the help of the sharing
management function.

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

Website Content Method

This is a method in which the affiliates can post links or write feedbacks to advertise
the products. The links can be placed at the footer or header, sidebar and also as a
separate page. Merchants can also write a post that has links which can promote
their products. There is a small difference between Website/content and Social
Media which is in the appearance of the posts. If a link has been shared on social
media, the viewers will just view a title, and an image of the post. The viewer will
then have to click on the link to know more about the product and the company. In
the Website/content method, however the viewers can see full content of the post.
Thus, there is no need of multiple clicks. It is true that affiliate marketing depends
more on SEO, in case a customer does not find a post on the social media. This thus
reduces the marketing effect. Affiliate Marketing Blog (Riemer, 2015) is another
method of attracting consumers to the website.
Apart from the affiliate marketing methods some of the affiliate marketing models
are also crucial in online marketing. The most prominent models can be said to be
the Coupons, Product Reviews, Ad banner, Incentive/Loyalty, Offline Affiliate etc.

Coupons Model World

When a Customer clicks on the coupon banners to reach to the website and buy
products. The banner which is being displayed is an affiliate link. It is through the
coupon that members had, nonmembers are attracted by the good deals and offers
made by the company website. The affiliate links make the website and effective
advertising site.

Product Reviews

It is the positive reviews of any product or service which can change the decision
of customers. As consumer is already actively searching for products on the net,
it is crucial that the product reviews, and the positive feedbacks present for the
prospective consumers to view them.

Reviews Blog

This is a new review model in affiliate marketing which compare the related websites.
(Grundig, 2015) These website bring in the comparison tables to be viewed by the
consumer. The table could contain the functions and prices of the same product
which is available on different websites at different prices. This table will also have
a direct links to buy them.

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

Ad Banner

These are pictures of the product. These pictures have a back link which directs the
users to the website of the product. The back-link has the affiliate’s ID which helps
the advertisers track his affiliates. Banners can be viewed on the merchant’s personal
sites, websites or forums in which customers are attracted the most.

Incentive/Loyalty

This method is generally used by the airlines or shopping sites. The website shows
an offer to members which are like a reward bonus miles, and points, vouchers if
they follow the link.

Offline Affiliate

Offline affiliate is a crucial method which is propagated by word-of-mouth. Here


an affiliate promotes the products by recommending the same to the audience. This
is done by inviting the audience to click on the targeted link to purchase them. An
offline affiliate is broadcasted in radios or TV shows. Here the audience gets attracted
by the information which is shown in advertisement, and develops a curiosity to
access the link.

COMPENSATION METHODS

Affiliate marketing gives an opportunity to the sellers to choose the most suitable
payment method. The commissions are looked after by: Pay per Sale, Cost per
Action, Cost per Lead, and Cost per Click (Dusanka, 2010).

Revenue Sharing or Pay per Sale (PSP)

PPS or revenue sharing can be said to be the safest method for advertisers as they
only pay successful orders.

Cost per Action

Here the partner or merchant has different commissions which are reliant on the actions
of the users like their registration and signing up on the website for a newsletter. The
affiliate could be paid once the visitor has completed registration and paid for a sale

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

via credit card. In this type of affiliate marketing, the affiliate can place the links
at any place of his choice and the merchant is not to be informed about the same.

Pay per Lead (PPL)

This is a type of affiliate marketing compensation in which the affiliate is paid based
on the basis of the leads generated. These could be downloading software, watching
an advertising of the company etc. These leads are then directed to a targeted website
which the advertisers control and they then track the performance of the affiliate.
In case the visitor does follows the construction of what the affiliate link offers, the
affiliate gets paid. Pay per Lead is non-financially required for a lead.

Cost per Click (CPC) and Cost per Mile (CPM)

The CPC will pay the affiliate each time a client clicks on the advertisement,
CPM means the cost is estimated by 1000 views. CPC on the other hand was used
commonly in the past for search paid and is now not used for the fear of fraud clicks.

FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS

Strategy of Amazon in Affiliate Marketing

Amazon (Amazon.com) is an e-business which was established in May, 1996. This


merchant has a foray of products, and any product can be ordered from the website
of the company. Amazon is online markets in which people can offer their goods,
set the price, make a bid, and compares the prices and even “sell-buy” regulations.
Amazon has invested in PayPal, for getting the advantage of an easy e-payment
method which could be an add on for the buyers to complete a transaction faster
and safely. The company is also a manufacturer of many products which include
electronic devices like Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, and Echo and Fire phones.
Amazon targets two main market regions which are the North American market
and international markets. (Reuters, 2015)
The affiliate marketing program in Amazon is called the Associates Program
Advertising. It consists of the Associates Program Advertising Fee Schedule
(“Schedule”) which is a part of the Associates Operating Agreement (n.d.) which
governs the participation in the Associates Program. This Schedule shows the
advertising fee rates which one can earn as a participant in the Program. It also
describes the limitations which apply in earning advertising fees on certain Products.
This affiliate program fee schedule is modified time to time as per the Operating

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

Agreement. The affiliates can earn advertising fees for Qualifying Purchases
(Associates Program Operating Agreement, n.d.) These advertising fees are
calculated as a percentage of Qualifying Revenues which are calculated with the
“Limitations on Advertising Fee Rates for Certain Products”. Amazon also offers
the advertising fees in the form of bounties or other special offers which they name
as the “Special Offers and Promotions”. “Qualifying Revenues” is another feature
of affiliate marketing of Amazon which mean amounts they receive from customers’
Qualifying Purchases, excluding gift-wrapping fees, shipping, handling taxes etc.
Amazon also runs special or limited time offers or promotions in which an affiliate
may also earn advertising fees on Products or categories of Products which have
been excluded from earning advertising fees. This leads to the affiliates earning and
increased advertising fee rates from the regular ones. For example the advertising
rate for Kindle ebooks is 10 percent.

Process of Becoming an Affiliate Associate With Amazon

It is important to know the process of becoming an Affiliate which is undertaken


by Amazon company. First of all based on the geographical location or the target
market, the prospective affiliate will sign-up for the Amazon affiliate program. In
case the target audience is the Amazon customers in India, then one has to sign-up
for Amazon India program. In case an affiliate wants to promote all products for
Amazon, then he could sign up for Amazon affiliate program for all countries like
.jp (Japan), .au (Amazon Australia) etc.
The next step would be to get links, banners, or widgets for the affiate’s website.
For the same different types of links can be chosen. In case a prospective affiliate
has a gadget blog, then they can create a page which is called “Recommended
Gadgets”.In case one has a movie or music blog, the affiliate can create a widget
on the sidebar which has the movie’s DVD affiliate link.
The affiliate can also grab links for each product at Amazon and place them
on their blog as per their convenience. The affiliates can then start linking their
products with that ID and can start earning. For becoming an affiliate for Amazon,
the prospective affiliate has to sign up using this link: https://affiliate-program.
amazon.com on the Amazon website.

REQUIREMENTS NEEDED BY AFFILIATES TO START


EARNING FROM AFFILIATE MARKETING ON AMAZON

To Become an Amazon Affiliate with the Amazon Affiliate Program the Affiliate
Will Need the Following:

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

• Profitable Segment: The website or blog of the Affiliate will have to be


made on a topic on which one will be selling products. This topic should be
related to the products which are being sold on the Amazon website through
the Amazon Affiliate Marketing program.
• Domain and Hosting: The affiliate has to then create a domain for his blog
or website.
• The Blog or a Website: The affiliates’ blog or website should now have
content about the topic and should list the related products. The sales of the
affiliate will come from this website. The affiliates could also build a niche
affiliate site for the same.
• Quality of Content: For attracting customers to the blog/website of the
affiliates, one has to motivate the customers to purchase via the affiliate link.
• Ranking in Google: For reaching a higher number of buyers, one has to
pay for getting a higher rank in the Google ranking. A higher rank and an
appropriate keyword will assure that the prospective consumers reaches the
website or blog of the Affiliate. This will increase the visibility of the Amazon
link on the Affiliates’ blog or website.
• Traffic Gets Converted: The People visiting the blog or website of the
affiliate should purchase the product one is selling.

Profitable Niche of the Affiliate

The affiliate has to find the right niche to work with. The niche is the base of the
entire money making operation which is being conducted by the Amazon Affiliate.
Here in the idea generation stage one will need to research and find out the most
profitable segment which could give business through the affiliate’s website.
To find out a profitable niche for the affiliate’s website or blog, the affiliate should
visit the Amazon website and browse the various departments of goods which are
listed on the website. After visiting the website, the affiliate should List down all
the departments in which he or she has a knowledge or skills related to the product.
In each of the department of products listed on the Amazon’s website, within each
department there would be a further classification of a category of products. The
affiliate should choose the categories in which he is comfortable working in. Also the
affiliate should study the amount of commission which is being offered by Amazon
on the selected Categories. Navigate to the chosen Category. Here the affiliate will
be able to see ‘Bestsellers’ which are mentioned in each category name. Thus one
can find the best selling products in each category. In case the buyers already know
the brand and like to buy the brand then it becomes easier for the affiliate too sell
it. Thus when one clicks the Bestsellers, this will narrow down the products which
would be more likely to be sold faster by the affiliate. This would give the affiliate

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

a higher profit. Where the netseller talk of the best profits from a set of product
based on sales of volumes, another section called Hot New Releases lists the best
selling new and future products in this category.
The affiliate has to study the two sections so as to get an idea of the great product
ideas which can be sold by the affiliate. The affiliate should search for products with
high MRP and with good reviews. If an affiliate chooses a product with a higher
MRP, then this would lead to a higher commission %. At the same time better reviews
show the popularity of the product. The affiliate can work with any one product
which is listed in these sections, or with a number of products listed on the Amazon
website. The benefit of becoming an affiliate for a product listed in either of these
sections, one could assure the product popularity for the same. This is because one
could be sure that buyers like these products and will surely buy these products for
the given category. Here in this stage one can choose to work with one or more than
one product or with a whole category. A profitable niche will help the affiliate gain
the targeted profit. For the same a study of the current competition is also to be
done. The popular sites which sell the same product or same product category also
have to be done. The affiliate also has to track as to how many monthly searches
are happening on Google for the chosen product and category. It is crucial for the
affiliate to write quality content on the chosen product or category. Once the niche
is decided,it will be easy to design a website or blog on this parameter. Some of
the good niche sites doing well on Amazon are Body Building, Smart Phones, Best
Laptops, Weight loss,Kids growth etc.
After a niche is selected the next task would be to book a domain. One could go
for a generic name or try and find a keyword which is a rich domain. It is preferred
to go for the keyword rich domain. One could go for websites like GoDaddy.com
to book their domains. Many websites provide a domain at a real easy and low cost
of Rs 99/- for an year.
Once the domain is in place, the next step would be getting a good hosting
service. One could go for Hostgator or Bluehost hosting. The affiliate could create
their own blog with websites like WordPress.
The next step now would be the content creation. One needs to add interesting
content to the blog. Thus one has to choose wisely on the topics one wants to write
on. The affiliate can use
Google auto suggest or ubersuggest.org which could help the affiliate with an
appropriate popular keyword that could be sued to design topics on which the blog
could be written.
The blog should stress on talking about topics and questions which the buyers
would ask before they make a purchase. It is true that many potential buyers are
looking for answers to confirm their decisions. Thus the blog should suggest the
customer an appropriate answer to the choice of products the consumers is looking

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

at. The affiliate could include phrases like 5 things you need to know before you
buy a Product or the review of the product and the comparison between two good
products. The Affiliate may have to hire a content writer for the same.
In case the affiliate is working on a particular niche of segment, the content
writing becomes easier. A good content of 8-10 pages will be good enough which
will stress on promoting the website.
The website or blog has to be promoted among the Social Sharing platform.
Common friends could share the blog to known and prospective friends or customers.
The post shared on the social media should add to the value and knowledge. The
affiliate could also use paid methods to promote the niche website. Also the website
should have a good ranking among the other search engines. Thus a lot of stress is
to be given to the SEO for your niche website. In case it does rank on the top for the
given keywords in a SEO,then the same will start minting a good amount of money
every month. This will increase the profit of the Affiliate.

Points to Keep in Mind When Designing a Niche Website

Although the above discussion in the research has listed the steps which are involved
in the successful listing of an affiliate and the efficient working of the affiliate to
gain profit, there are still some key points one needs to remember when one is
designing the niche website.
While creating a niche website, the affiliate has to remember that Affiliate
marketing is not pure selling. It is very different form a regular selling exercise.
Also the type of consumers who shop through online websites, are also different
from those who shop from physical shops. It may also be noted that the visitors to
the blog of the affiliate are already aware of the Amazon website and they can buy
directly form it. The reason why a consumers will go to an Affiliate’s blog and not
to the websites directly is because he needs some guidance and recommendation on
a particular product he is about to buy. Thus the affiliate has to make sure that the
content of the website or blog is specific and not general. It should be about the same
niche category of product he is targeting. It should be able to successfully compare
the product with different products in its category. The blog should also be able to
suggest the customers the websites from which he could buy the suggested product
at the cheapest price. For the same the affiliate will himself have to do a thorough
research on the niche category of the product. Any amount of wrong information
can distort the trust of the customers forever.
Another factor which the affiliate has to take care of is that the content created
should add value to the buyer. In case the buyer is able to make a decision after
reading the post on the blog, then he will surely buy the product using the affiliate’s
buy button.

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

One way of making money from Amazon affiliate would be to compare the main
product with 2-3 other products that people could be confused with while making
a buying call. In case the affiliate is successful in convincing the buyers about the
main product on his blog and how the same is better that the rest, the buyer would
then surely buy from the Affiliate’s websites link.
For product with high involvement, the buyers like to take peoples’ review. Thus
it is crucial to have such reviews about the product already listed on your website.
It is not suggested to make false claims just to sell the product. This might work
well for the first purchase, but the same might leave the customers dissatisfied for
the rest of his life with your blog.There might be times when the customers may
not make money but one has to be patient in the beginning and wait for the traffic
to increase on the website.
Traffic is the most import factor in making money from affiliate programs; thus
promoting the website in all possible ways with the help of SEO and Social media
is extremely crucial.
Links within text gets you maximum conversions when you compare it with a
banner ad or buy button; thus the use of contextual links is suggested.
One has to be extremely careful when one is choosing a topic which are pre-
buying. Topics related to post buying will leave less chances to make money. Eg.
Which one to buy Samsung Galaxy S3 Neo or Nokia Lumia 730 Dual SIM? Will
convert more than how to take better pictures with Samsung S3 Neo.
It has to be taken care that in festive seasons like that of Diwali the sales will
go high, thus one should do heavy promotion in these days as the conversion ratios
would be high at such times.
The affiliate should make sure that the affiliate only puts in affiliate links of the
products which are highly relevant to the post or else it will be an opportunity lost.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION

Affiliate marketing has been used successfully by Amazon as a long-standing


monetization strategy on the web. What is crucial is that Affiliate marketing should
generate revenue success for the merchant. Many companies still don’t invest in
resources like SEO and paid search. The original model for affiliate sites has always
been to find a product to promote; list the top 50 keywords for search and write 50
pages of technically unique content centered on those keywords to build a website
around the program.
These websites however had very little unique value for the consumer as compared
to the affiliate marketing techniques sued today. Although these traditional techniques

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

did help in connecting consumers searching for a product and the brand offering
the same but they had no search presence themselves.
There are but some suggestion which Amazon needs to keep in mind while
propagating its Affiliate marketing program.

Limiting the Focus of Affiliate Marketing

It so happens that when one hears that a company is earning millions from a given
product, companies like Amazon get lured to expand the affiliate marketing programs
without focusing on the need of the same. It would not be good ideas to have 20 to
30 websites in random niche all in a pitiful domain authority not generating enough
sales to sustain.
It would be good to experiment with different niche segment but one should
remain focused on a particular category of consumers. Thus just a single website
would be enough for Affiliate marketing programs.

Content for Competition

The affiliates could be used as channel adding value to the prospective consumers.
The company needs to act quickly with content marketing. A company could spend
a lot of time approving the content strategy, but if the same is done by the affiliate,
the process could be quicker. Not all posts need an affiliate link.

Brand Building Is the Merchants’ Responsibility

It is true that the affiliate can help bring traffic for the company. At the same time it
is Amazon itself which will have to strengthen its brand. Along with being affiliate
sites, Amazon should also focus on being a strong brand.
Over time, affiliate marketers will find it increasingly difficult to succeed without
a brand that user’s trust, so consider what you’re doing to develop the brand of your
affiliate website.

Recurring Affiliate Revenue

Very often affiliate marketing programs focus on a one-time payouts. The onetime
payment but do not help in surviving the major changes in the company strategy.
Thus it can be said that one should be building up a portion the affiliate revenue in
recurring revenue.

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

Single Traffic Source

It is crucial to diversify the traffic. The company should know its audience. This
means that once the consumers do reach the website the company should be able to
build a long term relation with the consumers. Thus one should own the audience
not rent it.

Mobile as a Tool for Affiliate Marketing

In November 2014, mobile accounted for 46% of all affiliate clicks. The sites to
which the traffic is being sent should then be mobile friendly. A mobile friendly site
could become a good strategy for outranking the non-mobile friendly competitors
in the search results. This holds true when now more and more consumers are
purchasing from mobile devices.

Break the Trends

Amazon needs to differentiate between seasonal and breakout trends. Seasonal


trends are recurring, and can be predicted but the Breakout trends are much harder
to predict. The predictions of experts are the best way to beat competition. The same
can be done by experimenting with the search query.

Select Products to Be Promoted

Some product which range from $0.10 commissions to $100 commissions could
be included in affiliate marketing program. This would lead to a large volume of
low commission sales which will create a solid foundation of the affiliate revenue
but the real growth comes from high commission sales. Thus the Merchant should
find products that add value to the site’s readers, and that also have the potential to
increase the site’s revenue by an order of magnitude.

Stress on Topic Targeting

Targeting individual keyword is difficult for the merchant wanting to succeed in


affiliate marketing. Thus Amazon should shift towards topic-targeting, and stress
on the capturing long tail traffic.

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

Train the Affiliates to Become Advocates

As affiliate marketers, the job of the affiliate is traditionally only to sell. Rather an
affiliate should also help the reader to get what he wants in the page of the merchant.
By helping your reader and not being an unnecessary step in the sales funnel,
you will find more sales in your affiliate account.
Affiliate marketing has been introduced in India by many online companies.
India being a big and diverse market place with growing online business has a
potential for innovative and effective business models. Another favorable situation
for affiliate marketing is its lower customer acquisition cost, and marketing expenses.
Affiliates will get business opportunity through their websites or blogs. Most of
these affiliate programs aligning with Indian bloggers, social media platforms,
and small business owners through their website to advertise their product and
services. In order to attract affiliates to join affiliate programmes various Indian
and multinational companies have started their affiliate programs in India offering
different types of incentives models. These days, affiliates marketing are one of
the important way to generate revenue for bloggers and other website owners. The
companies are improving on the transparency in the business deals. In countries
like India and China considering possibilities of frauds and bureaucratic setup of
rules and regulations getting Ad sense license is difficult and takes around 6 to 12
months to get the license. It can be concluded from the case study that the affiliate
marketing shall be growing extensively in coming years. The firms have to go a
step ahead of their present traditional business models and adapt to cost effective
models which can be achieved by affiliate network. The affiliate marketing is a useful
model for the small businesses for generating earnings. The new of technology, and
innovations will help small companies to benefit from affiliate marketing in future.

REFERENCES

Amazon. (2015, April 21). Associates Program Advertising Fee Schedule.


Retrieved from https://affiliateprogram.amazon.com/gp/associates/help/operating/
advertisingfees?rw_useCurrentProtocol=1
Barker, A. (2012, January 9). Affiliate Marketing for Newbies and Beginners.
Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?Affiliate-Marketing-For-Newbies-and-
Beginners&id=7098000

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

BlueGlobal Media. (2012, March 4). What is affiliate marketing? Retrieved from
http://www.blueglobalmedia.com/what-is-affiliate-marketing.html
Collins, S. (2000). History of Affiliate Marketing. ClickZ. Retrieved from http://
www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1699440/history-affiliate-marketing
Dennis, L. (2005). Affiliate Marketing and Its Impact on e-commerce. Journal of
Consumer Marketing, 22(3), 161–163. doi:10.1108/07363760510595986
Donna, L. H., & Thomas, P. N. (2000). How to acquire customers on the web.
Harvard Business Review, 46.
Duffy, D. L. (2005). Affiliate marketing and its impact on e‐commerce. Journal of
Consumer Marketing, 22(3), 61–163. doi:10.1108/07363760510595986
Fiore, F., & Collins, S. (2001). Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants.
Indianapolis, IN: Que.
Gallaugher, J. M., Auger, P., & Barnir, A. (2001). Revenue Streams and Digital
Content Providers: An Empirical Investigation. Information & Management, 38(7),
473–485. doi:10.1016/S0378-7206(00)00083-5
Grundig, J. (2015). Mom’s favorite stuff. Retrieved from http://www.
momsfavoritestuff.com/
Heitzman, A. (2011). 7 Best Affiliate Marketing Promotional Methods.
HigherVisibility. Retrieved from http://www.highervisibility.com/7-best-affiliate-
marketing-promotionalmethods/
Hoffman, D. L., & Novak, T. P. (2000). How to Acquire Customers on the Web.
Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2000/05/how-to-acquire-
customers-on-the-web
Hourigan, M. (2013). History of Affiliate Marketing. Shoeboxed. Retrieved from
http://blog.shoeboxed.com/history-of-affiliate-marketing-infographic/
Ivkovic, M., & Dusanka, M. (2010). Affiliate Internet marketing: Concept and
Application Analysis. New York, NY: IEEE.
McCarthy, D. (2009, March 7). What Is Affiliate Marketing — Presentation
Transcript. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/thejargroup/what-is-affiliate-
marketing-1920818

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy of Amazon India

Pick, T. (2008). Average CTR for Banner Ads - New Data. Retrieved from http://
webmarketcentral.blogspot.com/2008/09/average-ctr-for-bannerads-new-data.html
Prussakov, E. (2007). A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing. Safford, VA: AM
Navigator LL.
Prussakov, G. (2013). British Affiliate Marketing Comprises 6% of UK
Internet Economy. Amnavigator. Retrieved from http://www.amnavigator.com/
blog/2013/01/22/british-affiliate-marketingcomprises-6-of-uk-internet-economy/
Reuters. (2015). Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) Company Prof ile.
Reuters Finance. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/
companyProfile?symbol=AMZN.O
Riemer, A. (2015). IQOption Review – an EU Binary Options Affiliate Program.
Retrieved from http://www.adamriemer.me/iqoption-review-eu-binary-options-
affiliateprogram/#more-4678

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Chapter 4
Amazon Associates:
A Model of Affiliate Marketing

Taranpreet Kaur
Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Management Studies, India

ABSTRACT
Affiliate marketing, without a doubt, is the quickest and easiest way to make some
profit on the World Wide Web. Aside from this, affiliate marketing brings many
benefits like minimum to zero financial investment to start out with this earning
stream, a variety of programs to choose from, unlimited number of programs to join,
extravagant commission schemes ranging from 20% to 90% of the selling price,
get paid as you produce results. You’re not handcuffed by time, you can work at
your own pace; No limit as to how much you can earn. Because of these amazing
benefits, millions of online users have tried their hands in affiliate marketing. The
affiliate marketing space has matured quite a bit since 1994, when the Olim brothers
began their first affiliate program at CDnow. The “buy web” program revolutionized
advertising and marketing on. The Internet by shifting the “burden of response”
from advertisers to content producers.

