Tackling the Dark Side of Affiliate Marketing

February 24, 2023
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Affiliate marketing has been around for a while and is continuing to grow in popularity. In fact, 80% of brands today practice affiliate marketing. The industry is expected to grow from $13 billion in 2022 to $15.7 billion by 2024, and is slated to be a US$36.9 billion market by 2030. The straightforward, simple nature of affiliate marketing that allows multiple layers of profit makes it an appealing way for brands to grow their reach more organically, in ways other forms of marketing cannot do. Essentially, affiliate marketing allows a third-party publisher to earn a commission for promoting the products or services of others. This benefits the brand by generating new leads, even boosting sales with third-party support.

However, it’s also a double-edged sword, as the appeal of affiliate marketing makes it one of the most attractive targets for fraudsters due to its high value. Alongside the economic upheaval that’s putting more companies in tighter positions with budget constraints, watching advertising money go into the wrong pockets in bright daylight is something that brands cannot and should not continue to tolerate.

There are many tactics used by non-compliant affiliates that can be detrimental to a brand, beyond the bottom line. While revenue and lost budgets are often the most obvious result of affiliate fraud and are a primary cause for concern, the effects of affiliate marketing fraud can go much further. Issues like having a brand’s products appear alongside offensive or illegal content, for example, is one way brand reputation can be harmed. Every time a brand opens itself to affiliate marketing, they are taking a brand risk that goes beyond a single campaign. This is why marketers need to make ad fraud prevention a business priority the moment they decide to jump on the affiliate marketing bandwagon.

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