Difference Between Digital Marketing and Affiliate Marketing

Difference Between Digital Marketing and Affiliate Marketing

Is there a difference between Digital Marketing and Affiliate Marketing?

Yes, there is.

Though Affiliate marketing falls under the umbrella of Digital Marketing, it differs from digital marketing. In short, affiliate marketing is quasi-digital marketing. We can press the Affiliate Marketing business into action by leveraging digital channels. Apart from this, there is also the option of doing it offline.

Offline affiliate marketing differs from digital marketing, wherein one can get in on offline activities such as floating banners and pamphlets, printing, and dispensing business cards, displaying posters, and using classified ads. It also includes traditional word-of-mouth marketing tactics. These ensure returns in a flash and are easy to come by while selling physical products.

In the case of Digital Products, Online Affiliate Marketing using digital tools are up for grabs. If your target audience is local, offline affiliate marketing will always be a good choice.

However, Affiliate Marketing practices using digital mediums go a long way in building long-term relationships with your customers.

Scope of Digital Marketing:

Digital Marketing has shaken things up in the Marketing world. The marketing scenario has morphed into smart marketing and has turned into a full-blown business with the advent of technology. We have radicalized it to the hilt.

While we do not limit the gamut of digital marketing to one aspect, it includes an eclectic mix of approaches like Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, blogging, Google Ads, and Search Engine Optimization. Some other forms include Event Marketing, running a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaign, Content Marketing, and influencer marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

Using digital channels to promote your products and services is called digital marketing. They are primarily smartphones, laptops, desktop computers, emails, tablets, phablets, and the Internet. These channels are making a noise in the current market and are blossoming at light speed levels.

These channels employ digital materials like blogs, social media posts, images, and videos, and are off to the races via online advertising. In this way, they tout their platforms and earn moolah.

History of Digital Marketing:

The provenance of digital marketing dates back to the era when the Internet came into effect. Before the Internet, we did not find digital marketing under the sun. In the 1990s, phrases like the Internet and Web 1.0 platforms saw the light of day.

It was till 1994 that we saw the digital era in a toned-down manner. Come 1994, the use of the first clickable banner went live, and the click-through rate of banners stood out at a whopping rate of 44%.

Soon, Yahoo emerged as a formidable search engine. With its clocking success, in a similar vein, more and more search engines became rampant around 1996. It resulted in the optimization of websites to rank higher in search engines.

With Google entered the space in 1998, this invigorated the powers of the Internet. In 2000, social media networking and SEO practices turned the tide in favor of digital marketing against traditional offline marketing practices. It unleashed the power of the Internet at the outset of these social media platforms. Internet and social media platforms joined forces and began to bigfoot the entire industry and every generation.

Why is Digital Marketing Sine-Qua-Non?

In the present scenario, digital marketing is indispensable for expanding business, promoting brands, getting your mitts on new customers, and retaining existing customers. Digital Marketing practices have also clipped the marketing cost at colossal levels.

Digital marketers build up their brands by increasing their awareness across platforms and devices to top up sales. By doubling down on online marketing efforts, brands gain better visibility and tap onto new customers across geographies and generations. They reinforce their marketing strategy by outreaching different customers.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a commission-based practice wherein advertisers or brands close ranks with third-party affiliates or publishers.

These affiliates publicize the advertiser's brands to generate leads and sales. The company can generate leads if a user goes through the process of making a purchase, subscribing, filling out a form, signing in, or downloading something.

In return for these user actions, advertisers pay a commission to affiliates. These affiliate partners latched onto affiliate marketing programs like email marketing, coupon programs, content marketing, loyalty portals, blogs and websites, review-site programs, and incentive programs to effect-in a sale.

Affiliates also use their social media handles and websites to promote product-related links. By this, they earn a passive income when someone clicks on the link and purchases products through the company’s website.

Statistics surrounding Affiliate Marketing:

Affiliate marketing has become a thing in eCommerce, the financial sector, iGaming, fintech companies, health and fitness, manufacturing, big Commerce, etc.

We have appraised that affiliate marketing will accrue a global value of $12 billion by the end of 2022. An average of 20 percent of all online sales in India happen through affiliate marketing.

One can valorize the sum in the US to $8.2 billion approximately in 2022. From only $2.5 billion in 2012, the spending for affiliate marketing has continued to balloon year by year, which suggests that more businesses are relying on affiliate marketing in their campaigns.

