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Is Affiliate Marketing the Same as Performance Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is both a term that is interchangeable with Performance Marketing, and a piece of a larger “performance marketing” umbrella, which includes Influencer Marketing, Email Marketing, Search Marketing, and any other form of marketing where the marketing partner exchanges sales (or completed desired actions) for commission payouts.

In this model, the most valuable KPIs are credited and paid out based on defined performance metrics.

“Affiliate Marketing” is the term that originated before Performance Marketing, and is still used today. However, over the years it has become a term that implies a much larger picture of performance-based marketing outside of traditional coupon and loyalty partnerships to include social influencers, native advertisers, mobile app developers, geo-targeting paid search partners, email marketers, and more.

Affiliate Marketing, as it sounds, is affiliated brand and product marketing, which has grown into a more innovative, dedicated performance-based strategy that has become a driving force to incremental sales, new customer acquisitions, market expansion, customer segmentation targeting, and high ROI campaigns.

“Performance Marketing”, which includes the more traditional “affiliate marketing” that is historically known for driving sales through cashback and coupon sites alone, has become so much more over the past few years.

Writing an article about a new product or company that can be shared through different content channels, such as a personal blog, or showcasing a product review or lifestyle image on Instagram or YouTube are now examples of the evolution of affiliate marketing to “Performance Marketing” over the years.

Technology has allowed apps to recommend other products to buyers within other apps and earn a commission on those transactions.

Conversation optimization tools, influencers with large mailing lists, and even plug-ins that create a completely personalized shopping experience for buyers whilst charging only once the sale is complete are all examples of how Performance Marketing works today.

This new way of marketing based on performance across device, both online and offline, and across different marketing channels opens a world of marketing exposure and value that no brand, advertiser or merchant can accomplish anywhere else.

Budgets often become limited at some point and internal marketing channels may compete for that budget, so with affiliate marketing, the budget cap becomes non-existent and brings a lift in reach, engagement, and conversation beyond what a brand can afford to advertise for themselves.

Performance Marketing as a strategy results in merchants getting additional brand and product exposure at no additional cost, with the added benefit of generally higher consumer engagements, higher conversion rates, higher average order sizes (basket values) and third-party endorsements, – all leading to sales, brand loyalty and increased buyer retention.

So, while Affiliate Marketing and Performance Marketing technically seem like the same thing, there’s a different approach to each, and Performance Marketing today includes so much more.

Performance Marketing is Affiliate Marketing at scale, and with new partnerships and new technology being enjoyed as part of the Performance Marketing mix.

In sort, both terms result in some type of bounty, commission or kickback to the affiliate or affiliated partner for the referral or sale based at the end of the day.

content originally ran in BigCommerce by Sarah Bundy

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