The Power of Recommendations: Influencer Guide to Effective Affiliate Marketing

We explain how affiliate marketing works for influencers and what must be paid attention to.

Table of contents
  1. In short: What is affiliate marketing?
  2. Affiliate vs. Influencer Marketing: Discover differences and connections for your success
  3. Companies having to choose between affiliate and influencer marketing
  4. First Steps: How to start as an influencer with affiliate marketing
  5. Which tools are best suited for affiliate marketing as an influencer?
  6. 7 Best Practices for your successful affiliate marketing as an influencer
  7. Legal Aspects
  8. The Power of Affiliate Marketing for Influencers

Affiliate marketing is an effective way that you as an influencer can generate significant income. Here you use your reach to advertise products or services that could appeal to your social media followers. One of the most important aspects is authenticity: Especially if you regularly use the products yourself and they fit you and your niche, you can be very successful with affiliate marketing. In general, you place links in social media posts and/ or get codes from the companies over which your community can shop and usually save something at the same time. What exactly you should pay attention to as an influencer in affiliate marketing and the most important tips are explained by our guest author Alexandra Irrgang in the following article.

In short: What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy in which one person or company (the affiliate) advertises the products or services of another company (merchant) over different channels (websites, blogs, or magazines). In return, the affiliate gets a commission for every sale, every sign-up, or for every desired action. The respective success is determined using individualized tracking links or codes.

So, these are the basic actors in affiliate marketing:

  1. Merchant, or seller / trader / advertiser is the company or person selling products or services. They provide marketing materials such as links, banners, or special discount codes for their affiliates and offer a commission or compensation for successful sales or actions.
  2. The Affiliate / Publisher is the person or organization that advertises the seller's products or services. They use special affiliate links or codes to drive sales and earn a commission or reward for every sale or desired action they generate.
  3. The customer is the person who buys the advertised product or service or registers for a service.

Affiliate marketing is a win-win situation for the seller and the affiliate, as the seller extends the reach and promotes products, while the affiliate has a way to generate income without having to develop or manufacture their own products. It is an effective way to earn money online, both for large companies and individual online marketers.

Affiliate vs. Influencer Marketing: Discover differences and connections for your success

The main difference between traditional affiliate marketing and affiliate marketing for influencers lies in the type of people or organizations that participate in these programs, as well as the approach to product advertising.

Affiliate marketing

Traditional affiliate marketing can involve different types of partners (such as bloggers, website owners, content creators, etc.) to promote the products or services of a company. Affiliate partners here come from a wide range of industries and niches and are not necessarily known for their influence or their fan base. The marketing takes place over various platforms, including websites, blogs, social media channels, email marketing, and other digital media. Traditional affiliates possibly reach a wider audience compared to influencers and have no personal connection to them.

Affiliate marketing for influencers

Influencers are valuable partners in affiliate marketing because they carry some influence in certain social media or online platforms and have built a loyal following or follower base. It all comes down to influence and credibility: Influencers are regarded by their community as a trustworthy source, which is why their recommendations and reviews have a greater impact. The promotion of products primarily takes place over social media channels such as Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, blogs, and other platforms where the influencer is active.


Both in traditional affiliate marketing and in affiliate marketing for influencers, the affiliates receive a commission or compensation for every sale or desired action they generate. Both models also use a tracking system to follow the user actions that should be generated by the affiliate link or code.

Companies having to choose between affiliate and influencer marketing

Companies do not necessarily have to decide between affiliate marketing and Influencer marketing as both marketing strategies can wonderfully complement each other and be used together. Here, different goals are in the foreground, which can have a very positive effect on the reach of a campaign, as different target groups are addressed in different ways. This also strengthens the presence of companies and their brand awareness on different platforms.

First Steps: How to start as an influencer with affiliate marketing

Straight away: Be patient and maintain realistic expectations – success in affiliate marketing takes time and commitment. So start with a clear strategy in the first step and be consistent in your content. Over time, with the continuous cultivation of your partnerships and community, you can be really very successful in affiliate marketing as an influencer. But avoid excessive advertising and focus on delivering valuable content.

If you as an influencer want to start with affiliate marketing, the following steps will help you to get started:

1. Relevance and Authenticity: Become aware of your niche and get an overview of already existing or still possible platforms

The most important question for your first step is the one about your target group. It is important that you identify them and reveal in which niche you are moving. Are you located in the fitness or beauty area or do your contents tend in the direction of ecology or politics? You should definitely stay true to yourself and stick to your own interests and talents in order to remain authentic. On this basis usually suitable platforms (e.g. Instagram, YouTube, Blog, TikTok, etc.) arise, over which you also really reach your target group.

2. Look for suitable affiliate programs

Find companies or brands that match your topic and your niche and whose products or services you can genuinely support.

