We Are Living In An Affiliate Marketing World

If Madonna doesn’t start playing in your head when reading that headline, you’re much younger than me. But more importantly, the word "affiliate" should send your mind scrambling as we all try to adeptly learn the ins and outs of affiliate marketing in today’s publishing world.

Affiliate marketing is a payout to affiliates, generally influencers or media that promote your brand or product with a unique link that tracks their contribution to your sales. When a sale is made from their link, they earn a commission, generally 5%-10% of the product cost. You can think about affiliates, also known as publishers, as external salespeople for your brand — they essentially market your product, whether consumer packaged goods, consumer electronics or pretty much anything else you can physically sell.

As a communications executive, the first media outlet I really saw put affiliate deals to works was Wirecutter, a product reviews site that was quick to monetize and today sits within The New York Times Company. This new model was a critical development for publishers because media outlets struggled to make up for declining ad sales. Today, most media outlets have commerce teams that handle their affiliate programs. Transparency is critical, so most publish their terms to explain the separation of editorial content from affiliate programs.

Most influencers also leverage affiliate programs today. They use their personal brand equity and channels to endorse and promote products, with affiliate revenue often representing their largest stream of income.

The adoption of affiliate marketing today is incredible: 81% of brands and 84% of publishers leverage it, with spend increasing 10% a year, expected to reach $6.8 billion in 2020.

Today, an entire industry has popped up to broker affiliate deals, working with both brands and publishers to set up programs, including SkimLinks, CJ Affiliate, Share a Sale and Rakuten. Behemoth Amazon runs its own affiliate program. And while the company recently cut its affiliate rates dramatically, Amazon's sheer size will continue to drive a massive volume of affiliate sales and commissions.

Making Affiliate Marketing Work For Your Brand

As PR practitioners, we are seeing more media connect us to their commerce editors, and more influencers request either that we provide an Amazon link or details of our affiliate program. We also have media tell us who they work with, and we find CJ Affiliate and SkimLinks to be the most common, with CJ claiming Buzzfeed, CNN, Time and Wirecutter as a few of many publishing partners, and SkimLinks claiming Condé Nast, Gizmodo, Hearst and HuffPost.

Brands today should have affiliate programs, and if not, they should make their products available on Amazon. When pitching a product to media, including an Amazon link or an FYI link to the brand’s affiliate program is common practice for PR practitioners.

Marketers should take the time to connect with commerce editors to understand the unique programs and policies for their key outlets. The brave new affiliate world we live in is not going away, and being able to navigate it expertly is critical to a brand’s success.

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Article Resource: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2020/06/05/we-are-living-in-an-affiliate-world/#1ec4f71d32a0

How to Adapt Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy As Consumer Trends Shift?

While consumer behaviour is gradually shifting all of the time, seasonality and current events can also have a dramatic impact on how people shop. And you need to be prepared to adapt your affiliate marketing to account for all of these changes.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected shopping trends in a number of ways. In April of 2020, 30% of all retail sales were made online (ONS), which is the highest percentage we’ve seen so far. It’s also worth noting that certain products have been in higher demand over the last few months and, with people being concerned about the safety of warehouse staff and the logistics of receiving deliveries during this crisis, a lot of consumers are only shopping for essentials. Such changes in consumer behaviour can arise for a whole host of reasons, though, which is why you always need to be ready to change your tact in one way or another.

Here, I’m going to outline just some of the ways you can make it as easy as possible to adapt your approach.

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Get to know your customers:

Overall, the affiliate space can be quite predictable, as a lot of shopping behaviours are determined by seasonality as well as peak times when we know more people are going to be shopping online — on Black Friday or Boxing Day, for example. We also know, for instance, that January is historically the most popular month for booking summer holidays so, as you can imagine, this is always a very important time for travel companies.

