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Brand Ambassadors vs Affiliates

Both Brand Ambassador & Affiliate are attractive jobs for thriving online personalities. Both brings benefits as well as stable income. But, ambassadors vs affiliates, which one brand should choose?

We are here to help. Let’s check out what will you go though:

  • What is affiliate & how much they earn?
  • What is brand ambassador & how much they earn?
  • A comparison.
  • What to choose?
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What is affiliate?

Brand affiliates (also called publishers, affiliate marketer) are individuals or business collaborating with a brand. They promote brand’s products in exchange for a commission.

Unlike brand ambassadors who focus on building authentic relationships and advocating for the brand, affiliates typically engage in performance-based marketing, driving traffic and sales through various promotional channels. 

Brand affiliates typically get paid through a commission-based model, earning a percentage of the sales or revenue generated from their promotional efforts. Here’s an overview of how affiliates get paid:

  • Affiliate Commission: Brands determine a commission structure that outlines the percentage (or fixed amount) of money affiliates will receive for each successful referral. Commission rates vary widely depending on the industry, but typically range from 5% to 30%.
  • Performance-based rewards: Affiliates get a reward for reaching a certain milestone. For example, $10 bonus for ever 03 referrals. Affiliates can also enjoy a better policy because of their performance – like increase commission rate by 5% when they reach 100 successful sales.

Due to the performance-based rewarding mechanism, affiliate marketing often yields high ROI rate. More than 80% brand launch affiliate marketing programs, making it one of the most common marketing model in digital world. Please note that, though affiliates earn on successful referral, it is not considered referral marketing.

Affiliate estimated yearly earnings

Estimating the yearly earnings of a brand affiliate can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the affiliate’s promotional strategies, the commission structure of the affiliate program, the niche or industry they operate in, the quality of their traffic, and the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. 

  • On average, an affiliate marketer earns $8,038 per month. Please note that this data does not take into account affiliates who give up early – which imply the income of the rookies might be far away from this “average number”.
  • Some affiliates earn millions per year. For example, Neil Patel.

STM Forum – one of the biggest affiliate marketing platform – asked their member about earning from affiliate marketing. Here is the result.

affiliates-yearly-incomes

Let’s take $80,000 as the benchmark earning for a comfortable life in the U.S. It is clear that nearly 40% of affiliate cannot earn that much.

But also, please note that 20% of surveyed affiliates earn more than $1,000,000.

Basically, affiliates earning calculation is straightforward and transparent. Their earnings directly tied to the results of their promotional efforts. Brands can motivate & keep affiliate engaged with performance bonus.

What is brand ambassador?

A brand ambassador is a person invited by a company to represent its products to maintain its brand reputation.

Typically, a brand ambassador is a public figure, and already have steady following on social media. With this advantage, ambassadors can promote brands to these audiences. They are often carefully selected by brand managers to represent them. If you are an influencer in a certain community, you can become a brand ambassador.

Brand ambassadors focus on building authentic relationships and advocating for the brand. It different from affiliates – who typically engage in performance-based marketing, driving traffic and sales through various promotional channels.

A brand ambassador can also be affiliates. But not every affiliate can be ambassador.

Ambassador estimated earning

Brand ambassadors can be compensated in various ways, depending on their contract with the brand. Here are some common methods of payment for brand ambassadors:

  • Sponsor post/ sponsored promotion: Brand ambassadors paid by appearing in brand advertising images or through specific advertising posts on their social networks.
  • Get a commission from a referral: In some cases, brand ambassadors may earn commissions or bonuses based on the sales made via their affiliate links. At this point, their way of earning is typically alike to that of affiliate.

Usually, it is really hard to tell earning per year of an ambassador – even on estimation. This because the fact that ambassador often get paid per post, or their special presence.

Typically, cost of an influencer’s post calculated based on their follower’s size. Here are the details:

  • Fee for Micro-Influencers (1,000 – 10,000 followers): $50 – $500 per post
  • Fee for Mid-Tier Influencers (10,000 – 100,000 followers): $200 – $5,000 per post
  • Fee for Macro-Influencers (100,000 – 1 million followers): $1,000 – $20,000 per post
  • Fee for Mega-Influencers (Over 1 million followers): $10,000 and up per post

Please note that in many cases you can use ambassadors & influencer interchangeably. However, they key to distinguish them is that influencer earn per post/ promotion effort but those are typically one-time or short term, while an ambassador tends to engage to brand’s marketing campaign for a long term.

Differences between affiliates and brand ambassadors

Here are some key differences in how affiliates and brand ambassadors leverage promotional channels:

  • Promotion channels 
  • Compensation model  
  • The goal of the partnership
  • The nature of relationship with brands

Promotional channel

  • Ambassadors: Brand ambassadors prioritize trust and credibility in their promotional efforts. Ambassadors use social media platforms, personal blogs, vlogs, and in-person events to share their experiences with the brand. Therefore, they will often post promotional posts on their accounts to outreach followers
  • Affiliates: They often use multi-channels at the same time to maximize conversion and click efficiency. They include: websites, blogs, social media channels, and email newsletters to promote products or services

Compensation model

The compensation and rewards structures for affiliates and brand ambassadors differ based on their roles, objectives, and the nature of their partnerships with brands. Here are the key differences. 

  • Brand ambassadors may receive flat fees or retainers for their representation of the brand over a specified period.  In addition to monetary compensation, brand ambassadors may receive free products or services from the brand.
  • Affiliates typically earn commissions based on the sales or conversions they generate through their promotional efforts.

Partnership goal

The goals of affiliates and brand ambassadors can differ based on their roles, responsibilities, and the nature of their partnerships with brands. Here are the key differences:

  • Ambassadors: Brand ambassadors focus on storytelling, content creation, and personal engagement to showcase the brand’s unique attributes and benefits. Their goal is to inspire their audience to engage with the brand, make informed purchasing decisions, and become loyal customers.
  • Affiliate: The primary goal of affiliates is to drive conversions and generate sales or leads for the brand. Affiliates focus on maximizing the number of clicks, conversions, and revenue generated through their promotional efforts.

Relationship

Besides the obvious characteristics, they are also different in their relationship with the brand. The relationship with the brand differs between affiliates and brand ambassadors, reflecting their distinct roles and objectives within the partnership:

  • Ambassadors: Brand ambassadors maintain a deeper, more collaborative relationship with the brand. An ambassadors can typically represent for one brand at once and this relationship can last for years.
  • Affiliate: Affiliates’ engagement with the brand tends to be transactional, with a focus on driving results (rather than building long-term relationships). One affiliate can work with multiple brands, even those are competitors.  

Ambassadors vs Affiliates: What to choose? 

Both affiliates and brand ambassadors use word-of-mouth marketing and social proof to promote brands. Here’s how:

Brand Ambassadors:

  • Advocate for the brand based on personal experience and genuine affinity.
  • Share authentic endorsements, creating a sense of trust and credibility.
  • Engage with audiences through social media, blogs, and other platforms.
  • Foster community and trust by offering personalized recommendations.

Affiliates:

  • Promote the brand by sharing their experiences and recommendations.
  • Create content like product reviews, comparisons, and testimonials.
  • Use positive reviews as social proof to validate the brand’s quality and value.

Both affiliates and brand ambassadors improve brand promotion through word-of-mouth marketing and social proof. Affiliates focus on driving sales with reviews and recommendations, while brand ambassadors build trust through authentic advocacy and community engagement. This combination strengthens the brand’s reputation and fosters customer loyalty.

I have been working in marketing for four years, passionate about creative writing and copy writing. Love to be alone at watersides, sip coffee, play games or read anything that is thought provoking.



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