Leveraging Media Buying with Affiliate Marketing

We all want our business to thrive, which means placing our ads in places where they will be seen by as many prospective leads as possible.  We want our ad money to work for us, with a positive return on investment (ROI).  But in many cases, this might seem like a game of advertising roulette.

Even the most carefully constructed Facebook ads might yield no results.  Therefore, it makes sense that business owners will want to take as much control of their ads, yet time is just as much of an important investment as money.

For that reason, many online marketers are turning to the process of combining media buying with affiliate marketing in their sales strategy.  This may seem like a huge risk, or a complicated undertaking, but when done intelligently, can make a great difference in overall conversions.

What Is Media Buying?

As the name implies, “media buying” simply the act of purchasing ad space on a website or network of site.  This can take the form of purchasing existing ad space, or working with a site owner to create a space just for you.

Typically, the process is pretty informal, but very specific in terms and conditions.  In a few words, you will reach out to the owner of a site that seems to fit your needs, and ask to run your ad on their site.  Together, you’ll come to agreement on the size, placement, length of time the ad will run, and how much you will pay them to run this ad.  

Frequently, this payment is budgeted in terms of CPM, or “cost per 1,000 impressions”.  This means that you, as the advertiser, would pay every time the ad is viewed.  Not necessarily clicked, not requiring a conversion, but per view.

How to make Media Buying work with Affiliate Marketing

We’ll go ahead and save you a lot of experimenting:  the secret to the most effective media buying is networking.  If you’re buying ad space, you want to buy the best ad space on the best sites in the best part of your niche.  You want to have fantastic working relationships with people in your niche and adjacent niches.  

You also need to do plenty of investigation and find these people and sites to even create the relationship.  And doing this type of research requires time and effort, both of which are at a high premium as you’re trying to run a successful and profitable business.

So what if you were able to set forth a crew of helpers who could do this networking and investigation for you?  Enter the affiliate marketing team.

If you have a product or a service and you aren’t leveraging it with affiliate marketing, you are leaving a lot of money in the table. For this reason, consider to start an affiliate program and let affiliate marketers help you promoting your business.

Affiliate marketers have a certain amount of knowledge that makes their program successful.  They know how to word content.  They are aware what their audience wants, and know how to encourage their audience to click on ads.  

Affiliate Marketers also know their niche.  As an affiliate marketer, you have to be aware of the product you are endorsing.  You need to be aware of how that product works, and what value it provides.  You also have to know what type of audience would also find value in that product, and be aware of who your competitors are, and who can boost your audience.  Affiliate marketers are, by nature, networkers.

Therefore, it makes sense that affiliate marketers should be the eyes and ears that help promote media buying.  

How Do I Ensure I’m Getting the Best ROI?

The ads that you provide to affiliate marketers through your affiliate program are highly trackable.  You will be able to directly track your investment in media buying to the corresponding affiliate, resulting in an accurate calculation of ROI.  

One fantastic way to use affiliate marketers as a resource in the media buying game is to use them as A/B testers.  This can be done numerous ways. 

You can test a variety of advertisements, you can test a variety of landing pages, or even a variety of offers.  For example, Affiliate A can run Ad 1, which leads to a 20% discount code for completing Landing Page X.  Affiliate B can run Ad 2, which leads to a BOGO 50% off discount code for completely Landing Page Y.

Of course, you don’t want to create too many options and not enough controls, but the point of these examples is that you can create a myriad of options to determine which combination of ad/landing page offer elicits the most response.

That being said, affiliate marketers are able to report back what is working and what isn’t working.  You can provide a variety of ad copy to the affiliate marketer. 

The marketer, wanting to get the highest amount of profit, will in turn make sure that this copy is placed in strategic ways in order to make the most conversions.  Instead of the business owner doing all the networking, the affiliate marketer will handle the relationships, while the business owner provides a valuable product and ad copy that works.

Why this leverage works?

Since an affiliate marketer is going to be focused on their own bottom line, they will invest wisely in media buying.  Remember, bought media is typical paid for upon impressions, not clicks or conversions.

If an affiliate marketer is buying media as part of their strategy, they will want to pay for the impressions that will most likely lead to conversions, so that they are paid for their efforts.  This, in turn, works out brilliantly for the business owner, who only has to pay the affiliate commission based on conversions, and can focus their time and money on direct advertisements, and developing their business.

That being said, a digital entrepreneur should be aware of where their affiliates are buying media.  The concept is not perfect, and at some point, the relationship may end.  For this reason, you should always track your affiliates so you can understand the results of the research and development these individuals are essentially doing on behalf of your business.

Final Considerations

The practice of media buying is nothing new in the world of marketing.  However, adding the level of affiliate marketers to do the networking, research, and R&D of the ad process is a phenomenon that e-business has managed to perfect.

By having affiliate marketing teams as the “eyes and ears” of a business’s advertising campaigns, not only does the number of ads grow, but the strategic placement and quality of of those ads increases as well.

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