INTRODUCTION

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business


rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s
own marketing efforts. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known
as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose
from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’),
and the customer (Wikipedia, n.d.). The market has grown in complexity, resulting

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Amazon Associates

in the emergence of a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management


agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third party vendors.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some
degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods
include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing
(PPC - Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing and in some sense display
advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques,
such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner (International
Journal of Advertising 30, Pg 13–46. 2011).
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms
of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. However, both are distinct
forms of marketing and the main difference between them is that affiliate marketing
relies purely on financial motivations to drive sales while referral marketing relies
on trust and personal relationships to drive sales (Kappe, 2012).

Affiliate marketing is frequently overlooked by advertisers. While search engines,


e-mail, and website syndication capture much of the attention of online retailers,
affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Still, affiliates continue to play a
significant role in e-retailers’ marketing strategies (Halligan, Shah,2009).

HOW TO START AN AFFILIATE MARKET BUSINESS

Affiliate marketing gives you the opportunity to earn a commission by selling


products or services offered by other companies, (Weber et al,2007) It’s a great way
to supplement your income from the convenience of your own home. Fortunately,
it’s also easy to become an affiliate for companies that are household names

Process of Becoming an Affiliate

Sell What You Know

To start, you should stick to selling products or services that you’re familiar with.
Online marketers call this process “picking your niche.” [1] You should select a niche
that represents your current interests or your occupation. For example, if you’re an
expert at interior decorating, it makes more sense to sell comfort sets than it does
to sell automotive parts. You’ll do a much better job with your individual marketing
efforts if you stick to selling what you know.

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Amazon Associates

Start a Website Relevant to Your Niche

Before becoming an affiliate, many companies will want to know the URL of the
website that you’ll use to sell their products. They do this because they want to
ensure that the content on the website won’t hurt the company’s reputation. Process
of Starting a Website-

1. It’s easy to start a website these days thanks to sites like WordPress.com.
2. Be sure to add content to your website that isn’t “salesy.” You want your site
to come across as an authority in your niche.

Research Affiliate Programs

Find an affiliate program that offers products or services in your niche.

• Amazon sells just about everything, so it’s likely that your niche includes
products sold on Amazon. That’s a good place to start if you’re looking to get
into affiliate marketing.
• Commission Junction is another great option because it allows you to become
an affiliate for countless companies that you already know about (e.g.,
Overstock, Office Depot, Boscov’s, and many others).
• Clickbank is yet another option that many affiliate marketers like. That’s
because the commissions from companies on that site can be very lucrative.

Join an Affiliate Program

It’s almost always free of charge to join an affiliate program.

• In fact, if you’re being asked for a credit card number just to become an
affiliate, you might be getting scammed. Most reputable companies that offer
affiliate programs allow people to become affiliates free of charge.
• You will, however, be asked for bank account or PayPal information. Keep in
mind, that’s not so that the company can take money away from you, but so
that it can pay you the commission you earned with successful sales.
• You will be asked for the URL of your website in some cases. Just provide the
URL of the website that you created above.

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Amazon Associates

Marketing Products on Website

Add Affiliate Links in Your Content

One great way to get paid a commission without appearing to sell anything is add
affiliate links within your content. That way, when people click on the link, they’re
taken to the company site and, if they buy, you’ll earn a commission.

• For example, if you’re writing about decor that includes purple comforters,
make the phrase “purple comforters” a link to Amazon’s site that shows
people only comforters that are offered in purple. Your readers can browse
through Amazon’s offerings and maybe purchase an item that they like.
• Good news: Companies make it very easy to get links to their site. The way
that you get those links varies from company to company, but it’s usually very
easy to find a link to the product or products that you’re looking for.

Include Visual Ads in Your Sidebar

Your website, like most websites, probably has a sidebar. That’s a great place to
include visual ads for products relevant to your niche.

• Once again, you’ll find that companies with affiliate programs make it very
easy for you to obtain the images and links you need to get your visitors back
to their sites. It’s almost always just as easy as copying and pasting code into
your sidebar.

Continue Producing Content Relevant to Your Niche

You want to keep people coming back to your website, don’t you? If so, then you
need to keep on producing original content that’s of value to your visitors. That’s
called “content marketing” by digital marketers.

• Good content keeps visitors coming back. That means that they might
eventually click on your affiliate links and purchase something.
• You can also use your content to include affiliate links as mentioned above.
The more content you produce, the more affiliate links you have. The law of
averages eventually kicks in and you’ll start selling.

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Amazon Associates

Use Analytics to Measure Your Success

You can think of analytics as information about what you’re selling, how you sold it,
and to whom you sold it. [8] Fortunately, most affiliate marketing sites offer helpful
analytics so you can get an idea about what’s working well for you.

• If you find that one type of product sells well on your site, produce content
that gives you the opportunity to market it even more.
• Use Google Analytics to gain an understanding of the demographics of your
visitors. Tailor your content marketing efforts to people in that demographic.
• Pay attention to your posts that get the most visitors. If you find that some
posts are getting significantly more hits than the others, consider adding
additional affiliate links to them.

Focus on what works, eliminate what doesn’t. The analytics provided by your
company will tell you which types of ads are working and which ones aren’t. Use
more of the ads that are working and eliminate the ones that aren’t.

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR BUSINESS

Prepare for Taxes

If you make money via affiliate marketing, you can be sure that you’re going to have
to pay taxes on that income. At the beginning of each year, your partner companies
should send you a 1099 tax form. If they don’t, you’re still required to report the
income to the IRS.

• If you’re running your affiliate marketing business as a sole proprietor or


LLC, you’ll report 1099 income on Schedule C - Profit or Loss from Business.
(Weinberg,2009)
• If you’re running your business as an S or C corporation, you’ll report the
income on Schedule K-1.

Expand Your Business

Your business is likely to do one of two things: expand or contract. That’s why
you should always be striving for growth, otherwise your business will shrink and
provide you with diminishing returns.

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Amazon Associates

• Look for new products that you think you can market online. Browse through
various affiliate sites. Look for new businesses that have recently welcomed
affiliates and, if they’re offering something you think you can market well,
partner up with them.
• Promote your business constantly online. Use social media, email, and other
channels to promote your business so that people keep coming back and
looking for great deals on the products and services that you’re marketing.

Automate What You Can

There are plenty of digital marketing tools available. Again, some of them will
require you to make an investment, but if it gives you more free time to build your
business, then the return on investment should be positive.

• Focus on creating a long-term strategy for your business while your tools and
employees handle routine, day-to-day tasks. That way, you can handle “big
picture” responsibilities to ensure that your business continues to grow.

Delegate Routine Tasks

Once your business takes off, it’s time for you to focus on how to grow your business
while delegating routine tasks to others. It will cost you some money in labor expense,
but the investment is worth it if it allows you to come up with new ways to promote
your affiliate marketing business and build it even further (Gillin,2007).

AMAZON ASSOCIATES: A CASE STUDY

Amazon has separate retail websites for the United States, the United Kingdom and
Ireland, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, Japan,
China, India and Mexico. Amazon also offers international shipping to certain other
countries for some of its products. In 2016, Dutch and Polish language versions of
the German Amazon website were launched.
In 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the United
States by market capitalization, and is, as of 2016 Q3, the fourth most valuable
public company.
Amazon Associates is one of the first online affiliate marketing programs and
was launched in 1996. The Amazon Associates program has a more than 12 year
track record of developing solutions to help website owners, Web developers, and

56
Amazon Associates

Amazon sellers make money by advertising millions of new and used products
from Amazon.com and its subsidiaries, such as Endless.com and SmallParts.com.
When website owners and bloggers who are Associates create links and customers
click through those links and buy products from Amazon, they earn referral fees.
It’s free to join and easy to use.
Provide customers the convenience of referring them to a trusted site where they
can immediately purchase the products you advertise on your site. And when they
do, you can earn up to 10% in referral fees.
Take advantage of various Amazon retail promotions and leverage our newly
created advertising features to drive traffic and earn referrals.

Amazon Associates

• Launched in 1996
• More than half a million associates
• One-to-many
• Today’s best-known affiliate network
• Variety of display mechanisms
• Variety of tools to help affiliates

Model

• Amazon and its partners serve as the vendors


• Affiliates register through the site and can generate links to any pages on the
site
• Transactions earn affiliates a percentage commission
• Simple structure – open to anyone!
• Links and Banners

Figure 1. Affiliate marketing

57
Amazon Associates

• Widgets
• Site Stripe

Amazon Tools Simplify the Advertising Process

Payment Schemes

Classic Fee Structure:

• Flat 4% Commission on Purchases

Performance Fee Structure:

• Category-Based Commission: 4-15%


• Volume-Based Commission: 4-8.5%
• Default Option

Observation: The Classic Structure Provides No Advantages

Make Money With Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is an extra way of earning an additional income on your website,


whilst getting content written at the same time. For those of you that donʼt know,
this is Amazonʼs commission scheme where you can start to earn money by just

Figure 2. Kindle example

58
Amazon Associates

linking to their products on your site. The beauty of this program is that you can
kill two birds with one stone by making money from the content that you would
have written anyway. The trick to making money from Amazon is to post content
often that links to Amazon through your website and with your Amazon ID. This
can range from a Top 20 list of products you recommend to people in your niche,
to just a simple link in your content, where you might recommend something to
your readers, perhaps if you’re reviewing a Single product. To be honest, and this
may surprise you, but it doesn’t really matter what myou’re linking to, just so long
as you’re linking to Amazon (Safko, Brake, 2009).

Data on Amazon Affiliates

See Figure 3

TOP WAYS 17 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY


WITH AMAZON ASSOCIATES

Niche Selection Is Crucial

This literally will make or break everything you do. So if you want to make money
with Amazon’s affiliate program You must target physical product focused niches
and keywords. It’s much easier to make money using Amazon’s affiliate program

Figure 3. Visitor location

59
Amazon Associates

if the people coming to your website are looking for a specific product that your
website discusses

Link to Products Inside Your Content

Roughly half of my Amazon income comes from basic text links posted inside the
content body area of a blog post or page.

Make Product Images Clickable Affiliate Links

The second best thing I’ve found next to a simple text link is to use images of the
product you’re talking about and make them clickable

Link to Amazon.com as Many Times Possible

I alluded to this in the previous few tips but I want to make sure you understand
that each link inside one of your articles is another opportunity for a visitor to click
through and make their way onto Amazon.com.

Product Review Articles Convert the Best

Doing a quality product review for a product directly related to your niche is a very
easy way to garner higher click thru rates and increased sales, ideally if your review
is higher quality.
Ideally you contact the manufacturer’s marketing team or PR agency and get
them to send you a demo unit of the product to review,

Build an E-Mail List

You’ve probably heard this a hundred times by people telling you to build an e-mail
list from the blogger and internet marketing crowd, but building an email list is way
easier on a physical product oriented website.

Write Sales and Promos During the Holidays

Holidays like, Black Friday Week, Cyber Monday and Cyber Week, Amazon creates
an actual dedicated sales page every time one of these holidays come around. The
deals shared on these pages are generally really good too.

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Amazon Associates

Sell More Products to Make Incrementally More Money

This one sounds simple enough and it really is. The more you sell with Amazon the
more you make and the higher percentage you earn. During holiday months, you can
hit around the 8% mark which is double the 4% rate you start with for shipping only
1 – 6 items per month. Even if you sold just 7 items you get bumped up to 6% and
the best part is that this increase in commission percentage is retroactive (meaning
once you reach the next level you get to apply the higher percentage referral fee to
every product you’ve sold during the entire month).

Sell Large Quantities of Inexpensive Products to


Boost Your Payout on High Priced Products

One thing you can do is have websites that are set up in lower competition niches
where the items typically aren’t as expensive and where it’s easier to sell these
products in larger quantities ($50 or less). Then you have other niche sites that sell
more expensive products at much higher prices ($XXX – $X,XXX) that are sold
less frequently. So this way you get to use the increased quantity of sales from these
lower priced product websites to help you get up into higher payout brackets so
instead of making 6% on that high end item I’ll get 8% instead.

Insert “Buy Now” Button Into Your Articles

You can simply insert your own buy now button and turn it into an Amazon affiliate
link using the information on tip 3 to see how to deal with the code to turn the buy
now button into a clickable affiliate link.

Create a Product Comparison Grid

Creating a product comparison grid for all of the products within your niche and
allowing people to sort by various features is a great way to get some additional sales.

Publish a Recurring Deals Post

If you want to find a way to be able to mention products that are on sale more
frequently on your website one of the easiest ways you have done that in the past is
to just do a weekly deals post.

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Amazon Associates

Publish A Monthly Bestseller List

Amazon has a bestseller page found simply at Amazon.com/bestsellers and so one


thing you can do on your site is publish a bestsellers list and simply mention the
currently trending bestsellers. Generally speaking the cream rises to the top so if
you write an article talking about the bestselling products those are likely to be the
best products your visitors are looking to buy anyway.

Offer High-Ticket and Low-Ticket Items

Because of Amazon’s incentive-based compensation plan, it is important to be able


to create some amount of volume every month in order to get your Commission
bumped up to at least 6%. To do this, you will need to sell at least 7 Items (any
items) every 30 days.

CONCLUSION

Social media isn’t about money or institutions, it isn’t about stockholders making
billions of dollars, it isn’t about corporate ownership, Social media is about ordinary
people taking control of the world around them and finding creative new ways to
bring their collective voices together to get what they want. SMM is primarily internet
based but has similarities with no internet based marketing methods like affiliate
marketing in which satisfied customers themselves promote the product to their
known ones and then take fees for that from the Companies (Scott,2008). Affiliate
marketing is the way of promoting website, brand or business by interacting with
or attracting the interest of current or prospective customers through the channels
of social media (Evans,2010).

REFERENCES

Evans, D. (2010). Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation of Business


Engagement. Academic Press.
Gillin, P. (2007). The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media.
Linden Publishing.
Halligan & Shah. (2009). Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social
Media, and Blogs (The New Rules of Social Media). Wiley.

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Merchant. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.


org/wiki/Merchant
Muntinga, D., Moorman, M., & Smit, E. G. (2011). Introducing COBRAs exploring
motivations for brand-related social media use. International Journal of Advertising,
30(1), 13–46. doi:10.2501/IJA-30-1-013-046
Safko & Brake. (2009). The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for
Business Success. Wiley.
Scott, D. M. (2008). The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News
Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers
Directly (1st ed.). Wiley.
Trattner, C., & Kappe, F. (2012). Social Stream Marketing on Facebook: A Case
Study. International Journal of Social and Humanistic Computing.
Weber. (2007). Plug Your Business! Marketing on MySpace, YouTube, blogs and
podcasts and other Web 2.0 social networks. Weber Books.
Weinberg, T. (2009). The New Community Rules:Marketing on the Social Web.
O’Reilly Media.

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Chapter 5
Affiliate Marketing
Empowers Entrepreneurs
Mukesh Chaturvedi
PDC Educational Services, India

ABSTRACT
The earliest forms of the more recently coined term “Affiliate Marketing” came into
being with the advent of Tupperware and Amway. Tupperware, a home products line
that includes preparation, storage, containment, and serving products for kitchen as
also household plastic containers used to store goods and / or foods, was launched
by Earl Silas Tupper of Orlando, Florida, in 1948. He developed his first bell shaped
container in 1942, and branded it later. Amway, short for The American Way, is
a company that uses a multi-level marketing model to sell a variety of products
primarily in the health, beauty and home care markets. It was founded by Jay Van
Andel and Richard Devos of Ada Township, Michigan, in 1959. The core concept
of both Tupperware and Amway is “revenue sharing” – paying commission for
referred business, which is also the idea of Affiliate Marketing.

INTRODUCTION

With the origination of the World Wide Web, the Internet, in 1990, the mainstream
e-commerce happened in November 1994. And, when the concept of revenue sharing
reached there, Affiliate Marketing happened. It was conceived of, put into practice
and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts, who launched
it on the Prodigy Network in 1989 (Amarasekara & Mathrani, 2015)
Amazon.com launched its associates program in July 1996: Amazon associates
could place banner or text links on their site for individual books, or link directly

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Copyright © 2018, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Affiliate Marketing Empowers Entrepreneurs

to the Amazon home page. When visitors clicked from the associate’s website to
Amazon and purchased a book, the associate received a commission (Amazon.
com, n.d.). Amazon was not the first merchant to offer an affiliate program, but its
program was the first to become widely known and serve as a model for subsequent
programs (Thompson & Khambaita, 2016)
Most simply put, Affiliate Marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing
wherein you refer someone to any online product and when that person buys the
product based on your recommendation, you receive a commission. This commission
varies from Rs.100 to Rs.10,00,000, depending on what product you are promoting.
Affiliate Marketing is a model of performance-based marketing in which a
business rewards affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s
own marketing efforts (Affiliate Marketing, n.d.).
Affiliate Marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce
website, viewed as a marketing gimmick in the early days of the Internet, became
an integral part of the overall business plan and, in some cases, grew to a bigger
business than the existing offline business, due to commissions from a variety of
sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education,
publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.
The three sectors expected to experience the highest growth are the mobile phone,
finance, and travel sectors. The entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-
related services (particularly broadband) sectors come next.

A NEW IDEA, OR JUST A NEW NAME?

Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with either network marketing, or


multi-level marketing, or referral marketing, as all these forms use third parties
to drive sales to the retailer. Therefore, the marketing industry is of the opinion
that “Affiliate Marketing” be substituted with an alternative name. Could it be
Performance Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’
or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and
also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and
the customer. The market has grown in complexity, resulting in the emergence of a
secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates
and specialized third party vendors.

Affiliate Marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree,
because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include
organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC -

65
Affiliate Marketing Empowers Entrepreneurs

Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing and, in some sense, display
advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques,
such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner [as in the
case of films]. (Affiliate Marketing, n.d.)

An affiliate program only brings traffic to your website or business; then, it is


your call to turn that traffic into conversions (Olenski, 2014).

AFFILIATE MARKETING IN INDIA

Affiliate Marketeres in India can broadly be divided into two categories – ‘Affiliate
Networks’ and ‘Affiliate Marketers’ or ‘Publishers’. Some of the entities functioning
as Affiliate Networks in the Indian market are Tyroo Media Pvt. Ltd., OMG Network,
Vcommission, Payoom, Komli Media, DGM, Trootrac, and Ibibo Ads. Similarly,
some of the Affiliate Marketers, or Publishers, prominent in India are CouponzGuru,
Pennyful, CouponDunia, Groupon, Cashkaro, Mydala, and Couponraja.How is
Affiliate Marketing done?

[…] Affiliate Networks use a combination of html ‘end of sale’ code (which is placed
in the shopping cart or on the ‘order confirmation’ / ‘thank you’ page) and cookies
(which are created on the customers PC after they click on one of the affiliate’s
advertisements) to track sales. This ‘two-key’ combination ensures that network will
track only those sales that are sent from that network’s affiliates. (Maheshkanna, 2015)

Affiliate Marketers or Publishers, sites like CouponzGuru, Pennyful,


CouponsDuniya and Cashkaro, provide coupons to customers and cash back options
that may be used while making a purchase on any merchant site, having reached the
said merchant site after perusing and clicking on the relevant coupon/ offer at the
above-noted affiliate websites, while others like Groupon and mydala offer coupons
and discounts at offline restaurants, gyms, grocery stores, health and beauty stores
in addition to the online deals at e-commerce merchant sites.

HOW DOES AFFILIATE MARKETING WORK?

Operations-wise, and technologically, Affiliate Marketing may seem to be highly


complex; but, process-wise, Affiliate Marketing is a very simple procedure. As shown
in Figure 1, the various stages of Affiliate Marketing can be outlined as given below:

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Affiliate Marketing Empowers Entrepreneurs

Figure 1. Stages in Affiliate Marketing

Stage 1: An online shopper decides to buy a product.


Stage 2: They reach an affiliate’s site.
Stage 3: The affiliate’s site redirects them to the merchant’s site.
Stage 4: The shopper makes a purchase.
Stage 5: The merchant rewards the affiliate.

Merchants assign a fixed commission to the ‘link’, or ‘banner’, of the products


that the affiliates offer online. The affiliates understand the terms they are offered
and publish the link, or banner, on their website, blog, etc., and the link tracks all the
traffic and sales generated through each affiliate as the URL given to each affiliate
is unique (Web Banner, n.d.).
In India, E-retailers like Flipkart, Jabong, Snapdeal and Amazon Associates are
offering their own affiliate programs. They offer their respective affiliates up to 15%
for each successful referral (which ends in purchase). Websites can place banners,
or links, re-directing visitors to products on these sites. The criterion for payment
of commission to affiliates is usually as under:

• CPM: ‘Cost per 1000 impressions’ – This is the value paid by the merchant
to the affiliate for every 1000 page views of text, banner, images.
• CPS: ‘Cost per sale’ – This is the amount paid by the merchant to the affiliate
on an actual purchase/ transaction made by the visitor.
• CPL: ‘Cost per lead’ – The amount paid by the merchant to the affiliate when
a visitor leaves personal information such as name, e-mail ID, etc., allowing
the merchant to get in touch with such visitor.

