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, influencer 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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Types of Affiliate Marketing

1. Unattached Affiliate Marketing

Unattached affiliate marketing refers to pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns where the affiliate lacks a personal presence or authority in the niche they are promoting. The affiliate relies on platforms like Google AdWords or Facebook ads to display their affiliate links to potential customers. The goal is to entice users to click on the link, make a purchase, and earn a commission without establishing a direct connection with the end consumer.

Unattached affiliate marketing appeals to many because it can be done without building a reputation or establishing trust within a specific online community. It offers an option for those who are hesitant to invest time and effort in creating a blog or website or lack the necessary time to do so.

2. Related Affiliate Marketing

Related affiliate marketing revolves around affiliates promoting products or services that are directly connected to their niche or area of expertise. In this approach, affiliates leverage their influence and knowledge to drive traffic to the offerings, establishing themselves as trusted sources. It’s important to note that affiliates do not make claims about personal use or experience with the promoted product or service.

3. Involved Affiliate Marketing

Involved affiliate marketing occurs when an affiliate has personal experience with a product or service, believes in its value, and wholeheartedly recommends it to their audience. This form of marketing establishes a strong connection between the affiliate and the offering, as their endorsement is based on firsthand knowledge. The affiliate’s positive experiences serve as the advertisement itself, making them a trusted source of information. However, it’s important to note that if any issues arise with the product or service, the affiliate’s reputation could be affected since they have provided recommendations.

Parties involved in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing typically involves four key parties:

  1. Affiliates: These are the individuals or entities who promote the products or services.
  2. Product creators: They are responsible for developing and creating the products or services being promoted.
  3. Networks: These are the platforms or organizations that manage the affiliates, facilitating the tracking, reporting, and payment processes.
  4. Consumers: They are the end users or customers who purchase and utilize the products or services being promoted through affiliate marketing.

Can you Really Make Money as an Affiliate?

Yes, it is possible to make money as an affiliate marketer. Many affiliates have successfully built profitable businesses and generated significant income through affiliate marketing. However, the level of success and earnings can vary greatly depending on various factors such as the niche, marketing strategies, audience reach, product selection, and individual effort.

How Much Money Can You Make as an Affiliate?

In affiliate marketing, the commission rates for successful conversions through affiliate links usually range between 5% and 15%. However, in high-demand product categories, sellers may offer smaller commissions. While most sales result in one-time payments, there are cases where referrals can generate recurring payments, particularly for products or services with subscription-based models that involve regular costs.

When it comes to the typical incomes of affiliate marketers, statistics reveal that their potential earnings can be significantly higher. According to affiliate marketing income statistics from Glassdoor, the average annual income for affiliate marketers is ₹1,80,00, with earnings ranging from ₹84,480 on the lower end to ₹3,32,759 on the higher end.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing?

To start affiliate marketing, you can follow these steps:

1. Choose a Niche: Select a niche or topic that aligns with your interests, knowledge, and target audience.

2. Research Affiliate Programs: Find affiliate programs that offer products or services related to your chosen niche. Look for reputable affiliate networks like EarnKaro, individual company programs, or affiliate marketplaces that connect affiliates with a wide range of programs.

3. Join Affiliate Programs: Apply to affiliate programs that align with your niche and meet your criteria. 

4. Build an Online Presence: Create a platform to engage with your audience and promote affiliate products. 

5. Produce High-Quality Content: Create content that educates, informs, or entertains your audience while incorporating affiliate links strategically.

6. Drive Targeted Traffic: Implement various marketing strategies to attract relevant traffic to your platform. 

7. Promote Affiliate Products: Integrate affiliate links into your content naturally and transparently. Write product reviews, recommend products in tutorials, create comparison guides, or share your personal experiences with the products.

8. Monitor and Optimize: Track the performance of your affiliate campaigns using analytics tools and affiliate dashboards.

