Affiliate Marketing Vs Influencer Marketing: Deciding on the Best Strategy

Businesses and brands always seek effective ways to promote their products and services. In the modern era, marketers leverage affiliate and influencer marketing to bring results. Entrepreneurs apply these strategies to connect with their target audiences and boost their conversions. But which strategy is better in affiliate marketing vs influencer marketing?

In this article, we will discuss both strategies and help you choose the right one for your unique goals.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing refers to collaboration with a content creator and offering them a commission on sales.

The brand gives unique links to the affiliates and offers them a commission on sales from those links. The affiliates are usually bloggers, content creators, or celebrities who promote a business’s products and services. This kind of promotional activity aims to leverage the reach of affiliates with a broad network of followers.

Affiliate Marketing revolves around engaging a wider range of partners to generate sales. It is a cost-effective way to market the products and services when you pay only in case of a tangible outcome.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Understanding affiliate marketing is critical to deciding affiliate marketing vs influencer marketing. Affiliate Marketing operates by distributing product marketing roles and creation among multiple parties. This collaborative approach involves three key parties:

1.     Manufacturers or Sellers

The cycle starts with a seller or a manufacturer. The product could range from tangible items like household goods to intangible services like makeup tutorials. The seller does not participate in marketing directly but can advertise or employ affiliate websites to promote his products.

2.     The Affiliate or Publisher

The affiliate, also called a publisher, is a person or a company that is involved in advertising and promoting the product. The affiliates market the product or service through social media platforms and blogs. The affiliate’s role is to showcase the product, demonstrate its value to potential customers, and persuade them to make a purchase. As soon as the customer purchases the product, the affiliate receives a percentage of the promised commission.

3.     The Consumer

Affiliates provide links to the merchant’s website in their content, and the consumer purchases through the provided link. However, disclosing that the affiliate earns a commission from the product sale is important. The affiliate adds a disclaimer, “The products promoted in the content were provided to me by Company X.”

Pros of Affiliate Marketing


Adopting an affiliate marketing approach is a cost-effective method of promoting the products. The seller or the manufacturer only has to pay the affiliate when they bring sales.


Whether it is a startup or a large-scale business, you can increase your reach by expanding the network of affiliates. It allows global reach and access to diverse potential customers through the affiliate’s audience. 


In the affiliate marketing model, the marketing cost depends upon the sales generated. So, there is absolutely no risk and no worries about investing without any gain. 

Targeted Traffic

Moreover, affiliate marketing allows you to target a unique audience by selecting the right content creator. Leverage the blogger or social media user’s audience to get conversions.

Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Competitive Landscape

Affiliate marketing is not easy. It is quite difficult to persuade someone to purchase in a highly competitive market. Your product must have a unique selling point because many others also sell the same product in the marketplace.


The affiliate program is time-consuming as it is quite difficult to find top affiliate marketing influencers. Furthermore, it takes a lot of struggle as well as time to reach the targeted goals.


The estimated profit is not guaranteed because affiliates are not bound to sell the products or services. Thus, you cannot be certain that you will make a particular number of sales.

Next, let us tell you about influencer marketing when discussing affiliate marketing vs influencer marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a collaborative approach where a brand collaborates with individuals called influencers. Influencers are those people who have a considerable following on social media within a specific niche. The influencers have the power to sway or change the opinion of their audience. The companies partner with the influencers to promote their products and services. These influencers reach the targeted audience through authentic and relatable content that helps persuade the potential consumer to buy.

In this model, influencers either receive a predetermined flat fee, a PR package, or a share of revenue generated from sales driven by their efforts. Some brands also offer performance-based bonuses besides the base pay to reward them for achieving the desired conversion rate. Payment arrangements depend upon various factors, including the influencer’s niche, following, engagement rate & the brand’s budget.  

How Does Influencer Marketing Work?

The journey starts with identifying the right influencers for your marketing campaign because influencers play a crucial role in influencer marketing. 

