When we see someone who can make money online, the first that pops up in mind must be “internet influencer” or “KOL (key opinion leader). Yes, influencer marketing is one of the most powerful ways to spread marketing messages in short time and therefore brands are more and more willing to pay internet influencers to advertise their products.

By contrast, when we talk about “passive income” or “financial freedom”, affiliate marketers play a part. Affiliate marketing is performance-based and marketers earn commission for sales or leads generated.

Internet Influencer (Key opinion leader)

Entering the social media era, individuals are now easier to get followers of their own while brands get more choices other than the traditional television, newspaper and magazine. It’s even more statistically precise of what audiences the brands acquire from age group, interest, gender, income, language, habit and more.

The ways of product presentation are wide including unboxing, video, blogging, pictures, memes and through their sharp opinions to influence others and ultimately achieve the advertisers’ marketing goals.

Therefore, the key is always the number of followers. More followers you own, more marketing value you have. Studies show that product recommendations from influencers are genuinely trusted and used by consumers in their purchase decisions.

There are no shortcuts in terms of accumulating followers before becoming one of the influential people in the niche. Constant and intensive share of your daily life and thoughts, quality content, interaction between your followers and other influencers, and other loads of work before one can stand out his/her personality and attract followers.

Affiliate Marketer

Once ecommerce started off in late 90s, affiliate marketing very soon followed as a way to earn commission by referring business by internet marketers.

In affiliate marketing, you will not always see handsome faces, beautiful outlooks, eye-catching memes or all other fancy contents. Affiliate Marketer still promotes brands and services but with designated link. Audiences click on the link will be tracked and advertisers pay for each lead generated.

Advertisers pay affiliates in various models such as CPS (cost per sale), CPL (cost per lead), CPC (cost per click), and CPI (cost per installation). Conversion point could be pin submit, member registration (DOI), online transaction, complete a survey or subscription.

Advertisers generally find affiliate marketing very attractive because of its model. They don’t really have a financial cost before they first get a result.

Anyone can register to become an affiliate both through affiliate network or merchant’s affiliate program. Popular traffic types include blogging, search, banner display, retargeting, pop and email.

Instead of first marketing oneself and winning followers, affiliate marketers spend more time on studying the merchants. What are the edges? Who are the competitors? What is its market position? What are the best-selling products? Who are the potential consumers and how to effectively deliver the message to them?

  Internet Influencer Affiliate Marketer
Threshold Low Low
Control Low High
Potential Profitability High High
Potential Loss Low Moderate
Effort & Time High High
Payment Fixed & Clear Uncertain
Marketing result Unclear & Unmeasurable Clear & measurable
Privacy Low High
New Business Passive Proactive