Affiliate Marketing on Social Media: Untapped Revenue Streams

Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer
18 minute read
Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer
18 minute read

In the digital marketing world where Facebook and Instagram draw marketers like flies to a flame, you can’t ignore the massive untapped userbases resting a click away. Whether an advertiser, publisher, or affiliate network, you must be enticed by the billions of dollars just floating there for the taking, waiting for you to come and show what your affiliate digital marketing prowess can do.

Indeed, affiliate marketing on social media has tremendous potential and – most importantly – room for everyone. No one says you can grow to the size of Amazon Associates overnight, but you don’t even have to. Social media are so vast that any well-marketed product can find its place in the sun.

Source: Statista

From stellar content to social media influencers to cross-promotion, there are many ways to turn your social media affiliate marketing into a goldmine. The world is really your oyster here – you just have to know the ways.

Don’t blame the algorithms – harness them to make money from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media.

Without further ado, let’s dig into the nitty gritty of affiliate digital marketing and see how you can synergize affiliate marketing with social media, getting the best bang for the buck there.

What Is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work?

In short, affiliate digital marketing business boils down to exchanging promotion efforts for the agreed-upon commission from the sale. In the world of performance marketing, though, there’s much more to affiliate digital marketing than just snapping a few dollars from the sale.

Besides the commission, affiliate digital marketing is a surefire way to expose your brand to new audiences, increase and optimize your lead flows, and synergize your value proposition with a chosen affiliate product.

Affiliate Digital Marketing Parties

Advertisers Promote their products or services through affiliates or affiliate networks
Affiliates Promote advertiser’s products or service in exchange for a commission from the sales
Affiliate Networks  Connect advertisers and affiliates in exchange for a commission
Customers Purchase the product in question

 

The only optional party to the affiliate digital marketing ecosystem is an affiliate network, which may or may be an intermediary between social media affiliates and advertisers. Sometimes advertisers and affiliates partner directly through brand affiliate programs run by advertisers.

Here’s how a typical affiliate digital marketing model works:

  • Affiliates promote various products and services in exchange for a commission from a purchase, affiliate link click, download, etc.
  • Advertisers pay affiliates for the customers they bring while converting these customers to cover the expenses.

Social media affiliate marketing is no different by any means of imagination. With quality content at the core, you can promote third-party products to your subscribers and followers, leveraging affiliate digital marketing as a side hustle or even your primary income source.

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via GIPHY

Here are the high-ticket affiliate digital marketing niches to capitalize on.

Affiliate Digital Marketing on Social Media: General Advice

As different as social media platforms are, some rules – or rather marketing best practices – pertain to all of them, making up a behavior code to follow. From authenticity to disclosure to relevance, there are quite a few easy practices to level up your affiliate digital marketing game.

How To Turn Your Social Media Platforms into Lead Magnets

Disclose your affiliate partnerships Be transparent about affiliate links and commissions to build rapport with your audience and comply with regulations like the ones enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Here’s a disclaimer example:

  • Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase using the link. On your side, the price will be 5% lower if you use the affiliate link. I only recommend products or services I use personally or have thoroughly researched.

You can make the disclosure even more detailed. For example, you can mention that you don’t receive anything from the advertiser barring the commission for promoting their product. Anyway, the gist is to clarify that you will receive profit if someone uses your link or promo code.

Polish your affiliate links Disclosing affiliate links doesn’t mean leaving them unpolished. A good affiliate link must be descriptive, concise, and clean. For that, you can use an URL shortener.

This affiliate link is messy and suspicious, with many confusing parameters and no message to remember.

This one is tidy and clean, with the website name at the forefront and no confusing symbols. All other things being equal, most users will choose this link over the previous one.

Gain exposure with hashtags On most social media platforms, you can use hashtags to maximize reach and engagement. For example, if you promote home insurance, you can include several types of hashtags:

  • General hashtags like #HomeInsurance, #PropertyInsurance, and #HomeSafety to engage with the widest audience
  • Campaign-specific hashtags like #FloodInsurance or #FireInsurance to engage with high-intent customers seeking specific policies
  • Branded hashtags like #SecureHomeSolutions to represent the advertiser’s company
  • Trending hashtags like #FloodRecovery that resonate with the latest news, events, or updates

Don’t use more than ten hashtags to avoid losing focus and appearing spammy. Not only do social networks frown upon hashtag stuffing, but users themselves find it unappealing and confusing. For example, Instagram posts with three to four hashtags have proven to be the most effective in collecting user impressions.

Use social media ads The ever-growing social media ad revenues unequivocally point out the effectiveness of social media ads. Most social media platforms offer their own ads, with the rare exceptions being Medium, Flickr, and a few other less popular networks.

