WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing where a merchant pays a commission to their affiliates for an action (this is most often a sale, but can also take the form of a lead) that one of their site visitors takes on the merchant’s site.

See below for a common path of a visitor clicking on an affiliate link. 

 
 

Being an affiliate is a rewarding way to earn money doing what you love – sharing your passions, insights, and helpful resources with others.  It can also be a viable way to drive additional income for a small business owner. But what does it mean to be an affiliate and how to you earn money doing it?

The most successful affiliates do this naturally, by sharing their thoughts and opinions about specific products, or highlighting special offers and discounts, because they genuinely like them and feel they offer value.  This comes from a clear understanding of their core audience and the flexibility to adjust their promotional methods.

WHO ARE AFFILIATES?

While the most traditional affiliate is often described as a content blogger, industry growth has opened the door for various types of successful affiliates including, but not limited to:

  • Social media influencers (Facebook user)
  • Network (network of sub-affiliates)
  • Lead generation services (generate email sign-ups or other)
  • Charities (offer element of donation to their users)
  • Email marketers (focused on promotion via email)
  • Deal sites (specialize in the best online offers)
  • Review sites (promote product via reviews)
  • Loyalty sites (offer element of cashback or rewards)

INTRODUCTION TO AFFILIATE MARKETING TERMS

As an affiliate, whether new or experienced, you will hear a wide range of terminology. As a point of reference, we have included definitions of some of the most widely-used terms in affiliate marketing. 

Commission Rate

 

Amount paid to an affiliate


Cookie Length

 

The time period during which a merchant will pay a commission to the affiliate if a referred visitor comes back to the site and performs the commissionable activity


Datafeed

 

A product catalog including images, descriptions, and direct links made available to affiliates so they can post products directly on their site


Tracking Pixel

 

Piece of code that a merchant installs on the checkout page so that conversions can be tracked through the affiliate network


EPC

 

Earnings per 100 clicks sent to merchant: An apples-to-apples way to measure performance that takes into account purchase price, commission and cookie


HOW DO AFFILIATES EARN MONEY?

Just as affiliates are called many things – publishers, associates, ambassadors, and partners – they can be compensated in many ways – from commissions on the sale of goods, to bonuses paid on the types of visitors you send.

eBay Partner Network pays both commissions and bonuses. When you drive traffic to eBay.com via your site or channel and it results in the sale of an item, you earn a percentage of the revenue.  It’s that easy.   

Below is a visual example for how the affiliate marketing model works:

 
 

HOW MUCH DO AFFILIATES EARN?

Earning potential is limitless, but there are various ways to collect commissions.  Payouts vary by merchant, and can also be based on category or department.  These payouts are often inclusive of select exclusions (select products may be excluded from payout) set forth by the merchant.  

eBay Partner Network pays commissions (40-80% depending on the product) based on the revenue earned (not the final sale price) on each transaction. Plus, you can earn even more with a 200% bonus by driving new and reactivated buyers (those who have not purchased on eBay.com in a year) to purchase. Check out our rate card here

Once you earn $25 (payment threshold), we will pay out your funds via direct deposit or PayPal (both options are free to use).  All payments are processed in-house, with tax documentation provided for those that earn over $600 for the year.

DOES IT COST ANYTHING TO BE AN AFFILIATE?

No.  It is free to be an affiliate, with earning potential open from the first day you join.  To encourage you to start creating links to eBay right away, we offer double commissions for your first three months in the program.  

WHAT IS AN AFFILIATE NETWORK AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

An affiliate network is the platform that serves as an intermediary between an affiliate and a merchant.  Some merchants work with third-party networks, while others, like eBay, operate their network in-house.  It provides affiliates with the necessary resources needed to be a successful partner, from dynamic creative to promotional text links.

eBay Partner Network is no different.  We provide our partners with all of the necessary tools to successfully promote eBay to their readers. We track all purchases and post your earnings on our publisher portal the day after a sale is made.

HOW DOES THE NETWORK KNOW WHEN TO PAY THE AFFILIATE?

As a first step, select the tool(s) you wish to use to step up your affiliate links.  Once complete, you are ready to place the affiliate tracking links on your site and start earning commissions.  See our affiliate tools section for a full overview of what is available and how to best incorporate them into your promotional methods.   

When a visitor clicks on your affiliate link, a tracking is cookie is placed on their computer or mobile device.  Cookies are used to record (save) relevant data, including affiliate site, when a click occurred, and what link was used to direct the user to eBay.com.  The cookie is used to accurately apply commissions.

Cookies have a duration, or “cookie window” for which they are valid.  The cookie window for eBay Partner Network is 24 hours.  This means that if a visitor leaves your site after clicking on your affiliate link and comes back to eBay to make a purchase within the 24 hour cookie window, you will still get credit for the purchase and receive a commission. 

You can view all pending commissions by visiting your reporting dashboard (see our overview on reports [link to LP on reports] for more information).

BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH EBAY PARTNER NETWORK

As a partner of eBay, you are instantly provided with a vast list of program benefits which include, but are not limited to:

  • Double commissions for your first three months in the program
  • Partnership with a well-known and trusted brand that has been in business for over 20 years
  • Full access to a suite of affiliate tools
  • Daily Deals, plus free shipping on all
  • EPN’s blog so you can stay up-to-date on the latest news and program trends
  • A large community -- over 165 million active users and over 25 million sellers
  • Daily Deals, plus free shipping on all
  • Access to a vast array of products (with millions of listings live at any given moment) on eBay.com, with something for every buyer

This, combined with eBay’s global reach, sets you up with endless opportunities to earn with us.  As a valued partner, we encourage you to visit all areas of our affiliate portal to better understand all of the ways you can further your success as an eBay partner.