An affiliate network, in B2B SaaS, is a digital platform that connects SaaS vendors with affiliate marketing partners. Once partnered, affiliates promote the products or services of the vendor for a commission on successful referrals or sales.
By joining an affiliate network, vendors can access a wide range of existing affiliates marketers, which enabling them to reach a broader audience and increase their marketing efforts. Affiliate networks may also allow custom filtering so vendors can narrow down on those affiliates who meet their specific criteria for their ideal partner profile.
Affiliates, on the other hand, can explore multiple programs within the network and choose the ones that best align with their audience and interests. Affiliate networks provide a centralized infrastructure for tracking and managing affiliate marketing activities, including commission tracking, reporting, and payment processing. They also offer resources such as promotional materials, affiliate tools, and analytics to support the success of both vendors and partners.
Example: Matt's software company needed to boost their marketing efforts to meet their revenue goals. He spearheaded an initiative to join an affiliate networks in order to expand the business's reach through tapping into the affiliate marketers' niche audiences that were well-suited to their service.
An affiliate program is an organized system that enables affiliate partners to drive traffic to your properties through tracked links and earn a cut when that traffic converts. Affiliates come in many different forms and they can include influencers, content creators, publications, membership associations, and technology vendors.
In an affiliate program, an online merchant pays affiliates to send them traffic. There is a payout to the affiliate for that traffic, and then if the traffic buys the product, the affiliate receives a commission. An affiliate program is a cost-effective marketing strategy that works for both B2B and B2C brands.
Example: Lisa runs a popular software blog. Loop, a software brand, pays Lisa to place an affiliate link on her blog. When someone buys Loop's software through the link, Lisa gets a payout. Yay!