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• CPC: ‘Cost per click’ – The value paid by the merchant to the affiliate for
each click on the advertisement, text, banner.
• CPA: ‘Cost per acquisition’ – The value paid by the merchant for an action,
such as filing up a form, signing up for something, etc. (Maheshkenna, 2015).

The most common question often raised is related to how companies track the
record of who is sending the traffic and making the sales (Agarwal, 2016). The
simple answer is that it involves a tracking URL, which is a unique link given by
the affiliate company or product company.
This URL is used to keep track of all the traffic and sales associates are making
via their websites or other promotional techniques. Many old-fashioned affiliate
programs allow a buyer to add the e-mail, or referral details, in an effort to account
for affiliate sales, but this is certainly not the best way to track progress (Agarwal,
2016).

AFFILIATE MARKETING: THE CRITIC WAY

Some online companies, which sell products like shoes, offer an affiliate program,
wherein a common individual can also sign up for the program and get a unique
tracking link (Agarwal, 2016). Now, whenever the person is writing about the product,
they can simply use this special tracking affiliate link to recommend the company’s
site, and, if their readers buy anything, they will get a commission.
“Every affiliate program has a set TOS [‘Term of Sales’]. For example, many of
them offer a 60-day cookie period, which means that if a visitor uses an individual’s
special affiliate link to land on the sales page of the site and, buys something within
the next 60 days, you will still be entitled to the sale’s commission” (Agarwal,
2016). The life of the cookie can be set to 45, 60, 90, 120, 150 days, 1 year, 2 year,
or indefinitely. Cookies are deleted once a transaction occurs, or typically expire
within ninety days.

THE PITFALLS

Being totally technology-driven, certain difficulties and apprehensions would


always be there, like the affiliates can indulge in misleading the number of visitors
/ clicks in an attempt to get higher commissions from merchants. They may offer
exaggerated discounts and offers to the extent of being impossible to deliver.
Merchants may promise high commission in the beginning, only to reduce rates,
or percentages, with time. Link hijackers may hijack affiliate links and direct the

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payment of commission to themselves. Shoppers might get hooked to the affiliate’s


website even if they could visit the merchant’s site directly resulting in a loss of
direct sales, and the merchant will have to pay a commission. Thus, merchants may
suffer a gradual decline in profits.

SCOPE IN INDIA?

Although it may be at its nascent stages in India, and, despite the aforesaid likely
pitfalls, Affiliate Marketing is all set to grow in India. Its low cost and high benefit
for both merchants and affiliates; the growing number of service providers offering
their expertise for setting up affiliate marketing programs; rapid software and network
developments; deep internet penetration in India: the growing craze and convenience
of e-commerce companies – all factors go to show that Affiliate Marketing will
only earn more admirers. Also, Affiliate Marketing turns out to be the most cost
effective channel of marketing for E-retailers. They just pay for the transactions that
the associates bring, unlike other channels where they need to pay for each view or
click irrespective of the transactions.
However, there is another, very basic reason why Affiliate Marketing can hope
to be highly successful in India – familiarity and experience of Indian market with
Direct Selling. The rules of the game are known; only the playground is different.

DIRECT SELLING

World Federation of Direct Selling Associations explains Direct Selling as a


retail channel used by top global brands and smaller, entrepreneurial companies
to market goods and services to consumers. Companies market all types of goods
and services, including jewellery, cookware, nutritionals, cosmetics, housewares,
energy and insurance.
Direct selling consultants work on their own, but affiliate with a company that uses
the channel, retaining the freedom to run a business on their own terms. Consultants
forge strong personal relationships with prospective customers, primarily through
face-to-face discussions and demonstrations. In this age of social networking, direct
selling is a go-to market strategy that, for many companies and product lines, may
be more effective than traditional advertising or securing premium shelf space.
Amway conducts business through a number of affiliated companies in more
than a hundred countries and territories around the world, ranked No. 29 among
the largest private companies in the United States by Forbes in 2015 and No. 1 in
multi-level marketing by Direct Selling News (Nuyten, 2013).

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Tupperware pioneered the direct selling strategy made famous by the Tupperware
Party. The Tupperware Party allowed for women of the 1950s to work and enjoy
the benefits of earning an income without completely taking away the independence
granted to women during the Second World War when women first began entering
the labour market, all the while keeping their focus in the domestic domain. The
“Party” model builds on characteristics generally developed by being a housewife
(e.g., party planning, hosting a party, sociable relations with friends and neighbours)
and created an alternative choice for women who either needed or wanted to work.
(Tupperware, n.d.)

THE INDIAN DIRECT SELLING INDUSTRY

The Indian Direct Selling Industry has been growing at an impressive rate over the
years, especially the last five. The industry grew at 9% in 2006-07, 13% in 2007-
08, 17% in 2008-09, 24% in 2009-10 and at 27% in 2010-11 (Indian Direct Selling
Association, 2012). As per the Annual Survey Report of the Indian Direct Selling
Industry by PHD Research Bureau of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry for
the year 2010-11, the average sales revenue of the industry rose across the country,
except for the Southern region, where it went down to 44% in 2010-11 from 48%
in 2009-10. In total sales revenue, Northern region exhibited the highest growth
at 59%. Interestingly, the North-east and the Eastern markets have also grown at
an impressive, robust rate of 48% and 37%, respectively, whereas the Western and
Southern direct selling markets have grown at 21% and 16%, respectively, in total
sales revenue. During the last three years, the direct selling firms in India earned
profits of around 21%, on an average.
As aforesaid, “direct selling has helped thousands of housewives/families become
independent entrepreneurs”, which means the direct selling industry in India has
contributed significantly to employment generation. The total distributor base of the
Indian direct selling industry stood at 39,62,522 during 2010-11 showing a growth
of about 24% over the previous year.
These distributors helped sell a large variety of products, especially wellness
products (40%) while cosmetics and personal products were also sold very high
(32%). Among the other categories that the distributors could push successfully
were home improvement (10%), home care (8%), and household durables (8%).
Food and beverages, etc., were the least sold categories with 1% of the total sales
revenue of the industry.
As per an understanding of the direct selling market dynamics in India, the main
drivers of this rapid growth have been effective product demonstration, uniqueness

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of products, high quality of products, durability of products, and incentives to keep


buying and buying more.
Keeping in view the rapid penetration rate, distributor base, quality standards
of the companies, and the size of the untapped market, it is not difficult to say that
the prospects of the Indian direct selling industry are very bright. It was expected
to double upto Rs.1,08,436 million by 2014-15 from the present level of Rs.52,294
million in 2010-11. That is to say, the industry is expected to grow at an average of
more than 20% over the next four years. And, if the same momentum of growth can
be maintained in the long term, the Indian direct selling industry would be reaching
a figure of Rs.2,16,900 million by 2019-20.
If the direct selling industry is distributor-based, the engine of its phenomenal
growth ought to be the excellent performance of direct sellers. During an interaction
with Mrs. ROLI of Delhi, an active Oriflame distributor till recently, I discovered
the following model of direct selling in India:

• R for Reach: Reach out to prospects through family, relationships, friends


and acquaintances; develop Rapport; don’t Rush.
• O for Observe: Observe prospects; observe their life style.
• L for Learn: Learn about the prospects’ needs; understand their requirements;
appreciate their situation.
• I for Introduce: Introduce only the right product; suggest the best solution;
recommend the maximum value for money.

In Affiliate Marketing also, we need to keep in mind that prospect is the starting
point; not the product. Therefore, the product comes last: Reach (the prospect) –
Observe (the prospect) – Learn (about the prospect) – (and then) Introduce (the
product). So, Affiliate Marketing is all about R-O-L-I.

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL AFFILIATE MARKETING

Affiliate Marketing is a business; and, it has all the challenges of a business. It also
takes time and effort to build, and make money. Affiliate Marketers try to break
into bigger niches even if they don’t have any interest in that. They need to stay in
line and follow the goals of their business. They should understand the relevance
of working in a market where they are comfortable. Affiliate Marketers also tend
be swayed by the number of hits, whereas the best way to think about Affiliate
Marketing is quality over quantity – conversions. Therefore, it is essential that the
Affiliate Marketers are shown some flags, like Know your customers; Be honest and

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trustworthy; Be helpful; Be transparent; Think long-term; Be patient; Stay relevant;


and, Be content-wise. Given below are some long-term, strategic guidelines for a
successful Affiliate Marketing effort:

Customer: The King

Howsoever silly they may sound, customer is always right. Howsoever busy you
may be, customer comes first. Howsoever big the business may be, customer is king.
But, why? How come, today, every business is so much focused on ‘Customer’?
As per a report published by the American Society of Quality and Arthur
Andersen Consulting, Inc., in 1977, customers tell eight friends about a satisfying
experience and 20 friends for a negative experience; it is easier to influence existing
customers to buy 10% more than it is to increase the customer base by 10%; 80%
of successful new product and service ideas come from existing customers; and,
repeat customers cost 1/5 less than new customers, and can substantially increase
profits (Chaturvedi, 2009).
These facts make it very compelling on companies to concentrate their efforts
on improving customer satisfaction, and retaining them. Thus, all types of business
need to focus on successfully developing and effectively managing long-term
relationships with their customers.
This is the real import of Customer – the King – a complete business strategy;
a comprehensive approach to creating, maintaining and expanding customer
relationships. It is about making the customer the centre of the business and organizing
all processes around him. Thus, we can conclude that Customer – the King is all
about ‘customer strategies’- strategies that act as means for making each customer
more valuable to the company (Chaturvedi, 2013).
Historically, the best retailers have understood that relationships are built by
catering to the customer — by “giving them what they want.” Today, this age-old
imperative may be even more relevant, because multi- channel marketing providers
have the potential to satisfy the customer more completely and in different ways
than bricks-and-mortar businesses can. By adding an online channel that is well
integrated with other channels, retailers can provide not just greater convenience
and flexibility but better product selection and more competitive prices. Indeed, if
they don’t provide these things, they risk losing customers to competitors.
Similarly, Affiliate Marketers have an enormous opportunity to build strong and
mutually rewarding relationships with their customers. What other industry enjoys
such a strong reputation for trust and personalized service, which are becoming
increasingly important as new Affiliate Marketing products become more specialized,
sophisticated, and customized?

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Unfortunately, most Affiliate Marketers have failed to capitalize on the opportunity


to cement their ties to customers, although could have made a start by giving their
customers “anytime, anywhere” access to their accounts through just the telephone
and the Internet. Agents in even Tier-II cities offer additional convenience and
access, as do outlets in national retail chains.
Now the real work must be done. Affiliate Marketers must be proactive in helping
their customers reach their product goals. This means, nurturing the relationship
from the beginning of the cycle and helping customers build a portfolio of products
based on their evolving needs. If Affiliate Marketers fail to build closer and more
sophisticated relationships, the traditional channels will.
Globalization, increased competition, and product parity have created an extremely
challenging playing field. To survive, companies, today, need to find new ways to
distinguish their products from the competition. More and more, organizations are
looking to the service and ownership experience; they are discovering that customer
focus may be the answer. Affiliate Marketing treats customer contacts and initiatives
as a process over time rather than single, disconnected events. Examples of such
connects include welcome kits, discount offers, company newsletters, loyalty rewards
programs, and special events. Obviously, the more accurately the communications
can be tailored to the specific interests of the intended target segment, the better.
The goal is to target the customer with a relevant message at a relevant time.
Customer profiles tend to be a “snapshot” of a customer’s characteristics or behaviour
at a single point in time. But customers and their attitudes are always changing.
Affiliate Marketing – a relationship-based, proactive approach to marketing
structured around customer trigger points holds the key. The trigger points could
be the changing of the season; a birthday or anniversary; back to school; a change
in job; a defection to another brand; etc.
To conclude, the first and the foremost requirement for effective Client Relationship
in Affiliate Marketing is Customer Orientation – “Think” customer (Chaturvedi,
2013).

Importance of Learning and Education

Behavioral theories assume that learning takes place as the result of responses to
external stimuli and happenings. Psychologists, who subscribe to this viewpoint, do
not focus on internal thought processes. Instead, they approach the mind as a “black
box” and emphasize the observable aspects of behavior. The observable aspects
consist of the stimuli that go into the box, or events perceived from the outside
world, and the responses, or reactions to these stimuli, that come out of the box. In
other words, conditioning results in learning.

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Classical conditioning occurs when a stimulus that elicits a response is paired


with another stimulus that initially does not elicit a response on its own. Over time,
the second stimulus causes a similar response because we associate it with the first
stimulus. Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, who conducted research on digestion
in animals, first demonstrated this phenomenon in dogs.
He paired a neutral stimulus (a bell) with a stimulus (the meat powder) known to
cause a salivation response in dogs. The meat powder was an unconditioned stimulus
(UCS) because it was naturally capable of causing the response. Over time, the bell
became a conditioned stimulus (CS). The bell did not initially cause salivation but
the dogs learned to associate the bell with the meat powder and began to salivate
at the sound of the bell only. The drooling of these canines because of a sound was
a conditioned response (CR).
Conditioning effects are more likely to occur after the conditioned (CS) and the
unconditioned (UCS) stimuli have been paired a number of times. This process is
known as repetition. Stimuli similar to a CS may evoke similar responses. This is
known as stimulus generalization. Conditions may also weaken over time, especially
when a UCS does not follow a stimulus similar to a CS. This is called stimulus
discrimination.
Conditioning effects are more likely to occur after the conditioned stimulus (CS)
and the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) have been paired several times. Repeated
exposures to the association increase the strength of the associations and prevent
decay of these associations in memory. Many classic advertising campaigns consist
of product slogans repeated often to enhance recall. But for this to work, the UCS
must repeatedly be paired with the CS. Otherwise, extinction occurs. Extinction
means that the association is forgotten.
Even when associations are established, too much exposure can turn negative. In
that case, the association may change in terms of whether it is perceived as positive
or negative. That’s what happens to a political party when its logo becomes too
exposed during elections.
The process of stimulus generalization is critical to branding and packaging
decisions that try to capitalize on consumer’s positive associations with an
existing brand or company name. Marketers can base some strategies on stimulus
generalization. Family branding enables products to capitalize on the reputation of a
company name. Marketers can use product line extensions by adding related products
to an established brand. Licensing allows companies to rent well-known names.
Distinctive packaging designs create strong associations with a particular brand.
Companies that make generic or private-level brands and want to communicate a
quality image often exploit this linkage when they put their products in similar
packages to those of popular brands.

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Instrumental conditioning (or operant conditioning) occurs when we learn to


perform behaviors that produce positive outcomes and avoid those that yield negative
outcomes. Whereas responses in classical conditioning are involuntary and fairly
simple, we make those in instrumental conditioning deliberately to obtain a goal. We
may learn the desired behavior over a period of time as a shaping process rewards
our intermediate actions.
Instrumental conditioning occurs in one of three ways: 1) positive reinforcement,
2) negative reinforcement, and 3) punishment. Positive reinforcement comes in the
form of a reward. Negative reinforcement shows how a negative outcome can be
avoided. Punishment occurs when unpleasant events follow a response.
Extinction occurs when there is no reinforcement. In other words, the conditioning
is not activated because it is not reinforced.
Observational learning occurs when we watch the actions of others and note the
reinforcements they receive for their behaviors. In these situations, learning occurs
as a result of vicarious rather than direct experience. People store these observations
in memory as they accumulate knowledge and then they use this information at a
later point to guide their own behavior.
Taking the aforesaid discussion to the Affiliate Marketing context, it can be said
that a neutral stimulus (an affiliate) could be paired with a stimulus (the product)
that would cause a response in prospects. The product is an unconditioned stimulus
(UCS) because it is naturally capable of causing the response. Over time, the affiliate
becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS). The affiliate does not initially cause drive, but
the shoppers learn to associate the affiliate with the product and begin to consider
the product at the sight of the affiliate’s site itself.

The Entrepreneurial Zeal

While many European and Asian countries are struggling with double-digit
unemployment, and America’s recovery continues to limp along at best, we could
draw important lessons from the individuals around the world who are building
growth and creating opportunity every day, often overcoming extraordinary obstacles
- those who are starting up small businesses, creating jobs, and improving their lives
and the lives of their communities The Direct Selling Way.
Direct selling has helped thousands of housewives / families become independent
entrepreneurs, which means the direct selling industry in India has contributed
significantly to employment generation. The total distributor base of the Indian direct
selling industry stood at 39,62,522 during 2010-11 showing a growth of about 24%
over the previous year, which means, there are millions of direct sellers around the
globe who, every day, are driving economic growth. This kind of grassroots growth

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must be recognized, encouraged, replicated, and multiplied many fold if we are to


build a resilient and dynamic global economy.
The real economic growth is essential if we are to create opportunities for all
and healthier, safer, better educated communities. But, prosperity and the broader
benefits of growth are not always distributed equitably by the markets. The public
and private sectors must therefore offer support to help build growth that is both
sustainable and widely shared. (Huffington & Blankfein, 2013)
Research by Goldman Sachs, the World Bank, and others has shown how investing
in women can have a real impact on GDP growth -- specifically, how narrowing the
gender gap in employment could push income per capita as much as 14 per cent
higher than baseline projections by 2020, and as much as 20 per cent higher by 2030.
This same research also suggests that educating and empowering women positively
affects the health, education, and productivity of future generations. And, how do
we do that? By investing in and supporting women entrepreneurs.
In 2008, Goldman Sachs made a $100 million investment through its 10,000
Women program. This initiative provides women-owned small-to-medium businesses
in more than 20 countries with a business and management education, access to
mentors, and links to capital. This year, the program will reach its initial goal by
serving its 10,000th woman (Goldman Sachs, n.d.).
Based on the experience of 10,000 Women Program run by ISB Hyderabad,
there are three conclusions that could be reached:

• Demand for women entrepreneurial opportunity is nearly limitless. Pan


India, women entrepreneurs are keen for educational opportunities that can
fuel their growth. In 10,000 Women Program, the classes were frequently
oversubscribed. Harnessing the collective power of India’s women
entrepreneurial talent starts with expanding access to the practical training
and education.
• As women entrepreneurs build their businesses, many reach a point where
capital becomes essential for growth. However, many barriers stand in the
way of the efficient flow of existing capital to entrepreneurs, particularly in
emerging markets. These barriers disproportionately affect women. 10,000
Women Program entered India in partnership with Indian school of Business,
Hyderabad.
• Bringing together public, private, and social sector partners is the only way
to sufficiently scale the work of individual women entrepreneurs. 10,000
Women Program operates with a network of nearly 90 academic and non-
profit partners. But, collaboration must always evolve and improve. Moving
forward would require opportunity to form additional partnerships that will
multiply the impact of efforts to support women entrepreneurs more deeply.
(Huffington, 2013)
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SO, HOW ABOUT THE AFFILIATE


MARKETING ENTREPRENEURS?

First, the very nature of the business allows the individual affiliate to take complete
charge of not only their business, but also their lives. They join it because of a keen
desire, and sustain it because of a strong will. They are their own boss; and, they
can exit it whenever they want.
Second, the individual Affiliate Marketing entrepreneur looks for complete
support. Associations like IDSA are doing a great service by remaining in close
connect with almost each one of them, which gives it a fairly good idea of their
changing needs and requirements from time-to-time, especially when a distributor
is in the process of expanding its base.
Third, a very critical side of an Affiliate Marketing entrepreneur is the family
they support -not only their own, but also the relations, sometimes. There is a very
strong need to ensure that all individual efforts are a commercial success in the
Industry. Often, potentials are overlooked. By giving attention to those efforts that
are making a real difference, we increase their chance for success.
Fourth, the Association and individual companies do examine and tell the stories
of entrepreneurs who are effectively creating jobs and driving growth featuring them
in their magazines / newsletters and generating awareness and support through events.
By reading about, watching, listening to, and learning from successful entrepreneurs,
others can take lessons in building a global industry that not only grows, but also
provides much greater opportunities and prosperity to women and men alike. We
need to create more of such media and fora.
In fact, for these reasons, in my view, Affiliate Marketing Industry is not only
Empowering Entrepreneurs in its own unique way, but is also being truly ‘Inclusive’.

REFERENCES

Agrawal, H. (2016, November 16). What is Affiliate Marketing & FAQ. Retrieved
from https://www.shoutmeloud.com/what-is-affiliate-marketing.html
Chaturvedi, M. (2012). Direct Selling: A Global View. IDSA DIRECT, 2(13), 14–17.
Chaturvedi, M. (2012). The Need for Self-regulation in the Indian Direct Selling
Market. IDSA DIRECT, 2(12), 12–13.
Chaturvedi, M. (2012). Indian Direct Selling Industry: A Successful Growth Story.
IDSA DIRECT, 1(11), 18–19.
Chaturvedi, M. (2013). Festive Season. IDSA DIRECT, 4(17), 11–12.

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Chaturvedi, M. (2013). Importance of Learning and Education. IDSA DIRECT,


3(16), 23–24.
Chaturvedi, M. (2013). Empowering Entrepreneurs: The Direct Selling Way. IDSA
DIRECT, 2(15), 11–12.
Chaturvedi, M. (2013). Customer – The King. IDSA DIRECT, 2(14), 16–17.
10 . Commandants of Affiliate Marketing. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.google.
co.in/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=Xi7JWK7RF
Customer Relationship Management. (2013). Retrieved from https://books.google.
co.in/books?isbn=8174464565
How to Increase Trust and Sales With Email Marketing. (2016). Retrieved from
digitalbrisbane.com.au/Blog/How-to-increase-sales-with-email-marketing
Huffington, A., & Blankfein, L. C. (2013, January 24). Our Common Goal:
Empowering Entrepreneurs and Creating Jobs. Retrieved from http://www.
huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/our-common-goal-empowerin_b_2534842.
html
Indian Direct Selling Association. (2012, May 2). Direct Selling industry expected to
reach INR 108.4 billion by 2014‐15 IDSA – PHD Chamber Annual Survey Findings
2010‐11. Retrieved from http://www.idsa.co.in/images/pdf/press-release-IDSA-
survey-2010-11.pdf
Maheshkanna. (2015, May 14). Affiliate Marketing In India: What, Why and How.
Retrieved from https://maheshkanna.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/
Mathrani, A., & Amarasekara, B. R. (2015). Exploring Risk and Fraud Scenarios
in Affiliate Marketing Technologies from the Advertiser’s perspective. Australasian
Conference on Information Systems, Adelaide, Australia.
Nuyten, T. (2013). Amway - Top 10 Countries By Revenue Revealed. Retrieved from
https://www.businessforhome.org/2013/08/amway-top-10-countries-by-revenue-
revealed
Olenski, S. (2014, July 8). 4 Myths About Affiliate Marketing You Need To Know.
Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2014/07/08/4-myths-
about-affiliate-marketing-you-need-to-know/#7bfd9dcd744f
Sachs, G. (n.d.). 10,000 Women: About the Program. Retrieved from http://www.
goldmansachs.com/citizenship/10000women/#

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Thompson, M., & Khambaita, S. (2016). Social Networking Is the Greatest Con
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Wikipedia. (n.d.a). Tupperware. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
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Web_banner

KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

Affiliate ID: Similar to the affiliate link, but many affiliate programs offer a
unique ID which can be added to any page of the product site.
Affiliate Link: Special tracking link offered by your affiliate program to track
the progress of affiliate promotion.
Affiliate Manager / OPM: Many companies have dedicated affiliate managers
to help publishers to earn more by giving them optimization tips.
Affiliate Marketplace: There are many market places like Shareasale, CJ and
Clickbank, which work as central databases for affiliate programs in different niches.
Affiliate Software: Software used by companies to create an affiliate program
for their product, for example: iDevaffiliate.
Affiliates: Publishers who are using affiliate program links to promote and
make sales.
Commission Percentage / Amount: The amount or percentage will be received
in affiliate income from every sale.
Custom Affiliate Income / Account: Unlike a generic affiliate account, many
companies offer custom affiliate income to people making the most affiliate sales
for them.
Custom Coupons: Many programs allow affiliates to create custom coupons
which are also used to track sales. Custom discount coupons help increase affiliate
sales as well.

