What is Affiliate Marketing? How Does It Work?

What is Affiliate Marketing? How Does It Work?

Affiliate marketing is a fairly recent marketing strategy, one that has gained momentum in this digital age. It is a performance-based marketing technique in which a business rewards its affiliates for every visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

Affiliate marketing is the perfect home business as it does not require any investment for a startup. Affiliates don’t have to produce, stock, ship product inventory, or deliver any service. They are paid for referring new clients and customers to other businesses.

How Does It Work?

Affiliate marketing for a retailer works by revenue sharing. e.g., if you have a product and want to increase sales, you can offer promoters a financial incentive through an affiliate program. They shall promote your product and receive money for it too. It is, thus, an extremely simple strategy that boosts visibility/sales of your product.

Affiliate marketing for a publisher (an affiliate) works as described further. If you’re an affiliate, you will be promoting a product that you feel has a potential to attract customers. Then according to your affiliate program, you earn an income from it as an affiliate marketer. e.g., many affiliate networks offer a 60-day cookie period, in which if a visitor uses your special affiliate link to reach to the sales page of the site and buys something within the next 60 days, you will receive your corresponding commission. Others pay you every time someone clicks the link to the products’ sale page through your site.

Structure of an Affiliate Marketing System

A majority of websites quote three main elements of an affiliate marketing system, while some sources cite four. Here we shall discuss the four elements, as it will help us better understand this system.

The merchant or the retailer: They will be the ones who provide the product or service in question.

The network: The network is the system which includes the offers and payment structure for the affiliates to choose from.

The publisher or the affiliate: The affiliate is the person who promotes the product. They need not have any association with the product.

The customer or consumer: The person who will/might buy the product that is being promoted.

Affiliate Marketing Statistics

Now, let’s discuss how affiliate marketing has grown over the years.

The chart below (by Business Insider) shows the percentage of total coverage by various marketing outlets in the years of 2014 and 2015. As it is evident in the chart, affiliate marketing consisted of a huge portion, which increased substantially from 2014 to 2015.

The information on the chart collected from various sources, tells us about the different services and products covered by affiliate marketing, and what percentage of the total market they hold.Affiliate Marketing

The chart given above shows data collected from various sources, indicating the amount (or percentage amount) paid by merchants to their corresponding affiliates.

How Can We Make Money Through Affiliate Marketing?

To make money through affiliate marketing, start right by learning about affiliate marketing and the steps required to be successful. Choose only quality affiliate products and services. In fact, consider buying them yourself so you can attest to their quality. You’ll be judged by the product/services you promote, so don’t just focus on the income, but also on the quality.

Research on different programs available, so that you understand how and when you’re paid. Choose affiliate items that match your niche or the content on your website or blog.

For instance, if you write about books, affiliate links to sports gear or a new set of cutlery won’t do too well. The traffic on your site is more likely to be interested in items related to the content of that website.

Once you choose and join an affiliate program, you can start your marketing game. Try not to overwhelm your visitors. In-content, affiliate links usually have the best click-through rates over image links.

Consider using a lead page and funnel system to market your affiliate business. You can lure potential customers to your email list with a great free offer and from there you can send them to your affiliate product page. You can then offer them free content and more affiliate offers.

Make sure to monitor the success of your affiliate programs, particularly if you are either managing several programs, or are also using other ad types for making money, such as Google AdSense. Lack of clarity or confusion can lead to a loss.

Interested? Well, keep reading! Provided below are the most popular affiliate programs in India.

Popular Affiliate Networks in India

Flipkart Affiliate Program

Flipkart is top e-Commerce websites in India, and they offer an in-house affiliate program. The program is quite beneficial as it offers good commission, along with a lot of affiliate tools for promoting Flipkart products.

Amazon India Affiliate Program

Just like Flipkart is India’s biggest online vendor, Amazon too is the biggest global online vendor. Amazon India has also started its own affiliate program known as Amazon Associates which is also available in India. They provide their affiliates with a lot of promotion tools and good commissions.

Click here for the difference between display advertising and affiliate marketing.

Top Indian Affiliate Networks


vCommission is a very popular Indian affiliate network. Interested people will find a plethora of affiliate offers with them, including pay per view, per click, per item sold. Payment is sent directly to the bank account. Established in 2008, vCommission is now one of the top Indian affiliate networks.

3.14 Digital

3.14 Digital, an advanced Indian ad-tech and performance marketing affiliate ad network, works with more than 5000 active publishers on desktop and mobile globally. They work on all models of CPL, CPS, CPA, CPV and deliver quality. Their network is capable of delivering over five billion impressions every month.


Komli, established in 2006, is another popular affiliate network in India. Countless offers are available to Komli affiliates, with the usual pay-per-view, per click, per item sold etc., among others.

Admitad India

Admitad is a German-based affiliate network. Their Indian branch was launched in India in 2015. It offers plenty of pay-per-action affiliate programs, thus helping advertisers to get reliable sources of sales and publishers with new business models for monetizing traffic.

They are currently working with over thousand leading advertising brands, and their affiliate network has grown to nearly half a million active publishers. Affiliates gain the advantage in terms of great offers, high conversion rate, and numerous attractive advertiser deals. Indian publishers can also promote global campaigns. Their payment is distributed weekly, which means faster payment than other networks.


iCubeswire is an affiliate network by Quotient Four Technologies. Their headquarter is in Bangalore. It is one of the fastest growing affiliate networks in India. Interested candidates will find plenty of pay per view or pay per action offers, in association with reputed brands like Flipkart, Amazon, etc. Their payment comes monthly or bi-monthly.


Another fast growing affiliate network in India is PayOOM, offers plenty of offers of reputed brands. They offer great support and timely payouts to their affiliates.


Tyroo offers various affiliate offers like pay-per-view, pay-per-click, pay-per-action, etc. Tyroo has a lot of top affiliate offers from various merchants.

DGM India

DGM is also another fastest growing Indian affiliate network. They have great advertiser affiliate offers.


Optimise, formerly known as OMG, is a reputed international performance marketing network.

It provides plenty of Affiliate, Mobile, and Reward Solutions to a lot of brands all across the globe, as partners, advertisers, and publishers, to drive greater volume and value of sales, market-leading technology, leads to a high return of investment.


AdUncle is another affiliate network that has been growing recently. They have a lot of Indian and International affiliate offers.


ShareASale has been providing marketing solutions to plenty of merchants for the past 16 years. It uses advanced and efficient techniques to deliver complete satisfaction to advertisers and publishers. They have a well-earned reputation and offer various high paying affiliate offers. For Indian publishers and partners, they pay directly into their bank account.


clixGalore is a reputed international affiliate network, although their affiliate network is also dedicated to the Indian market. On clixGalore, publishers can find both Indian and international affiliate offers. Payment will be received in Indian Rupees.

Thus, it can be said that affiliate marketing has huge prospects in India, as the Indian market is growing leaps and bounds. With the above-mentioned benefits, it makes a lot of sense for people to be attracted to these programs. With so many networks to choose from, the market offers great value to both merchants and publishers. Take your time to choose the best.

Click here for more Indian Affiliate Network.

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