9. Comply with Guidelines and Disclosures: Ensure you comply with relevant regulations and guidelines, such as disclosing your affiliate relationships and following ethical marketing practices. 

10. Scale and Diversify: As you gain experience and grow your affiliate business, consider scaling your efforts by expanding your content, diversifying your income sources, and exploring new affiliate programs or niches.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing Illustration
Digital Marketing Illustration

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

What are the Channels of Digital Marketing?

1. SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) aims to improve the ranking of a website’s pages on search engines like Google, Bing, and others. When a user searches for a specific query, websites with optimised SEO have a higher chance of appearing in the top results, increasing the likelihood of user clicks.

Enhancing the SEO of a web page not only boosts its online visibility but also increases traffic and engagement. Effective SEO involves incorporating relevant keywords and managing links within the content to appear in the organic search results, which are unpaid listings. Online tools like Google Keyword Planner, Bing Webmaster, Moz, and can assist in optimising content based on keyword research. Tools such as Ahrefs, BuzzStream, and GroupHigh also aid in link-building and analysing competitors’ backlinks.

2. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) can be a highly effective Internet marketing channel when used appropriately. The primary objective of PPC is to convert passive users into engaged prospects and ultimately turn them into customers. For instance, when a user clicks on an online display ad, they may be directed to a landing page with detailed information about a product or service. If the user remains engaged and interested throughout the experience, they are more likely to purchase.

PPC ads typically appear as sponsored stories, product listings, or video ads on websites and social media platforms. These online promotions are often tailored based on users’ profile interests and search terms.

3. Content Marketing

Content marketing involves creating and distributing various forms of content, such as blogs, videos, and social media posts, to attract and retain customers. It has become an increasingly valuable strategy for capturing the target audience’s attention, maintaining their engagement with the brand, and reinforcing brand presence.

One of the key advantages of content marketing is its ability to build trust and enhance brand equity. By addressing customers’ concerns and providing valuable assistance, brands establish themselves as reliable sources of information and support. Consistently delivering value through content establishes trust among the audience, increasing the likelihood of them choosing to do business with the brand and recommending it to others in their network.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing provides a highly personalized approach to connecting with targeted customers, making it a standout channel in Internet marketing. It offers the opportunity to deliver exclusive insider content, special discounts, and personalized messages to subscribers, creating a sense of exclusivity and making them feel valued. Attractive offers and promotions may even entice non-subscribers to sign up for updates.

Implementing advanced email marketing techniques drives sales and conversions and fosters customer loyalty. This channel allows businesses to tailor their spending to individual clients and gain insights into where they stand in their purchasing cycle. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of spam laws to ensure that well-crafted and targeted email campaigns don’t end up in recipients’ spam folders.

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing has become an essential channel for numerous reasons beyond the fact that it boasts a massive user base of 4.48 billion people. What started as a platform for personal connections has become even more significant, offering immense business opportunities.

Today, social media allows brands to engage with potential buyers personally and authentically. The focus has shifted towards organic social media marketing, leveraging the platform’s original intent of fostering interactions rather than solely pushing sales messages.

To effectively utilize social media, investing time in building relationships with your target market is crucial. Understanding the needs and interests of your buyer personas is critical. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can help generate highly qualified leads, with LinkedIn driving 80% of B2B leads, followed by Twitter at 13%, and Facebook at 7%.

However, it’s important to note that social selling isn’t solely about making sales. It prioritizes the establishment of firm, positive relationships with your audience. By fostering connections and providing value, social media marketing can lead to increased brand loyalty and drive conversions more organically and authentically.

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
Professional Experience. Mansi joined EarnKaro in 2022 as a Content Analyst. With over three years of experience, she is a seasoned content writer specializing in niches such as affiliate marketing. Educational Background. A Journalism and Mass Communication graduate from Amity University, Mansi channels her passion towards empowering aspiring micro-influencers through the power of affiliate marketing. More About Her. She indulges in her passion for beauty and fashion in her spare time, immersing herself in extensive research and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations.


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