Monday, October 30, 2006

How good is affiliate marketing?

Another round of morning meetings – and another collection of companies pushing the affiliate marketing model as “the next big thing” in online advertising.

[None of the companies were affiliate marketers, by the way]

There are still huge questions surrounding the use of affiliate marketing. Indeed it was only a year or so ago that affiliate community felt the need to establish a body to “legitimise” and represent the sector, following less-than positive publicity about the types of sites used for campaigns.

What is becoming increasingly apparent is that it is no longer being considered the dark art – both in terms of theory and practice – of advertising.

One leading hotel chain told us today that it expects to enter the affiliate world in a big way in 2007, not content with using just pay-per-click advertising and employing the services of a decent agency to ensure its presence is paramount in natural search engine listings.

So what are the benefits?

Is it cheaper? More effective? Is it a handy and essentially automatic process once an affiliate house is signed up to do legwork?

Indeed, why is it only now that the model is being seen as the perhaps one of the most reliable methods of reaching a wide selection of consumers.

While working hand-in-hand with search engine marketing, actually “it can guarantee exposure where we need it”, said one senior figure recently.

“Guarantee”! That’s a strong word in the world of advertising…

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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