A Guide to the Affiliate Platform Landscape for Premium Brands

Learn what marketers should look for in a brand affiliate marketing platform.

Creators are driving revenue through affiliate marketing for brands. Explore the affiliate platform landscape with this breakdown of monetization models for brand creators.

A quick rundown of the affiliate platform landscape

Affiliate marketing initially emerged as a way for digital media brands to get small commissions off of products they recommend to their readers. But because affiliate link platforms were built to support media companies, not individual influencers, they’re often clunky, and they don’t create easy opportunities for creator-brand partnerships to flourish.

Tiffany Lopinsky
Tiffany Lopinsky
Co-Founder, COO, ShopMy
"Affiliate marketing is overall a leaky bucket. You’re not capturing every purchase no matter what — whether that’s due to cookies, blockers, consumers switching devices, not clicking through as expected, or going directly to a site. Today, custom commissionable discount codes are the only way to get 100% attribution on purchases and make it easy for affiliates to get credit for their influence.""

Influencers have begun to discover how powerful affiliate marketing can be, with some making up to $50K a month through affiliate and discount code programs — especially when they’re working with the right affiliate brand platform.

“When we first launched custom discount codes, creators started making so much more from their recommendations. Their links converted better and they began catching more purchases through the code,” Tiffany added.

Today, influencer marketing has come a long way. In addition to using affiliate links, many influencers are now using discount codes, and this system works better for brands, too.

How affiliate marketing for brands generates revenue

For brands, posting on social media can sometimes feel like yelling into the void. On many platforms, the majority of the people who see posts created by a brand already follow that brand. So in order to regularly reach new audiences, brands combine promoted posts with collaborations with publications and influencers, having them mention a product to their loyal readers or followers. Then, they provide a percentage back on every click, sale, or lead. Because they help brands reach new audiences so easily, affiliate programs for brands are an extremely effective way to increase revenue.

Is affiliate marketing profitable for premium brands?

Yes! If they choose the right influencers, with engaged audiences already interested in a brand’s niche, brands can enjoy excellent ROI from working with brand ambassadors and affiliates.

Furtuna Skin ambassador Melissa Wood-Tepperberg is a Sports Illustrated 2023 Swimsuit model in addition to being a fitness influencer, media personality, and business owner. She recently gave a shoutout to Furtuna’s Face and Eye Serum in a piece about her skincare routine, saying if she had to choose one product, this would be it. By posting to her 1M+ Instagram followers and nearly 100K TikTok followers about Furtuna products that she loves, she amplifies the brand while earning commissions from her loyal followers’ purchases.

Overall, ShopMy has helped Furtuna Skin, among other luxury skincare and beauty brands, to generate hundreds of thousands in order volume year over year through affiliate links, ambassador programs, and gifting codes.

Most recently, a small, but renowned global luxury fashion e-commerce brand, onboarded their own ambassadors onto ShopMy. In five months they witnessed an impressive 5X increase in clicks, and 12X jump in order volume, resulting in $109K in sales within ShopMy.

Finding the right influencer for your brand is a huge part of the battle. ShopMy's partner brands unlock proprietary AI-powered tools that match you with the perfect creators based on category, sales effectiveness, and more. They also have access to ShopMy's team of influencer marketing experts to help build the best roster of creators for each campaign. Learn how ShopMy can take this process on for you, and help you track the success of your influencer campaigns.

Top types of affiliate marketing platforms for premium brands + examples of each

1. Affiliate networks

Affiliate network companies, as mentioned above, originated as ways for digital publications to earn commissions on mentioned products, so they’re often not particularly user-friendly for individual creators. Affiliate networks handle all the tracking, reporting, and paying out commissions to affiliates when their audience buys something from a partnered merchant.

Some of the most popular affiliate networks are Amazon Associates, AWIN, Rakuten Marketing, CJ Affiliate, Pepperjam, and ShareASale,

2. Sub-affiliate networks

Sub-affiliate programs help online publishers tap into the near-infinite opportunities available on major affiliate networks, without having to apply for individual merchant programs or manage dozens of logins. Merchants sign up for sub-affiliate networks to help them easily expand their affiliate programs to new publications and affiliates. However, few influencers use this strategy today — it’s more popular among bloggers and digital media brands.

Some of the most popular sub-affiliate networks are SkimLinks, Partnerize, and Digidip.

3. Influencer affiliate programs

Influencer affiliate programs are similar to sub-affiliate programs, but they’re built for influencers. Typically app-based, these systems usually let influencers show off their affiliate products visually, like in a photo grid.

Some of the most popular influencer affiliate programs include LTK and MagicLinks.

4. Affiliate marketing platforms built for creators and brands

Dedicated influencer marketing platforms, like ShopMy, make affiliate marketing easier and more effective, both for influencers and for brands. Instead of navigating various complex portals of affiliate networks, influencers can simply create a digital shelf that collects all the products they’re promoting, for all the brands they work with. Especially since most influencers don’t have their own websites anymore — unlike in the heyday of blogging — a ShopMy site lets their followers learn more about all the products they mention on social.

Influencer marketing platforms like ShopMy can also help brands manage paid influencer content and campaigns and generate more revenue. Here’s how:

- Create custom discount codes and affiliate links
- Optimize and scale gifting and influencer outreach
- Follow up and engage with influencers
- Support creators in developing brand-approved content
- Align affiliate and influencer marketing efforts.

Affiliate marketing pricing models for brands

Affiliate marketing platforms have various ways of making money. Here are a few ways that affiliate programs can charge brands for their services — many use one or several of the following strategies.

Charging an initial affiliate tracking setup fee

Most affiliate networks charge an initial affiliate tracking setup fee in order to let brands track the clicks, purchases, and leads generated with each individual affiliate link shared by influencers or publications.

Charging by transaction with purchase-driven tracking

Many affiliate networks also charge brands by transaction, charging a fee-based percentage of every sale made through the platform.

Charging by campaign with a project-based management fee

Brands can also work with affiliate platforms that charge by campaign and charge per-project management fees.

Monthly or annual software subscription pricing with add-ons for additional consulting

Some platforms don’t charge for each transaction or campaign, and opt instead to charge a blanket subscription fee for brands to use the platform — this is the SaaS approach to pricing. Brands can choose to add on additional paid help for consulting and campaign guidance.

Monthly or annual service fee for managed affiliate programs

Finally, affiliate platforms can also charge monthly or annual service fees for each of the managed affiliate programs they opt to run. Essentially, brands who opt to use certain affiliate networks essentially pay the network’s employees to run the brand’s affiliate program.

ShopMy can help with all your influencer marketing needs

Tiffany Lopinsky
Tiffany Lopinsky
Co-Founder, COO, ShopMy
"Influencers are such a huge source of potential affiliate revenue for brands. We aim to simplify every part of the partnership process, both for brands and influencers, and support long-lasting brand partnerships. "

Learn more about how ShopMy can help creators maximize their affiliate earnings, and help brands reach new customers.