What Types of Affiliate Marketing Exist?

Affiliate marketing has appeared due to the fact that there are many types of available interactions between the companies that offer services and people, sites and companies that can transfer traffic. Nowadays there are many types of affiliate marketing divided by:

  • reward
  • platform
  • traffic source

However, all the forms of affiliate marketing possess one common feature – it is always bringing traffic or leads by the third party to the specific website or service. Read below to know more about types of affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing Types by Reward

It is important to point out that there are two types of rewards usually granted for attracting new clients:

  • bonuses from service
  • money

When it is about getting bonuses from service, it usually means that some kind of service offers a benefit (like free month of service or account upgrade) to user that invites new users. It is so called referral scheme, when the number of clients is boosted by other clients. However, the benefit could be converted in money if the service is about making money for clients (for example, any kinds of network marketing companies).

Another type of reward is money – and here is where the classical affiliate marketing usually begins. There could be any kind of contractor for a service dealing with affiliate marketing:

  • webmaster
  • company
  • business owner (тут имеется ввиду именно individuals)

More thoroughly each type of contractor would be described in the next sections.

Affiliate Marketing Types by Platform

There are three types of platforms that define how the affiliate marketing program would be performed:

  • CPA Network
  • Affiliate Network
  • Direct Affiliates

Each of the platform has some pros and cons to consider. If you are going to become an advertiser, it is important to choose the platform carefully.

CPA Network

CPA (Cost-Per-Action) Network is a platform where advertisers place offers and conditions of cooperation with traffic providers. Traffic providers browse through the offers and choose the most appropriate ones. Traffic provider only gets paid for a definite action client makes (registration, purchase, subscription etc.) – that is why the networks are called CPA. Such networks are actually a subdivision of affiliate networks that are going to be disclosed below.

Advantages of CPA Network:

  • an ability to formulate conditions and leads characteristics
  • pay per defined action only
  • many options for traffic source is available

Disadvantages of CPA Network:

  • lack of monitoring of contractors
  • no guarantee of conversion (if certain action is not a purchase)
  • necessity to compete against other offers represented in the CPA network

Types of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Network

It is the most sophisticated and advanced kind of network that is able to provide close interaction and cooperation between advertiser and traffic provider. Good affiliate networks offer advanced metrics (to look after the campaign results) to advertisers and possess large number of credible traffic providers in the list. There could be various reward models implemented – CPA, CPM, CPI, etc.

Advantages of affiliate networks:

  • you get more attention and service from your manager
  • more options to attract traffic and leads to the website
  • more flexible reward system
  • you have more control over contractor
  • all traffic sources are accurately moderated by the affiliate network before submission

Disadvantages of affiliate networks:

  • more time and efforts is required to initiate collaboration
  • less options are available when it comes to traffic providers
  • more work to be done when dealing with traffic provider

Types of Affiliate Marketing

Direct Affiliates

Any service can have direct affiliates if needed – you only need to launch an affiliate program on your service and provide all necessary tools on your website for affiliates. Such an approach gives you an opportunity to deal with traffic providers without intermediaries, however, it demands more efforts from you, when it comes to search and processing with affiliates.


  • more options to cooperate
  • close ties with traffic provider
  • any kind of reward model can be negotiated


  • necessity to make greater efforts to search and work with affiliates
  • the choice among affiliates depends on your affiliate program promotion

Affiliate Marketing by Traffic Source

The last division to disclose is traffic source. There are next traffic sources:

  • traffic arbitrage
  • own platform
    • website
    • blog
    • forum
    • social network account/group

Which is better? None of it, as the quality of traffic only depends on whether the target audience was reached right and the type of project promoted.

Traffic arbitrage includes:

  • contextual ads
  • targeting within social networks
  • Ads generated using Google, Facebook and other similar ad services

The advertisers usually prefer traffic from own platforms, as it seems to be more credible and reliable.  That is why content is the king and blogs (and informational web sites) with valuable content ought to participate in affiliate programs.

Affiliate marketing can have many forms. But no matter what it remains to be about, bringing traffic to the advertiser by third party and such intermediaries as Adsmain, help our clients find the best platforms to attract traffic and generate leads in the most convenient way.