3 Affiliate Marketing Myths that Will Cost You Money (If You Believe Them) – Part 3

3 Affiliate Marketing Myths that Will Cost You Money (If You Believe Them) – Part 3


Welcome back to the third and final installment of our three-part series where we focus on three myths commonly associated with affiliate marketing (and do our best to bust them for you).

This post will address Myth #3: Sales won’t be incremental with affiliate marketing.

Look, we get it. As an advertiser, you need to know which marketing channels are driving incremental sales. That’s how you optimize your spend, your partnerships and your entire marketing plan.

But, in order to determine incremental value, it is also vital to determine WHAT actually constitutes incrementality.

Ask three different people and you’ll get three different answers.

Customer journeys are really complex. They also vary from sector to sector. The key is to figure out what your definition of incrementality is, what that means for your business and how you’ll measure that within your affiliate marketing program.

For example, one of the biggest misconceptions about incremental results in marketing is that only new customer sales qualify as incremental ones. But such a metric really depends on a company’s size and brand awareness.

For a small company, a reasonable affiliate program goal would be to have most affiliate-driven customers be new to the brand.

On the other hand, for an established brand like Amazon, affiliates are simply not as likely to drive a large number of new customers. Instead, established companies should look for affiliates that can drive a sale that would not have happened otherwise.

Brands that need to liquidate merchandise are another example. An affiliate program can help them trade margin for new-to-file customers and drive demand on their site.

Reebok used their affiliate program to do just that. They created a temporary outlet store, marked their retail stock down 50 percent and gave their affiliates an additional exclusive discount. The outcome was:

  • A great offer for customers
  • Healthy earnings for affiliates
  • Inventory clearance and a large number of new-to-file customers for Reebok.

The primary reason most brands struggle to measure incrementality is because they are only getting affiliate-centric data from their affiliate management team. In order to determine actual incrementality, marketers ideally need to see data across all marketing channels, affiliate included.

While data from an affiliate network can indicate what happens across that channel, it is only when you incorporate additional channels will you understand the true picture.

The Retail Reality of Affiliate Marketing

If you are a retailer – especially a large retailer (e.g. $5 million+ in online sales) – with an active online presence and you do not have an affiliate program, you are honestly missing out on additional sales and brand awareness opportunities.

Affiliates have long demonstrated that their influence impressively contributes to the overall growth of a company and can represent an important part of a brand’s marketing strategy.

What’s more is that affiliates are creative and can do an amazing job at cultivating strong customer loyalty.



To learn more about where to start with an affiliate marketing program of your own, reach out to our team. We’re here to answer any questions you may have and address any other myths or misperceptions about affiliate marketing.