What is direct linking in affiliate marketing


What is direct linking in affiliate marketing? Sending traffic straight from a traffic source to a third-party affiliate offer is referred to as direct linking. An ad is posted on the traffic source, and when clicked, the visitor is taken directly to the offer, with no landing page in between.

What is direct linking in affiliate marketing

It creates a one-step conversion flow for the visitor. It’s a simple but limited approach for affiliates to set up campaigns and test new offers.

Benefits Of Direct Linking

Direct linking has the following advantages and disadvantages.


It’s simple to set up; simply place an ad and wait for traffic.

What is direct linking in affiliate marketing

There is one less item to optimize or go wrong in order to provide a “clean” indicator of offer and traffic source quality.

It can be very effective for short-form CPA offers, email submissions, and app downloads. The lower the conversion barrier, the more likely a direct linked campaign will succeed. A pre-sale landing page may not be required for email submission, but a $2000 e-course almost surely would.

Occasionally, you can locate affiliate offers that the general public is familiar with or that are popular, which lowers the barrier to conversion even further, making direct linking the most likely traffic flow. Examples include Airbnb and TikTok, both of which have affiliate programs and do not require introduction via a lander.

Direct linking is ideal for novice affiliates who want to test the waters but lack the coding skills or confidence to develop a competitive landing page.


It’s difficult to bring value as an affiliate if all you do is simply link a traffic source to an item. You’ll soon be competing with other affiliates and internal media purchasers, making long-term, highly successful campaigns tough.

There is one less element to optimize, reducing the affiliate’s potential to boost campaign conversion rates.

Some traffic sources generate issues with direct linking campaigns via a tracking redirect, which can lead to issues when running through an affiliate network or tracking platform. Because certain sources do not permit redirects to different domains, your target URL must match the end URL, which poses a slew of problems.

It’s simple to waste money by directly linking to affiliate deals that lack tracking. If you send paid traffic to an internal app referral program, for example, you will not receive any data to optimize with, thus it will be hit or miss from the start.

Finding Affiliate Offers

In 2010, you could ask an affiliate manager what offers were hot on their CPA network, then fire up some direct link advertising from your preferred traffic source and it would frequently be profitable. It’s considerably less probable that you’ll find high-volume profitable campaigns this way in 2020.

Today, I believe the greatest method to locate deals is to hunt for VC-backed organizations that want to grow at any cost. They frequently provide attractive referral programs or some sort of affiliate scheme directly within their app or web-based platform.

Working backward is a nice way to think about this process. What apps or websites would be a breeze to offer and convert with a single click? Where could you direct visitors so that they would want to sign up or buy something?

Make a list of recognizable brands, then visit their homepages and look for “Affiliates,” “Partners,” and “Refer A Friend” type links in the footer.

Finding A Traffic Source

A well-matched, under-saturated traffic source should be used for the initial test of a new offer.

This is where affiliates can provide value. There is currently so much information available about how to run advertisements on Google and Facebook that the offering’ internal media purchasing staff will almost probably be running on the most popular traffic sources.

Fortunately, thousands of traffic sources and ad networks are available for all manner of strange digital marketing strategies. Because of this, push notification networks have grown in popularity among affiliates. They were and continue to be underserved by brand advertisers, leaving opportunities for rival affiliates to profit from their efforts.

This will be advantageous if you have a specific traffic source that you are already familiar with. It takes time and money to master the intricacies of setting up ads, optimizing, and implementing blacklists for all traffic sources.

Certain traffic sources have certain demographics, which must be matched to the offer. An affiliate offer aimed at millennials, for example, might be better suited to TikTok than LinkedIn ads.

Testing & Initial Results

Affiliates should track as much optimizable, relevant data as possible when launching a direct response campaign. We need a mechanism to see which advertising, zones, and sources are most effective at converting visitors into customers.

There are several approaches to this. One option is to employ a tracking redirect and conversion pixel. Most tracking software will include options for this, but it is very simple to accomplish on your own.

Another method is to use the affiliates panel’s internal tracking. Many affiliate networks employ Tune or a similar platform, which provides you with a more than competent tracking platform without the need to build up your own. If a tracking platform is provided, I would recommend using that instead of your own redirects at first.

Some direct advertisers will have no tracking in place and may refuse to place conversion pixels for new affiliates. If this is the case, it will be a difficult battle; nevertheless, if an early test is profitable, it would be an excellent candidate to begin building out a more complicated funnel that can be optimized and scaled.

Optimizing Direct Link Campaigns

A preliminary test will provide you with an ROI figure. Anything above 50% (as in I only lost half my money) is a win in my book. I may then optimize and develop the strategy to target profitable traffic pockets.

Some affiliates advise optimizing one thing at a time, however, I prefer to collect data on everything from the beginning and optimize as soon as there is enough evidence to make good conclusions.

Scaling Up Affiliate Campaigns

If an offer is profitable, it’s time to start expanding it. The benefit of affiliate marketing is that you can swiftly increase winning programs and remove losing ones.

There are several strategies for scaling up an affiliate offer, and many affiliates will attempt them all.

Going Global

A campaign that works in one country is likely to convert well in another. The geographic locations that a store accepts will limit affiliates in several ways.

Merchants frequently provide varied payments for different locales. You should discover that this corresponds to the cost of traffic in such areas. So, for example, a US offer may have a $5 reward and you are paying $15 CPM, whereas MX (Mexico) may have a $1 payout but traffic costs only $3 CPM.

For the majority of affiliate projects I’ve conducted, US traffic accounts for 50% of revenue, Europe 25%, Canada 10%, and the rest of the world 15%. This may be affected by my competitiveness in English-speaking markets, but the main fact is that the United States is by far the most profitable market to target.

Because of the various languages, Europe and Asia are fairly difficult to navigate. One-hour translation services, such as onehourtranslation.com, can provide better translations than Google Translate.

Scaling Across Traffic Sources

If your campaign is profitable on one ad network, it will most likely do well on similar traffic sources.

If you can make money on Bing Search Ads, it’s time to move it to Google Search Ads and try to compete for higher volumes.

All traffic sources are unique and require time to study and optimize. Each traffic source will take a large budget to test and get the campaign functioning properly.

Every affiliate clone will see the campaign as soon as you start scaling across several traffic sources. This is typically when you will notice competitors stealing your ads and landing pages.

Develop A Funnel

If you’ve discovered a good direct-linked offer, try creating a conversion funnel.

The initial step is to connect the traffic source and the ad network with a landing page (and perhaps an email collection form). This allows the affiliate to pre-sell the offer, collect micro-conversion data, and create a long-term email list.

What is direct linking in affiliate marketing

Examine what other advertisers are doing in the niche and on the traffic source. Is this anything that could be altered or adapted to meet your offer?

The disadvantage is that you will experience a drop-off on the landing page. As a result, a specific number of people will see your landing page but subsequently abandon the offer. These visitors, though, would not have converted anyhow. In principle, you should see fewer clicks to the offer but a significantly greater conversion rate and, as a result, higher revenues as a result of the pre-sell.

Related Posts