INFLUENCER MARKETING VS. AFFILIATE MARKETING
What’s the difference between a square and a rectangle? Well, sometimes there’s no difference but in most cases there’s a meaningful clear difference.
Welcome to Influencer Marketing vs. Affiliate Marketing 101, class. I suppose we should also cover Influencer vs. Celebrity as well...so buckle up because we’ve got a lot to cover and you don’t have much time.
Influencer marketing is working with a content creator who has an audience and domain expertise in a particular area. The domain expertise doesn't have to be something technical like mathematics or engineering -- just an area where the creator's audience deems them as credible. The creator can get paid through any number of ways: a flat fee, based on the number of views or impressions, number of conversions, or some combination of all of the above.
MEASUREMENT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
In general, influencer marketing is a full-funnel program -- meaning that there is value created across awareness, consideration, and conversion. A trusted voice advocating for a brand has value -- and many times creators feel disrespected if a brand values their voice communicating to their audience at $0 without a purchase. Do we agree? Hell yes we do. There is value in this type of communication, but sometimes brands just aren’t set up to measure it. This is a measurement problem not a problem in the value a creator delivers.
Affiliate marketing is when someone or some company is paid a fee when some action (usually a purchase) is taken using an identifiable link. And while creators do regularly put out links to help measure traffic and sales that are attributable to their advocacy, studies indicate that what’s attributable from link traffic only represents ~20% of site traffic and 25% of sales.
To simplify, affiliate marketing is paying someone for traffic or sales whereas influencer marketing is paying a creator for advocacy -- with traffic and sales being a subset of this but certainly not the entirety of the value.
THIS LEADS US TO OUR FINAL THOUGHT:
INFLUENCER VS CELEBRITY
Keeping this brief: Celebrities are individuals that are known by many people. Influencers are creators that are trusted by an inner circle. There’s a big difference between knowing someone and having someone in your inner circle. There’s lots of ways in which psychology plays a role in terms of why influencer marketing is so successful but it starts and ends with trust between a creator and their audience.