Visable 360
The B2B magazine for digital sales
Visable 360
The B2B magazine for digital sales

Affiliate marketing in the B2B segment: worthwhile or not?

According to a report, affiliate marketing will experience an uptake. But can the B2B segment also profit from this trend? At least in some areas can a co-op model be well implemented.

brainstorming with post-its

Affiliate marketing – how it works

Affiliate marketing is when a company, which would like to sell products or services, pays its cooperating partners (affiliates) for advertising the company’s offers on their websites. This normally takes place based on a predefined commission in line with success, either through pay per click, pay per lead or pay per sale. Via registration with an affiliate network, both sides can find the matching partner. These agencies also provide the necessary technology for correctly calculating the commission. 

As the Affiliate Marketing Trend-Report 2021 (German only) predicts, this marketing format will experience an uptake. Not only would sales increase – nearly two thirds of the survey’s participants from the industry believe that affiliate marketing could develop to become a serious alternative to marketing measures from Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

Affiliate marketing for B2B: highlights and challenges

In the consumer area, affiliate marketing has long been one of the most popular options for generating leads and boosting sales numbers – since the start of the Internet age. In the B2B segment, however, this sales option has played a rather small role. This is first and foremost due to very tedious purchasing decisions, as the procurement of the often high-priced and complex products must first be approved by various departments within the potential customer’s company. The chance that a banner or article on a partner’s website will instantly lead to a transaction is rather slim. This means that commission based on pay per sale is not profitable in this area. Especially given the fact that in the B2B segment, industrial machines or comparable products are not off-the-shelf products which have a huge potential for sales.

To make things more difficult on top of this, the B2B segment has the need for a much higher degree of individualisation than in the B2C segment. Offers for business customers usually have to be tailored in order to find a buyer – which further reduces the circle of interested parties.

Opportunities for use of affiliate marketing in the B2B segment

However, affiliate marketing in the B2B segment cannot be completely ruled out. For products or services which require little explanation, such as office equipment, workers’ uniforms or telecommunication rates for companies, this marketing discipline can be well implemented – granted the partner is active in a matching online environment.

But also for more complex offers can such co-op models make sense, mainly for starting up an initial dialogue or generating leads. The subscription to a newsletter, or filling in a form to download a white paper via the advertising measure on a publisher’s site, are indeed promising options leading to success. However, such advertisers should precisely analyse how high the quality of the leads is and which percentage of these actually lead to a business talk.

In order to act as successfully as possible, the type of advertising measure is essential. For instance, it is possible to give partners access to a media asset management database featuring videos, case studies, graphics or other elements, which they can then integrate into their websites.

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