A Perfect Synergy Between Advertisers and Affiliates:

This marketing practice results in a symbiotic relationship between the company and the affiliates as they mutually rake in an income from this collaboration. With the help of affiliates, brands, and advertisers with something to market can accomplish their goal.

Advertisers need not have to take pains in promoting the product by themselves, and it saves their time and effort. This way, brands get exposure, advertisers get business, and affiliates are duly-rewarded.

Thus, advertisers are riding on the wave of affiliates in this process. Affiliates use their contact list or their list of websites to promulgate the products for advertisers.

The commission rates are negotiated beforehand between the affiliates and advertisers for the payment made for every action or click.

Incentives paid to affiliates motivate them to pitch the advertiser’s business, create leads, sell products, and earn revenue.

Skill-Set Required for an Affiliate Marketer:

These affiliates can be anyone from influencers to bloggers or individual entities or businesses. In most occurrences, these affiliates stick to their niche while doing affiliate marketing. However, one must learn the ropes of digital marketing and blog writing.

Learning the nuts and bolts of digital marketing will lay the groundwork for your business. Digital Marketing makes the affiliates cognizant of how to plug in their business online and how to direct quality traffic to their website by ranking high on Google Search Engine Result Pages. To hike their business as a pro blogger, they must invest in getting a domain name and do website hosting.

They can also enroll in online B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer) Affiliate programs. These days social media handles spawning businesses of various niches. One can flag off with social media channels like Facebook Marketplace and open an online store. One can also register on paid Facebook Business pages. One may open marketplaces on e-commerce shopping portals like Shopify to be an affiliate marketer.

Entities Involved in Affiliate Marketing:

Thus, to round up, there are four entities to Affiliate Marketing which are namely:

  1. Affiliates/Publishers/Influencers/Bloggers/Third Party Marketers:- A company or individual promoting the advertiser’s products or services.

  2. Advertisers/Merchants/Brands:- who sells the products that affiliates pitch in.

  3. Customer/User:- A customer or an end user is a person who purchases a product through an affiliate. Advertisers and affiliates collaborate to connect advertisers with the affiliate’s audience to convert potential audiences to customers.

  4. Affiliate Network:- An intermediary who meddles between an affiliate and an advertiser’s affiliate program. An affiliate network is optional but has a significant role to play. They help in managing affiliates from the ground up. It includes tracking, reporting, or managing their remuneration. Affiliate Networks facilitate third-party checks and inspections to remove fraudulent practices in the business. They also protect advertisers by connecting them with the right audience.

Differences Between Digital Marketing and Affiliate Marketing

While we have briefed you on the basics of Digital Marketing and Affiliate Marketing, it is time to elucidate the differences between these marketing styles.

A. Who Does the Work?

Companies use digital channels and online marketing extensively to market their brands through digital marketing.

However, in the Affiliate Marketing scenario, there is a formal engagement of Affiliates selling the company’s products. Here, advertisers or their companies do not participate in the promotion of business products.

B. What is the scope?

Digital Marketing is a sweeping concept that is a potpourri of marketing practices. However, the sole purpose of their work has never been to earn a commission.

In contrast, Affiliate Marketing is a subset of Digital Marketing that deals with commissions/incentives and rewards. Their main highlight centers around earning commissions by affiliates.

C. What skill sets are needed?

Digital Marketing requires sound know-how in Search Engine Optimization, Analytics, Video marketing, Content marketing, Email marketing, and Social Media Marketing.

While as an affiliate marketer, you must be familiar with the basics of digital marketing and social media marketing. An affiliate marketer succeeds even by writing blogs or doing persuasive copywriting. As an Affiliate Marketer, you must be proficient in relationship building, for example, by having an experience as a Public Relations executive or manager. You must have convincing abilities, and you need to have a good rapport with audiences.

D. Is there a need for any tools?

Digital Marketing includes an array of tools and a wide range of strategies to reach out to customers.

Whereas Affiliate Marketing rides on the tools and practices of digital marketing to generate online sales since it is a subset of Digital Marketing.

E. What are their intentions?

While Digital Marketing is super-dialed in inflating the headcount of customers, a surge in brand awareness, and brand recognition aspects.

On the other end, the Affiliate Marketing business requires affiliates to earn incentives at a fast clip from the sale of promoted products.