On most social media, you can leverage photo, video, story, and carousel ads to hit the right audience at the right time. On platforms that do not offer paid ads, you can use influencer marketing, native advertising, and sponsored content.

Exchange data for value Placing an affiliate link won’t cut it unless you surround it with valuable content. On the other hand, you can turn your most valuable materials into gated assets – e-books, webinars, whitepapers, free access to paid functionality, etc. – that you unlock in exchange for, say, filling out the form.
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Affiliate Marketing on Facebook

There’s no universal affiliate marketing strategy for all social networks, but one good thing about Facebook is that everyone is there. Boosting around three billion monthly users and counting, Facebook – now governed by Meta – draws well over $100 billion in revenues annually and is by far the biggest social media for affiliate marketing.

 

Source: Statista

Facebook is one of the most consistent platforms with grown-up audiences, including business professionals looking for B2B opportunities. In-depth social media posts in a Facebook group – the feature that puts Facebook miles ahead of other social networks – may not create as much buzz as cat videos on Instagram but are more likely to hit a solvent target audience, translating into customers and commissions.

Source: Wordstream

Likewise, you can capitalize on Facebook ads, which you can place on Facebook’s right-hand column, Facebook Messenger, Marketplace, and Stories, among other options. In fact, 96% of marketers believe Facebook news feed is the most successful place for ads. You can start small, making your ads as focused as possible – remember, you can only promote your blogs, not affiliate links – and increasing your ad budget as you gain footing in the game.

Source: Klientboost

Besides, you can promote affiliate products within native posts on your profile page. Although direct affiliate links are not allowed in native content, you can:

  • Tag your advertiser in your native post
  • Place the affiliate link in your bio, mentioning this in your post
  • Encourage users to message you for more information
  • Dive readers to a dedicated landing page
  • Insert QR codes containing an affiliate link

Want to know about performance marketing on Facebook? Here’s your definitive guide to affiliate digital marketing on Facebook in 2023 and beyond.

Affiliate Marketing on Instagram

If there’s one golden goose for visual-reliant affiliates, it’s Instagram, arguably the second-best social media for affiliate marketing, now under the Meta shelter. Having doubled its ad revenues from $17.4 in 2020 to around $40 billion in 2023, Instagram offers reels, stories, and its new IGTV video platform for under-hour-long videos.

Source: Cristiano Ronaldo

As a social media affiliate marketer, you can easily leverage the ever-growing affiliate toolkit, including (make sure to sign up as a Creator to have affiliate digital marketing features enabled):

  • Preferred brand partners: Since October 2021, you can create a wishlist of brands you’d like to collaborate with, showcasing yourself to advertisers searching for promotional opportunities. Likewise, you can use the “Partnership messages” folder within direct messages not to miss important communications and allow your partners to create branded content ads from your tagged feed, reels, and stories.

Source: Instagram

Speaking of Instagram Stories, this feature collected around 500 million daily users in 2019 alone and is excellent for directing watchers toward the affiliate product via link stickers or discount codes.

  • Advanced filters: As an advertiser or affiliate network, you can enable advanced filters to discover matching affiliates by follower count, age, gender, or location.

Source: Instagram

Instagram is really going the extra mile to make the shopping experience entertaining for customers and easy and profitable for marketers. For example, you can tag affiliated products in reels, allowing your subscribers to shop on the fly while watching your content (Instagram Live) or add shopping stickers to your stories featuring the product in question.

Instagram itself offers useful advice on elevating your sales:

  • Let people know you are selling from your shop
  • Tag affiliated products so they can tag-jump to the shop
  • Organize your products into collections and create detailed product pages
  • Tease users with features like countdown stickers
  • Enable other people to tag your products through Preferred Shopping Permissions

To circumvent the harsh “one-link-in-bio” limitation on Instagram and other social media networks, you can create a landing page with your links and send your subscribers there, like in the example below.

Source: DoDropshipping

Affiliate Marketing on TikTok

A video-sharing giant that revolutionized the industry, TikTok is all the rage among teens and young adults, with 30% of users spending around an hour per week on the platform. There’s no doubt you can use this social media for affiliate marketing, tapping into young audiences.

  • TikTok has been the topic of hot debate since its inception to date, with the favorable opinions of the platform decreasing with age. Around 20% of adults view TikTok negatively, making it even more alluring to their children and grandchildren.

That said, from the perspective of affiliate digital marketing, TikTok is incredible. According to Statista, 43% of marketers are going to increase their promotional campaigns on TikTok, including creating profiles and creative challenges. One brand that has fully embraced the power of TikTok is Netflix, with over 35 million subscribers and 800 million likes.

Here’s how to start affiliate marketing on TikTok as a TikTok affiliate:

  1. Set up a Business or Creator account.
  2. Promote affiliate products to create buzz among followers. Ideally, to make your content viral.
  3. Encourage viewers to check your bio, where you can place affiliate links.

