Affiliate Marketing is Network Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is all about connecting affiliates to merchants so they can BOTH connect with customers.

Let Cyndi O’Meara Explain The Process in Simple Terms:

Cyndi O’Meara is an Australian business woman and health advocate who runs a business with her husband called Changing Habits.

Sarah writes a blog about healthy eating and weight loss and how going wheat-free for 6 weeks helped her feel better and gain more energy and bloat less. She wants to promote Changing Habits on her blog so she writes an article about Going Wheat-Free.

[Enter Mandy, stage left.]

Mandy, a visitor to Sarah’s blog, clicks on the Going Wheat Free article and it directs her to Changing Habits 6 Weeks No Wheat Program. Mandy purchases the program (via Sarah’s affiliate link), Changing Habits sends out the necessary download links to the program after receiving payment, and Sarah receives a % of that sale.

The payment is then sent to Sarah and Sarah continues to promote that blog post on social media and Facebook adverts etc.

In this scenario, Changing Habits is the merchant, Sarah is the affiliate marketer and Mandy is the customer. Sounds simple right? It is. Only now you have a few questions about tracking so let’s move on.

Affiliate Tracking

So now you are wondering how does the merchant keep track of all of their affiliates? And how do the affiliates keep track of their sales? There is a thing called an Affiliate Tracking Code which is specific to each affiliate marketer.

This is an example of an affiliate link:

Within that link there are various ‘anchors’ and they tell a story to the Affiliate Networks (see below) who manage the affiliate programs.

The Affiliate Marketing Process (Image Source: Commission Factory)

Affiliate Networks

An Affiliate Network is the middle man and they manage the ‘programs’ that the merchants have – which cuts out the administration for the merchant and the publisher. The link above tells the Affiliate Network who the website is (i.e. and the Affiliate marketers ID (164) and the product/program which is being promoted (i.e. 31-3-35). These links are kept within the Account section of the Affiliate Networks and are easily referred to and catalogued, so the marketer never has to remember them, they just go into their account to see what they have creatives for.

Creatives can be text links, banners, videos, audio, widgets, data feeds, images, coupons – you name it.

There is another thing which hasn’t been mentioned which adds more icing to the cupcake. Something called cookies (not cupcakes haha).

Cookies are long-term links.

The above scenario seems like a lot of drama for 1 sale, but that is where this gets juicier.

Anyone who clicks on Sarah’s link (for a specified amount of time lets say 90 days) and they purchase within that specified time, then Sarah still receives the commission for the referral. These are called Cookies and it is how the Affiliate Networks keep track of traffic and who is providing that traffic.

So 1 person could click on that link within those 90 days or 100 people could. Either way, Sarah receives a report at the end of the month that tells her how many people clicked and how many purchased. Once Sarah gets more experience, she will also receive reports on where her links were that got clicked on (i.e. Facebook Adverts or Social Media).

Up Next: What Are The Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing

After That: Affiliate Programs – Who Has One?