Affiliate programs have become the most profitable tools that advertisers and affiliate marketers have come across with. The programs have helped the advertisers and the online merchants to expand their business by selling and promoting on the web. Furthermore, it has turned the resources of the web site publishers into income generating sources.
There are many aspects of affiliate marketing that can be analyzed separately. We can dissect and study different aspects of the affiliate programs by taking the popular structural-functional approach.
Affiliate program have a definite structure, which is quite visible in the industry. In form it exists as an online interface between affiliates, merchants and networks. The program is aided and provided with different features like real time reporting and monitoring, automated editing and modifying features. This is made possible with the use of different software solutions and web development programs. Sometimes affiliate programs are referred as this interface only.
There are certain features of affiliate program that get automatically updated, like in tracking section we have clicks or sales on particular promotional ads or messages. The data is properly stored and can be viewed in the panel provided by the service provider.
So far as functional perspective is concerned, affiliate programs allow interaction and information exchange between web site owners or publishers and advertisers. Advertisers interact and forward the promotional contact that are to be placed on the web site of the affiliate. In some cases the merchant may ask for affiliate’s help in developing the content. Web site owners job is to get access to the content and add it to his site. Again, the process may be automated. There is a particular destination wherein the advertisers stores his data, which is automatically added in the specified space of the advertiser.
Affiliate programs are further classified as per the standards and features that are provided in the program itself. These features describe the profitability and the process as has been approved by the marketing agency or the merchant. The package is often hosted on the web site of the merchant or affiliate network.