To see how affiliate digital marketing can work on TikTok, type “affiliate” in the search bar. Take, for example, this search result (appeared the first at the time of search):

 

The convenient video length – from 15 seconds to three minutes if you create a video within the app and up to ten minutes if you upload a video – allows for long content like in the example. You have all the time in the world to promote your product through a 15-second viral video or an elaborate minutes-long discussion.

You can’t put an affiliate link directly in your TikTok videos but are free to place it in your bio, driving users there from your videos.

Last but not least, it’s worth remembering that TikTok affiliate marketing is all about short, trend-driven, viral content for Gen Z. The average TikTok video duration for clips collecting over 25,000 views is only 42 seconds, making overly long videos a dubious choice for this platform.

Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest

Another social media for affiliate marketing you might want to avail of is Pinterest. Home to over 80 million monthly users in the United States alone, Pinterest is sometimes treated as a smaller version of Instagram, and quite mistakenly. Using Pinterest for affiliate marketing differs from using Instagram for the same purpose because of the differences in content type and customer interactions.

Pinterest Instagram
Content Images and videos representing ideas and inspiration Images and videos of any purpose and meaning
Focus Finding ideas and inspiration Sharing experiences with other users
Features Reels, Stories, IGTV Rich Pints, Themed Boards, Organized Content
Link Placement    Pins Bio and Stories
Longevity Evergreen Short-lived

 

But wait…Does Pinterest allow affiliate links?

Using Pinterest for affiliate marketing is quite simple because the platform allows affiliate links in pin descriptions (according to Pinterest affiliate marketing rules at the time of writing). In a way, affiliate marketing and Pinterest are a match made in heaven, as you can promote products legally without any hindrance.

Here’s how to start affiliate marketing on Pinterest:

  1. Create a Business account.
  2. Create boards – the categories for your pins.
  3. Create pins: design high-quality pins where you can place affiliate links.

 

Affiliate marketing with Pinterest isn’t hard – remember, posting affiliate links on Pinterest is free – but there’s a nuance: Pinterest has a high potential for evergreen content, allowing you to get traffic from successful pins months and years after the pin was posted. Indeed, using Pinterest for affiliate marketing isn’t as much about spamming pins around the clock as it is about refining your best content to squeeze the maximum value out of it.

Here’s how you can improve your affiliate digital marketing lead generation without much effort and risk.

Source: Pinterest

Likewise, Pinterest is quite SEO-dependent, making it crucial to optimize your pins for keywords and leverage Rich Pins, the feature enabling a more detailed pin description, including product availability and pricing.

  • One thing making Pinterest different is the audience. As of January 2023, the visual discovery engine was most popular with women aged 25 to 34, accounting for 28.5% of the network’s userbase, followed by women aged 18 to 24 at 18%.

Overall, you must learn to write keyword-rich descriptions with attractive CTAs and follow these simple native monetization recommendations. Besides Rich Pins, among the best marketing practices are including the disclosure in the pin description, creating several pins per post to increase exposure, pinning to group boards, and automating and analyzing your pin performance.

Source: Pinterest

And if you really want to stand out, you can enable the Try On feature for your products so that Pinterest users can try them using augmented reality. Try On isn’t suitable for all products, but it can give you an edge if you advertise beauty products or furniture: rotating pieces or arranging them virtually in your space really helps!

Source: Pinterest

Now that you know how to do affiliate marketing on Pinterest, you need a single winning ingredient in your performance marketing strategy: social media marketing software. Read on to learn to synergize social media tools to grow your business as an affiliate or advertiser.

Affiliate Marketing Software To Maximize Your Social Media Campaigns

Pinterest allows leveraging performance marketing automation software – every social media for affiliate marketing does. From collecting customer data to optimizing the customer journey to selling your leads at the best price, marketing automation solutions can take your affiliate digital marketing to the next level.

And now – drumroll – you can get everything mentioned within a single marketing automation software suite like Phonexa.

How is that possible? Read on to discover how to reinvent your affiliate digital marketing with Phonexa.

Revolutionize Your Affiliate Digital Marketing With Phonexa

Phonexa offers an all-in-one performance marketing software suite that will close the loop between leads, calls, clicks, and revenue, unlocking your affiliate campaigns and customers for you. The eight proprietary tools make up a comprehensive management system covering your marketing cycle through and through.

Here are some of the major digital marketing breakthroughs you can achieve with Phonexa:

Lynx – Accurate Attribution, Journey Control, and Targeting

With Lynx, you can ensure:

  • Accurate attribution, unmistakably connecting your marketing efforts to the generated leads
  • Precise targeting, spending time only on leads that meet your demographic, psychographic, and location criteria
  • Journey control, ensuring the right leads are sold to the right advertisers while getting an optimal customer journey

Long story short, Lynx puts you in the driver’s seat of the affiliate digital marketing game, with every bit of statistics and campaign management options available from a single all-encompassing dashboard.

