One of the reasons there is so much great content available for free on the Internet is because retailers and other businesses will pay the owners of websites to feature them on their web pages.
The websites offer online advertising spaces on their web pages to these retailers in the same way that newspapers and commercial TV stations do.
The website you have clicked from to this page makes money from online advertising and the information you’re reading explains how some or all of the products, pages and/or clickable links may result in the website receiving payment for featuring goods and services.
The payments help the owners pay for the cost of running the site and, with bigger websites, the employees and office space to help produce the online content they feature.
This site will explain how the advertising model many of them use, commonly known as affiliate (or performance) marketing, works and how websites make money.
Affiliate marketing allows sites like the one you’ve just visited to have a business relationship with a retailer who will reward them for promoting them. This usually happens when a customer clicks through a link on the original website to a retailer’s website and then buys something. The payment is typically a commission payment for the completed sale.
Website owners may produce a wide variety of online content that is not only aimed at engaging or informing their users, but also generates consumer interest for advertisers. Content that is based on a commercial relationship existing between a website owner and an e-commerce advertiser is not always obvious.
In affiliate marketing, monetised online content can take many forms. Here are two of the most common methods to look out for:
1. Many website owners will have ‘links’ embedded in text or articles on their websites. These links look and behave in the same way as a normal link and will redirect users to partner websites, where a commercial relationship may exist. Websites like blogs and consumer interest sites often use affiliate marketing to make money from the written content on their websites using links within the text.
In this example from www.techradar.com the link highlighted in the pink box is a monetised text link.
2. The second example of affiliate marketing are ‘banner adverts’ that you see throughout the Internet. In the example below from a blog called Style My House you can see an ad outlined in the pink box on the left hand side of the homepage of this website dedicated to interior design.
Here the publisher features a wide selection of content all about interior design and has chosen a relevant banner advert to place on this page. The ad will remain the same until John Lewis or the publisher decide to change it.
Affiliate Marketing Networks
If a user clicks on affiliate marketing advertising and that click results in a sale the website owner will usually receive a commission payment for driving that sale. This journey is normally recorded by an intermediary company, called an Affiliate Network.
The affiliate network facilitates the relationship between the website and advertiser. It owns and runs the technology that manages the links and banners that website owners place on their pages. Any sales that result from consumers clicking on those links are then tracked and recorded by the advertiser with the network providing details of which websites generated those sales.
None of the advertising served by affiliate marketing captures personal data relating to an online user unless that data is specifically requested and entered by the consumer, such as an enquiry for double glazing or a holiday brochure.
There are many different types of websites that make use of affiliate marketing to monetise their content. If you are concerned about how affiliate marketing is being used on a website that you have visited please
You can read more about affiliate marketing and how different companies use it to make money here.