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How Affiliate Marketing Is Disrupting Traditional Advertising Strategies

For decades, traditional advertising strategies like print ads, billboards, and television ads were the pinnacle of brand building and lead generation. However, the era of traditional advertising is rapidly coming to a close.

By the end of 2023, global spending on traditional advertising is projected to amount to $306 billion. While that figure appears significant, it represents a meager increase of just 0.7% compared to 2022. Comparatively, global digital marketing spend will reach $626 billion by year’s end, which is an increase of 10.5%.

While all forms of digital advertising are disrupting traditional advertising strategies, affiliate marketing has played a particularly important role in this paradigm shift.


How affiliate marketing works

Affiliate marketing, while often referred to as a “channel,” is really a model or framework that makes it possible for brands to partner with individuals or companies on a performance basis while tracking and measuring outcomes in a cost-effective and scalable way.

Affiliates (also known as publishers) are marketing partners who work to deliver desired actions to brands. What makes affiliate marketing unique is that your affiliate partner is paid after driving an agreed-upon action (such as a sale, lead, new customer, etc.).

In other words, you’re only paying for actual outcomes.

You can work with all sorts of affiliates, from social media influencers to review sites to third-party online stores. Diversifying your program to include multiple types of partners is the best way to drive measurable results for your business.

Acceleration Partners (AP) has used this diversified approach to help countless clients achieve more value from their partnership programs.

For instance, AP worked with Best Western GB to help it acquire and activate several new affiliate partners. These new partnerships yielded a 466% increase in traffic and a 261% increase in revenue from the client’s target customer demographic.

In another example, AP took an innovative approach to driving in-store sales through the affiliate channel by leveraging a card-linked offer partner to engage F.Hinds’ target audience, resulting in 198% increase in total program revenue with 140% ROAS achieved.


How affiliate marketing is disrupting traditional advertising

While there are a multitude of differences between affiliate and traditional marketing, we want to focus on one key disparity: Traditional advertising is not an outcome-based marketing strategy, which means that you pay for ads whether they produce results or not.

Conversely, affiliates are only compensated if they complete the requested action, such as generating a lead or driving a sale.

Recent economic uncertainty has contributed to the shift away from traditional advertising in favor of affiliate marketing. Using an outcomes-based approach to marketing allows businesses to cut back on advertising spending without shrinking their online presence or sacrificing business growth.

Since affiliate marketing is outcome-based, brands can enjoy a better return on their investment and eliminate wasteful spending in their advertising AND digital marketing budgets. In fact, leading brands generate as much as 30% of their online revenue from affiliate partnerships.

Affiliate marketing possesses the remarkable ability to conform to diverse marketing strategies, accommodating any approach that rewards partners based on desired actions.

Through an affiliate program, brands can:

  • Run varied campaigns such as email, influencer, paid search, and more
  • Leverage non-traditional partnerships, like influencers, to efficiently target audiences on social platforms
  • Benefit from a more cost-effective approach compared to traditional paid marketing and advertising channels
  • Enjoy the flexibility to set budgets based on performance and maximize return on investment

Additionally, affiliate marketing provides a much better return on ad spend (ROAS) than TV-based advertising. According to Statista, businesses earn $6.50 for every dollar spent on TV advertising.

The ROAS for affiliate marketing is nearly double, with an average return of $12 for each dollar spent.


Looking to the future

Over the next decade, spending on traditional advertising will continue to slow. It even has the potential to decline.

On the other hand, businesses across all industries will continue to expand their digital marketing efforts. Affiliate marketing will likely be center stage, as this highly effective marketing channel provides a strong ROAS, reduces waste, and yields long-term results.

If you want to capitalize on this trend and get more out of your marketing dollars, you should consider implementing an affiliate marketing program. It’s also crucial to leverage the expertise of an affiliate and partnership marketing agency like Acceleration Partners.

Tap into AP’s wealth of knowledge and experience in managing diverse affiliate programs. Whether you’re looking to drive sales, leads, or new customers, AP can help you maximize measurable results through a cost-effective and scalable channel.


Ready to embrace the future of marketing and unlock the power of affiliate partnerships?
Let’s connect!