Aurora Magazine

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Adopting Affiliate Marketing

Fauzia Kerai Khan discusses the accruing benefits of affiliate marketing for emerging and established brands.
Published 10 May, 2024 10:22am

Affiliate marketing is a dynamic and strategic partnership in the realm of digital commerce where businesses and individual marketers collaborate. This marketing approach has revolutionised the way brands and products are promoted online, creating a unique ecosystem that offers a plethora of opportunities along with a fair share of challenges. At the heart of affiliate marketing is a vast network where each participant promotes another’s offerings, earning a commission for every sale or lead generated. This model is the epitome of collaborative capitalism, where success is intrinsically tied to collective effort and performance.

Unpacking Affiliate Marketing

Imagine a vast network where each participant promotes another’s product or service, earning a slice of the profit pie for every sale or lead generated. This is the heart of affiliate marketing. Brands collaborate with individuals or other businesses, providing them with unique links to their offerings. These affiliates then use various platforms – blogs, social media or websites – to drive traffic. When a consumer bites and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission.

The Perks of Partnership

The allure of affiliate marketing is multifaceted. For brands, it is like having an army of marketers without the overhead of a fixed salary; they only pay for actual sales or qualified leads. This performance-based model ensures a high ROI, making it a favourite among start-ups and established brands alike. Affiliates, on the other hand, leverage their online presence to earn passive income through the promotion of products or services that align with their audience’s interests. They can choose which products to promote, leading to the creation of authentic and engaging content that resonates well with their target audience. 

Navigating the Challenges

Despite its apparent benefits, affiliate marketing is not devoid of challenges. Brands face the daunting task of selecting affiliates who not only drive sales but also align with their values and brand image. The repercussions of a mismatched affiliate partnership can be detrimental, potentially tarnishing the brand’s reputation. For affiliates, the competition is stiff, necessitating the creation of content that not only attracts but also effectively engages and converts their audience. Moreover, regulatory compliance, such as the disclosure of affiliate partnerships, adds a layer of complexity to their operations.

Mastering Affiliate Marketing

Success in affiliate marketing requires a blend of art and science – a balanced mix of strategic insight and creativity. Brands should view their affiliates as valuable partners and not just as another marketing channel. Offering competitive commissions, providing high-quality marketing materials, and maintaining open lines of communication can foster a productive relationship. For affiliates, authenticity and creativity are the key to unlocking potential. By crafting content that genuinely addresses their audience’s needs and by leveraging the power of SEO and social media, they can significantly enhance their promotional efforts and increase the visibility of their affiliate links. 

A Unique Ecosystem Perspective

Considering affiliate marketing as a thriving ecosystem offers a refreshing outlook. In this ecosystem, every participant, from brands to affiliates to consumers, plays a crucial role. Brands provide the seeds in the form of products, affiliates nurture these seeds through their unique content and reach, and consumers complete the cycle with their engagement and purchases. This holistic approach emphasises the importance of sustainability, quality, and mutual growth within the affiliate marketing model. 

The Digital Ecosystem in Pakistan

Pakistan’s digital ecosystem has seen remarkable growth in recent years, driven by increased internet penetration, a booming e-commerce sector, and a young, tech-savvy population. Leading e-commerce platforms and tech start-ups are increasingly adopting affiliate marketing to expand their customer base and drive sales. 

Pakistan’s internet penetration rate stood at 36.7% of the total population at the start of 2023. [Kepios’ analysis][1] indicates that Internet users in Pakistan increased by 4.4 million (+5.4%) between 2022 and 2023. With over 87.35 million Internet users, the country is witnessing an exponential increase in online shopping and digital transactions (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, 2023). This surge has paved the way for affiliate marketing to become a significant player in the digital advertising space.

Who is Using Affiliate Marketing in Pakistan?

In Pakistan, affiliate marketing is being embraced by a wide range of entities, from e-commerce leaders like Daraz to online marketplaces such as Goto and OLX Pakistan, demonstrating its flexibility across industries. This approach not only boosts sales and market penetration for these platforms but also offers lucrative rewards for traffic and sales, benefiting bloggers, influencers, and website owners.

Tech start-ups, software companies, and telecommunications giants such as Jazz and Telenor are leveraging affiliate marketing to expand their customer base and promote services without heavy initial marketing costs. Similarly, financial services and fintech start-ups, including Easypaisa and JazzCash, are utilising this strategy to grow their user base. The education sector, with platforms like Udemy and Coursera, travel and hospitality services like FindMyAdventure, booking platforms like Sastaticket, and fashion and lifestyle brands like Bagallery and Cheezmall are also adopting affiliate marketing to increase reach and sales, collaborating with local influencers and bloggers. Even the health and wellness industry is finding success with this strategy, tapping into niche markets through partnerships with relevant influencers.

This broad adoption of affiliate marketing across various sectors in Pakistan highlights its cost-efficiency and effectiveness, offering a valuable marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes to enhance their online presence and revenue, without substantial upfront costs.

Who Can Benefit?

The potential beneficiaries of affiliate marketing in Pakistan are manifold. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which constitute a significant portion of Pakistan’s economy, can leverage affiliate marketing to enhance their online visibility and sales. This model allows them to compete on a more level playing field with larger corporations by tapping into the affiliates’ established networks and credibility. Content creators, including bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers, stand to gain substantially from affiliate marketing. With Pakistan’s burgeoning digital content space, creators who engage with their audience in niche segments – be it fashion, technology, or lifestyle – can find affiliate marketing a lucrative avenue for monetisation.

Unique Challenges and Opportunities

The unique challenges in Pakistan’s market, such as digital literacy levels and trust in online transactions, influence the affiliate marketing landscape. Affiliates need to create content that is not only engaging but also educative, helping bridge the knowledge gap and building trust in online shopping. The opportunity lies in localising content and offers, making them relevant and appealing to Pakistani audiences. Affiliates who understand local consumer behaviour and preferences can significantly impact the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Driving Digital Inclusion

A distinctive perspective within the Pakistani context is viewing affiliate marketing as a catalyst for digital inclusion. By enabling individuals from diverse regions to participate in the digital economy, affiliate marketing can help bridge economic disparities. It offers a viable pathway for entrepreneurs, particularly women and young people in less urbanised areas, to access national and global markets, thereby contributing to economic empowerment and inclusion.


In Pakistan, affiliate marketing holds promise not only as a marketing strategy but also as a tool for economic empowerment and digital inclusion. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the adaptability and performance-based nature of affiliate marketing make it an attractive model for a wide range of stakeholders. From boosting SMEs to enabling content creators and fostering a more inclusive digital economy, affiliate marketing has the potential to play a transformative role in Pakistan’s market. Embracing this model, with a clear understanding of its dynamics and tailoring strategies to local needs and challenges, can unlock significant value for all participants in the ecosystem.

Fauzia Kerai Khan is CEO, I&B Consulting, Assessing, Learning, Consulting.