F. What tasks are involved?

Digital Marketing entails a deep dive into customer requirements, enabling sales and advertising activities, launching and managing campaigns across digital channels, and aligning marketing strategies with the organization's business goals. It involves quantifying the marketing campaigns using KPIs and monitoring them, evaluating ROIs, and reporting on the performance of digital marketing campaigns. One must conduct thorough market research, analyze evolving trends for new opportunities, increase the bandwidth of their campaign, and simultaneously up their game in the competitive market. One must work towards elevating the campaign performance to new heights. It also includes collaborating with content writers, graphic designers, and web developers. It is advisable to stay ahead of the curve by brushing one's skills on a timely basis on emerging trends and technologies.

Affiliate Marketing necessitates an advertiser to hire the right affiliate partner in direct or indirect ways. The job of an affiliate is to improve the experience on their website or social media handles once hired. It can happen by employing SEO-friendly methods on their websites /blogs or Vlogs. It also involves utilizing a mobile-friendly platform. After this, an affiliate’s role demands them to entice audiences through lucrative offers, coupon codes, and discounts. They must lure the audience with delectable and click-worthy hyperlinked text, links, graphics, or buttons for them to take a desired action. It winds up the marketing process by the affiliate earning a commission in this process. Above and beyond, an affiliate ensures that the brand's reviews must sweep up the audience. He should be conscious enough to write the correct brand reviews. The reviews must not be overblown.

G. What parties are involved?

Digital Marketing includes these entities: the product, the digital channel, digital marketing agents /executives, the consumer, and the customer.

On the other hand, affiliate marketing has affiliates, an audience, advertisers, and an affiliate network.

H. Who are the key performers?

The principal performers in Digital Marketing are the agencies, company personnel, and brand owners.

Instead, affiliate marketing may involve influencer marketing. It is possible to engage celebrities, experts, and thought leaders to promote products and services for a fee.

I. Who do they Zero-In on?

Affiliate Marketing zero-in on their attention to a selectively targeted audience.

Alternatively, digital marketing relies heavily on electronic devices like computers, smartphones, and other online tools and technologies to generate leads.

J. When does a payment make?

An affiliate is paid for a sale, not for advertising efforts.

In place of this, Digital marketing’s centerpiece is online advertising using social media, visual ads, and squared customer interaction.

K. What Type of Revenue Generation Mechanism Is Involved?

Digital Marketing brings in an active income that requires the market to stay in tune with the changing trends.

Instead of this, Affiliate Marketing generates a passive income for the affiliates.

L. Is a product needed?

Digital Marketer has their product, or the company has one.

Rather, Affiliate marketing does not deal with developing a product or service.

Should your business focus on Affiliate Marketing or Digital Marketing?

If you are tight on your budget, you must focus on Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate Marketing also generates a passive income for you in the long run. If you want to reap the rewards of affiliate marketing in the future, you must be patient enough. It requires you to make a consistent effort which sometimes can be frustrating. You may deploy an affiliate network before starting your business if you focus on Affiliate Marketing. The affiliate network will enable third-party checks and protect you against fraud. It will also make sure that your affiliates are authentic.

Skilled Digital marketers who are blue ribbon personnel can make a quick buck as full-time or freelance workers with their specialized skills. Digital marketing is awash with different marketing styles. If you master the marketing styles within digital marketing, you will have a promising income potential. It also requires a lot of patience, time, and hard work.

As a novice, digital marketing must be your go-to, as Affiliate marketing requires you to conceive a strategy, handpick specific products for the target audience and generate hype for those with suitable digital channels. It will require a little brain work. However, It hardly takes 1 to 3 months to learn the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization to jumpstart your digital marketing career.


By seeing the differences between these two strategies, one must dig that concept-wise, no significant difference exists between these two methods. Its essence remains the same to have quality traffic and ramp up sales. Both these marketing styles direct a visitor to a third-party site, which records the visitor's primary information for lead generation, and the visitor purchases the product. (Affiliate marketing sale).

The primary difference between these two strategies is that digital marketing employs a broad range of tools and techniques for carpet bombing its products on various digital mediums. On the other hand, affiliate marketing is pretty straightforward, where you draw more customers in to earn more profit.

It is important to note that these Digital and Affiliate marketing tactics set a rock-solid foundation for your marketing campaign and determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.

A surge in ROI and the efficacy of these strategies are critical for determining your organization’s long-term growth and success. You can reap profits in the future by utilizing the arsenal of marketing techniques.

Technology will aid you in keeping a tab on your campaigns, partners, and other activities. You can leverage high-quality marketing software to track performance statistics and generate the best ROI.

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