While seasonality and peak times might affect your entire industry in a similar way, it’s also important that you understand your typical customers’ shopping behaviours more specifically. The more information you collect about them (within the GDPR guidelines, of course), the better you’ll be at predicting their shopping behaviours.

So, when do they usually visit your site, do they tend to shop in the day or at night, and how long does it take people to convert once they’ve clicked through to your website? It’s also vital that you always know where most of your traffic comes from, whether that’s from influencers’ Instagram stories, voucher sites, or more traditional online media, as this can help to inform how you target potential customers all year round.

Keep an eye on the news and plan accordingly:

As we’ve seen with the coronavirus, certain current events can have a huge effect on people’s shopping habits. For example, in the last few months, the online retail space has seen an increase in demand for certain products, such as food delivery services, lounge-wear, and even toilet roll. So, understandably, we’ve seen affiliate marketing strategies adapt as a result.

As with most areas of digital marketing, though, it’s always best to be ahead of the curve and making changes proactively, rather than reactively, to stay ahead of the competition. This means it’s vital that you keep an eye on the news at all levels, from local, to national, and even globally. For example, when Italy went into lockdown, UK affiliate marketing managers should have been anticipating the same happening here, and thinking about what people in lockdown are going to be looking to buy: comfortable clothing and products to entertain themselves with are just two of the obvious choices.

While most news stories might not have quite as big of an impact on the whole retail space as coronavirus has, different industries are being affected in different ways all of the time. So, it’s vital that affiliate marketing managers are always on the look out for news that might call for a change to their strategies.

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Keep an eye on your stock levels:

Of course, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure your affiliate marketing strategies bag you as many sales as possible, but you also need to ensure you can deliver on these orders quickly to keep customers happy. This means you always need to be aware of what you have in stock, and ensure there’s clear communication between all relevant parties in case any items need to be restocked at short notice. It’s also important that your product feed is always up to date, so you have easy access to all of the information you need, from official product names, to their descriptions and dimensions, as well as their availability.

Affiliate marketing managers should be in constant contact with website or stock managers to ensure every campaign goes off without a hitch, too. This will also help to ensure preparations can be put in place, whether extra stock needs to be ordered or warehouse staff need to be warned, if you expect that demand for a specific type of product is going to go through the roof thanks to your marketing campaigns.

Consumer behaviours are subtly shifting all of the time, but they can also be severely impacted by current events, just like we’ve seen with the coronavirus crisis. Of course, your affiliate marketing strategies always need to adapt to this and, by taking these tips on board, you should be able to change your tack whenever necessary, so you can stay ahead of your competition.

Article Resource: https://www.telemediaonline.co.uk/how-to-adapt-your-affiliate-marketing-strategy-as-consumer-trends-shift/

How to Work with Content Sites in Affiliate Marketing: 5 Factors?

Content partnerships have continued to increase in popularity year over year within affiliate marketing, yet the factors that go into a partner’s decision to work with a brand remain vague to many marketers. Some factors such as brand awareness and consumer reviews might be common knowledge, while aspects like commission thresholds and promotional calendars may not be as obvious. In this piece, we detail the factors that must be considered, and partners to work with throughout the funnel, for marketers to find success through content partnerships.

How can I prepare my brand to work with content sites?
--Brand awareness and size:

Generally speaking, content sites are looking to work with brands that have established their marketing touchpoints and have built a recognizable brand through the use of those touchpoints. The marketing rule of seven touchpoints to conversion continues to reign as king, meaning if a brand has existing digital content that is driving consumers through the buyers’ funnel, content sites are more likely to agree to a partnership. This is important because it increases the probability of a consumer landing on the content partner’s article. To ensure a content partnership fits seamlessly within the conversion funnel, marketers may provide the partner with a promotion to include within the article, enticing the consumer to continue moving towards a purchase.

