Social media influences consumer buying patterns, as well as where those opportunities to buy from social media are sourced. But how can firms leverage social media for revenue generation?
Affiliate marketing has been used the last few years to supplement online revenue generation. It is a good way to generate an income from online advertising. Given the shifting digital media landscape, it now has a platform for mass adoption, use, and success in 2017.
No one doubts the influence of social media and the format in which it shares information. Affiliate marketing takes advantage of existing good quality content that influencers produce and consumers trust, using it to link to relevant or recommended products.
Member companies can pay commissions of over 30 percent for each sale made.
According to the 2016 social media marketing report, 93 percent of marketers use Facebook to market themselves, while 76 percent of marketers use Twitter to do the same. Affiliate links enables them to generate revenue if the link is clicked.
It is not necessarily about using ads in content. There are other ways to incorporate revenue-generating activities across social platforms. These activities do not need to intrude on a user's experience or reduce the reliability or trust a consumer has with a brand or influencer.
Marketing automation company Marketo recently found that 60 percent of consumers in a study said they have bought from a business because of something they saw on Twitter.
And 93 percent said that they use Pinterest to plan for purchases, and 75 percent have taken action from post inspiration on Instagram.
Social platforms are taking advantage of monetizing social content. Pinterest started its affiliate link program in early 2016, and Tumblr rolled out affiliate codes across its site in September 2016.
San Francisco, Calif.-based content platform VigLink provides a platform for users to leverage affiliate marketing to supplement larger performance marketing strategies.
It recently partnered with MSN to unlock affiliate revenue streams. Existing links are turned into affiliate links, which generate revenue for its customers.
It says that every business should have an affiliate marketing program to take advantage of free marketing -- and a world-wide sales force -- paid only on commission. It indicates that affiliate marketing drives nearly 1 percent of customers.
It is important to realise that affiliate income should not be relied upon as a single income stream for small businesses. Bloggers earn little from affiliate marketing; revenue is variable, and only the top bloggers can earn more than a few dollars.
Companies that monetize their websites can generate revenue -- if their unique visitor count is high enough each month.
There is a growing aversion to intrusive ads into content streams. Consumers prefer quality, user-generated content.
Now, small businesses, bloggers, and large corporations can use affiliate links as an alternative to ads.
Time will tell how well consumers will respond.
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