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Landing Pages: A unique product sales or demo page used for the purpose of
increasing sales. Most of the programs that affiliate promote have many landing
pages, and they can run A/B testing to see which pages convert best.
Link Clocking: Most of the affiliate tracking links are ugly. Using a link clocking
technique like URL shorteners, Thirsty Affiliates, etc., ugly links can be turned into
links that can be read and understood by readers.
Payment Mode: Different affiliate programs offer different methods of payment.
For example: check, wire transfer, Paypal and many more.
Two-Tier Affiliate Marketing: This is a great way of making money from
an affiliate program. With this method an associate recommends that others join
affiliate programs, and the associate receives a commission when a sub-affiliate
makes a sale, (similar to multi-level marketing.) This income is popularly known
as sub-affiliate commission.

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Chapter 6
Affiliate Marketing for
Entrepreneurs:
The Mechanics of Driving Traffic to
Enhance Business Performance

Shailja Dixit
Amity University, India

Hitesh Kesarwani
Amity University, India

ABSTRACT
Selling and marketing of both the products and services have undergone sea changes,
in the last decade or so, with greater focus on internet marketing Expanding coverage
of internet allows spreading of products without involving huge additional investments
in distribution system. The internet technology has existed for more than 40 years now,
yet it was the introduction of the World Wide Web (WWW) that caused its fast market
penetration (Chaffey, 2003). In only four years, the internet reached an audience of
50 million users in the USA. It took the television over 13 years and the telephone
over 75 years to reach this number (Angeli & Kundler, 2008). Considering that, the
internet can said to be the fastest spreading information media in today’s world. The
strength of the WWW was the power to provide easy access to information using
a network of web sites (Chaffey, 2003). Of course, many people realized the huge
possibilities of this media. Companies saw big marketing opportunities as internet
user numbers increased (Zeff, 1999). The chapter will try to seek the performance
and effectiveness of current techniques of internet marketing and at the same time
to identify the potential of new and emerging techniques for further strengthening
the internet marketing with special emphasis on Affiliate Marketing.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2656-8.ch006

Copyright © 2018, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Affiliate Marketing for Entrepreneurs

INTRODUCTION

Internet marketing utilizes the power of electronic commerce to sell and market
products. Electronic commerce refers to any market on the internet. Electronic
commerce supports selling, buying, trading of products or services over the internet.
Internet marketing forms a subset of electronic commerce. With the outburst of
internet growth, internet marketing has started becoming very popular. It is said that
Internet marketing first began in the beginning of 1990 with just text-based websites
which offered product information. With growth in internet, it is not just selling
products alone, but in addition to this, information about products, advertising space,
software programs, auctions,stock trading and matchmaking. A few companies have
revolutionized the way, internet can be used for marketing, such as Google.com,
Yahoo.com, Amazon.com, Alibaba.com and Youtube.com.
Internet marketing has brought forth so many strategies such as affiliate marketing
which consists of pay per click,pay per view, pay per call, pay per click advertising.
Affiliate marketing also includes banner advertisements. In addition to this e-mail
marketing, viral marketing, interactive advertising, blog or article based marketing
are also popular.
There are newer marketing techniques being invented all the time. It is important
to know how the trend would be. Companies are inventing new techniques to find
better ways to make revenue and establish their brand on the internet.
Internet marketing serves three business models. They are the B2B model, B2C
model and P2P model. The B2B model deals with complex business to business
transactions and internet advertising helps bring revenue to both. B2C model involves
direct interaction between the business and customer. P2P model involves distributed
computing which exploits individual exchange of goods and services. P2P model
was mostly useful for distribution of video and data. But due to copyright problems
P2P models have had troubles.

DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES IN INTERNET MARKETING

Different techniques are used in internet marketing. They are as follows affiliate
marketing, viral marketing, email marketing.

Affiliate Marketing

An affiliate marketing scheme is also known as associate marketing scheme. This


establishes a relationship in which a merchant pays the affiliate for links that are
generated from the affiliate site to the merchant site. A simple example for this

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would be a merchant wanting to sell his products through affiliate marketing. He


would offer a affiliate marketing program say X affiliate marketing program. They
would provide a link or a banner advertisement to an affiliate who becomes their
member. Once the affiliate is a member he can put up that link on his website. Once
somebody makes a sale through his website, the merchant can track which affiliate
was responsible for that sale and pay a suitable commission to them. This is the most
common affiliate marketing scheme available. This is typically called pay per sale
or pay per action. But some of the companies want results for survey or want leads
generated for them. They take the help from affiliates and pay them a commission
when ever an affiliate gets a survey form filled through his site or generates a lead.
This is typically called pay per lead.

Search Engine Marketing

There are several categories of search engine techniques included in this. They are
listed as follows.

• Search engine optimization attempts to improve rankings for relevant


keywords in search results by improvising on various attributes of a web site
be it structure or content.
• Pay per click advertising makes use of sponsored listings. The companies bids
for search terms, and the search engine ranks ads based on certain criteria.

Search Engine Optimization

This can be treated as a subset of search engine marketing. This is used to improve
the quality of the traffic which arrives at a website from search engines. When ever
users search for a particular key word and find a match, they see a few sites which
are visible on the first page of search engine result. SEO’s objective is precisely this.
They want their client websites to be listed higher in search engine results. This way
they give their clients i.e. companies a better chance to be noticed by consumers.
SEO’s can target various searches such as image searching, local searching or vertical
search engines. People involved in search engine optimization are called search
engine optimizers. They could be either company personnel trained in search engine
optimization or 3rd party agencies who take the responsibility from the company.
Typically SEO personnel have to understand how search engines actually rank
pages. This could involve attaining knowledge in search engine algorithms extensive
knowledge of search engines through the mechanism of patents. SEO personnel may
need to modify their client web pages by adding unique content. Since they have to
modify web pages associated with companies, some companies may be reluctant

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in divulging information as it could be private and there may be several security


risks related to this. Companies could hire SEO personnel to train their staff. The
companies then may do SEO work themselves. There are two categories of SEO
personnel white and black. White hat SEO personnel use techniques which search
engines find acceptable. Black hat SEO personnel use techniques which could case
link spams. Their goal is to improve page ranking no matter what it takes. This is
typically a black hat principle. The black hat can provide one version of a page to
search engine spider and another version to consumers and this is called cloaking.

Social Networking and Social Media Based Advertising

Many sites have been responsible for creating social networks where people post
their information and also connect to each other either for business networking or
dating. Some of the prominent web-sites are tribe.net, myspace.com, orkut.com,
linkedin.com. Initially they all started as sites which connect people. Some of
them have make revenues through marketing. Linkedin.com provides banner based
advertising which focuses on specific targets. Youtube.com can be treated as social
media based advertising trendsetter. (Fernando Angelo, 2007) in his publication
explains how social media marketing schemes are getting popular. He emphasizes
the fact that consumer based content has importance which can be exploited by
marketing personnel. Social media advertising in his perspective means intersection
of software marketing, media, information and entertainment.

Blog Based Marketing

A blog is a website that provides an individuals opinion on a particular subject.


Some of the blogs act as personal diaries. A typical blog consists of text, images,
and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. Some of
the blogs consist of photos, video, audio, podcasts.
Companies can advertise on blogs through banner ads or with the help of third
party blog advertising networks (such as Pheedo.com or Blogads.com). Either the
company or the 3rd party agency must ensure that these banners are regularly replaced
so as to always convey relevant content. The advertisements can be targed for a
specific group or sector based on requirement. An example for this is Payperpost.
com which provides an opportunity for advertisers to decide what feedback they
want from the bloggers. The bloggers on providing feedback get paid by Payperpost.
In addition to companies even advertisers also get benifitted.

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RSS Marketing

RSS basically refers to web feeds which is used for publishing latest information
used to publish frequently updated content which could be blog entires or podcasts
or news.An RSS document which is called a feed helps users always keep up with
latest information without they having to go and check again. All that the user has
to do is to subscribe feeds..RSS content would be the lastest summary of the site.
RSS content can be read using an RSS reader.RSS readers come integrated with the
browser.For example Firefox browser has an integrated RSS reader built with it. The
reader checks the user’s subscribed feeds regularly for new content, downloading
any updates that it finds.

RSS in Marketing: Some Instances

See Table 1.

E-Mail Marketing

This is a form of marketing which exploits the power of electronic mail. Emails
are sent primarily to improve the relationship with the old/new consumers or other
old/new customers. Emails could include advertisements/newsletters which are
meant to tempt new or older consumers to make purchases or inform them of new
products/services.

Table 1. Techniques Used and Their Benefits

Coupon Feeds Coupuns are povided with the help of RSS feeds.
Some provide customizable coupon feeds.
Affiliate Marketing Some of the companies prefer affilate marketing to
actually promote their rss feed instead of directly
dealing with consumers.
Press Release and Press Announcements Most multinational companies like Microsoft,IBM
use RSS to feed their press announcements,press
releases.
Product Feeds Latest updates in products,services are fed to
customers.For example Amazon.com provides such
schemes.
Podcasting Companies such as GM,Audi provide podcasts as
feeds to consumers.

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Viral Marketing

Viral marketing also termed as viral advertising consist of marketing techniques


that that use already existing social networks to increase brand image with help
computer virus like technqies. It is also called word of mouth marketing. This
technique encourages consumers to pass on marketing message in voluntery way.
Viral promotions could involve video clips, interactive flash, images, or even mobile
messaging such as SMS. It works on the belief that consumers who are impressed
would tell people what they like and also tell people what they would not like. This
basic behavior can be exploited to encourage viral marketing. (Dobele Angela et al
2007) in their publication explain how emotions could play a vital role in making viral
marketing a succes. Emotions such as joy, surprize, sadness, anger, fear and disgust
are considered for their research. Gender’s role role in viral marketing campaigns
are also given importance. They have drawn their conclusion based on 9 successful
and failed viral message campaigns. Their main conclusions suggest that companies
cannot rely on emotions alone in their viral marketing campags. Their campaigns
should be effective in capturing the imagination of the recipient in order to make
it successful. What authors consider important is how succesfully companies can
achieve message forwarding. I agree to their view that only targeted viral marketing
campaigns based on brand, product or service can succeed in convincing the audience.
I also agree to their view that viral marketing offers other advantages such as low
cost, reduced response time and increased potential for impact on the market.

HISTORY OF AFFILIATE MARKETING

The practice of internet-based affiliate marketing was established in the early nineties
when the business model of paying commission on sales for online referrals was first
implemented. This ‘paying on performance’ model was adapted into mainstream
ecommerce in 1994 with the Amazon Affiliate Program of 1996 serving as the first
widely recognised example of successful online affiliate marketing. The practice
of affiliate marketing and its emergent industry has since grown at a rapid rate.
This is in part due to the growing significance of the transactional website. More
commonly, in recent years, the performances of online stores have outshone that of
their bricks and mortar counterparts prompting retailers to invest accordingly into
their online marketing activities.
Its popularity extended into the travel, telecommunications and finance sectors
amongst other dominant industries and as a result, has shaped into a multi-billion-
pound industry itself.

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Affiliate marketing involves the exploration of internet channels (e.g. email and
SEO) in order to drive sales. The emergence of web version 2.0 in the Noughties and
the influx of the ‘the blogger’ and user generated content (UGC) further diversified
the way in which affiliates presented advertiser offerings to visitors in order to
drive traffic to advertiser sites and encourage conversions. New media continues to
broaden the methods in which affiliates present advertiser offerings. Future growth
is predicted within mobile advertising as more businesses optimize their website
functionality for mobile. The practice of affiliate marketing is increasingly referred
to as ‘Performance Marketing’ reflecting the nature of the payment model employed.

INTRODUCTION TO AN AFFILIATE NETWORK

The affiliate marketing industry encompasses advertisers, affiliates, affiliate networks


and media agencies; all of which attend regular council meetings organized by the
Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). These meetings encourage self-regulation,
standardization across the industry and best practice. Affiliate networks facilitate
advertiser/affiliate relationships; to initiate and optimize their affiliate programs.
They handle fundamentals such as payouts, tracking transactions and provide a
consultancy-based service to both parties, utilizing their network of advertisers and
affiliates to nurture mutually beneficial partnerships.

WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?

As well as being an effective channel for driving sales, affiliate marketing can help
to generate qualified leads for future marketing activities. Affiliates are only paid
when the visitor that they have redirected to the advertiser’s site makes a sale or
takes a predetermined action in accordance with the advertiser’s marketing objective.
This payment model means minimal risk is attributed to the advertiser and facilitates
maximum return on their investment.

BENEFITS OF AFFILIATE MARKETING

The popularity of affiliate marketing is thanks to the stream of benefits imparted


to both the advertiser and affiliates throughout the course of a successful affiliate
program. Setting up a program is simple and risk free and provides a big opportunity
to drive sales volumes and broaden audience reach. From the advertiser’s perspective,
a successful affiliate program means increased targeted traffic relevant to their

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sector, a dedicated marketing partner whose interest it is to effectively promote the


advertiser offering and maximization of ROI due to the pay on performance payment
model. With access to an affiliate network, an advertiser can adopt a multichannel
approach to evaluate which activities best optimize their program. Test activity on
new channels such as mobile is an attractive prospect to many advertisers as the
integration of online, offline and mobile marketing on a CPA metric becomes more
commonplace.

DO YOU KNOW YOUR CPA FROM YOUR CPL?

Whereas the traditional CPC (cost per click) and CPM (used for ad inventory branding)
are not concerned with the conversion rate of visitors driven to the merchant’s
website, affiliate marketing and its payment models are:

• CPA (Cost per Action): An affiliate is rewarded when the site visitor that is
redirected to the advertiser’s website by the affiliate, makes a purchase.
• CPL (Cost per Lead): An affiliate is rewarded when the site visitor they refer
enters enough information for them to qualify as a ‘lead’ i.e. if the visitor
enters their personal details into a hotel’s website to request a travel brochure.
The affiliate is then remunerated for each brochure request made.

BEST PRACTICE

Successful affiliate marketing requires a commitment from both parties. Affiliates


are not paid unless they perform and they are only able to perform when they are
provided with the right tools and incentives by the advertiser. For example, if the
affiliate is not confident that the advertiser’s offering will appeal to his/her site
visitors, they are less likely to assign the advert a prominent ad space on their site.
In a similar vein, if an affiliate anticipates that the commission rate offered by the
advertiser is not competitive enough, they may opt to display an alternative advertiser
for a better return. Thus, a dedicated approach is required to make a relationship of
mutual benefit. An advertiser must nurture their relationships with affiliates and
utilise their network of partners to test, evaluate and refine their affiliate activity in
order to optimise any program .

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CATEGORIES

Since 1996, affiliate marketing has developed dramatically. Now most digital
channels and even in store sales can be driven on a performance basis. Affiliates
are becoming increasingly savvy and using more channels to communicate their
offering. Increasingly new and emerging business models such as social and mobile
are joining the space and utilising a performance metric.

Voucher Sites (e.g. VoucherCodes.


co.uk and Discount Vouchers)

One of highest performing publisher models historically is voucher code sites


which promote discount codes and offers on behalf of the advertiser. The voucher
code market is highly competitive and to participate the advertiser should be open
to tactical discounting and be able to figure out margin considerations to inform
intelligent discounting. The emergence of voucher codes within the mobile space
has been helping to generate both online and offline sales.

Reward/Loyalty (e.g. Quidco and Asperity)

The reward/ loyalty scheme has been around for years within closed employee benefit
schemes. Cash back sites pass on their commission rate in the form of a cash reward
to the consumer. Loyalty sites such as Nectar operate point redeeming sites where
consumers earn redeemable points with each purchase.

Content (HouseCharm.net and Shopstyle)

The concept of content sites is that editorial is the main focus. Content sites can
implement SEO techniques to increase traffic. Content sites can be directly relevant
to the advertiser’s offering but it may be useful to understand their readership
demographics as thesemay also be relevant.

Paid Search (e.g. Found and Venturian)

Paid search publishers can either run an advertiser’s search activity or complement/
supplement the advertiser’s existing search activity, for example, by covering the
advertiser’s search footprint to ensure competitors are not occupying their search
result space. These affiliates work back to a CPA model.

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Email (e.g. Freemax and Intela)

Email affiliates manage or own their own large databases and are thus able to target
customers who could push incremental sales (see jargon buster) for the advertiser.
Emails can be fully in line with the advertiser’s own branding.

Social Media (e.g. Rocketer and Digital Animal)

Theses affiliates use various social platforms to generate leads and sales on the
advertiser’s behalf. Search affiliates use PPC Ads on Facebook to target the advertiser’s
desired audience by using the vast amount of user information available to them.
Other technology based affiliates encourage social engagement by rewarding social
referrals known as micro affiliation. Before engaging in social affiliate activity, it
is best to build awareness of your social landscape to determine the best channels
of engagement.

Price Comparison (e.g. Twenga and Money Supermarket)

Price comparison sites aggregate and compare all advertiser data based on price and
availability. Depending on the price sensitivity of the advertiser, it may be useful
for them to be aware of their competition’s pricing strategy to ensure a share of the
volume.

Freebie (e.g. Prizefinder and Competition List)

Freebie affiliates promote an advertiser’s complimentary offering to site visitors


usually as part of a lead generation or data acquisition activity. For example, a freebie
affiliate may require a site visitor to fill in their personal details before they can
acquire the complimentary product, thus generating qualified leads and marketable
data for the advertiser.

EMERGING AFFILIATE MODELS

Email Remarketing (e.g. VeInteractive)

Email remarketing is an emerging affiliate model which requires simple integration


and intelligently re-engages with consumers via email who have abandoned the
online transaction process. The emails use data from the consumers abandoned

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transaction to re-market the offerings, sometimes offering additional discount or


up-selling complementary products.

Display Retargeting (e.g. MyThings and AdJug)

Display Retargeting is an affiliate model which enables advertisers to re-engage with


a user around the web after they have left the advertiser’s site. Extensive inventory
space enables feed based dynamic banners to be used as the customer continues
their journey to show contents of their abandoned basket, for example, to encourage
a return to the advertiser’s site.

Mobile

This is an area of growth which is fast emerging in affiliate marketing. Mobile has
opened the door for affiliates to work with search, display and apps. Existing affiliates
such as Quidco and VoucherCodes.co.uk have developed their mobile offering by
introducing tools such as downloadable apps. Geo-targeting gives advertisers the
opportunity increase footfall into their offline stores and essentially combine their
offline and online marketing activity. Advertisers are encouraged to develop mobile
friendly sites in order to make the most of this channel.

THE NATURE OF AFFILIATE/ADVERTISER RELATIONSHIPS

Owing to their revenue sharing model, affiliate/ advertiser relationships foster


shared success. They should thus be relationships of collaboration. It is the level
of collaboration between both parties which will ultimately decide the level of
success of an affiliate program. Advertisers should thus exercise transparency about
other promotional activities they are running. In order to keep affiliates abreast of
merchant deals, promotions and general activities, advertisers could, for example,
circulate a newsletter sharing marketing calendars, conduct promotional activity
through a network or provide detailed information to content affiliates to facilitate
article write-ups. By sharing their marketing calendars, for example, affiliates can
then identify opportunities for collaboration i.e. if an advertiser is running a TV
campaign, an affiliate could identify this as a good time to promote the program as
this would be likely to boost sales further. Advertisers need to collaborate to a certain
extent with all of their different publishers by being tactical and offering different
deals for different affiliates to get the best of all worlds. More complex technical
solutions such as retargeting will need enhanced collaboration between advertiser,

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affiliate and network. A level of visibility should be maintained throughout the


relationship though collaboration doesn’t always have to be facilitated face to face.
With a host of publisher models available, in order to identify which of those will
generate the largest return for an advertiser, a ‘test, evaluate and refine’ approach is
advised. An advertiser should operate a level of flexibility in regards to their program
and demonstrate a willingness to respond to an opportunity. An affiliate program
should evolve throughout its lifetime, corresponding with the performance of its
current affiliate activity. Advanced data analytics within affiliate marketing help
to determine the performance levels and return on investment of affiliate activity
and identify which affiliates are generating the most income with what product
offerings at a point in time.

HINTS AND TIPS TO LOOK FOR A GOOD AFFILIATE PARTNER

Advertisers should ask themselves ‘Who are the affiliates that best suit my brand
and what promotions do I want to do with them?’ A long-term affiliate plan should
also be devised in conjunction with partner selection.