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If a marketer is new to the affiliate marketing space and doesn’t offer promotions to partners, the likelihood of content sites wanting to write about that brand become slim to none. Content sites need a call to action, and promotions or discounts typically prove to be the best at converting. Therefore, it is highly recommended that brands who are interested in working with content sites provide promotions to offer their readers. In doing so, it draws in greater traffic for the  partner, attracts the consumer, and helps to drive a higher ROI for the marketer.

Commission thresholds:

When looking to onboard content partners, marketers should anticipate the need for flexibility with their commission rates, both on a Cost per Action (CPA) and revshare model. As a general rule of thumb, content sites typically request higher commission rates than mid and lower-funnel partners; this is largely due to the fact that upper-funnel partners are less likely to receive last-click attribution, so a higher commission compensates for potentially not being paid out on the sale, in addition to the level of effort that goes into writing specific branded content. If a brand is not willing to be flexible with commission thresholds, content sites will likely go elsewhere. 

Consumer reviews

Content sites will often consider a brand’s online presence and consumer reviews prior to considering a partnership. Sources such as Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau are crucial to the health of a brand’s online reviews; if sites such as these are touting negative reviews of a brand, content sites will usually avoid that partnership. However, even if a brand’s reviews aren’t exactly stellar, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. 

If a brand is new to the space or needs to boost existing ratings, partnering with review sites like Trustpilot and others can work with brands to create a strategy to increase their ratings. Doing well by consumers generally drives ratings to be positive but it’s imperative for brands to be proactive when it comes to reviews. By establishing regular outreach to consumers post-purchase, brands have the opportunity to catch and remedy poor user experiences before they become negative reviews. 

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Content calendar

Promotional or content calendars are a great way for marketers to entice content partners to write about their brand. By providing the partner with something fresh and newsworthy to write about up-front, marketers remove an extra layer of work for the partner, giving them a leg up on competitors who may not have prepared as thoroughly. Whether it’s a new collaboration, an exciting product launch, or seasonal promotions, content partners appreciate this level of visibility and being able to plan their editorial calendars accordingly. 

Why content partnerships are only a piece of a successful marketing strategy:

Content partners largely serve the purpose of increasing brand awareness and driving consumers into the buyer’s funnel because traditional affiliate programs typically run on a last-click attribution model. However, depending on a marketer’s goals, there are additional attribution models that can be implemented to partner more heavily with content sites. If a marketer is solely working with content partners on a last-click model, the likelihood of their consumers converting is exponentially lower than a marketer who utilizes a holistic approach to performance marketing. It’s a misconception of many marketers that working with content sites will lead directly to customer conversions.

Integrating a full-funnel strategy is essential to driving consumers to convert on a brand’s product or service. By employing mid and lower-funnel partners, such as coupon and loyalty sites, in addition to upper-funnel partners, consumers remain engaged throughout the entire buyers’ journey.

Upper-funnel partnerships like content sites are only the first step in creating a full-funnel performance strategy. By implementing a full-funnel strategy, marketers can put themselves and their affiliate programs in a much stronger position for success.

Article Resource: https://performancein.com/news/2020/06/01/how-to-work-with-content-sites-in-affiliate-marketing/

10 Ways to Make Money with Bitcoin [2020]

Bitcoin is the best performing asset class of the last decade but it is misunderstood making lots of people susceptible to scams. Find out how people are really making money with bitcoin.

Bitcoin is just over 10 years old now and it has taken the world by storm. It has created many overnight millionaires through its various bull runs, the highest value reached at the end of 2017 when it peaked just under $20,000. Due to its complex nature and high profits, it attracts all sorts of people, some who take advantage of other people’s lack of knowledge. Many people have fallen prey to bitcoin scams and ponzi schemes. Therefore, it is important to know what bitcoin is and how you can actually make money from bitcoin.

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. It is the first decentralized digital currency, as the system works without a central bank or single administrator. The network is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary.

Bitcoin achieves this new independence through new technology and a reliance on incredibly complicated mathematical proof – called cryptography.

