Callum Mundine
Callum Mundine 28 June 2018

PPC Strategies in Affiliate Marketing

Are you on the lookout for PPC strategies that you can leverage for all your affiliate marketing efforts? Make sure you jump right into this post to find out.

Affiliate marketing is a strategy that is sometimes overlooked by companies. From a brand’s point of view, affiliate marketing is a strategy where third parties—or affiliates—promote their products. From the affiliate’s point of view, it is promoting and marketing another person or company’s products and getting paid per sale that you bring in.

Essentially, affiliate marketing involves sharing marketing efforts to other parties, and consequently sharing the profits that those efforts bring in.

Affiliate marketing usually involves three parties:

The merchant is the company or brand that creates the product to be promoted.

The affiliate, sometimes called the publisher, provides marketing services to the merchant for commission.

Both the merchant and the affiliate can be an individual, a small enterprise, or a big corporation.

The third party is the consumer, the target of the first two parties.

Some people consider a fourth party in the affiliate marketing system, called the network. The network is the bridge that connects the affiliate to the merchant. This can take the form of payment and product delivery systems, or an entire affiliate network where the merchant manages their affiliate program.

For example, Anna is an affiliate marketer who partners with an online clothing store to do affiliate marketing for them. She sets up an ad campaign that promotes the shop’s newest collection and provides the content of the ads. Visitors who click on her ads get redirected to the store’s website. Anna gets paid for every purchase that went through her ad.

If Anna joins an affiliate network, she can serve as a contributor for the affiliate website and the process remains the same: she gets paid for every sale that she brings in with her content.

Organic vs. Paid Marketing

Affiliate marketing utilizes either organic or paid marketing strategies. Organic strategies include search engine optimization (SEO), where keywords are used to boost the search rankings of an advertiser’s content. Organic efforts take more time and work to be effective, though the results can be long lasting.

Paid marketing, on the other hand, involves purchasing ads on websites or search engines. If you’ve recently used Google to search for something, you may have noticed the first two or three results are paid for by companies. By paying for ads, you have better control over who gets to see your ads: people who input certain keywords, people who visit specific sites, people who belong to a particular demographic, and so on. Online advertising companies such as Google gives businesses a whole platform to create ad campaigns and monitor their effectiveness.

As an affiliate marketer, you can do a combination of both organic and paid marketing in order to fully maximize your reach.

Strategies for PPC Affiliate Marketing

There are actually several different types of affiliate marketing, but let’s focus on PPC. A good and effective PPC marketing strategy can be enough to generate profit, but it is also a difficult strategy because you’re paying for ads that might not bring in revenue. Still, it’s one of the most ideal ways to scale your marketing efforts once you’ve established or exhausted the organic route.

There are several strategies to making sure that the money you invest in creating a PPC ad for your affiliate company generates income for you.

  1. Lay your foundation organically first.

According to Neil Patel, PPC advertising must only be done when you are sure you can generate enough income to cover your advertising costs. In short, don’t use PPC as your first affiliate marketing strategy.

Think about it. We usually believe real people’s recommendations and assume bias once we see that it is a paid ad. Organic methods will lend you trust and credibility from consumers, and they can more easily bypass the bias once you go for a paid ad.

Beginners might find it difficult to navigate Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, so you also have to familiarize yourself with these before creating a full-blown PPC ad campaign.

  1. Always do keyword research.

We can’t stress the importance of this enough. Effective PPC campaigns use keywords that are competitive and popular. Remember, you’ll be shelling out money to put on ads, so your keywords have to be high-intent; meaning, the people using those keywords are the ones most likely to follow through on their action. They need to be specific and targeted, while at the same time allow flexibility.

Besides investing money into a good keyword research tool, you should be on the lookout for other PPC optimization tools that can help you scale your campaign efforts.

Affiliate marketers must do continual keyword research so you are always up-to-date about the most current trends online.

  1. Find your niche.

What many affiliate marketers do is find their niche in the market. This allows them to be focused on specific products or merchants, which lets them gain loyal followers and build a reputation that reflects expertise on a particular subject. After all, you as a consumer will most likely take the word of a person who has reviewed all kinds of vehicles as opposed to someone who reviews everything from sports cars to lemonade to fertilizer.

Having a niche market also better assures you that your audience shares the same interests as you, so they have a higher chance of actually buying the product that you’re advertising. You don’t want to pay for clicks made by people who have no intention of buying the product.

  1. Engage followers online continually.

As a marketer, you have to always engage and interact with your audience. Relationships are important in affiliate marketing, especially if you work as an individual. People trust those they like, and if you faithfully answer questions about the merchant or product, they will most likely move further into the sales funnel, increasing your conversions.

  1. Work with the merchants’ in-house PPC ads marketing team.

When you do a PPC campaign for the merchant, keep in mind that you’re not the only marketer they have. If the merchant is a big business, for example, they will have their own marketing team who might also be doing PPC ads. It’s important, then, that you collaborate with them and make sure that you’re not spending your dollars on keywords that the merchant has already allocated money for.

You can iron out the details of how you will go about your PPC ads for the merchant once you’re granted permission to run paid ads on their behalf. Ask about advertising guidelines (some companies are strict when it comes to advertising and their brand), prohibited keywords, and expectations from each other. Talk to the merchant’s marketing team so you can maximize resources instead of replicating each other’s efforts.

Also, be sure your merchant authorizes you on Google to run ads for them. Google Adwords has strict guidelines when it comes to affiliates. Make sure you have all your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed.

  1. Fail early.

Sometimes, we need to know what doesn’t work in order to figure out what works. When you are starting out as a PPC affiliate marketer, you will need to experiment with different combinations of keywords and campaigns to find the best options that are cost-effective. To be perfectly honest, some affiliates spend hundreds of dollars on PPC ads before they are able to turn a profit.

An important thing to remember is to carefully monitor and analyze your campaigns to figure out which ads fell flat and why. We return to SEO and keyword research; affiliate marketers using PPC need to have a fair amount of knowledge and skills to do data analytics and apply them to PPC advertising.


If you only need to remember one thing about PPC advertising for affiliate marketing, it’s this: Good research can bring good results. A skilled affiliate can still lose money if the PPC ads they put out are not based on solid keyword or niche market research. Doing research and analysis on ongoing ads will tell you a lot about which ones convert and which ones do not.

Despite the potential of affiliate marketing to provide you with a good income, you still need to put in the hours and the effort in order to turn a profit. Planning well and doing your due diligence can save you resources and make you a valuable asset to your partner merchants.

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