Ad Networks vs. Affiliate Marketing – Which is Best?

Posted: 2023-03-08

You’re probably aware of the fact that website monetization can be done in many ways. You can use several different techniques in order to make money from a website or a blog – and you can rely on one of them, or try using some of them together.

Two leading ways to create revenue with a successful website are affiliate marketing and ad networks. In this article, we’ll explain the key differences between these two digital marketing techniques, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and hopefully, it’ll help you decide how to utilize either (or both) of them.

The key contrast between ad networks and affiliate marketing lies in how you can make money using them. Both methods allow you to promote offers and benefit from advertising. It can be tough for new publishers and affiliates to pick one over the other. Our “Ad Network vs Affiliate Marketing” guide is just what you need to help you understand everything with ease. Let’s dive into it!

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a way for businesses to promote their products or services through individuals or companies, called affiliates. As an affiliate, you become sort of a partner – you earn a commission by promoting a product or a service, and helping the business increase their sales.

In affiliate marketing, the business provides the affiliate with a unique link or code to share with their audience. When someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase or completes a desired action, the affiliate earns a commission. Typically, you only earn money if there is a sale. However, some affiliate marketing programs can reward you for leads, free-trial users, clicks to a website, or generating downloads for an app.

This type of marketing has become increasingly popular because it allows businesses to reach a wider audience through the help of their affiliates. It also provides affiliates with an opportunity to earn money by promoting products using content platforms such as blogs, Instagram profiles or TikTok videos.

Affiliate Marketing – Pros and Cons

Affiliate marketing is a win-win situation for both the business and the affiliate. It allows businesses to expand their reach and increase sales while providing affiliates with a source of income.

Another advantage of affiliate marketing – it’s usually free to join, so you don’t need to invest money in order to start earning money.

There are lots of opportunities in the affiliate business – which is obviously a plus. Huge brands like Amazon or offer affiliate programs, so you can promote a large variety of goods and services, while choosing the best niche for yourself.

There are also disadvantages to affiliate marketing. First and foremost – you usually need to generate a sale in order to earn a commission, and as we all know, generating a sale is a lot harder than just getting a user to click on an ad. You also need to create quite a lot of relevant content in order to stand out in search engines and social media.

Also, not all affiliate programs are globally available. Some of them only allow US or UK publishers to join. 

Payouts differ from one affiliate network to the other, but some of them won’t release payments until you reach a threshold of $100, or something in that neighborhood, which can be considered a disadvantage of affiliate marketing. Some affiliates will only offer gift cards as payment.

Another problem with affiliate marketing is that sometimes there are way too many publishers pushing the same brand. For example, the Amazon affiliate program is very popular, so there are many content creators out there, trying to promote Amazon products. This creates a saturated market, in which it’s very hard to stand out.

Also, the huge uptick in e-commerce means that when a customer wants a product, they will usually go straight to the source, and won’t bother with a Google search, which might lead them to you (and then to the business you’re promoting).

What is an Ad Network?

Ad networks connect advertisers with publishers who have space on their websites or apps where advertisements can be displayed. Advertisers use ad networks to reach a large audience through various websites or apps, while publishers use them to monetize their content by displaying ads.

Ad networks offer a range of ad formats, such as banner ads, push ads and pop ads, that can be customized to fit the look and feel of your website. Ad networks like AdMaven also provide tools for targeting specific audiences based on demographics, location, and behavior.

Ad Networks – Pros and Cons

It’s very easy to sign in for an ad network, such as AdMaven, and the setup is quick, so you can start earning money almost right away. You also don’t need to generate a lot of content (although good content is needed in order to attract users). You can place ads even if your website is relatively small.

In contrast to affiliate marketing, you don’t need to generate a sale or a registration in order to earn money using an ad network. Usually, all you need to do is generate clicks and engagement from your users.

Also, the payment threshold for ad networks is usually very low, so unlike affiliate marketing, you don’t need to wait for the money to accumulate in order to rake in the cash.

One problem with ad networks is that there are a lot of users using ad blockers, so they might not see the ads on your website. Good ad networks, however, can help you bypass ad blockers.

Another disadvantage of the ad networks market is the fact there are many companies out there, and it’s not easy to choose the proper ad network for your website or business. Read this article in order to avoid the most common mistakes publishers make when choosing an ad network

Ad Network or Affiliate Marketing – which should you choose?

Here’s a question for you – why not both? There’s no reason to give up on a revenue generating technique. Sign up for an ad network, and then find some good affiliate programs, and sign up for those, as well!

This way, you can diversify your website monetization and have more opportunities to earn money – by displaying ads or by generating sales. 

Ad Networks, Advertising Tips, Affiliate Marketing, Blog, Digital Marketing