Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ads will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
Affiliate marketing describes any revenue-sharing plan where an online automated marketing program lets bloggers and website owners place an advertiser's banner ads, buttons or other advertising media on their own website. Webmasters will receive a referral fee or commission from conversions when a customer has clicked the affiliate link and performs the desired action, such as make a purchase or opt-in for downloads or newsletters on the advertiser's site. Advertisers invest in affiliate programs for lead generation, and, of course, sales.
Telephone tracking – unique telephone numbers are used per instance of a campaign. So media owner XYZ would have their own unique phone number for an offer and when this number is called any resulting "actions" are allocated to media owner XYZ. Often payouts are based on a length of call (commonly 90 seconds) – if a call goes over 90 seconds it is viewed that there is a genuine interest and a "lead" is paid for.
When formulating a commission structure, the first step is to consider all stakeholders involved in the transaction. Even though affiliate marketing is entirely performance-based — and nary a nickel gets paid unless a transaction occurs — there are several different parties taking a cut of that sale. The affiliate gets a percentage. The affiliate network gets a percentage. And, your affiliate manager might take a percentage. What initially seemed as a no-risk marketing channel could be one of your most expensive.
Though the glory days may be behind us, affiliate marketing remains a multi-billion dollar industry and a primary source of income for thousands of successful online entrepreneurs. As the number of merchants embracing affiliate marketing strategies has increased, new opportunities have been created for Web publishers able to build an audience and effectively promote affiliate offers.
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