Register with their affiliate programs. Usually, you can do this directly on the companies' websites. Search here for "affiliate program" or use affiliate networks to find suitable partner programs.

3. Create high-quality content and integrate affiliate links into your content

Create appealing and high-quality content that touches your target group. Focus on providing valuable information that sparks the interest of your followers. Use the provided affiliate links or codes to promote the products or services in your blog posts, shares, and videos. Also pay attention to concrete specifications from your partner company. Often you get a briefing that gives you certain hints for how your contribution should be structured or which words you should (not) include if possible. Mark your affiliate content clearly as advertising or sponsored posts to ensure transparency towards your community.

4. Look for useful tools and track the performance of your affiliate links

Whether it's for content creation, content planning, or analyzing your click numbers: there are now numerous useful tools that can greatly simplify your daily work as an influencer. You will find a extensive selection in the following.

Which tools are best suited for affiliate marketing as an influencer?

Affiliate marketing tools can help you as an influencer to manage your content, manage partnerships, track your performance, and maximize the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Find the right partners and brands for you via affiliate networks

Companies can make their current projects, products, and services accessible to potential affiliates and influencers via Affiliate networks. So here you find numerous cooperation possibilities that ideally fit your niche and you as a person. We have compiled the most popular networks for you here:


ADCELL is a German affiliate marketing network that supports companies in advertising their products and services via publishers. It offers a wide range of partner programs and supports companies in finding partners or influencers who promote their products on their websites, blogs, or social media platforms.


One of the world's largest affiliate marketing networks is Awin. It offers companies access to a comprehensive network of publishers and influencers. It enables companies to create custom partner programs that support their marketing goals.


MyLead is an affiliate marketing network that helps companies promote their products and services through partner programs. It offers a variety of campaigns in various industries, as well as tools and support for affiliates to maximize their income.

Ingenious Technologies

Ingenious Technologies is a technology platform for affiliate marketing founded in Berlin that helps companies manage their partner programs, analyze data and optimize the performance of their marketing activities. It also offers the ability to pay business partners.

Another comprehensive marketing technology platform is Here various marketing solutions are offered, including affiliate marketing. Through, companies can manage partnerships, track the performance of their campaigns and gain important insights into their marketing strategy.

Amazon Associates

Amazon offers the Associates program, which allows affiliates to place links to Amazon products on their websites. Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate programs due to the variety of available products and the brand's reputation.


ShareASale is an affiliate marketing platform that enables merchants, companies selling products or services, to host their programs and make them accessible to affiliates.

CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction):

One of the oldest and most established affiliate marketing platforms is CJ. It connects merchants with affiliates and offers tools for tracking, reporting, and managing partner programs. CJ Affiliate offers a wide range of advertising opportunities and merchants from various industries.


Eqolot is a German company that specializes in influencer marketing, covering all relevant social media channels. EQOLOT handles social influencer marketing for large and well-known brands like Ricola and Ferrero, covering the entire value chain, i.e., marketing measures (for influencers) of all kinds. The network now includes about 42,000 influencers.

Tracking and analysis tools: Keep an eye on your performance

Google Analytics offers you detailed insights into the traffic, conversion rates and other metrics if you run a website or blog in addition to your social media channels.

Bitly allows you to shorten links and at the same time offers tracking functions to see how often the links are clicked.

Many affiliate networks also offer their own tools for tracking clicks, conversions, and income. Have a look around and decide for yourself with which tools you feel most comfortable.

Content creation and planning tools: Manage your posts and contributions

Canva Pro is a tool for creating appealing graphics, images, and banners for social media posts and blog entries. Here you can be creative and create great posts for various social media channels. The selection of templates and formats is huge.

Buffer or Hootsuite help you in planning and publishing social media posts for optimal reach and the highest possible engagement.

Research and keyword tools: Improve your Google ranking

The Google Keyword Planner can help you with keyword research for SEO-optimized content.

Semrush or Ahrefs you can use to obtain detailed analyses. With both tools you can get detailed analyses. Both tools help you with keywords, competitor analysis and backlinks, with which you can increase your reach.

Affiliate link management: Keep track of your affiliate links

ThirstyAffiliates or Pretty Links help you organize, manage, and shorten affiliate links.

Email marketing tools: Plan and manage your emails and newsletters

Mailchimp or ConvertKit support influencers in creating and sending marketing emails and newsletters to their subscribers to promote affiliate products.

The exact selection of tools depends on your specific needs and the platforms you are active on. Therefore, take enough time to see which ones you feel most comfortable with.

7 Best Practices for your successful affiliate marketing as an influencer

Affiliate marketing requires time, consistency, and a smart strategy to be successful. By following these proven practices and continuously optimizing your strategy, you can build an effective and trustworthy affiliate marketing presence as an influencer over the long term.