Since no single administrator is responsible for the maintenance or backing of Bitcoin, transactions issued in Bitcoin are verified and recorded in a public distributed ledger. This public ledger is called a blockchain.

How does Bitcoin work?

A blockchain, as first outlined by the anonymous author Satoshi Nakamoto, is essentially a public ledger that is distributed and maintained by computers all around the world through the internet.

The blockchain instead is a shared public ledger that the entire Bitcoin network relies on. The Blockchain draws its name from its underlying data structure that consists of 1-megabyte files called ‘Blocks’, which are essentially ledgers themselves. Blocks are ‘Chained’ together through a complex mathematical proof.

Simply put, the blockchain is a form of ledger that – rather than being kept by a bank – is instead shared between Bitcoin ‘miners’ and ‘nodes’ around the world.

All network nodes (computers running Bitcoin software) have the potential to access the Blockchain and view authenticated transactions without barriers that prevent access (such as a bank charging for its services in maintaining a transaction history).

The blockchain instead relies on cryptography (the art of writing or solving codes) as its proof, instead of relying on a third party to authenticate and verify all pending transactions before they take place. The process of authenticating pending transactions and collecting them into a block to include in the Blockchain is called “Mining”. This process is performed by members of the Bitcoin community who are called “Miners”.

Mining draws its name from the metaphor that Miners receive Bitcoin as a reward in a similar fashion to how rare commodities, such as gold, are mined from the ground. Miners are computer users with incredibly powerful hardware that solve complex mathematical problems to cryptographically verify a block of transactions, and then connect them to all previous transactions in the Bitcoin network.

Miners serve the Bitcoin community by securing the network. The process of solving the cryptographic proof for a block is extremely resource intensive. By winning the race to mine 1-megabyte ‘blocks’ of transactions, Miners receive a ‘bounty’ or ‘reward’ in Bitcoin. This is also how new Bitcoins are allocated and enter the system.

When transacting in Bitcoin, parties leverage what is called a “Bitcoin Wallet” to exchange denominations in Bitcoin (BTC). Bitcoin Wallets provide their users with both a Public Key (the address from which one sends, or from which one receives Bitcoin) as well as a Private Key.

A Private Key is an incredibly important ‘signature’ for Bitcoin users, which is used to confirm pending transactions by giving a mathematical proof that they originated from the owner of the wallet in question.

When a user wishes to transact in Bitcoin, their intention is signaled on the Blockchain by submitting a transaction signed with the user’s private key. The Bitcoin network then validates the transaction by checking that the to and from addresses are valid, that the private key is valid, and that it has access to enough funds to perform the transaction. The transaction is usually confirmed on the network within the following ten minutes.

Bitcoin, as a financial system, is designed to self-regulate. A malicious transaction requires so much computation (and thus electricity) that in almost all cases it is more profitable to use that same compute power to secure the network instead and collect the block reward. This is what prevents actors from attacking the network and preserves the Blockchain from recording malicious or fraudulent entries.

Users around the world can either obtain Bitcoin as a reward for mining and securing the network, receive the cryptocurrency as a gift or as tender for services rendered, or can buy Bitcoin from an online currency exchange of their choice.

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As with the emergence of any new technology, several misconceptions surround Bitcoin that do not accurately describe how the Bitcoin network (or cryptocurrencies in general) operate.

Despite popular rumour, it is not feasible to ‘hack’ the Bitcoin network and fraudulently create or issue Bitcoins; this would require the ‘consensus’ of every single node around the world to do. Similarly to how one’s physical wallet might be stolen with currency inside, however, Bitcoin Wallets may have various vulnerabilities depending on their issuer and origin and Wallets themselves can be attacked.

Transacting parties are pseudonymous, as the Blockchain does not illustrate the names of parties but instead provides a random list of numbers and letters to depict transacting parties.

Whereas one might rely on a bank to secure the privacy of one’s bank account (a private ledger), all computers on the Bitcoin network have the potential to view the Blockchain and can usually see each Wallet’s balance.