Select Partners Befitting of Your Brand

It is wise for advertisers to partner with affiliates that share their own brand values.
In order to make this connection, advertisers should be transparent about their
objectives and facilitate open communication with affiliates so that they can do the
same. Networks have a multitude of experience and can recommend the best suited
partners for an advertiser’s program. Owing to their revenue sharing model, affiliate/
advertiser relationships foster shared success. They should thus be relationships
of collaboration. It is the level of collaboration between both parties which will
ultimately decide the level of success of an affiliate program. Advertisers should
thus exercise transparency about other promotional activities they are running. In
order to keep affiliates abreast of merchant deals, promotions and general activities,
advertisers could, for example, circulate a newsletter sharing marketing calendars,
conduct promotional activity through a network or provide detailed information to
content affiliates to facilitate article write-ups. By sharing their marketing calendars,
for example, affiliates can then identify opportunities for collaboration i.e. if an
advertiser is running a TV campaign, an affiliate could identify this as a good time
to promote the program as this would be likely to boost sales further. Advertisers
need to collaborate to a certain extent with all of their different publishers by being

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tactical and offering different deals for different affiliates to get the best of all
worlds. More complex technical solutions such as retargeting will need enhanced
collaboration between advertiser, affiliate and network. A level of visibility should
be maintained throughout the relationship though collaboration doesn’t always have
to be facilitated face to face.
With a host of publisher models available, in order to identify which of those will
generate the largest return for an advertiser, a ‘test, evaluate and refine’ approach is
advised. An advertiser should operate a level of flexibility in regards to their program
and demonstrate a willingness to respond to an opportunity. An affiliate program
should evolve throughout its lifetime, corresponding with the performance of its
current affiliate activity. Advanced data analytics within affiliate marketing help
to determine the performance levels and return on investment of affiliate activity
and identify which affiliates are generating the most income with what product
offerings at a point in time.

HINTS AND TIPS TO LOOK FOR A GOOD AFFILIATE PARTNER

Advertisers should ask themselves ‘Who are the affiliates that best suit my brand and
what promotions do I want to do with them?’ A long term affiliate plan should also
be devised in conjunction with partner selection. Select partners befitting of your
brand. It is wise for advertisers to partner with affiliates that share their own brand
values. In order to make this connection, advertisers should be transparent about
their objectives and facilitate open communication with affiliates so that they can
do the same. Networks have a multitude of experience and can recommend the best
suited partners for an advertiser’s program. Consider your overall marketing plan.
An advertiser should ask themselves “Do we want pure sales/ a certain type of
sales/ leads/brand engagement” They should consider how this affiliate activity plays
a part in their overall marketing mix. Advertisers should make sure any limitations
within the program are defined in their Terms and Conditions, then organise their
affiliate activity and reward accordingly. Know your audience. Conduct the relevant
market research at the beginning of your program and match affiliates accordingly
(niches, complimentary products, specific demographic). As the program progresses,
observe your audience reach and behaviours by engaging in trailling e.g Email testing
and experimenting with messages and different creative. Basket analysis within
affiliate marketing can help an advertiser get to know their online audience and
their behaviours and which affiliates are more successful at selling certain products.

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WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM AFFILIATES

A successful affiliate program will generate increased revenues, increased number


of sales and increased traffic. Affiliate activity can also generate leads for future
marketing activity and facilitate brand exposure. The success of a program does not
solely rest on the shoulders of affiliates, however. In addition to affiliate contribution,
there are also requirements from the advertiser in order to achieve growth. A
responsive market that is neither too broad nor too narrow should be clearly defined
by an advertiser before partnering with affiliates. The better a advertiser knows their
market- the demographic, online behaviours and what spaces their market occupies
online, the better they can target the right affiliates. Without this understanding,
affiliate earning potential could be limited from the start if the wrong partnerships
are formed. Encouraging industry best practise from your affiliate partners is advised.
It is also preferable for an affiliate to have their own quality control measures in
place to maintain a secure and fully operable site.
Transparency and open communication helps to develop stronger relationships
with affiliates. Dependant on an advertiser’s level of investment (time and resource)
with an affiliate, they can expect varying levels of engagement. If an advertiser has
a high level of engagement with an affiliate, they may be willing to experiment with
the placement of merchant ads and banners for example, in order to examine which
placements generate the best return. High levels of engagement with affiliates may
also result in some affiliates developing site features which are complementary to
advertiser offerings.

MANAGING YOUR AFFILIATE PROGRAM: HINTS AND TIPS

Starting Off on the Right Foot

Pay Affiliates on Time

An advertiser should be operating an efficient payment model where all affiliates


are paid on time. Orders should be approved in a timely manner and reasons should
be given to affiliates for every cancellation of a sale whether it is due to a returned
item, duplicated order or breach of campaign terms and conditions. There is a need
to explain why commissions are reversed or reduced in each scenario. Affiliates
should be notified of the validation period for sales and validation criteria on a
program before joining. A short validation period is more attractive for affiliates
because making affiliates aware of their return will encourage affiliates to reinvest
time and necessary spend on developing that partnership.

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Optimize Your Site

The advertiser’s landing pages (see Jargon Buster) should be optimized in order
to maximize conversions. This involves maintaining working links to up-to-
date information and functioning pages. Activities such as removing any phone
numbers from web pages will prevent any leakage from the channel and allay any
affiliate concerns. Deep links could be added to improve the user journey. Ensuring
optimization of their website will protect an advertiser’s brand and reputation as
an affiliate partner. With the increasingly relevance of mobile, advertisers should
optimize their site for handheld and tablet devices and ensure the correct tracking
is in place.

Give Reasons for Rejection

Affiliates arguably have the most to lose within affiliate/advertiser relationships with
many of them being smaller enterprises and sole traders who rely heavily on their
affiliate commissions. An advertiser should notify their affiliates of when they will
be removing them from the program and give them reasons as to why to demonstrate
a level of respect that would be expected of any business relationship. Affiliates are
not disposable partners and it is important to remember that the start-up affiliate of
today could be the top performing affiliate of tomorrow.

Incentivize Your Affiliates

Merchants should consider what is attractive to incentivize both their affiliate


partners and their site visitors. Generally, the higher the CPA, the more affiliates
your program is likely to attract. However, it is worthwhile for an advertiser to be
dynamic in their approach to commissions by avoiding setting one blanket rate.
Commission rates can also be strategically raised around seasonal peaks or to attract
new affiliates to encourage boosts in promotion of the program. Networks can also
assist with setting competitive commission rates through benchmarking against
other similar programs. Non-monetary incentives such as offering exclusive deals
or free products and services to top performing publishers are also an intelligent
way of incentivizing an affiliate base. Relationships with affiliates help to inform
which approach would appeal most to partners.

Be Transparent

Key business objectives should be communicated by the merchant at the beginning


of the relationship. Regular contact via email, face to face or over the phone should

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be facilitated throughout the course of the program. Advertisers should aim to keep
their affiliate base up to date with new opportunities, commissions and promotions to
maintain their engagement. Affiliate terms and conditions should be clearly outlined
for all publisher types at the outset. If an advertiser is updating anything on their
affiliate program, they should notify affiliates. Though affiliates are generally flexible
by nature, a reasonable period of notice should be given as warning of any changes
that may affect the terms and conditions of the affiliate partnership. Affiliates can
then ensure that they are compliant by the time the proposed changes take effect.
Implement security. A merchant should either screen affiliates or elect a network
to do this on their behalf before they are accepted onto a program to ensure IAB
guidelines are being adhered to.

Update Creative Regularly

An advertiser should regularly update their creative and product information to keep
company information displayed by affiliates, up-to date and accurate. Product feeds
should also be regularly updated when working with content sites.

Optimizing Your Program Using Data

A merchant should be looking out for what is selling, where they are buying from
(through behavioural and demographic analysis) and what device they are using as
mobile in ecommerce becomes more prominent. Thanks to the internet, brands have
never known more about the people’s purchasing habits. Affiliate marketing can
inform a picture of activities and channels that motivates a consumer to put their
hand in their wallets. Product Level Tracking is a tool which identifies the popularity
of product lines and gives an indication of not only top performing affiliates but top
performing products and product ranges. An advertiser can intelligently use data
from tools such as Product Level Tracking to inform future promotional activity
on a deeper level. For example, an advertiser may decide to raise the commission
levels when running a sale on a particularly well performing product range to further
drive sales volumes. Effective measurement isn’t just about reporting on how well
you did, but also on how successfully you apply what you learned.

THE ROLE OF A NETWORK

An affiliate network fulfils all the fundamental affiliate activities outlined in ‘Hints
and Tips’ and ultimately, networks have developed trusting relationships with a well-
established publisher base over the years. Using a network enables all an advertiser’s

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affiliate relationships to be dealt with from one point where communication,


reporting and payment is centralized. Affiliate networks operate a stable tracking
platform that offers scale and reliability. The economies of scale achieved by a
network mean than even lesser known brands have the opportunity of increased
exposure with top performing affiliates. Depending on the needs of the advertiser,
a network can provide differing levels of service from a self-managed solution to a
bespoke consultancy offering. On a fundamental level, a network manages technical
implementation, the tracking of cookies to determine payouts, validation of sales
and the payment of affiliates. Depending on service level, networks perform varying
levels of analysis and reporting for an advertiser utilizing tools such as Product Level
Tracking to inform strategy. From their years of data collation, networks have the
ability to benchmark and forecast industry trends encompassing not only an expert
understanding of affiliate marketing, but a broader knowledge of digital marketing
on the whole. Networks are thus the first to identify new opportunity in the industry
and are often approached by new affiliate business models first hand.
All advertisers on a network have access to their platform technology through
which programs and campaigns can be managed and monitored. There are essentially
two service levels available from an affiliate network. The first level is self-managed
where an advertiser utilizes the network’s technology, affiliate network and billing
system without any level of consultancy. The second level is account managed
where an advertiser receives full bespoke consultancy from the network. The level of
experience networks have mean that they are also knowledgeable of the performance
of competitor programs and can thus advise an advertiser accordingly on all practical
and strategic levels of a program.

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing to an Entrepreneure

Affiliate marketing is a best approach to get started with online entrepreneurship


because it is at low risk and doesn’t acquire any huge investment of money. The
following tips are the possible ways for entrepreneur to start affiliate marketing
business.

1. Low startup costs


2. Earn an income in a simple manner
3. Make millions from affiliate marketing
4. Easy to scale affiliate marketing business

An online business revenue focus mainly on the traffic sources for many Internet
business like affiliate marketing that makes more mechanical ways to work on it.

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Affiliate Marketing for Entrepreneurs

Relationships are acquired, when the component gives out the winning offer to
affiliates solutions it is a huge unexpected gain.
Affiliates gain traffic that has a huge conversation rate for the promotion of sale
for the business. The major traffic for affiliate to start business from Google Adwords
is Cost per click and it is recommended as the quickest & easiest. Entrepreneurs
can get it correct and make thousand of users instantly at the cost they lower than
get income.

FOR AFFILIATE MARKETERS (ENTREPRENEUR)

• It does not require the affiliate to invest in the products he or she is promoting
– it is a fact that products being sold online are created with the money
invested in them but as an affiliate, you don’t have to invest your own money
in it. You just have to promote and refer potential buyers.
• You can start right away – all you need to do is find a good affiliate program
of a certain product and add the links to your blog or website. You are not
required to invest money; you are here to promote a product that is already
made.
• There are plenty of products to choose from – if you browse the internet,
you will find that there are so many products out there that you can promote.
This gives you a wide selection of the products you can promote that will fit
your followers’ needs. So this means that you can definitely choose high end
products that could give high payouts as well.
• A possibility of earning high is at hand – yes, you may be paid according
to percentage with every sale. Imagine you are promoting an average of 5
products in your site, think how much money you can generate if they all
make sales every day? Not bad huh? Besides, there is no limit to the products
that you promote so you can potentially earn a lot.
• There’s no need for customer service – your job is to link potential buyers to
the sales page of a product and so customer care is not your primary focus.
Once the sale is made, your job is done.
• You can promote products that are similar to yours – affiliate marketing is not
limited to entrepreneurs alone, if you are an affiliate who also sells your own
products then you can always team up with another product that is similar
to yours. The good thing is that these products are not competing with each
other but rather targeting the same audience. It’s like hitting two birds with
one stone.

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• A good way to know the audience’s demands – let’s say you want to create
a product but it may not be something that people want to buy all the time.
Affiliate marketers can help you test the grounds for that. So rather than
investing money into a product right away, you can test the waters first and
see how your audience will react to it. This is also a good time to test if you
push through the product or not.

REFERENCES

Alistair, D., & Jonathan, C. (2006). Managing webmavens: Relationships with


sophisticated customers via the internet can transform marketing and speed innovation.
Strategy and Leadership, 34(3), 14-22.
Chen, C. Y., & Lindsay, G. (2000). Will Amazon(.com) Save the Amazon?. Fortune,
141(6), 224-225.
Cheung Christy, M. K., & Lee Matthew, K. O. (2006). Understanding consumer
trust in Internet shopping: A multidisciplinary approach. Journal of the American
Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(4), 479–492.
Chiu, Lin, & Tang. (2005). Gender differs: Assessing a model of online purchase
intentions in e-tail service. Academic Press.
Chung, W., & Paynter, J. (2002a). Privacy issues on the internet. Proceedings of
the 35th Annual Hawaii International Conference, 2501-2509.
Chung, W., & Paynter, J. (2002b). An evaluation of internet banking in New Zealand.
Proceedings of the 35th Annual Hawaii International Conference, 2402-2411.
doi:10.1109/HICSS.2002.994178
Garretson. (2006). ISPs turning guns on newer breed of spam. Network World, 23(5).
George Joey, F. (2002). Influences on the intent to make Internet purchases. Internet
Research, 12(2), 165-180.
Grandein. (2006, October 5). Small brands big on Internet advertising. Retrieved
from http://inhome.rediff.com/money/2006/oct/05net.htm
Gyongyi, Z., & Garcia-Molina, H. (2005). Link spam alliances. Proceedings of the
31st VLDB Conference.
Naím. (2007). The YouTube Effect. Foreign Policy, 158, 104.

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Ron, D., & Tasra, D. (2007). Building your business with Video Blogging. EventDV,
20(4), 22-24, 26-27.
Urban. (2006). Giving Voice To The Customer. Optimize, 5(1), 24-29.
Dobele, Lindgreen, Beverland, Vanhamme, & van Wijk. (2007). Why pass on viral
messages? Because they connect emotionally. Business Horizons, 50(4), 291.
Wang, T., Xu, Z., & Gao, G. (2005). The model of internet marketing program
considering 21s. Proceedings of ICSSSM ‘05, 1, 451-456.
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Internet marketing. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Internet_marketing

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101

Chapter 7
Driving Traffic and
Customer Activity Through
Affiliate Marketing:
Understanding and Addressing
the Differences Between Affiliate
Marketing in the USA

Sarah Newton
University of Kent, UK

Marianne Ojo
George Mason University, USA

ABSTRACT
This chapter aims to contribute to the extant literature on Affiliate Marketing through
promoting a better understanding of how differences in cultures and environments
can be mitigated – as well as facilitating the awareness of how best practices within
Europe and the United States could be achieved. Should influential and wealthy
corporations be compelled to pay back taxes after having entered into agreements and
investment with a foreign corporation? Whilst many applauded the recent European
Commission’s ruling with Apple, in the sense that sovereignty (from the European
perspective) had prevailed in the ruling, many would also claim that interference
with a national sovereignty – and a jurisdiction’s already existing agreement with an
investing partner also amounts to an infringement of national sovereignty. Clearly,
greater clarity is required in reconciling jurisdictional differences – given lack of
clarity - as demonstrated in the recent Commission ruling, which also serves as
a deterrent for potential investors who are uncertain or have fear of the investing
climate.
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2656-8.ch007

Copyright © 2018, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Driving Traffic and Customer Activity Through Affiliate Marketing

INTRODUCTION

The Need for Academic Affiliates

The importance of involving academic affiliates in the ever-evolving models of


affiliate marketing is not only necessitated by their potential to drive and facilitate
higher levels of customer activity, but also through the need for greater innovative
models which are able to respond effectively and correspondingly in today’s
rapidly expanding environment of technological advances. The potential which
can be harnessed through academic affiliates is to a larger extent, influenced by
the following factors:

• Their relevance, timeliness and applicability to customer needs


• Their potential to serve as diverse channels of distribution within – as well as
fora for promotion of targeted and affiliate products
• Their ability to generate greater innovation possibilities – possibilities that
product could be “innovated” further for end user/tailor made to better suit
customers
• Their potential to attract a greater range of audience
• Interconnected linkages (not necessarily within the same area) promoted
through their involvement – as well as partnering possibilities
• Ease with which users can relate to products use through educational
platforms and channels

The driving force behind the product’s success may not necessarily be connected
directly to its content – but related indirectly to its brand, packaging and reputational
factors associated with the advertisers or producers.
Is the target product the same recycled content derived from other sources – in
terms of approach and appeal to customer?
Does it provide the solution or merely provides a glossy/attractive exterior in
comparison to its interior?
Is it a classic/ blue print that will remain relevant for years to come?
What impact is its significance to society – fiction or fact? It also needs to also
be highlighted that society sometimes find fiction more appealing to facts.
Matters of current/relevant global importance and concern – academic affiliates
also provide greater avenues for promoting awareness of such – particularly to
uneducated and uninformed parties.
This chapter also aims to highlight why even though compliance requirements
and greater clarity is required in reconciling jurisdictional differences, many would
also argue that lack of clarity and the recent Commission ruling to impose back

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Driving Traffic and Customer Activity Through Affiliate Marketing

taxes on Apple, also serves as a deterrent for potential investors who are uncertain
or have fear of the investing climate.

BACKGROUND AND LITERATURE REVIEW

Driving Traffic and Customer Activity Through Affiliate


Marketing: Understanding and Addressing the Differences
Between Affiliate Marketing in the USA and Europe

As well as highlighting why there is greater need for an exploration and adoption of
affiliate marketing through academic affiliates, this section is aimed at highlighting
how certain challenges of expansion into the US affiliate markets could be addressed.
Some identified challenges, according to Smart Insights (n.d.), include the
following:

• Network differences
• A lack of large, integrated agencies
• Difficulty establishing brand awareness
• Compliance requirements and a lack of standards
• Variances in affiliate landscapes

Furthermore, it is added, that in order to successfully facilitate the expansion


process, the following helpful guidelines should be considered:

• Employing a professional independent agency to manage the program.


• Being prepared to expand your launch budget..
• Studying the competition.
• Spending time to study the differences between current and future affiliate
partners.

More comprehensively, differences between Europe and the USA are as follows
(Gregoroadis, 2009):

• US affiliates are more likely to be full-timers – in comparison to a third of UK


affiliates who work full-time on affiliate marketing.
• Women are better represented in the US – in comparison to their UK
counterparts

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• Health, Sport and Fitness leads the way in the US – and by comparison, only
a fifth of UK affiliates promoting this sector (the biggest vertical in the UK
being Travel & Flights, promoted by 33% of affiliates).
• Paid search or pay-per-click advertising is the most significant affiliate
‘method’ for US publishers, while True Content (SEO) ranks highest in the
UK
• Affiliate Window is the most significant UK network, while Commission
Junction is the biggest in the US – with reports indicating that half of all
US affiliates surveyed (50%) highlighted Commission Junction as one of
their top-three networks - the next most significant networks being Linkshare
(32%), ShareASale (21%) and Google Affiliate Network (also 21%).
• More affiliates are promoting B2B merchants in the US
• Google perceived as more of a threat in the UK
• More direct partnerships in the US
• In the US, there is more explicit talk of performance marketing.
• US industry fears Amazon Tax

Despite these differences, similarities also persist. The chapter aims to contribute
to the literature on Affiliate Marketing through promoting a better understanding
of how differences in cultures and environments can be mitigated as a means of
enhancing customer satisfaction – as well as facilitating the awareness of how best
practices within Europe and the United States could be achieved.

TYPES OF AFFILIATE MARKETING

Three Types of Affiliate Market Are Identified


by Smart Passive Income (n.d.)

Unattached Affiliate Marketing

• Basic pay-per-click affiliate marketing campaigns where no presence or


authority is involved in the niche of the product being promoted. There’s no
connection between you and the end consumer.

Related Affiliate Marketing

• Some sort of presence online, whether through a blog, podcast, videos, is


involved - with affiliate links to products related to your niche, but they’re for
products you don’t actually use.

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Involved Affiliate Marketing

• Where the product or service, has been used by yourself, proven and tested,
and you truly believe in it and personally recommend it to your audience.

MODELS OF AFFILIATE MARKETING

According to Affilinet Inside (n.d),


Emerging Affiliate Models Include

• Email Remarketing (e.g. VeInteractive) which requires simple integration


and intelligently re-engages with consumers via email who have abandoned
the online transaction process. The emails use data from the consumers
abandoned transaction to re-market the offerings, sometimes offering
additional discount or up-selling complementary products.
• Display Retargeting (e.g. MyThings and AdJug): an affiliate model which
enables advertisers to re-engage with a user around the web after they have
left the advertiser’s site. Extensive inventory space enables feed based
dynamic banners to be used as the customer continues their journey to show
contents of their abandoned basket, for example, to encourage a return to the
advertiser’s site.
• Mobile: an area of growth which is fast emerging in affiliate marketing.
Mobile has opened the door for affiliates to work with search, display and
apps.

MAIN FOCUS OF THE CHAPTER

Issues, Controversies, Problems

Identifying Matters and Issues Which Appeal and Which Are Also of
Concern to a Broader Range of Customers and Users of Products

Academic affiliates as channels on their own, would not serve as adequate or sufficient
diagnoses to solutions – in addressing ongoing challenges related to market affiliates.
There is need for successful partnerships, coordination and communication between
academic affiliates and other related affiliates which would partner in such a way
that does not only appeal to a broader range of potential customers – but which also

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Driving Traffic and Customer Activity Through Affiliate Marketing

give consideration to causes that assume significant roles or contribute immensely


to the advancement of societal goals and the well-being of the society.
In identifying those issues which matter or appeal in a society, and which may
attract potential customers, there is need for recognition of societal differences – as
well as effective communication which current and potential customers.
In selecting successful partnerships which appeal to a broader range of customers,
having considered those differences that have been highlighted under the literature
review section, societal and cultural differences would hence imply, that luxury
pet care homes – and particularly dog homes, would be most popular in the United
States than in Europe - and even more popular than in emerging economies.
Hence, it is vital to identify and facilitate partnering opportunities with institutions
where affluent customers devote a substantial proportion of their income – namely,
such luxury pet care homes, dental/holiday resorts for humans (and animals/pets)
whereby substantial discounts or promotional vouchers could be introduced, as part
of ties and collaborations with partnership affiliates.
It is also important to ensure that whilst affluent customers are targeted, less
privileged – rather particularly, the less privileged are afforded the means to discounts
and vouchers which relate to products that are more affiliated with basic needs.
Hence, other incentives aimed at encouraging or attracting less privileged customers
– such as promotional discounts and vouchers for pharmaceuticals, educational,
supermarket and grocery needs, should be targeted at such customer base. Whilst
luxury breaks are not as appealing to a certain group of customers (or considered
to be regular practice or need), they may also be considered to a less extent by such
groups and hence promotional discounts or advertising in relation to certain groups
should not be excluded in their entirety even where it appears that such incentives
are less likely to be taken up. From such a perspective, it would be worth conducting
sufficient research aimed at identifying those customers to whom greater discounts
and vouchers should be offered.
Ultimately, the level of discounts or savings will, to a large extent be influenced
by the degree of affinity between the partnering affiliates – which should be
positively influenced through effective communication and coordination between
such partnerships.