To narrow down the list, you must first establish your consumer or persona. Recognize who you are targeting, their interests, and the existing products or services they use. Also, identify the channels or medium they use to buy those products or services.  

Now, you can easily distinguish the right influencers that have the authority over the product’s niche and the credibility among the consumers. After choosing the right influencer, determine the content you want them to share with the audience.

Pros of Influencer Marketing


Influencer marketing is cheaper than other traditional advertising and marketing techniques. Companies use micro-influencers to cut off unnecessary advertising costs while getting better ROI.

Increase Brand Awareness

Influencers increase your brand awareness among their followers. They create authentic content featuring your products or services and establish social proof. Thus, Influencer marketing for startups, especially, can be quite beneficial to improve brand awareness.   

Long-term Relationship

Brands usually do not hire influencers for a one-off campaign or a limited time. It’s a long-time partnership where influencers serve to be the brand ambassadors. It creates credibility and trust among the public and saves cost, time, and struggle in the long run.

Boosts ROI

Influencer marketing helps small businesses grow and enables big brands to attract more customers. It gives businesses more visibility and consequently improves ROI.

The Big Question: Affiliate Marketing Vs. Influencer Marketing?

Marketers often find themselves choosing between affiliate and influencer marketing. Some also wonder, “Are influencers affiliate marketing?”

 If you think, in a way, affiliate marketing is also influencer marketing. Choosing top affiliate marketing influencers can help you bring sales. People only buy from affiliate links when they trust the affiliate. So, the affiliate can influence their purchase decision and initiate action.

Eventually, the choice between affiliate and influencer marketing comes down to your target audience. If your target audience prefers blogs over vlogs, affiliate marketing is a more suitable choice. While some social media influencers also use affiliate links, the market is not as big.

Social media influencers instead rely on photo and video content to connect to their audience. They leverage the same mediums to promote your products through influencer marketing.

Moreover, affiliate marketing is more suitable for ecommerce businesses but not restricted to them only. On the other hand, all businesses can find a suitable influencer in their niche to display their products through visuals directly. While most influencers require an upfront payment or PR package, affiliate marketing saves you that money. However, you must offer a percentage of the sales by the link to the influencer.

So, pick what suits you the best!

If you’re still confused about the kind of marketing to choose for your business, our experts could help. Connect to us for free consultation to market and advertise your business.


Are influencers affiliate marketing?

Yes, Influencers often use affiliate marketing. They share affiliate links to their Instagram stories or in their YouTube videos. These links redirect the user to the merchant’s website. When the person purchases through the link, the influencer receives a commission.

What platform is most used for influencer marketing?

Influencers use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, TikTok, or YouTube. But the most popular among them is Instagram. 90% of influencers actively use Instagram to market their products and services. Marketers also prefer Instagram for influencer marketing. 

What is the highest-paying affiliate niche?

Technology is the highest-paying affiliate marketing niche. Other popular niches include health and fitness, personal finance, education and e-learning, and travel and adventure.

What is better than influencer marketing?

The debate of affiliate marketing vs influencer marketing concludes that influencers are very effective in building credibility & trust in the market. So, influencer marketing is a considerably successful marketing approach compared to traditional marketing techniques. 89% of marketers agree that the ROI generated from influencer marketing is greater than that of other marketing tactics.

Is TikTok an affiliate marketing?

TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms. Affiliate marketers use TikTok to promote products and earn commissions through it. The affiliate or the publisher adds a link to his profile bio, promotes discount codes in the content, and redirects traffic to the merchant’s website.

What are the 3 main types of affiliates?

The three major types of affiliate marketing are unattached affiliate marketing, involved affiliate marketing, and related affiliate marketing. Unattached affiliate marketing means the publisher has no information about or authority on the product. However, related affiliate marketing involves those affiliates who have enough influence. In involved affiliate marketing, the affiliates make recommendations and take responsibility if a problem arises from the offering.





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