Further, all transactions are further visible on the Bitcoin network. Even though the names of transacting parties are not disclosed on the network when exchanging Bitcoin, sophisticated analysis of the blockchain could allow third parties to trace flows through the network.

The future of money?

Bitcoin offers an amazing alternative to the traditional banking system, relies on immutable mathematical proof for its foundation, and for the first time in human history offers a decentralized currency where trust between two parties can be scaled to the level where a global community has equal access to a global monetary system that is natively digital.

Bitcoin’s success will, in the future, be determined by how many people and markets around the world are prepared to accept it as a de-facto digital currency, and how banks and other regulators around the world might perceive the Bitcoin network as a threat to their sovereignty and very existence.

How to make money with Bitcoin

HODLing – Buy and Hold

Buy bitcoin from a cryptocurrency exchange and HODL until a future date when its value has risen significantly. The term HODL came about when a trader misspelled the word hold in a bitcoin forum when he meant to say he will hold his profits instead of selling. HODLing is a form of long term bitcoin investment where you buy now without the intention of selling in the near future and bet on the currencies long term value.

Bitcoin trading

Bitcoin trading is buying and selling on advanced cryptocurrency exchanges using trading charts similar to forex trading to try and forecast price movements caused by external factors in the market such as events such as the bitcoin halving, regulation and industry news. Using techniques such as sentiment, technical and fundamental analysis to help with trading decisions.

Bitcoin Arbitrage 

Arbitrage trading is when one buys bitcoin for a low price at the cheapest exchange and then sells it at a higher price on another exchange. The arbitrage trader takes advantage of price differences between different exchanges to make a quick low-risk profit.

Bitcoin futures trading

Bitcoin futures allows traders to speculate on the price of bitcoin without actually owning any bitcoin. It’s betting long or short against the price of bitcoin over a specified period. Bitcoin futures contracts work in the same way as futures contracts for traditional financial assets.

Bitcoin Solo Mining

 You can be a solo-miner if you have set up your own bitcoin miner. This is a difficult way to mine as it may take longer to generate blocks depending on your equipment as you need massive hashrates.<hr.

Bitcoin mining pools

 A bitcoin mining pool is when bitcoin miners join forces to increase hashing power so that they generate blocks quicker as difficulty increases. By pooling their resources they generate blocks at a faster rate and the rewards are divided according to contributions.

Bitcoin cloud mining 

You sign a contract to hire mining equipment in a remote location for a specified amount of time. The mining happens remotely in locations where it is affordable to mine cryptocurrencies. You do not have to deal with buying hardware, setting up, running costs which include electricity costs, heat and noise generated by fans.  By investing you get daily payouts that are based on your investment without actually mining directly.

Bitcoin Network Marketing

There has been a rise in companies that offer bitcoin mining investment via a structure where people get referral commissions. They claim to combine cryptocurrencies and network marketing. A typical bitcoin mining network marketing company requires you to buy a contract for bitcoin mining similar to cloud mining and then you start earning dividends the amount depending on which package you buy. The network marketing side of things comes in via a scheme where you get bonuses and commissions from all the people that you refer to the particular Bitcoin network marketing network. One such network is Mining City.

Bitcoin affiliate programs 

Cryptocurrency companies payout rewards in bitcoin for people who refer new customers to their businesses. This is very common in cryptocurrency exchanges to have affiliate programs that their customers share via social media to attract other users. E.g you join a bitcoin affiliate program and then create youtube videos about the product with the affiliate link in the description and you get paid for everyone who signs up through your link.

Bitcoin faucets 

Bitcoin faucets are sites that pay you in Satoshis ( the smallest fraction of a bitcoin, 0.00000001 BTC) to complete simple tasks like watching videos, clicking ads, downloading apps and completing surveys.

Now you know a little more about what bitcoin is and how people are making money using bitcoin.

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