Digital Marketing and Affiliate Marketing are the two terms that have often been uttered in the same breath. Marketing is a big term and includes different kinds of tricks and techniques that help companies get new customers while also maintaining customer loyalty. Affiliate marketing & digital marketing are closely related to each other yet they are completely different. Let us have a look at what both of these terms mean and which one shall a beginner opts for to make money in the market.

Affiliate Marketing vs Digital Marketing

ParametersDigital MarketingAffiliate Marketing
DefinitionDigital marketing is the practice of promoting products online through different free and paid channels.Affiliate marketing is the practice of promoting products and services from online retailers in return for a commission.
ReachDigital marketing has a wide reach due to the use of different tricks and tactics.Affiliate marketing is a part of Digital Marketing making its reach much less than Digital Marketing.
CompetencyA digital marketer must be aware of different techniques which include SEO, SEM, Content marketing, analytics, and more.An affiliate marketer must be a good content creator and should have an understanding of customer perception.
OwnershipA digital marketer may or may not own the products they are promoting. They may also need to use different strategies to promote different products.An affiliate marketer does not own the products that he promotes. Affiliate commissions from third-party retailers are the main source of income for affiliate marketers.
ComponentDigital marketing has a lot of moving components that need to be taken care of to create a trustworthy strategy.Affiliate marketing has three main components – an affiliate marketer, an online retailer, and the customers.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing Illustration
Affiliate Marketing Illustration

The partnership between a marketer and an online retailer in which a marketer is paid a commission for bringing sales to an online retailer’s website is termed Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing basically has three parties – the marketer, the retailer and the customer. The partnership is mutually beneficial for all the parties involved since the retailers get higher sales at a much cheaper customer acquisition cost, marketers make good money without going through a lot of hassle and the customers enjoy exclusive offers and discounts.

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What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing Illustration
Digital Marketing Illustration

Digital Marketing is an umbrella term that involves all marketing tactics done by companies and marketers on the internet. These include social media marketing, content marketing, network marketing, email marketing, SEO and of course, Affiliate Marketing. Marketers can specialize in a single field from Digital Marketing or can become all-around expert digital marketers.

What is the difference between Affiliate Marketing and Digital Marketing?

1. Definition

A sort of marketing known as “digital marketing” promotes goods and services using digital technologies like the internet, mobile devices, display advertising, and other digital channels. It is a vast subject that includes a variety of tactics, including social media marketing, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, content marketing, and SEO. Digital marketing is employed to connect with consumers, increase brand recognition, create leads, and boost revenue. With affiliate marketing, a company pays one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer they bring in as a result of the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. A person who promotes a business’s goods or services in exchange for a commission is known as an affiliate.

2. Reach

Digital marketing requires a combination of many different forms of marketing including content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and of course, affiliate marketing. This means that ultimately, digital marketing has a much wider reach than affiliate marketing.

3. Competency

Digital marketers may require months or even years of training to become full-fledged experts in the field. They need to be proficient in fields like search engine optimization, search engine marketing, video editing, graphic designing, and social media management among many other things. Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, requires much less time and skill to start earning from the field.

4. Ownership

Some company owners or product manufacturers may turn into digital marketers to promote their products. Digital marketers can also be hired on a contractual or freelance basis from outside the company. However, affiliate marketers always promote products for some other online retailer and work on a commission basis.

5. Component

Digital marketing has a lot of components which include the product/service provider, a digital marketer or a marketing agency, advertisers, publishers, consumers, etc. The parties involved in affiliate marketing include an online retailer, an affiliate marketer, and the consumer. In some cases, it might also include an intermediary to connect the marketer with an affiliate program.

Is there any similarity between Affiliate Marketing and Digital Marketing?

  1. Both involve promoting products or services online. The ultimate goal for both Digital and Affiliate marketing is to create demand for a certain product.
  2. Both Affiliate and Digital marketing require an understanding of the target audience. Putting in time and effort without effectively getting to know the audience can prove drastic for both kinds of marketers.
  3. Both involve creating content to drive traffic and engagement. In 2023, content is king. Every company, marketer, and customer is trying to create some form of content. Both Digital and Affiliate marketing are heavily focused on content creation which helps in increasing companies’ reach among customers.
  4. Both Affiliate Marketing and Digital Marketing involve leveraging online mediums like search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, and social media. Since these are all generally a part of digital marketing, it would not be wrong to say that affiliate marketing is a subset of digital marketing itself.
  5. Both involve tracking results and measuring success. Analytics-driven marketers take the cake in every scenario. Both digital and affiliate marketers have to track campaign performance to understand what and why different things work for the audience. Close attention to insights helps marketers in optimizing their campaigns.

Affiliate Marketing vs Digital Marketing – Which one will earn you more?

As a beginner marketer, digital marketing can be a baffling affair. It involves a lot of work and technical skills along with a good amount of investment into the business. However, affiliate marketing can be a great way for beginners as well as professionals to make money without investing as much time or money into their venture.

Affiliate marketing can help you build a steady revenue stream to complement your efforts. Once you feel comfortable in your zone, different avenues in digital marketing always remain open.


As we saw, digital marketing and affiliate marketing can be seen as two sides of the same coin. Different marketers as well as companies depend on different marketing techniques to build their businesses. It just depends on their ultimate expectations, budget, time limit, etc. We hope that you will now have a clear understanding of both the techniques of marketing and will be able to make an informed decision for yourself.


Is digital marketing and affiliate marketing the same?

Digital marketing includes affiliate marketing as a subcategory. Compared to Affiliate Marketing, the field of digital marketing is far larger and more complex.

Digital marketing vs affiliate marketing which is better?

Affiliate marketing and digital marketing are two different approaches to driving sales. While affiliate marketing relies on customer recommendations such as promotion (marketing), product, price, and place, digital marketing is a strategy based on the “4Ps” of traditional advertising.

What is the difference between affiliate marketing and digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a word used to describe a sort of marketing in which a business uses multiple online channels to market and sell its products. Digital marketing makes use of a variety of advertising techniques. The practice of advertising the goods of other companies in exchange for a percentage of sales is known as “affiliate marketing.”

How affiliate marketing is important in digital marketing?

The practice of advertising the goods of other companies in exchange for a percentage of sales is known as “affiliate marketing.” Digital marketing makes use of a variety of advertising techniques. It’s a well-liked idea that applies to a wide range of gadgets. Affiliate marketing is a subset of digital marketing.

Mansi Rana is an experienced content writer with 2 years of experience in creative storytelling. A Journalism and Mass Communication graduate from Amity University, Mansi is passionate about helping creating micro-influencers through the power of affiliate marketing. When not writing for the Internet, she is a voracious researcher of all things beauty and fashion.


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