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Differentiating influencer Marketing and affiliate marketing: How to combine them

How influencer marketing works

Influencers marketing has enabled brands to partner with online influencers and leverage their “pull” for the audience with their content. Influencers can be any one of these – bloggers, journalists, authors, consultants or many others. Their strong online presence and social media authority can help brands strengthen and grow their awareness and brand affinity.

Not only do their followers trust their recommendations, but the brand also has the advantage of running a campaign in a controlled approach. Choosing influencers is not a process that is as generic and difficult as choosing to work with a celebrity. The results are way better since the brand can reach their particular target audience by filtering out niche, engagement, followers and pick an influencer who is best suited to the brand’s current needs.

This method has become a brand favorite due to its high and quick impact on the final numbers, incredible results and also lighter on the marketing budget than other modes of marketing with equal results.

How to measure and track influencer marketing campaigns

Before the campaign starts, check the following factors for a comparison sheet to be produced later.  Check the influencer numbers – potential reach, total audience/subscribers/following count, actual reach or traffic and other metrics that are relevant to your brand’s marketing goals.

Once the campaign has started, the brand has to focus on the below metric

  1. Social Engagement – this includes views, likes, link clicks, comments

  2. Social Sentiment

  3. Social sharing – count the number of shares and embeds of your content

  4. Temporary results – Eg: No of entries on your giveaway post, newsletter sign-ups

  5. CPM (Cost Per Impression)

  6. Final goal calculation – Determining the success of the campaign by calculating what is relevant to your brand’s goals. Eg: New followers gained on your brand’s social media while running the campaign


Licious, an online meat and seafood marketplace recently ran an influencer marketing campaign #MadewithLicious with food influencers. The brand ran a contest, kept it simple and raked in followers with the contest entries.

GIVEAWAY + MEGA Sandwich Alert!⁣ Made our favourite Chicken Salami Apple Jalapeno Sandwich for breakfast today with the new range of @licious_foods cold cuts that are so perfect when we have a hankering for breakfast treats. I love how their meats are always fresh and of superior quality! We are big fans of their Salami and Nuremberger which are so versatile – scrambled with eggs, in sandwiches and as a side for an English breakfast spread!⁣ We’ve partnered with them to giveaway a Rs. 2500 voucher from Licious that you can use to stock up on the best tasting meats and cold cuts.⁣ ⁣ All you have to do is:⁣ – Follow @licious_foods⁣ – Post a picture of your delicious breakfast and tag @licious_foods and @my_foodstory⁣ – Use #MadeWithLicious in the caption of your breakfast picture⁣ – Contest open all week till 24th Feb. Winner to be announced on 25th Feb. Contest only open to residents of Bangalore.⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #myfoodstory #sandwich #coldcuts #salami #snack #bread #homemade #fromscratch #chickensandwich

A post shared by Richa Gupta (@my_foodstory) on Feb 21, 2019 at 5:22am PST

How affiliate marketing works

Affiliate marketing can have some similar traits to influencer marketing, but the campaigns and execution are entirely different. What influencers are to influencer marketing, affiliates are to affiliate marketing. Here, the brand’s product or service can be advertised on a third-party platform like a blog or a social media profile. Usually, the affiliates who work with the brands are given unique URLs for tracking the sales/likes instream. Affiliates will solely earn through the results they provide for the brand.

Affiliate marketing works on the theory of brands growing along with bloggers by offering special discounts and codes.

How to measure and track affiliate marketing campaigns

Influencer marketing relies solely on the social media platform’s ability to provide insights. Affiliate marketing uses tracking URLs, cookies to track response focused advertising.

Here some parameters used to measure these campaigns

  1. Result-oriented tracking – which includes registrations, email sign-ups, sales, etc

  2. Average order value

  3. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

  4. Customer Lifetime Value (CVA) – Compare the cost of new vs returning customer


Even big brands like Amazon and Flipkart implement affiliate marketing campaigns. Amazon reaches to the common folk and works on a commission basis for customers who bring in other customers.

Image result for amazon affiliate marketing

The affiliate has to link a product URL to the website and get a commission amount every time a sale is made from the particular link.

Daniel Wellington is also another major brand that implements this type of campaign. Affiliates are usually given discount codes to reel in customers and to track where their sales come from.

A post shared by Srishti Dixit (@srishtipatch) on Sep 29, 2019 at 7:00am PDT

 How are influencer and affiliate marketing similar? 

  1. Content creation is done by a third party

  2.  Both affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are forms of referral promotion that brands can use to drive traffic and sales. Both of them work to drive results

How are influencer and affiliate marketing different?

  1. While influencer marketing can be used effectively for both direct-response and branding initiatives, affiliate marketing is direct-response only.

  2. In affiliate marketing, brands do not always have a personal connection with the affiliates. So the brand exercises less control.

  3. While influencers can be paid a flat fee, affiliates are mostly compensated in forms of commission off the product sales or any form of the end goal.

Combining the two types of marketing campaigns

Choosing between the two solely depends upon the brand’s factors like – campaign end goals, your target audience, time constraint and the budget for the campaign. Infact, a synergistic mix of affiliate and influencer marketing campaign can drive positive results for the brand. Influencers can be very effective affiliates. This can help the brand reduce the budget and have control over who is posting their content and talking on behalf of their products or services.

This requires lesser investment from the brand which can strategize content instead of handing over the control of the message to another individual. If the brand feels restricted in terms of collaborations, they can also choose to diversify with different types of influencers. An ideal way is to find influencers for the brand’s affiliate strategy and in placing links within influencer content to track ROI. 

As with affiliate campaigns, influencers can also be given unique codes to drive sales.

Nykaa – Affiliate

Nykaa is one of the brands which is active in promoting both their affiliate and influencer marketing campaigns. The brand has an affiliate link on its website which encourages its users to promote their products.

Screenshot 2020-01-23 at 5.06.33 PM

Nykaa – Influencer

The brand is also well-known for its influencer marketing with Instagram’s popular beauty bloggers.

A post shared by Malvika Sitlani Aryan (@malvikasitlaniofficial) on Jan 4, 2018 at 11:34pm PST

Shein – Affiliate and Influencer marketing

Shein, a fashion website based out of China is another brand that is extremely popular in both affiliate and influencer marketing segments. The brand made its way through the millennial and Gen Z shoppers solely through this type of advertising.

Screenshot 2020-01-23 at 5.13.02 PM.png

Influencer Marketing

Shein collaborated with multiple influencers to review their products and do a haul video.

Are you a brand looking to implement an influencer or affiliate marketing campaign? Or maybe a mix of both. Reach out to us below in the comments section or visit our websiteFacebookTwitter or Instagram pages to reach out to us.

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