1. Choose relevant partners and products:

One of the most important aspects of your success as an influencer is authenticity – this also applies to affiliate marketing. Therefore, best promote only products or services that you have been using yourself for a long time or that fit your niche and your audience. At the same time, make sure that your partners are trustworthy.

2. Be transparent and label affiliate content:

Tag your affiliate content as advertising or sponsored posts to ensure transparency towards your community. Use clear tags like "#advertisement" or "#ad" and always be honest about your experiences with the promoted products.

3. Create high-quality and appealing content:

Be creative and use different formats like videos, reviews, tutorials, or storytelling to present the products or services. Provide your followers with added value by creating informative and useful content that addresses their needs and answers potential questions.

4. Use different platforms:

Use different channels, not just your Insta story, but if possible also your YouTube channel or blog. This way you increase the reach for your content. But here you should definitely adapt the content to the respective platform.

5. Test and optimize your strategy:

As far as possible, track the results of your campaigns. Regularly analyze the clicks of your affiliate links to see what works really well and what less so. Then you can adapt your strategy sensibly and ideally achieve more visibility.

6. Build lasting relationships:

Networking is also an important issue for influencers: make an effort for a good and long-term relationship with your cooperation partners – especially when you have always used the products yourself and they fit perfectly to you and your niche. On the other hand, you should also be a reliable contact person for your community, by responding to questions about the product and feedback and contacting the company if necessary for problems.

7. Absolutely pay attention to legal aspects:

Make sure to comply with the legal guidelines and regulations for advertising and affiliate marketing in your country, especially with regard to transparency and labeling. The most important legal aspects are described in more detail in the following.

Even in affiliate marketing, you as an influencer should pay attention to some important legal aspects in order to act legally. These may vary from country to country, but some basic guidelines generally apply:

Labeling of affiliate content and liability for false statements

As already mentioned, contents that are part of an affiliate marketing collaboration must be clearly marked as advertising or sponsored content. Use clear tags like "#advertisement", "#ad", or similar to make it clear that it is commercial content. The label should be placed prominently so that it is easily seen by your community. Avoid misleading or false claims about the advertised products or services, as you could be held legally accountable for this.

Contractual aspects

Before cooperating with a partner company, it is important to read and understand the contracts of the affiliate programs carefully. These stipulate which conditions apply and which types of advertising materials are allowed. Here also the commission regulations are fixed: Make sure that you understand the commission regulations and payment modalities in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Privacy regulations

Particularly as a blog operator, you must observe the privacy policies, especially when using tracking technologies such as cookies or if you use a contact field, as you collect sensitive personal data here.

Compliance with guidelines

Adhere to the guidelines of the platforms you are operating on (e.g. Instagram, YouTube, etc.) to avoid violating their terms of use. Especially on the social media channels you risk being blocked in case of violations and thus lose your visibility.

Local regulations of regulatory authorities

Get information about the specific legal regulations and rules in your country or region as these can vary. In many countries, there are guidelines regulating the disclosure of paid partnerships and advertising.

As an influencer, you should carefully consider these legal aspects and, if necessary, seek legal advice to ensure you comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Transparency towards your followers and ethical correct action should be a primary goal for you in order to build trust in the long term and avoid legal conflicts.

The Power of Affiliate Marketing for Influencers

Affiliate marketing is a valuable addition to the revenue sources of influencers, but at the same time, it requires commitment and attention to the needs of the audience. Below you will find essential key points again.


Affiliate marketing allows you to generate additional income in addition to your regular income sources. The recommendation of products that you use yourself strengthens the trust of your community. Affiliate marketing gives you flexibility regarding the choice of your advertised products and the scalability of your income, depending on engagement and reach.


The competition in affiliate marketing programs can be high, some markets or niches may already be saturated. This can severely affect the success or at least the offer of suitable campaigns. Successful affiliate marketing requires time, commitment, and continuity to build a solid relationship with your audience. Observance of laws and guidelines regarding the disclosure of affiliate content is crucial and requires attention.

Especially if you focus on authenticity, relevant products, and transparent communication, you can build a long-term and trustful relationship with your followers through affiliate marketing as an influencer and at the same time earn high income through product recommendations.

Alexandra Irrgang
Alexandra Irrgang

Alexandra Irrgang ist bei der eology GmbH als Outreach-Managerin in der Online-PR tätig. Ihre Aufgabe und Leidenschaft ist es, hochwertige und vor allem nutzerorientierte Fachartikel, Blogbeiträge und Pressemitteilungen für spannende Kund*innen online zu bringen.

Ursprünglich aus der Bildungswissenschaft stammend, vereint sie hier ihre Passion für Bildungsthemen und das Schreiben mit einem kundenorientierten und strategischen Vorgehen sowie großem Spaß daran, Lösungen und kreative Möglichkeiten zu finden, um Unternehmen im Internet noch sichtbarer werden zu lassen.

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