Since the question is phrased relative to Google Ads, the context in which affiliate marketing is referred to here would be from the point of view of trying to sell your own product or service online. We’re not talking about being an affiliate yourself… As a Google Ads alternative to get word out there about your offer(s) – which basically entails paying for clicks and views – the affiliate marketing route would rather have you joining an affiliate network as a vendor, if not having your own affiliate programme built into your e-commerce structure.
Perhaps the most prominent example of a digital products-and-services affiliate network is none other than ClickBank, while vendors who have affiliate programmes integrated into their e-commerce structures take the form of the likes of Booking Dotcom, etc. If you scroll right down to the bottom of the Booking Dotcom site you’ll find a “Become an Affiliate” link…
So the question is: is affiliate marketing a worthy alternative to Google Ads? Generally speaking the answer is “yes,” but it’s not as simple as that, because it all depends on what kind of offer you’re trying to get sales for.
The often deceptively misused mantra of online marketing success coming down to an investment in either time or money applies. Is your sales-offer a time-sensitive one? For example, you might be in possession of tickets for a concert or sporting event with a fixed, fast-approaching date, in which case it’s probably too late to start an affiliate marketing campaign, unless you already have an established network of affiliates who are targeting that specific or related niche.
That brings to light a very important factor regarding affiliate marketing, which is that it requires an investment of time and effort. As someone who has experience using iDevAffiliate affiliate management software, I might know some shortcut, but things don’t come easy when setting up everything from the scratch. Sure, if you join an affiliate network then you’re essentially delegating that required time and effort to the many affiliates who will be the ones marketing the sales offer, but that whole process still requires time and effort to be spent. It’s just not you who will be expending that time and effort…
The best of online marketing campaigns incorporates a range of marketing channels in any case, so typically it would never be an exclusively either-or scenario between affiliate marketing and Google Ads. The cost differences are probably what bring it down to an exclusive consideration of one versus the other, in which case the most experienced of internet marketing experts will likely lean towards affiliate marketing.
Here’s the thing; unless your Google Ads campaign is to shove a sales offer under the noses of the targeted market, usually it would form part of the leads-generation campaign which ultimately forms part an affiliate marketing strategy. Chances are very high that an affiliate marketing your offer will look towards Google Ads, so the most logical choice is to focus on affiliate marketing.
An offer-based Google Ads campaign comes to an end as soon as you deplete your budget and get the estimated number of clicks that budget indicatively accounted for, while an affiliate marketing listing will only have you building up momentum as time goes by. There’s also the advantage of effectively only paying for the marketing of your offer once the sale has been completed, as per the basics of affiliate marketing, whereas with Google Ads you’re essentially bidding on keywords and paying for click through-s, whether or not they result in sales.