Partnership With Projects

Selecting partnership with projects and corporations should also involve a


consideration of, and respect for societal and jurisdictional differences.
Affiliates should be engaged in partnerships with organizations with whom
they can effectively link their products whilst promoting worthy community or
environmental projects. Certain considerations involve:

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1. What the partnering affiliate offers: Corporations may agree to fund a percentage
or proportion of community project on the condition that members of the
community purchase a specified or quantity of the products at a special or
discounted price. Hence whilst the community benefits from the funding of a
local project – as well as lower price paid for products linked with such funding,
the corporation also benefits from positive publicity as well as promotional of
its image and/or products.
2. What academic affiliates offer: Academic affiliates are also likely to have
better links with educational bodies, local authorities and libraries. Products
and/or educational material affiliated with such authorities and institutions
could be purchased at contracted quantities for a stipulated period of time, and
at discounted prices whilst receiving funding from partnering affiliate who
agrees to fund a community, environmental or charitable project.
3. Where an affiliate, such as a publishing company is involved, representatives
of educational institutions – such as academics whose products are being
promoted, could give presentations which do not only serve to promote
their products, but also the image of the publishing company – as well as
the image of the corporation which is funding the charitable, community
or environmental project. Universities or educational bodies hence serve as
means and fora whereby academics and authors of a products can be engaged
in recommending certain products, promoting worthy causes – as well as the
image of corporations – whilst also recommending other possible channels
and clients for distribution of products.

Partnerships With Reputable and Influential


Technological Corporations

Given the mobile era of affiliate marketing, the involvement of mobile marketing
through apps and other mobile devices – as well as the involvement of technological
corporations, such as Apple, should not be underestimated. This form of marketing
is very relevant to educational products – even those that may not be related to
the target product. In demand products such as Pokemon – as well as Apple Apps
(music, sports etc) may be linked to the target product as a more attracting means of
facilitating the appeal of teb target product – or even serving as a channel whereby
the target product could disseminate knowledge in much easily understood fashion.
For example, many educational products can easily be downloaded through apps
or designed in such a manner – as conveyed by such apps- to facilitate better
understanding of the educational product on offer.

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Addressing the Academic-Practical Gap in Affiliate Marketing:


Partnerships With Professional and Practical Based Platforms

An increasingly important element in marketing to business professionals, for example,


is the importance of conferring a practical element and perspective to academic
based topics, platforms and results. It is also increasingly apparent that academia is
experiencing a huge deficit in providing necessary practical skills and professional
experience which is necessary to thrive in the practical and professional world.
In order to address this gap between theory and practice successful collaborations
are therefore highly recommended in respect of academic affiliations and professional
collaborations. In promoting affiliate marketing, as well as highlighting the benefits
of products of such collaborations, principally and namely, the ability to relate to
theory and practice, complementary products which are applicable and relevant to
both academic affiliates and professionals alike could serve as further extensions
of such collaborations.
For example, in the increasingly important field of Data and Analytics (D&A),
the importance of opportunities and products derived from processed and analyzed
data, through such web engines and Google, a channel has proven to phenomenal in
the field of processed data (information) is continually highlighting its benefits and
potentials in mitigating risks, identifying mismatches and discrepancies in journal
entries – as a means of addressing such deficiencies, in the fields of Accounting
and particularly Auditing.
Firms such as KPMG are reaching out to academia to provide necessary and
lacking professional expertise, and such collaborations are of immense importance
to academic platforms – given the need to address the gap in theory and practical
based applications.

SOLUTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

As already highlighted in the preceding section, high income earners or those more
likely to patronize a product, should not constitute the focal target groups. Vouchers
and promotional discounts hence, serve as a means whereby the less privileged,
can gain greater access – through close, effective coordination and collaboration
between affiliate partners. Greater discounts should be offered to such groups whilst
ensuring that such promotional offers are effectively targeted. It is frequently the case,
that those with more connections or affluence have greater access to promotional
discounts. Environmental and other social worthy causes are equally as valued by
low income earners as is the case with other income groups.

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Further, in order to address this gap between theory and practice successful
collaborations are therefore highly recommended in respect of academic affiliations
and professional collaborations. In promoting affiliate marketing, as well as
highlighting the benefits of products of such collaborations, principally and namely,
the ability to relate to theory and practice, complementary products which are
applicable and relevant to both academic affiliates and professionals alike could
serve as further extensions of such collaborations.

FUTURE RESEARCH DIRECTIONS

Facilitating a better understanding of affiliate marketing – as well as effectively


harnessing the merits of the “Mobile Age” necessitates adopting and evolving with
technological advances – and an understanding of the impact of global economic
changes. Whilst travel and holiday vouchers may prove more attractive in jurisdictions
such as the United Kingdom, lessons learned following the Brexit vote in June 2016
highlight how events such as exchange rate fluctuations and inflationary effects can
influence and can impact travel plans and patterns on the short term.
Given such uncertainties, greater integration possibilities and potential affiliating
partnerships between travel agencies – as well as other agencies most susceptible to
economic and inflationary variables, could and should be explored. Greater efforts
should also be aimed at reconciling jurisdictional differences, namely corporation tax
- which may deter corporations from venturing into partnerships with other affiliates
in other jurisdictions. As highlighted under the literature review section, network
differences, compliance requirements and a lack of standards – as well as variances
in affiliate landscapes, to name but a few, comprise some of the challenges currently
being encountered in affiliate marketing. The recent decision by the European to
impose €13bn in back taxes also highlights potential uncertainties which could arise
in an investing climate where conflicting jurisdictional differences exist in respect
of tax arrangements.
The increasingly important field of Data and Analytics (D&A), the importance of
opportunities and products derived from processed and analyzed data, through such
web engines and Google, continually provides an innovative trend and phenomenon in
the field of data processing – particularly given the opportunities to analyze millions
of information within a short space of time and for numerous benefits – and at such
a pace that could never have been imagined earlier.
Collaborations between academic based platforms and professional based
practices therefore provide a very interesting area and field of research - in terms
of revolutionary discoveries and means whereby solutions to theoretical – as well
as practical problems, namely auditing risks and accounting discrepancies, could
be addressed.
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Driving Traffic and Customer Activity Through Affiliate Marketing

CONCLUSION

The issue of corporation tax with large corporations such as Amazon, Starbucks
and Facebook has featured prominently in the headlines in 2016. Whilst it has been
alleged that multinationals such as Starbucks and Amazon pay less tax in Austria
than sausage stands or stalls, back taxes were imposed by the European Commission
on Apple in August 2016 after the Commission indicated that arrangements between
Apple and Ireland allowed it to pay a maximum tax rate of just 1%. In 2014, it was
further alleged, the tech firm paid tax at just 0.005% - the usual rate of corporation
tax in Ireland is 12.5% (The Guardian, 2016).
Based on reports from The Guardian, a senior market strategist at Global Markets
Advisory Group, said it was not yet clear which side would ultimately prevail, but
that the ruling was a watershed moment. “There’s no telling whether the verdict will
stand on appeal, but we know that the landscape is changing for US corporations
in the EU” (Farrell & McDonald, 2016). He described the European Commission’s
ruling as “just the tip of the spear – an enormously important ruling” because US-
based companies “have traditionally used the EU as a way of circumventing a higher
US corporate tax code” (Farrell & McDonald, 2016).
Should influential and wealthy corporations be compelled to pay back taxes after
having entered into agreements and investment with a foreign corporation? Whilst
many applauded the European Commission’s ruling in the sense that jurisdictional
sovereignty (from the European perspective) had prevailed in the ruling, many would
also claim that an interference with a national sovereignty – and a jurisdiction’s
already existing agreement with an investing partner also amounts to an infringement
of national sovereignty.
Clearly, compliance requirements and greater clarity is required in reconciling
jurisdictional differences – however, many would also argue that lack of clarity and
the recent Commission ruling to impose back taxes, also serves as a deterrent for
potential investors – particularly investors from the United States, who are uncertain
or have fear of the future investing climate in Europe.

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Driving Leads, Traffic and Transactions to Your Site. Retrieved from http://www.
affilinet-inside.com/whitepapers

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Farrell, S., & McDonald, H. (2016, August 30). Apple ordered to pay up to €13bn
after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.
com/business/2016/aug/30/apple-pay-back-taxes-eu-ruling-ireland-state-aid
Gregoroadis, L. (2009). Ten Differences between UK and US affiliate Marketing.
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and-us-affiliate-marketing/
Smart Insights. (n.d.). Expanding Your Affiliate Program to the US the Right
Way. Retrieved from http://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/
affliliatemarketingusa/
The Guardian. (2016). Amazon and Starbucks pay less tax than sausage stall, says
Austria. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/02/
multinationals-amazon-starbucks-austria-says

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Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37259278
Douglas, S. P., & Craig, C. S. (1997). The Changing Dynamic of Consumer Behavior.
Implications for Cross Cultural Research International Journal of Research in
Marketing, 14(4), 379–395. doi:10.1016/S0167-8116(97)00026-8
Emarketer.com. (2013). B2C Ecommerce Climbs Worldwide As Emerging Markets
Drive Sales Higher. Retrieved from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/B2C-
Ecommerce-Climbs-Worldwide-Emerging-Markets-Drive-Sales-Higher/1010004
Kolbitsch, J., & Maurer, H. (2006). The Transformation of the Web: How Emerging
Communities Shape the Information We Consume. Journal of Universal Computer
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Pizzuti, C., & Von, D. (2011). Perception of Justice after Recovery Efforts in Internet
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Reuters. (2016). Amazon and Starbucks pay less tax than sausage stall, says Austria.
Retrieved from http://in.reuters.com/article/eu-taxavoidance-austria-multinationals-
idINKCN1182JD
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London: Routledge.
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types-of-affiliate-marketing-explained-and-the-one-i-profit-from/
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paid-4327-corporation-tax-despite-35-million-staff-bonuses
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quality-key-thriving-web-today/73758

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Chapter 8
Investigating the Mechanics
of Affiliate Marketing Through
Digital Content Marketing:
A Key for Driving Traffic
and Customer Activity
Parag Shukla
The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India

Parimal Hariom Vyas


The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India

Hiral Shastri
Independent Researcher, India

ABSTRACT
The domain of online marketing and internet advertising is going through radical
changes. In context to Indian online market, according to Internet and Mobile
Association of India (IAMAI), the digital commerce market has seen a growth by
33% reaching to a figure of 62,967 Crore in the year 2015 which is predicted to
touch $50 to $70 Billion by the year 2020 owing to the increasing popularity of
online shopping and increase in internet penetration. Affiliate marketing is referred
as performance marketing and associate marketing (IAMAI Research Report, 2014).
Affiliate marketing is a type of online marketing technique where an affiliate/promotes
a business through an advertisement on their web site and in return that business
rewards the affiliate with commission each time a visitor, customer generates sales.
The objective is to analyze by conceptualizing the mechanics of affiliate marketing
through judicious and optimum use of digital content marketing by e-tailers so
as to engage customers and create boundless business opportunities for growth,
expansion and profitability.
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2656-8.ch008

Copyright © 2018, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Investigating the Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing Through Digital Content Marketing

INTRODUCTION

The domain of online marketing and internet advertising is going through radical
changes. Rapid technological advancements and breakthroughs have led to the
digitalization of the media, which in turn has resulted in ferocious marketing
strategies aimed at promotion of brands by businesses. Internet advertising has gained
prominence with the high growth rate of online media penetration at global level
because it offers richer possibilities to directly make targeted communications to
global consumers and segmenting them. In context to Indian online market, according
to Internet and Mobile Association of India [IAMAI], the digital commerce market
has seen a growth by 33 per cent reaching to a figure of 62,967 Crore in the year
2015 which is predicted to touch a mammoth figure of $50 to $70 Billion by the
year 2020 owing to the increasing popularity of online shopping and increase in
internet penetration (IAMAI Research Report, 2014). Online retailers like Flipkart,
Amazon, and Yatra.com have already started affiliate marketing in India and it is
gaining popularity in digital market. Affiliate marketing has emerged as one of the
choicest promotional tools for lead generation the digital promotion through seamless
integration of variety of programmes. In an online affiliate program advertising
website offers their affiliates revenues based on provided website traffic and associated
leads and sales. If a website decides to join another websites affiliate program, it has
to host a coded link on its website that directs a visitor to the parent website. If the
customer makes a purchase from the parent website through this affiliate link, the
host website will get a percentage of that sale. To summarise, Affiliate marketing is a
type of online marketing technique where an affiliate/publisher promotes a business
through an advertisement on their web site and in return that business rewards the
affiliate with commission each time a visitor, customer generates sales. Affiliate
marketing is also referred as performance marketing and associate marketing (ibid).
The objective of this research paper is to analyze by conceptualising the mechanics
of affiliate marketing through judicious and optimum use of digital content marketing
by e-tailers so as to engage customers and create boundless business opportunities
for growth, expansion and profitability. E-retailers intend to take advantage on it
in spite of impediment and escalated competition of e-tailers. Tomorrow’s high-
performing businesses will use technology to strengthen their relationships with
customers, leverage their data, optimize and secure their critical systems, and enable
their workforces with leading tools.
Technology is also enabling customers to take more control of their shopping
experiences, and new approaches to shopping and fulfilment are opening the doors to
competition that would not have been viable just a few years ago and it’s all changing
at warp speed. Retailers are increasingly leveraging their presence across channels of
catalogue, web, stores and kiosks, to increase their share of the customer’s wallet and

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expand across consumer segments. The retailers should be able to actively engage
with customers on various social media platforms and essentially working towards
making a truly integrated multichannel experience, that is the future of e-retailing.
In the last few years, brands have become very good at targeting people of a
specific demographic or geographical location. However, to create really compelling
content for a customer, they must be targeted according to what they do, not just
what they look like, or where they live. Today, brands can access data about each
individual customer’s buying behaviour, and use it to craft uniquely relevant content,
that provides utility and real value to a customer. This can also help the company in
converting a loyal customer or visitor into a close affiliate. This strategy is far more
effective in getting customers to take up the real revenue generating actions through
affiliate marketing, rather than simply being customers. Information technology [IT]
drives innovation and innovation is the path to business success. It’s hard to imagine
any business that has not benefited from the digital revolution. Innovation results
in smarter apps, improved data storage, faster processing, and wider information
distribution. Innovation makes businesses run more efficiently. And innovation
increases value, enhances quality, and boosts productivity. The affiliate Marketing
is a good example of this (Ventuso LLC, 2010).
Thus the modern day retailers need to synergistically join in the value co-creation
process to meet the restless hyper-connected shopper. The technology changes of
the last five years have changed customers and their expectations. Looking ahead,
these changes will continue to influence the relationship between the customer and
the set of retailers they choose to interact with. This poses a set of opportunities
for retailers to view technology as an enabler to providing richer experiences that
appeal to discerning customers and that differentiate the business enough to stand
out among a sea of online and offline competitors.

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The future may seem uncertain at times, but we do know that every retailer must
be a digital retailer to outpace competitors and appeal to the unique wants and
needs of today’s customer. The task may seem insurmountable, but new tools and
technologies can ease the journey.
The authors in this research work attempt to conceptually study and posit the tools
and technologies along with the nitty-gritty associated with affiliate marketing through
digital content marketing and offer a succinct view into the aspects concurrent with it.
In this research study an attempt has also been made to understand the consumer
attitude towards affiliate marketing through proper content management by
organisations which has a direct influence on customer engagement, enhanced

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visibility of the company as a brand and eventually resulting into enhanced store/
website traffic. It also attempts to outline the benefits of affiliate marketing from
the organisational perspective that gives e-tailers a competitive edge over others
through cost optimisation, capabilities of market expansion by going global, agility
in tracking results and reports which culminates into robust business strategy and
enhanced competitiveness in the digital world.
In business world the success depends upon the partnering organizations and their
ability to generate and support business process. Even in digital world success of
e-commerce business depends upon partnering organizations like affiliates who help
the firm in bringing customers. Affiliate marketing is one of the online marketing
tactic in which online firms partner with online content providers who bring traffic
to the firm’s website. The firm in turn pays commission to the content providers
over the converted sales from given customers. Online firms in western countries
have been adopting the tactic. Businesses through affiliate marketing in the USA are
expected to rise from $1.6 Billion in 2007 to $4.1 Billion in 2015 (Birkner, 2012).
An attempt has been made to understand the basic working model of Affiliate
Marketing to understand the concept of Affiliate Marketing. (Please refer to Figure 1.)
As depicted in the above figure the affiliate marketing or associate marketing is an
arrangement by which advertiser pay commission to affiliate for generating sales or
traffic on its website. Affiliate website may posts ads, banners, and links of products
or services from merchant’s website. Affiliate marketing is relationship between
three parties’ i.e. Advertiser or Merchant, the Affiliate himself and the customer.
The word “digital” is an all-encompassing term for all digital channels, in practice,
most companies take channel specific approach to customer engagement. The social,
web store, mobile and e-commerce teams all operate on their own terms, with their
own creative content, budgets and strategies (Altimeter Research Study, 2015). By
reviewing this study it can be deduced that customers and shoppers’ want to be
recognized as unique individuals across all touch points with a brand, and the only
way to fulfill this demand is to coordinate the efforts of all channel offerings with
a single, unified strategy which can be done by proper content marketing. While
brands have been crafting messages with the goal of driving people into stores,
they often lack a clear strategy for doing it effectively, especially when it comes to
synchronizing all the channels of communication to enhance effectiveness. This is
the focal theme of this research study.
In this chapter the study the fundamental element that in which way the retail
businesses in India should leverage their organisational competencies to get the
benefits of affiliate marketing which is still at the nascent stage specifically for
e-tailers in India.

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Figure 1. Figure showing the working of affiliate marketing


Source: 52 Affiliate Marketing Programs to Make Money Online, n.d.

A BRIEF REVIEW OF LITERATURE

In this section an attempt has been made to review the literature in brief on Affiliate
Marketing.
Internet users’ population is young, mobile and well educated. They are driven
by aspirations and they strive to achieve their goals. Previous researchers have
argued that attitude towards internet advertising consists of both cognitive and
affective antecedents (Ducoffe, 1996; Shimp 1981). Pollay and Mittals model (1993)
presented seven belief factors underlying consumers’ beliefs and classified those
factors into two categories. The first category labeled as personal use consists of
factors including product information, social role and image and entertainment. The
second category labeled as social effect, includes value corruption, falsity, good
for economy and materialism. In today’s competitive advertising environment, it
is increasingly impossible to stand out of the crowd. In addition, consumers easily
ignore advertising and consider it to have little value (Wang et al, 2002).

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Also, the media costs are too high forcing the advertisers to search for the factors
that contribute to effective advertising. Ultimately, the goal of advertising is to
influence consumer behavior (Petty & Cacioopo, 1983).
The growth of affiliate marketing has been rapid in recent years. The major online
seller Amazon, as a pioneer of affiliate marketing, has attracted over 1,000,000
content providers that have been cooperating with the company since their affiliate
program was introduced in 1996. Rowley claims that quarter of Amazon’s revenue
is generated by affiliates (Rowley, 2004).
Nowadays, more and more companies have started their affiliate programs in
order to efficiently acquire new customers. Affiliate networks have emerged and
position themselves as intermediaries between content providers and merchants
providing technical solutions to manage affiliate programs. Such networks are
for example Commission Junction, Zanox or TradeDoubler. Affiliate marketing
provides even further ways of targeting. According to Hoffman and Novak, whereas
in traditional online advertising it is the merchant, who decides how to target the
advertising, by employing affiliate marketing, content providers themselves asses
which merchants and products best suit their audience (Hoffman & Novak, 2000).
Nevertheless, merchants can still decide, which content providers they want to
cooperate with (ibid).
As Papatla and Bhatnagar proved, content providers benefit most from the
participation in the affiliate program, if there is close connection between the
website and products or services offered through the program. The connection does
not only apply to product types, which should match website orientation, but also to
brand perceptions, consumer loyalty etc. (Papatla & Bhatnagar, 2002). Moreover,
some content providers can participate in affiliate marketing programs, because
they perceive it as a good service for their visitors such as providing sale coupons,
updated information about new products etc. (Duffy, 2004).
Several studies (such as Hoffman & Novak, 2000; Papatla & Bhatnagar, 2002)
had been conducted focusing on the companies offering affiliate marketing programs,
however none of the studies was concerned with the perspective of content providers.
As demonstrated above, content providers can nowadays choose out of thousands
of affiliate programs and marketing these programs towards content providers is
crucial.
If the merchants do not attract enough content providers into their affiliate
programs, their links and banners will be exposed to fewer customers than their
competitors’, resulting in losing positions in the sales, brand management and
product awareness (Hoffman & Novak, 2000). The digital content marketing is
the key for the retailers to succeed in order to better engage the customers’ and to
increase foot-falls and traffic in the retail stores.