Ping Tree – Connecting the Right Leads to the Right Buyer

Generating affiliate customers is only half the battle – the other half is to sell them at the best price while not hurting customer experiences. With ping tree technology, you can strategically connect your PPC, SEO, SMS, or call leads to an optimal buyer through a multi-tier marketplace abundant with reputable advertisers.

LMS Sync – Advanced Lead Management

Whether you sell leads or generate them for your own business, LMS Sync will automatically track, route, and analyze your lead flows, including real-time reports and the ping tree system to optimize your lead sales process.

Call Logic – Advanced Call Management

What LMS Sync does to web leads, Call Logic does to phone calls. You will know what marketing channel, ad, and keyword drive your calls and how they get to the destination point, whether your or the advertiser’s sales team.

Predictive Modeling – Simulating Affiliate Campaigns With No Risk

By pairing historical and real-time data, AI-driven algorithms can simulate your affiliate campaigns – any number of campaigns with different variables – without any real investment. In just a few minutes, you will have a detailed picture of whether your efforts should go and how you can optimize your affiliate digital marketing campaigns.

Get an All-In-One Digital Marketing Software Suite From Phonexa Now

Every tool mentioned — and many more — comes within Phonexa’s all-encompassing marketing automation software suite, available from $100 a month.

Choose your plan now, or schedule a free consultation to learn more about how Phonexa can elevate your affiliate digital marketing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is affiliate digital marketing on social media?

Applying to social media, affiliate digital marketing is a type of performance marketing where a social media affiliate promotes an advertiser’s product – directly or through an affiliate network – in exchange for a commission from a purchase, click, impression, installation, download, subscription, etc.

More often than not, the attribution of clicks, purchases, downloads, etc., is done through trackable affiliate links that connect social media affiliates, advertisers, and customers. However, there may be other attribution methods, such as coupon and QR codes, customer IDs, promotional URLs, and pixel tracking.

Here’s more info about channel attribution risk and hurdles in affiliate digital marketing.

That said, affiliate links are, by and large, the most accurate affiliate tracking method, less prone to errors and misattribution. Most affiliate programs, including social media marketing affiliate programs, prefer to use affiliate links as the primary tracking method.

What are affiliate links?

Affiliate links are tracking URLs provided to affiliates by advertisers or affiliate networks.

Here’s an example of an affiliate link:

Upon a purchase or other agreed-upon target action, the affiliate will receive a commission from the advertiser.

Visually, affiliate links may or may not look different on the customer’s side. When a customer clicks on a link – during the redirection process – they will likely see the “ref=affiliate123’ tracking part, but not necessarily so after the redirection is finished. Customers are often unaware of and not interested in the tracking process happening behind the scenes.

Which social media is best for affiliate marketing?

While affiliate digital marketing through social media is already extremely popular and only gaining momentum, there’s no single best social media for affiliate marketing business because of the differences in social media audiences.

While visually appealing Instagram may suit visually-reliant brands that target younger audiences, Facebook allows for a broader range of marketing strategies, including text-heavy posts and content for older customers. Likewise, affiliate marketing on TikTok usually relies on creative, concise, and engaging visuals geared toward the youngest audience.

Industry-wise, retail holds the highest share (44%) of the total affiliate revenue, followed by telecom and media (25%), and travel and leisure (16%). The United States is the largest social media advertising market, ahead of China, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

Can I do affiliate marketing without social media?

It goes without saying not all brands can benefit equally from affiliate digital marketing on social media because of the inclination of social media platforms towards short-lived content that provides instant gratification and legal and compliance restrictions that industries like finance or pharmaceuticals might face.

Besides social media for affiliate marketing, you can leverage your website, blog, email, and other performance marketing channels if you provide valuable content for your readers. In fact, the most popular affiliate digital marketing channels are blogs (27.8%), followed by review sites (18.7%), coupon sites (14.8%), newsletters, and editorial sites.

Got Questions?

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Oleksandr Rohovnin avatar
Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer

Oleksandr Rohovnin is a Content Marketer at Phonexa. His passion is digital marketing, innovative technologies, and – above all – distilling vast amounts of complex information into engrossing narratives anyone can relate to. At Phonexa, Oleksandr stokes passion for marketing automation and lead generation in every story he curates.


Education: Zaporizhzhya National Technical University

Expertise: Digital marketing, affiliate marketing, call tracking, lead tracking, insurance

Highlights:

  • 8+ years of writing and editing experience in B2B and B2C

  • Unconventional synergy of writing talent and technical knack

  • Avid proponent of sports, gaming, and reading

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