An affiliate merchant is the advertiser in an affiliate marketing relationship.

Affiliate marketing is a form of advertising in which you (the merchant) pay the publisher (the affiliate) for successfully driving traffic, leads or conversions. This means that affiliate marketing works on a cost-per-acquisition or performance-based model.

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Nearly 90% of advertisers say affiliate marketing is an important part of their overall marketing strategy, and it’s expected to become a $6.8 billion industry in 2020 .

(Digital Global)

Simply put, a Merchant is an advertiser in Affiliate Marketing.

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What are the roles of a Merchant?

The affiliate merchant is responsible for implementing a sales tracking system, providing a selection of linking methods, attracting affiliates, monitoring results and paying affiliates. Some (or all) of these functions may be outsourced.

In most cases, merchants arrange for publishers to promote their products and then give them a commission on every resulting sale.

Affiliate merchants may track their program in-house using an affiliate software program or through a 3rd-party affiliate network. Actual day-to-day management
of the program can similarly be kept in-house or outsourced.

Using in house affiliate tracking software can be very cost effective for affiliate merchants, saving on often expensive membership fees and commissions payable to affiliate networks.

Affiliate merchants create ads such as text links, static banner ads, flash banner ads and now even video ads for placement on affiliate websites.

Merchants will normally pay affiliates a commission for every visit to the website or every sales conversion meaning they only pay for results.

Traditional affiliate networks will normally charge affiliate merchants a membership fee and also take additional commission on top (override) of the total commission payable to the affiliates each month which is typically around 30%.

I hope this article was helpful in indicating who a merchant is and the role(s) they play in Affiliate marketing.