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As Hoffman and Novak demonstrated, affiliate marketing enables better targeting


of online advertising which improve their effectiveness. Retailers have to choose
affiliate programs very carefully, because of the opportunity cost connected with
not employing competing programs. Therefore, they target the advertising even
more precisely than merchants themselves, as otherwise they would not get optimal
income. (Hoffman & Novak, 2000).
Recommendation of a product or service on a partner website can create halo
effect and thus encourage the customers to purchase (Gallaugher et al., 2001). Apart
from increasing the sales, employing the content providers for online promotion is
also beneficial for enhancing the reach and creating broader exposure (Chatterjee,
2002). Moreover, through content providers, companies can gain customers that are
usually very difficult to reach and save on online campaigns planning (Hoffman &
Novak, 2000).
Gallaugher et al. add that using affiliate marketing is more cost-effective to
the merchants than other forms of online advertising, because it diminishes the
administrative costs connected with buying advertising. If the program is managed
well, it can enable advertising on such a great amount of websites that would be
otherwise impossible to acquire (Gallaugher et al., 2001).
Driving customers into stores has long been the end-goal of nearly all types
of advertising. However, traditional campaigns are limited in their ability to
continue doing this, as consumers require more than just brand awareness to make
a purchasing decision. Fortunately, there is a great opportunity in harnessing the
power of digital content and media to reach customers, and influence their decision
not just to come into a store, but to take action once they’re there. Brands can now
communicate with customers in the way they demand, which is to be recognized
as unique individuals, with unique histories, preferences and buying behavior. By
embracing the one-to-one advertising model instead of one-to-many, brands stand
not only to gain foot-traffic into their stores; they are able to gain the all important
patronage of the digital shopper.
Despite the rise of the internet, e-commerce and Amazon, in-store purchases
still account for 90 per cent of customer transactions. No matter how digitally
savvy the customer, walking into a physical store to purchase has been, and will
continue to be not just a significant part of the shopping experience, but by far the
most important touch point (A.T. Kearney, Incorporation. (2014). On Solid Ground:
Brick-and-Mortar Is the Foundation of Omnichannel Retailing. India. Michael,
Mike, & Andres Mendoza-Pena).
By reviewing the relevant literature it can be deduced that although it would be
hard to find a brand that doesn’t make use of digital channels today, most of them
believe digital marketing is best deployed as a brand-building tool. That’s why the
social media presence of retailers is limited to being entertaining, and announcing

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upcoming promotions. While online display ads are usually no different than what
a customer might see in a magazine or a billboard, containing much of the same
taglines and visual content. By focusing only on awareness, brands end up not taking
the entirety of the offline/online customer journey into account when planning
advertising experiences. Today’s digitally empowered shopper doesn’t just need a
brand message, or generic item and price; they need/expect/demand more robust
and relevant information to make decisions.
Digital channels such as social media, mobile and online display are well suited
for delivering a consistent brand message to a lot of eyeballs at once, but they also
present opportunities for reaching individual customers with unique messages
that are relevant only to them. This allows digital channels to act not just as brand
building vehicles, but as a place where customers can be convinced to take action
that translates into actual revenue.
Although “digital” is an all-encompassing term for all digital channels, in practice,
most companies take a siloed, channel-specific approach to customer engagement.
The social, web, mobile and e-commerce teams all operate on their own terms,
with their own creative content, budgets and strategies. However, customers want
to be recognized as unique individuals across all touch points with a brand, and the
only way to fulfill that demand is to coordinate the efforts of all channel silos with
a single, unified strategy.

OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH STUDY

The Chief Objective of the research study is to conceptualize the mechanics of


affiliate marketing which is done through sensible and optimum use of digital
content marketing by retailers so as to connect customers at different touch points
and create illimitable business opportunities for growth, expansion and profitability.
For this the researchers intend to make use of content analysis for drawing
inferences and conclusions about the subject matter of affiliate marketing.
This study also attempts to understand the consumer attitude towards affiliate
marketing which has a direct influence on customer engagement, enhanced visibility
of the company as a brand and eventually resulting into enhanced store/website
traffic. It also attempts to chart out the benefits of affiliate marketing from the
organisational viewpoint that enables organizations to gain a competitive advantage
over others through cost optimisation, capabilities of market expansion by going
global, agility in tracking results and reports which finally culminates into robust
business strategy and enhanced competitiveness in the digital world.
The other peripheral objectives of this research study are as follows:

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Investigating the Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing Through Digital Content Marketing

1. To investigate the mechanism of affiliate marketing for retailers and business


in India.
2. To study the role of Affiliate marketing in India this is likely to become the
principal mainstream marketing strategy for e-commerce businesses in the
future.
3. To identify the critical success factors in affiliate marketing in India.
4. To outline a roadmap for organisations and retailers to get started by creating
targeted content, unifying messages across multiple digital channels, and
building long-lasting relationships with their customers.
5. To demystify the various aspects and issues related with the role of information
technology in affiliate marketing.
6. To study the emerging affiliate marketing models used by contemporary
organisations.

A CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF AFFILIATE MARKETING

The apprehension that Affiliate marketing can be an effective tool for only e-retailers
is a wrong notion. In fact, the physicality of the retail store will always be preferred
by the shoppers’ who seek entertainment value from shopping activities. For the
brick and mortar stores the Affiliate marketing can be used by creating a customized
content marketing strategy by judicious use of digital content which can be used
to drive customer traffic and engagement across all touch points in not only the
digitally relevant environment but also drawing the shoppers’’ to the retail stores.
The Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing is shown in below figure. (Please refer to
Figure 2.)

ROLE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY


FOR AFFILIATE MARKETING

Information technology drives innovation and innovation is the path to business


success. It’s hard to imagine any business that has not benefited from the digital
revolution.
The affiliate marketing constitutes of four main players; the affiliate network, the
affiliate program, the publisher and the user. The Affiliate Network is the platform,
software, tracking and asset tools that will connect advertisers with publishers. It’s
the entity which connects advertisers and publishers, it’s who manages the technical
interactions between the advertiser and publisher, oversees the payments and provides

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Investigating the Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing Through Digital Content Marketing

Figure 2. Figure showing mechanics of affiliate marketing


Source: Model Conceptualized by the Authors’

the neutral party of trust between the entity paying the commissions and the entity
receiving the commissions.
The advertiser is an entity with a web presence who sells things online, generates
mobile app downloads, compiles lead gen forms, captures email sign ups and much
more. Basically, an advertiser or often referred to as merchant, is any entity who is
able to process an action, captured on their site and can monetize that conversion.
The publisher, or often called the affiliate, is the entity within this eco-system which
has access to traffic.
They don’t sell an end service or product, but drive website traffic and want to
partner with businesses who are able to monetize that traffic and share with them
a piece of the pie (ibid). Publishers are often times content specialists, masters of
their niche and provide valuable information to people seeking out solutions.
In providing this information, the publisher is able to make recommendations,
reviews, savings and more, all while promoting their partner advertisers. By providing
a link from their site to an advertiser’s site, their web traffic can easily take the
next step in the conversion process by investigating the advertiser’s site. The user
is simply the internet user seeking out information online. They have some form of
a relationship with a publisher, either through an email list, memberships, loyalty,
trust or something else. They seek out information and recommendations to help
provide a solution to their problem. The publisher of course, is able to solve that

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problem with detailed information about the solution. The solution being, the product
or service offered by their affiliate partnership with their advertisers.
The affiliate marketing programs comes with bundle of attributes to be configured
as per the needs of an organization. The major components of an affiliate program
may include; the log in page, terms and condition agreements, the interface, tracking
capabilities, messaging tools, managing log in credentials and accounts, account
IDs, reporting system, payment integrations, image hosting and tracking, fraud
monitoring and much more. A few examples of affiliate tools could be webinars
for your affiliates to learn more about your products and services - in use, it could
also be whitepapers you provide your publishers to educate them on what they’re
recommending. Some affiliates love coupon codes and drive lots of traffic through
providing exclusive savings to their members. Other affiliates like to have state-of-
the-art widgets which their users can interact with on their site and be seamlessly
integrated with the advertiser’s site with one click. It is necessary to understand
the basic characteristics required by Affiliate marketing. The below given table
compares the technology levels and what they can offer for Affiliate Marketing.
(Please refer to Table 1.)
This suggests that the mobile devices are going to be the next era changing
technology for affiliate marketing; it is now with retailer, affiliates and technology
people to how to provide the seamless integration with web and provide ultimate
user experience to unfold the potential of latent affiliate marketing.

Table 1. Emerging digitalized media’s adoption of affiliate marketing

Necessary ITV/Radio Websites Mobile Devices


Characteristic 3g & 4G/Other Tablets
Devices
Commercial These are highly accepted The websites have gained Until now, mobile or other
and used as commercial strong position and loyal devices have only to a very
medias. customer base. limited degree functioned as
a marketing medium.
Interactivity These media have high Provides variety of Provides variety of solutions
degree of challenge to solutions and ways for and ways for interaction,
conceptualize the tracking. interaction, tracking, tracking, reporting.
reporting.
Decentralization As the history suggest these Best suitable ways and As mobile devices are also
media are far too away from decentralization can be highly controlled by few
adopting any decentralized adopted and implemented players, limitations are
structure. easily. highly to emerge.
User-friendly New technology It is the market of vibrant Mobile devices have
Interface advancements enabled changes and user-friendly emerged as the highly
better user experience. innovative tools. convenient devices changing
the online market.
Source: Compiled by Authors’ from Review of Literature

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KEY DISCUSSIONS

Retailers and brands have an opportunity to connect with their customers on a far
more meaningful level than simply advertising at them. Through targeting, they
can create solutions for a customer that solves problems that are specific to those
individuals and their lifestyles. Knowing a customer’s likes and dislikes, what time
of the month they are most likely to buy, or what type of promotion they are most
likely to take advantage of is crucial information, for personalizing content. Until a
customer walked into a store and bought an item, it was difficult to know who they
were, not just in terms of demographics, but in terms of their interests, habits and
responsiveness to content. All of that can now be measured by reaching customers
at all the digital locations they visit before coming to the store.
This includes the company website, search results, mobile, social media and
email. Instead of building the store and waiting for them to come, marketers can
engage customers where they already are.
Mobile is an especially potent addition to this mix, since it is a gateway to the
customer at all times. There is a delicate balance to be implemented, which avoids
bombarding a customer with constant messaging, and instead sending them a
meaningful message at the moment when they are most likely to take action. The
channels might change but the customer remains the same. It only makes sense
then to have a marketing strategy that is not specific to the channel, but specific to
the customer. To truly have a chance of engaging a customer where they are most
likely to respond, a brand must adopt a mindset where it can create equally engaging
touch points across mobile, social, the web, email or a point-of-sale. The end goal
must not be an engagement metric for that specific channel; it must be to get the
customer into the store.
In an Omni-channel digital approach, content plays a key role in influencing the
actions of a customer. To be truly effective, the content needs to solve a problem, or
provoke some sort of interest in the audience, rather than having a purely commerce
aspect to it. This is why it’s important to have a content strategy that is centered on
the customer, and not the brand’s efforts to sell to them.
The content created must be modular enough to be used and re-used across
multiple channels and media, while at the same time having enough elements of
personalization to make each customer feel unique. Thus the key is to create a
shopper centric digital content by seamless integration.
Once a unified, sustainable strategy is put in place that extends through all
departments of the organization, it must be executed with the help of the right
technology platform. These platforms should enable cross-departmental teams to
have a single, up-to-date view of the customer that allows for real-time engagement
on whatever channel they are present on. The capabilities of these platforms must

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go beyond boilerplate Customer Relationship Management [CRM] systems, and


allow for plenty of integrations that enable data influx from varied sources, and
predictive intelligence and marketing automation.
In addition to a data platform, content management is key, and a dedicated
digital asset management platform can enable brands to create an infinite number of
personalized versions of ads, using the same basic creative elements. To truly deploy
dynamic content, or versioning at scale, a high-functioning Digital Asset Management
platform that connects to a personalization engine or website optimization solution
is a must-have. While the tools are important, they cannot be solely relied upon,
especially when brands get into local targeting. In these instances, agencies and
other service providers can be valuable partners. Plans and technologies are only as
good as the people putting them to use, and in when it comes to digital marketing,
the right personnel can make all the difference. In addition to cross-departmental
leaders to supervise the strategy through all the different channels, a brand needs
data scientists to make sense of all the information, content experts that can create
vast amounts of creative that can be customized automatically, and finally it needs
leadership that has the belief (and the budget) to see it all way through. However,
this doesn’t mean that every organizational aspect of these efforts needs to be put in
place before a company starts executing on the plan. This is more of a continuous
journey of innovation, with plenty of the data already at hand for an organization
to start connecting the dots. All it needs is a few motivated individuals.

MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUDING REMARKS

Incentivize visits to retail locations, with features such as order online, pick-up
in store, store returns. These can be used in addition to sales, coupons and other
promotional activity designed to attract foot traffic.
The physical retail stores needs to be mobile first, or at least primary, when it
comes to formulating a content engagement strategy. When it comes to reach, and
opportunities for right-time and location targeting, few channels are better than
mobile. The retailers operating with the physical retail stores should leverage the
mix of paid, earned and owned media to maximize value from your budget, and
engage customers outside the usual realms. They should plan for online cross
channel content with similar teams and processes that are in place for delivering
offline content. This enables a coordinated strategy across paid, earned and owned
channels, without having to start completely from scratch. The special focus should
be to reconsider budget allocation to devote more towards digital spending, as well
as identify the digital marketing tactics that give the most return on investment.

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When it comes to digital advertising by retail stores, the most commonly used
metric for success is number of impressions. While this may serve as a good indicator
of how much reach a brand has on any given channel, it’s not necessarily a measure
of engagement, and its link to sales is tenuous at best. Focusing on impressions
usually means the goals at the top of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel aren’t
aligned. It’s only when digital advertisements are coupled with targeting and action-
driven messaging that they start truly contributing value. This is to be taken care
by retailers. The term “local” immediately brings to mind “location,” and indeed
there is great value in being able to target customers based on their geo-location.
However, “local” can mean so much more than a zip code. There is a tangible
value in expanding “local” to include Who, What and When in addition to Where.
While proximity to a store can make a customer walk into it, messages that target
customers based on who they are, and the previous actions they have taken are far
more effective in getting them to spend money once they enter.
Thus the physical retail stores need to embrace the new digital technology and to
do this retailers’ must understand evolving customer behaviour and heed the shoppers
of all ages and their level of technology adoption. Retail organizations often fail to
realize their full return on investment for digital projects. That is because they are
implemented in a piecemeal fashion rather than addressed from the top down as a
business transformation effort. Physical stores are not going to disappear. Customers
will always have different motivations to shop and hence will be looking for different
purchase environments. Retailers need to understand how to address these shopping
motivations online and offline.

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127
Investigating the Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing Through Digital Content Marketing

KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based


marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or
customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts (https://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/Affiliate_marketing).
Content Marketing: Content marketing is the marketing and business process
for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and
engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of
driving profitable customer action (contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/06/content-
marketing-definition).
Digital: Digital describes electronic technology that generates, stores, and
processes data that creates value for organisations. Digital is a new way of engaging
with customers. And for others still, it represents an entirely new way of doing business
(www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/what-digital-really-means).
Web Traffic: Web traffic is the amount of data sent and received by visitors to
a web site. This is determined by the number of visitors and the number of pages
they visit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_traffic).

128
129

Chapter 9
Student’s Perception Towards
Digital Learning for Skill
Enhancement Programs
Surabhi Singh
Jaipuria School of Business, Ghaziabad, India

ABSTRACT
Integrating digital activities into the broader strategy can be challenging for
institutions providing online education they don’t have yet strong digital capabilities.
Indian educational institutes and universities lack in digital strategy skills to conceive
a comprehensive plan for responding quickly to customer queries. Digital activities
are an increasingly important part of any marketing and sales strategy. The ability
to harness the power of digital platforms in delivery of educational courses cannot
be denied. The organization should no longer be only concerned with simple act of
providing digital course, but also with the innovative strategies through which they
interact with students and create learning environment that is innovative, active,
and challenging. Digital learning plays a vital role in the skills landscape.

INTRODUCTION

Integrating digital activities into the broader strategy can be challenging for institutions
providing the online education they don’t have yet strong digital capabilities. Indian
educational institutes and universities lack in digital strategy skills to conceive a
comprehensive plan for responding quickly to customer queries. Digital activities are
an increasingly important part of any marketing and sales strategy. The delivery of
educational courses needs the ability to harness the power of the digital platforms.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2656-8.ch009

Copyright © 2018, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement Programs

The organization should no longer be only concerned with the simple act of
providing the digital course, but also with the innovative strategies through which
they interact with students and create the learning environment that is creative,
active, and challenging. Digital learning plays a vital role in the skills landscape.
Both government and private institutions need to frame a robust skill development
programme and focus on outcome based approach in terms of providing meaningful
employment in the form of both wage and self-employment. It is also pertinent for
educational Institutes to understand that any skill enhancement programme needs
to be innovative in delivery format.

PURPOSE

This research aims to explore the ample digital platforms available for the educational
institutions in delivering skill enhancement programs and their promotion. The
study focuses on knowing student perspectives towards digital learning and its role
in skill enhancement program. The study will explore the student’s expectations and
experiences in the areas of course format, technological support, interaction with
faculty and peers, course flexibility and pace, assessment and feedback, and overall
communication. The basic emphasis of the study is to identify gaps in existing courses
and various skill enhancement programs which can be introduced by educational
institutes to enhance the profitability and brand image.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Department of Business innovation and Skills had conducted survey in UK and


found that Embedding digital learning throughout the education system is a long-
term solution. There is a clear need to enhance digital capabilities in the shorter
term. The key to increase capacities to take advantage of digital opportunities are
providing digital courses and awareness-raising initiatives through existing local
private and third sector networks. Cyber security can thereby be enhanced. The
report of Capegimini also states that the impact of digital technologies is now felt
not only in the IT department but across the entire organization, creating a huge
demand for digital skills.
Social media technology provides educators with an opportunity to engage
learners in the online classroom, as well as to support development of learner skills
and competencies (Blaschke, 2014). Tedlow (2010) describes what happens to
companies who look away and go into denial when paradigms shift. Carey (2012)

130
Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement Programs

feels that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) will change the future of higher
education. MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley are offering free MOOCs via edX, a not-
for-profit venture.
Research supports that the use of online courses from student’s perspective is
important for educational institutes and course designers to tailor their courses more
effectively and to enhance students course satisfaction (Morss, 1999) and according
to him students who are engaged in online learning courses at the post-secondary
level have positive learning experiences. It was also observed that the advantages
of online learning were flexible interactions and ease of use.
In a study conducted to understand the effectiveness of online course interface
design, by Lai (2004) on 140 students enrolled in either partially online or entirely
online courses revealed that navigation of the courses was easy and students were
pleased with the online course design. According to a study by Morss’s (1999)
students perceptions of online course management systems reported that the online
environment helped students to concentrate and learn the subject faster.
The adoption rate of online learning in higher education is increasing due to
its flexible learning environment where learners can collaborate and communicate
regardless of specific time and location (Kundi & Nawaz, 2010).
A study conducted on 295 students enrolled in 16 online learning courses at two
public universities in Taiwan, identified seven factors that influence online learners’
satisfaction, like instructor attitude, computer anxiety, course flexibility, perceived
usefulness, course quality, perceived ease of use, and diversity of assessment, (Sun,
Tsai, Finger, Chen, and Yeh 2007).Further it revealed that course quality is the most
important concern for the learners.

Figure 1. Digital learning model

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Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement Programs

The above model of digital learning is backbone for educators to measure where
they are within the transformational process of using technology to be the most
effective teacher possible. The three simple identifiers provide a guide to help pinpoint
strengths and weaknesses. This model provides an effective way to quantitatively
measure the efficiency of this transition to assist educators in personalizing a
professional development plan (Wendywells.info, 2015). PositiveShift has launched
UNO Learn, a digital platform to offer top-rated skill development courses from
leading Industry expert and top global universities. PositiveShift International, is
an emerging company in the Learning & Skill Development segment, has launched
web, mobile & Digital TV version of the skill development platform (Source:
digitallearning.eletsonline.com).
UNO Learn has signed up with five Global Institutes – Masachussets Institute
of Technology (MIT), Open University UK, Saylor Academy USA, Future Learn
(UK), ZTE University (Taiwan). Along with the universities, 11 domain expert
instructors with huge number of followers are also on this platform.
Educating and skilling the youths of the country to enable them to get employment
is the altar of the government. It is expected that overall Indian education sector’s
market size will increase to Rs 602,410 crores (US$ 100.23 billion) by FY 15 from
Rs 341,180 crores (US$ 56.77 billion) in FY 12. On one hand while statistics present
a burgeoning opportunity, certain numbers also point out at the difficult task ahead
as they suggest less than 25 percent of the graduates are actually employable. In
fact, the Government of India has adopted skill development as a national priority
over the next 10 years. The Eleventh Five-Year Plan has a detailed road map for skill
development in India and favors the formation of Skill Development Missions, both at
the State and National levels, to create such an institutional base for skill development
in India at the national level, a “Coordinated Action on Skill Development” with
three-tier institutional structure consisting of the PM’s National Council on Skill
Development, the National Skill Development Coordination Board (NSDCB) and the
National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has been created (digitallearning.
eletsonline.com).
Courses related to Design, Technology, Business, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Big
Data, Digital Marketing, Spoken English, Accounting, Web development, CCNA,
CCNP, A+, Networking and Business planning will be available on this platform.
The ones who will complete any course on UNO Learn will earn certificates signed
by the Industry expert.
Almost seven in 10 (69%) perceive cost-cutting to be the main reason why their
employers opt for digital learning, compared to just one-fifth who believe it is used
to improve the quality of teaching.

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Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement Programs

More than one in three (37%) surveyed said that the courses are “poorly aligned
with their organisation’s objectives”.
Counterintuitively, the report finds that younger managers are more likely to opt
for face-to-face training, which is attributed to current e-learning materials falling
short of the expectations of managers used to high-quality smartphone apps.
The report, however, shows the potential for firms getting such advanced apps
right. Younger managers express a clear preference for more advanced digital training
approaches, such as gamification. Those under the age of 35 are more than twice as
likely (41%, compared with 16% of those aged 55+) to find games and apps useful.
Three-quarters (73%) of managers want to see digital learning become more
personalised by using adaptive learning technologies, with content and approach
tailored to personal learning style and progression.
Access to a network of peers is also considered a must, with 58% of younger
managers wanting to see better networks become part of their learning. Just 20%
report that the digital learning they have undertaken is accredited (Source: http://
personneltoday.com).
Candidates, with a monthly subscription of Rs 500, will have access to the entire
library of premium courses and certifications including career service whereas
candidates with free subscription will have access to more than 1200+ sponsored
courses.
Skills define us. They are what make us useful and productive. They are the
foundation of our achievements. On our death bed, it is our skills that we will reflect
on with pride. These could be psychomotor skills – our ability to knit jumpers,
drive vehicles, perform gymnastics, play the violin, cook tasty food, swim or make
beautiful furniture. They could be social – our ability to make good conversation,
present to an audience, flirt with the opposite sex, negotiate deals or handle customer
complaints. Or they could be cognitive – our ability to write poetry, perform mental
arithmetic, fix faulty equipment, solve crossword puzzles or program computers.
Yes, skills are what make us what we are.
As everyone knows, skills do not come easily. They do require some foundational
knowledge, but most of all they depend on deliberate practice over a prolonged period,
based on a clear idea of what good looks like and supported by regular, informed
feedback. A good face-to-face course will provide many of these features but for
nowhere near long enough for the skill to become embedded and for the learner to
gain the confidence required to learn independently. With digital courses, we have
the potential to prolong the experience, but more often than not we don’t even try
(Source: http://clive-shepherd.blogspot.in).

