Difference between Digital Marketing and Affiliate Marketing

While traditional marketing still holds its place by billboards, distributing handouts, promoting on television and newspaper, etc., the digital marketing has opened-up new gates to market the products and services quicker, reaching out to vast customer base, and providing measurable insights of the marketing campaign.

What is Digital Marketing?

It is tactics used in promotion of brands by reaching out to customers via Internet and using various digital communication channels such as email, social media, web-based advertising, text messages, and multimedia messages.

Examples of Digital Marketing

Here are some forms of Digital Marketing −

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) − It strives to make a business to rank higher in Google Search. The SEO experts find various keywords with which the customers search the product. To accomplish SEO, the content of the website is made readable and findable, the structure of website is kept clean in width and depth, and considering as many variations as possible when it comes to potential searching of the website.

  • Pay-per-Click − It refers to driving customers visits to business websites by adding adverts on webpages, YouTube videos, and mobile apps. In PPC, the business pays only when someone clicks on the advert when and lands on your website.

  • Social Media Marketing − Branding by posting on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It involves using tools available to automate and schedule the social media posts, which is a blend of creativity and targeting business objective.

  • Content Marketing − It is creating content such as podcasts, blog posts, short videos, etc. to increase brand awareness. The objective is generating leads and trying to convert the reader to a customer.

  • Email Marketing − Reaching out to customers via sending them appealing emails, which are compelling enough to be opened. Such emails contain links to brand's website offers, special deals, new arrivals, etc. The analysis tool then provides insights on how many people opened an email, how many clicked the link inside, and the things alike.

  • Mobile Marketing − Using the increasing use of mobile devices to market a product. Reaching out to customers via mobile apps, social media, and sending text messages on brand offers over mobile. Showing the customized brand offers depending on which telecom-service cell the mobile is located.

  • Marketing Analytics − Marketing analysis tools provide measurable insights on how the website is performing, what all keywords are drawing users to the website, how many users doing what on the website, etc. Analytics tools help to alter the messages/emails/posts as per the website visitors’ behavior as potential customers. For example, Google Analytics.

  • Affiliate Marketing − It is promoting a product or a service on the website/mobile in collaboration with third-party influencers. The influencers help to bring more customers to a business.

Why does a Business Need Digital Marketing?

There are various compelling reasons of why a business should consider digital marketing to promote its product or service.

  • Immediately connects the business with the existing/potential customers the moment they are online.

  • The business can connect with the customers one-to-one and can convey personalized/tailored offers, interactive messages.

  • It is affordable.

  • It can be accessed on a device as small as a smartphone.

  • It is easy to track customers' activities on the net hence easy to understand their preferences.

  • Highly flexible, versatile. Enables to incorporate text, audio, video media for promotion of brand.

  • Helps a business reach a vast audience.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

It is the process of promoting a business where the business invites affiliates to promote its product or service. The fundamental example of affiliate marketing is someone doing mouth publicity of the product or a service.

A business affiliate promotes the business products or services and drives a sale. The affiliate gets paid every time they convert. This model is just as same as a sales representative getting paid on commission basis. Affiliate network is a huge database of product-related information shared among the affiliates and the businesses typically are called merchants. The affiliates can choose the products they would like to promote.

Business giants like Amazon offer their own affiliate programs. The program is called Amazon Associates where an affiliate can create an account and start promoting Amazon products.

Difference between Digital Marketing and Affiliate Marketing

The following table highlights the points that differentiate Digital Marketing from Affiliate Marketing −

Key Factor Digital Marketing Affiliate Marketing
Expanse of the term It is a broader term, follows a myriad of techniques and strategies of marketing. It is a sub-domain of Digital marketing.
Revenue Generation A digital marketer either promotes their own products (in-house marketing team) or the products owned by other businesses (digital marketing agency business that promotes other businesses’ products). An affiliate helps selling products of a business not owned by them.
Required Skills Knowledge of SEO, Marketing Analytics products, social media, etc. Relationship building, Business communication, social media, etc.
Components Involved It involves large number of components such as digital marketing platforms, marketing team members, graphics designers, managers, business analysts, Marketing Analysing tools, etc. It involves only participation of an affiliate, the business, and the customer.
Revenue Generation There is no passive action involves. The business needs to market actively, changing the strategies if required, to maintain the continuous flow of revenue. Once AM is up and running, revenue generation is pretty much automatic.


Affiliate marketing is a subset of Digital marketing. The domain of Digital Marketing (which comprises of promoting a product or a service via digital devices on Internet) is very wide and deep as compared to Affiliate Marketing (where the affiliates or the third-party entities promote the products and services).

With Affiliate Marketing, you can promote the business services by giving away an amount of commission per conversion to an affiliate whereas Digital Marketing needs you to engross in various marketing-allied activities along with the main objective of marketing.