Affiliate Marketing

In online marketing, the term affiliate marketing (also called partner program or partner marketing) describes a sales concept in which an affiliate (also called publisher) advertises products or services of an advertiser (also called merchant) on its website in return for a commission.


The affiliate as the website operator therefore integrates the merchant’s offer on his website, e.g. in the form of banners or links. These advertising media are provided with a unique affiliate code so that the registration and exact allocation of the conversions to the affiliate is ensured and consequently a correct payment of the commission is guaranteed.


A characteristic feature of affiliate marketing is the performance-related remuneration in the form of a commission, which the merchant pays to the publisher only after a measurable success.


The remuneration can be based on the following accounting models, among others:


  • Cost per click (CPC): The advertiser pays a commission to the affiliate if the user clicks on the advertising medium that has been placed.
  • Cost per lead (CPL): With this model, a commission is paid to the affiliate as soon as a contact address has been acquired. Leads also include, for example, newsletter subscriptions.
  • Cost per sale (CPS): Here the advertiser pays a commission if the user makes an actual purchase following the click on the ad.


Affiliate marketing offers clear advantages for both parties. The advertiser can use the reach and traffic of the affiliate and acquire new customers, while the affiliate benefits from the commissions.


Another party is the affiliate network, which acts as an interface between affiliates and advertisers. These networks provide support in contacting suitable and relevant affiliates, in the technical implementation and in tracking the success of the campaigns.

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See also: Search Engine Advertising