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Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement Programs

METHODOLOGY

Quantitative research method has been used for data collection and report compilation.
The data has been collected with the help of questionnaire after pilot testing. The
collection of data has been made on the segments of students including 10+|2 and UG
and PG students. The sample size is 500 and area is Ghaziabad. The questionnaire
contains questions based on research objectives and demographic details. The
analysis has been made for finding the perception of students for digital learning
and the factors which are significant for encouraging digital learning for developing
skill enhancement courses. The statistical tools being used are one sample t test and
factor analysis.

RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

H1: Perceived ease of use positively impacts developing job specific skills.
H2: Perceived ease of use positively impacts interactive collaboration among students.
H3: Perceived flexibility positively impacts opportunity to work while study
H4: Perceived flexibility positively impacts family and other social obligation.

DATA ANALYSIS

Table 1 indicates that Perceived ease of use does not positively impact developing
job specific skills.
The analysis depicts that Perceived ease of use positively does not impact
interactive collaboration among students.

Table 1. One-Sample Test

Test Value = 0
t df Sig. Mean 95% Confidence Interval of
(2-tailed) Difference the Difference
Lower Upper
Digital learning is easy 82.330 499 .000 3.6080 3.522 3.694
to use.
Digital learning helps 85.386 499 .000 3.9300 3.840 4.020
in developing job-
specific skills

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Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement Programs

Table 2. One-Sample Test

Test Value = 0
t df Sig. Mean 95% Confidence Interval of
(2-tailed) Difference the Difference
Lower Upper
Digital learning is easy 82.330 499 .000 3.6080 3.522 3.694
to use.
Interactive 85.405 499 .000 3.9100 3.820 4.000
Collaboration among
students is facilitated
by digital learning

Table 3 indicates that Perceived flexibility does not impact opportunity to work
while study.
Table 4 tells that Perceived flexibility does not positively impact family and
other social obligation.

FACTOR ANALYSIS

The method of factor analysis has been used to extract the factors that online education
services. The calculated Cronbach alpha is 0.936which shows that the data are reliable
(refer to Table 5) Table 6 indicates that approx. chi- square value is 9154.202 with
300 degree of freedom which is adequate and hence it can be concluded that there is a
significant relationship between the variables in the population or in other words the
variables are correlated with each other. KMO value is 0.918. This testified that the
sample is appropriate for factor analysis. Both the results, that is, the KMO statistic

Table 3. One-Sample Test

Test Value = 0
t df Sig. Mean 95% Confidence Interval of
(2-tailed) Difference the Difference
Lower Upper
Digital learning 83.536 499 .000 3.7480 3.660 3.836
Provides more
flexibility
Digital learning provide 91.303 499 .000 3.7560 3.675 3.837
opportunity to work
while study

135
Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement Programs

Table 4. One-Sample Test

Test Value = 0
t df Sig. Mean 95% Confidence Interval of
(2-tailed) Difference the Difference
Lower Upper
Digital learning helps 94.190 499 .000 3.7000 3.623 3.777
in Family and other
social obligation.
Digital learning 83.536 499 .000 3.7480 3.660 3.836
Provides more
flexibility

Table 5. Reliability Statistics

Cronbach’s Alpha N of Items


.936 25

Table 6. KMO and Bartlett’s Test

Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy. .918


Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity Approx. Chi-Square 9154.202
df 300
Sig. .000

and Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity, indicate an appropriate factor analysis model. In


the Table 7, the output of factor analysis can be observed. It indicates 60.8% of the
total variation. The initial extraction was rotated and 4 factors were extracted from
25 statements which imply inter-correlations between the digital learning and skill
enhancement. The Table 8 shows the factor matrix with factor loadings

MAJOR RESULTS

The results of this study imply that the four factors are important which affects the
digital marketing for skill enhancement programs. The factors are namely Strong
Interaction, Skills Enhancement, Awareness Training, Planning and ease of use.
Further it has been indicated that the development of job specific skills is made

136
Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement Programs

Table 7. Total Variance Explained

Component Initial Eigenvalues Extraction Sums of Squared Rotation Sums of Squared


Loadings Loadings

Total % of Cumulative Total % of Cumulative Total % of Cumulative


Variance % Variance % Variance %

1 10.466 41.865 41.865 10.466 41.865 41.865 4.691 18.765 18.765

2 2.074 8.297 50.162 2.074 8.297 50.162 4.182 16.730 35.495

3 1.457 5.828 55.990 1.457 5.828 55.990 3.247 12.987 48.482

4 1.221 4.886 60.876 1.221 4.886 60.876 3.098 12.394 60.876

5 .977 3.910 64.785

6 .865 3.461 68.247

7 .841 3.366 71.613

8 .833 3.332 74.945

9 .660 2.640 77.585

10 .655 2.620 80.205

11 .612 2.447 82.651

12 .533 2.132 84.783

13 .478 1.912 86.695

14 .438 1.754 88.449

15 .412 1.649 90.098

16 .357 1.427 91.525

17 .334 1.336 92.861

18 .309 1.237 94.098

19 .297 1.190 95.288

20 .274 1.097 96.385

21 .261 1.045 97.430

22 .229 .917 98.347

23 .214 .855 99.202

24 .196 .783 99.985

25 .004 .015 100.000

Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

possible by digital learning. The student portal is the best educational resources which
may be used for developing skill enhancement courses in India. Cloud computing
is the preferred digital tool for enhancing the efficiency of such course. Most of
the institutions in India are not providing enough platforms for their courses to be
offered online. Generally the digital learning is organized and managed at Faculty
or department level in Indian institutions. The prime objective of most institutions is
to increase effective classroom time. There is strong requirement of digital learning

137
Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement Programs

Table 8. Factor Matrix

Variables Factor Loading Factor Name


Digital learning helps in Physical distance /residence in .600 Factor 1:
remote areas .786 Strong Interaction
Digital learning helps in Family and other social .739
obligation. .600
Interactive Collaboration among students is facilitated by
digital learning
Developing students reflective digital learning & critical
thinking
Digital learning comprises of all forms of electronically .648 Factor2:
supported learning and teaching .690 Skills enhancement
Digital learning delivers information and instructions to .788
individuals through computer network and internet. .724
Digital learning is computer and network enabled transfer .688
of skills and knowledge. .640
digital learning delivers a broad array of solutions and
enhances knowledge and performance
Digital learning helps me to do my assessment efficiently
and effectively
digital learning provides me the knowledge as required
For using digital learning awareness training is required. .617 Factor3:
Digital learning helps in developing job-specific skills .717 Awareness Training
Digital learning can be used in a number of similar .636
occupations and sectors .719
Digital learning might require additional training to be
used in a new job and/or work environment
Digital learning is easy to use. .693 Factor 4:
To implement digital learning careful planning is required .671 Planning and ease of use

platforms for enhancing the teaching courses in Indian institutes or universities. The
students perception in digital learning enhancement can be improved if the suggested
factors are employed for skill enhancement programs.

IMPLICATIONS

The outcomes of the present study will yield a significant contribution in this
research and provide information for future researchers who want to replicate the
study across a greater number and variety of courses. Studying student’s perceptions
regarding the role of digital learning is crucial for educators to design their course
more effectively.
The research will suggest the digital tools which are currently in use and are
proposed to be used by the academic institutions. Further the study will also reveal
the existing courses run by the institute and future courses which are in high demand.

138
Student’s Perception Towards Digital Learning for Skill Enhancement Programs

LIMITATIONS

This study has been restricted to India only. The study does not measure all possible
interactions and it is possible that students may use their textbook or communicate
with their peers and instructor outside of online course.

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226

About the Contributors

Surabhi Singh (B COM, M COM, MCA, PGDBA, ADIM, CIG and PhD (In
Completion stage) is specialized in marketing with experience of eight years in
corporate and eight years in teaching. She has been actively involved in research,
teaching, training and consultancy. She has edited five books, one book review
and around 38 papers in various National and International refereed Journals and
conference proceedings. She was the recipient of IMS Noida’s Award of ‘A Grade
Faculty’ in 2013 and received award from UK Journal for case writing in 2014. She
won the best paper award in National Conference at one of the premier business
school. She has also received other accolades in her research papers from various
academias. She is also in editorial board in few National and International Journals.
She often takes up training sessions on emerging areas in Marketing in Government
Organizations like Niesbud, BPCL etc. Currently she is associated with Jaipuria
Business School as Associate Professor-Marketing & Data Analytics. Her area of
expertise is Marketing and Research.

***

Mukesh Chaturvedi, Ph.D. has been with MDI Gurgaon, XLRI Jamshedpur,
and BITS Pilani. He has been the Founder Director of the Amity Centre for CRM,
ABS Noida, Director, Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, Delhi, and Acting
Director, IMT Ghaziabad. He has also been a Visiting Faculty to Rouen Business
School, France, and IIM Ahmedabad. Dr. Chaturvedi has an M.M.S. and a Ph.D.
from BITS Pilani. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious International Visitor
Program of USIA, Washington, D.C., USA. His teaching, training, researching and
consulting interests include business communications, case writing & teaching,
integrated marketing communications, customer relationship, direct marketing,
corporate reputation, sales management, presentation skills, negotiation skills, etc.
He has rendered training and consulting services to a large number of multi-national,
private and public sector companies. Dr. Chaturvedi is the recipient of MDI’s most
coveted Award for Excellence in Teaching for the year 2005. Dr. Chaturvedi’s
About the Contributors

publications include the following books: ‘Managing Innovation and New Product
Development’, ‘Business Communication Today’, ‘Managing Global Business: A
Strategic Perspective’, ‘Business Communication: Concepts, Cases and Applications’,
‘Buying Research’, ‘New Product Development’, and ‘Welcome Back!? Coca-Cola’.
Also, he has published more than 70 papers, articles and cases in leading journals,
periodicals and newspapers, and has made presentations at several international/
national seminars and conferences.

Shailja Dixit has a PhD in Management and is a Gold Medallist in her Man-
agement Program. She is working as Associate Professor in the Department of
Management at Amity University, Lucknow, India. Her research interests include
Social media, Women Entrepreneurship, Consumer Research, Consumer Decision
making, Branding, New Product Diffusion. She has more than 35 research papers
published in reputed peer reviewed journals. She is currently associated with many
reputed Journals.

Jaspreet Kaur Ph.D. is an Associate professor at Trinity Institute of Profes-


sional Studies.

Hitesh Kesarwani is an IT specialist with many research paper to his credit.

Taranpreet Khurana is currently working with Maharaja Agrasen institute Of


Management Studies which is Affiliated to GGSIP University Delhi as Assistant
Professor, I teaches Marketing and General Management subjects. I have 4 years
of experience and my Qualifications are BBA,MBA,INTRACLIENT,UGC-NET.

Ritu Narang, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Business


Administration, University of Lucknow. Her current areas of research include
services marketing, consumer behaviour and retail business. Twice she has been
Senior Distinguished Fellow at Hanken School of Economics, Finland and has suc-
cessfully completed two Major Research Projects sponsored by University Grants
Commission, Delhi. She has presented papers at various national and international
conferences such as American Marketing Association’s SERVSIG, Retailing in
Asia Pacific, Oxford Institute of Retail Management at Said Business School, Cross
Cultural Research at USA. Two of her papers have been awarded as Best Papers
in International Conferences.Dr. Narang has published a number of national and
international publications which are highly cited. She has been involved in training
managers of public and private sector organizations such as TCS, NFL, PNB, UP
Housing Board.

227
About the Contributors

Sarah Newton, Ph.D.is currently a Senior Lecturer with a keen interest in de-
veloping research areas within the fields of economics and finance related topics.
Having consolidated on the teaching aspects of her profession, she is also involved
in collaborative projects which focus on environmental economics – as well as fi-
nance related areas which embrace capital markets and the current climate of global
information uncertainty.

Marianne Ojo is a Visiting Professor and researcher at North West University.


Recent publications include Designing Optimal Regulatory Models in A Chang-
ing Financial Environment (ISBN: 9781634848299), Analyzing the Relationship
between Corporate Social Responsibility and Foreign Direct Investment, IGI Global
Publications, 2016, Value Relevance of Accounting Information in Capital Markets,
Why Credit Ratings Serve a Greater Role in Emerging Economies than Industrial
Nations: A Comparative Analysis between Family Firms and Concentrated Ownership
Structures in South Asia, and E Commerce as a Tool for Resource Expansion: Postal
Partnerships, Data Protection Legislation and the Mitigation of Implementation Gaps.

Hiral Shastri is a software professional having over six years of experience in


the Retail Domain and Information Technology. She currently works with a leading
Multi National Company a retail system expert in U.K market from India. Her work
experience includes solution providing and development of high ended ecommerce
solutions for UK retailers; working on various platforms of area specific technologies
in Payment, Analytics, SEO, Affiliates, CRM, Review & feedback. She also has
hands on experience on in house product development and client specific solution
designing for retailers.

Parag Shukla [M.Com, PGDMM, UGC- NET and SET] is a PhD Scholar and
working as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Commerce at the M.S. University
of Baroda, Department of Commerce and Business Management, Gujarat, India.
He received his Bachelors and Masters Degree with specialization in Marketing
Management from the M.S. University of Baroda, India. His area of research is in
the field of Retailing. His experience includes content analysis with the television
and media research industry. He currently teaches courses of management in vari-
ous under graduate and post graduate levels in the University. He has presented and
published several research papers in different areas of Retailing and Marketing in
various National and International refereed Journals and conference proceedings. He
is currently working on a recent research project entitled “An Empirical Investiga-
tion of Experiential Value vis-a-vis Usage Attitude of Selected Mobile Shoppers in
the State of Gujarat”. He has also received other accolades in his research papers
from various academia. Mr. Shukla is the recipient of the Best Business Academic

228
About the Contributors

of the Year Award [BBAY] where he won the Silver Medal for his research paper
in 68th International All India Commerce Conference, which is widely recognized
in Indian Education and Retail Industry.

Prashant Trivedi is working with department of business administration as


a senior research fellow his area of research includes marketing, sustainability,
consumer behaviour He has presented his work at reputed conferences and has
published papers with international journals, he also co authored a chapter with Dr
Ritu Narang for IGI global. Titled as “Challenges and Opportunities of E-Tailing
in Emerging Economies”.

Parimal Hariom Vyas is working as Hon. Vice-Chancellor and a Joint Pro-


fessor of Management Studies, & Professor in the Department of Commerce and
Business Management, Faculty of Commerce, The Maharaja Sayajirao University
of Baroda, Vadodara. His Educational Details are: FDP, Indian Institute of Manage-
ment, Ahmedabad; Ph. D. (Commerce); M. Com. (Management) His Experience
Summary: Teaching Experience of More than 30 Years; Professor of Commerce
and Business Management, Faculty of Commerce, The M. S. University of Baroda;
Former Dean, Faculty of Commerce, The M. S. University of Baroda • Former Head
of the Department, Department of Commerce and Business Management, Faculty
of Commerce, The M. S. University of Baroda; Former Principal, M. K. Amin Arts,
Science and Commerce College, The M. S. University of Baroda; Joint Professor,
Faculty of Management Studies, The M. S. University of Baroda.

Deepti Wadera is an Associate Professor and Area Chair in Marketing at GD


Goenka World Institute-Lancaster University. She is a Ph.D., M.Phil and PGDM
in Marketing with more than 15 years of industry and teaching experience with
reputed institutions. Prior to joining GD Goenka World Institute, she has served
at various positions in several other reputed academic institutions.She also worked
in industry and was associated with media sales department in Mitsubishi Electri-
cals and worked with Parle Agro Ltd in sales and marketing department.She has
presented several papers in international and national conferences and has research
publications in various refereed journals and business magazines of repute. She has
conducted MDPs in the area of marketing at PHD Chamber of commerce and is an
AMT Accredited Management Teacher from AIMA. She has also co-authored a
book on Marketing of Services. She was selected by UNDP as Lead author for case
study on “Skill Development Initiatives and Inclusion of Disadvantaged Groups:
Role of Private Sector in India” by the Global Alliance for Sustainable Employment
(GASTE) supported by UNDP India Can Education Pvt. Limited, Delhi, India.

229
230

Index

A Commission 2-5, 8, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22-23,


31-36, 42-43, 47, 51-52, 54, 58, 61-62,
Academic Affiliates 102-103, 105, 108-109 64-65, 67-69, 79-80, 83, 86, 88-89, 95-
Ad sense 2, 5, 48 96, 101-102, 110, 113-114, 116, 118
advertiser 2-3, 5, 87-97, 116, 121-123 Commission Percentage 79
Affiliate Company 15, 31, 68 compliance requirements 102, 109-110
Affiliate ID 79 content 11, 13, 16, 25, 32, 36, 38, 43-46,
Affiliate Link 23, 38, 40-41, 46, 61, 68, 51-54, 58-60, 66, 83-85, 87, 89, 91-92,
79, 114 96, 102, 113-116, 118-122, 124-125,
Affiliate Manager 79 128, 133
Affiliate Marketing 1-7, 11-14, 16-20, 25, Content Marketing 46, 52, 54, 66, 113-116,
27-28, 33-41, 44-48, 51-52, 55-57, 118, 120-121, 128
62, 64-69, 71-73, 75, 77, 80-83, 86- content providers 116, 118-119
89, 91-93, 96-97, 101-105, 107-109, Content Quality 11, 25, 32
113-123, 128 corporation tax 109-110
Affiliate Marketplace 79 Custom Affiliate Income 79
Affiliate Network 22, 31, 48, 87-88, 96- Custom Coupons 79
97, 121 Customer 1-2, 7-8, 11, 15, 17, 25-26, 34,
Affiliate Software 79 38, 43, 48, 51, 65, 72-73, 82, 91, 101-
Affiliates 3-8, 14-19, 23-28, 31-39, 41, 46, 104, 106, 113-116, 119-121, 124-126,
48, 51-52, 59, 65-69, 79-80, 83, 87-98, 128-129, 133
102-103, 105-106, 108-109, 114, 116,
118, 123, 128 D
Amazon 1-4, 6, 13, 18-19, 27, 33, 35-36,
40-47, 51, 57-62, 65, 67, 82, 86, 110, Digital 1, 3-4, 6, 25, 31-32, 54, 56, 89-90,
114, 118-119 97, 113-116, 118-121, 124-126, 128-
Associate 2-3, 18, 34-35, 41, 65, 74-75, 80, 134, 136-138
82, 113-114, 116 Digital Infrastructure 25, 31
Audio 11-12, 25-26, 32, 84 Digital Learning 129-134, 136-138

C E
Click 2-3, 12, 14, 23, 28, 31, 34, 36-40, E-commerce 5, 11, 25-26, 32, 34, 64-66,
52, 54, 57, 60, 66, 69, 82, 88, 98, 123 69, 116, 119-120
Index

Education 65, 73, 76, 129-132, 135 P


Entrepreneur 77, 97-98
Expenses 1-3, 6, 48 Payment 4, 6, 15, 17, 23, 25, 32, 34, 39,
46, 58, 67, 69, 80, 87-88, 94, 97, 123
H Payment Mode 80
Paypal 32, 40, 80
Hits 32, 71 Perception 129, 134, 138
Honesty 11, 25-26, 32 Programs 1, 4-7, 14-19, 28, 33-35, 45-46,
48, 51, 53, 56, 65, 67-69, 73, 79-80,
I 82, 87, 95, 97, 117-119, 123, 129-130,
136, 138
Innovation 115, 121, 125, 130 Publisher 1-3, 15, 21-23, 32, 51, 65, 89,
Internet 3-6, 11-12, 18, 25, 31, 33-36, 51- 92-93, 96, 114, 121-122
52, 60, 62, 64-65, 69, 73, 81-82, 87,
96-97, 113-114, 117, 119, 122 R
Internet Marketing 33-34, 52, 60, 65, 81-82
Relevance 3-4, 6, 71, 95
L Revenue Sharing 39, 64, 91-92

Landing Pages 80, 95 S


Link building 11, 25, 27, 32
Link Clocking 80 Search Engine 11-12, 19, 34, 36-37, 52,
65, 83-84
M Skill Enhancement 129-130, 134, 136-138
social media 11, 25, 27, 32, 36-38, 44-45,
marketing 1-7, 11-14, 16-20, 25, 27-28, 48, 62, 84, 90, 115, 119-120, 124, 130
33-41, 44-48, 51-52, 54-57, 60, 62, Social Media Marketing 84
64-69, 71-73, 75, 77, 80-89, 91-94,
96-97, 101-105, 107-109, 113-125, T
128-129, 132, 136
MECHULUP 11, 25, 28, 32 touch points 116, 120-121, 124
Merchant 1-3, 6, 13-17, 21-22, 24, 32-37, Traffic 1-2, 5, 13-14, 16-17, 26, 32, 36-37,
39-40, 45, 47-48, 51, 65-66, 69, 82- 45-47, 57, 66-68, 81, 83, 87, 89, 94,
83, 88, 91-92, 94-96, 116, 118, 122 97-98, 101, 103, 113-114, 116, 118,
Mobile Friendliness 11, 25, 32 120-123, 125, 128
Two-Tier Affiliate Marketing 80
N
U
Niche 17, 27, 42-44, 46, 52-54, 59-61, 122
User 6-7, 12, 14, 18, 21, 23, 26, 28, 31-32,
O 36, 46, 81, 85, 87, 90-91, 95, 121-123

Online shopping 3-5, 113-114

231
Index

V Web Traffic 1, 5, 122, 128


website 1-3, 5-7, 12-13, 17-18, 21-22, 25,
Visitor 5, 13, 17, 32, 34, 39-40, 51, 59-60, 27, 31-32, 34-48, 52-54, 56-62, 65-
65, 68, 87, 90, 113-115, 128 67, 69, 83-84, 86-88, 95, 114, 116,
118-120, 122, 124-125
W
Walmart 56

232