In our previous article, we discussed ASO (App Store Optimization) and how to best localize your app for success in Japan. Today, we are going to look at the basics of affiliate marketing, issues specific to Japan, and how JapanMarketing is your best partner to help you succeed in promoting your smartphone app in Japan.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a form of performance-based marketing in which an affiliate, also known as a publisher, advertises or markets products or services for another company or entity. In return, the affiliate receives a commission or fee for any resulting purchases from or consumer engagement with the other company.
For example, a famous athlete posts a photograph on Instagram of herself wearing a new pair of shoes during a workout. Thousands of followers see the post and read the text with a link to the company that sells the shoes. Some followers of the athlete’s Instagram account click on the link, go to the company’s website, and subsequently make a purchase. The company is happy; the consumers are happy, and the affiliate gets a cut of each transaction.
While a marketing technique before the advent of the Internet, affiliate marketing quickly became popular online in the 1990s after William J. Tobin, founder of PC Flowers & Gifts, developed his business model of paying sales commissions to affiliates using the Prodigy Network.
Since then, Internet-based affiliate marketing has grown into a $3 billion global industry. A sign of its continuing success and popularity can be seen in Amazon’s embrace of affiliate marketing. In fact, almost 40% of their revenue comes from this source.
Affiliate marketing: The players
To best understand affiliate marketing, it is important to understand that there are three main parties involved: sellers, consumers, and affiliates.
In this relationship, the goal of sellers is simple: engagement with consumers that results in a sale. They need to show their information to potential customers and are competing in an increasingly crowded world of advertising and marketing. Affiliates make it possible for companies to easily and affordably market their products or service by getting their ads and URL links on computer and smartphone screens outside of traditional marketing on television, radio, or print publications.
For consumers, the goal is to find the products or services that best meet their needs at the right price. However, while the Internet has become an amazing source of information, it can also be difficult to find the right information. An Internet search can result in too much information, making it difficult and stressful to make a decision.
So who are the affiliates?
A trusted source of information
Fundamentally, the main idea behind affiliate marketing is that consumers are more likely to make a decision if they know and trust the source, much more than the company actually selling the product or service. Affiliates, therefore, create an additional link between sellers and consumers.
The success of affiliates comes from their relationships with their audiences. The expectation on the part of the audience is that affiliates are sharing the information because they themselves either use the product or service or think that it is worth recommending.
There is a wide range of affiliates, and with current technology, it is extremely easy to become one. In terms of individual affiliates, at one end of the spectrum, it could be a beginning blogger who hosts Amazon links on their personal webpage in hopes that readers will click on the link and complete a transaction. On the other end, it could be what is called an “influencer,” someone with a huge social media presence and millions of followers, who not only promotes a product or service but may create a whole campaign with a variety of tie-ins and promotions. In addition, a company itself may be an affiliate by hosting and posting ads for another company.
In general, there are three types of affiliate marketing:
- Unattached affiliate marketing: The affiliate has little to no connection with the product or service.
- Related affiliate marketing: The affiliate has some kind of relationship with the product or service. Usually, this is based on the affiliate’s niche or area of expertise.
- Involved affiliate marketing: The affiliate has a strong relationship with the product or service. They have used or purchased the product or service and/or it is directly connected to their niche or area of expertise.
Affiliate Service Providers
And now that online affiliate marketing has become successful, it is no longer just a business relationship between the sellers and the affiliates. A whole industry has developed with the goal of facilitating the relationships between sellers, affiliates, and consumers.
Affiliate Service Providers (ASPs) work with sellers to find the best placement for their ads. They also take on all the responsibilities involved with the process, such as market research, communication with the affiliates, setting up contracts, and billing.
Affiliate marketing in Japan
While affiliate marketing has been a successful global strategy for many companies, Japanese companies have been comparatively slow to embrace the strategy. However, this means that there is a great deal of potential for forward-thinking companies that are willing to take the plunge with the right partner.
Japanese consumers: Trust and loyalty
As stated earlier, the success of affiliate marketing comes from the relationship between the affiliates and the consumers. This is nearly a perfect match for Japan where trust is paramount and consumers prefer to buy from companies they are already familiar with and that guarantee high quality. An endorsement or promotion from an established Japanese company or trusted influencer such as a celebrity, musician, or artist sends a strong message to Japanese consumers who often do not like purchasing directly from a company they do not know.
Reviews of products and services are also an important part of the decision process of the typically cautious Japanese consumer. A positive evaluation or promotion from someone they view as trustworthy and legitimate carries a great deal of weight and can make the difference between success and failure for a company hoping to enter this market.
Localization is key
As discussed in our previous article about ASO, culture and language play an extremely important role in successful localization. For foreign companies wishing to explore the possibilities of the Japanese market, it is strongly recommended to work with a local partner.
JapanMarketing is your partner for success in Japan
Here at JapanMarketing, we understand what it takes to succeed in the Japanese market. Our experienced team works closely with clients to create the optimal affiliate marketing plan to promote their smartphone apps. Below are just some of the benefits of working with JapanMarketing:
Personalized App Store Optimization
- Localize your smartphone app to improve search results in both the Apple App Store and Android Play Store.
- Save money by focusing on only the areas that need optimization.
KPI-based affiliate marketing plan
- Create an optimal plan according to your company’s key performance indicators, such as installation, app launch, finishing a tutorialtutorial clearing, etc.
Localized content and media
- Create effective ads and videos specifically designed for the Japanese market.
Strong ASP relationships
- Work closely with major ASPs in Japan.
- Responsible for communication, contracts, and billing with ASPs.
- Define and negotiate ad fraud conditions with ASPs.
- Actively evaluate placement and performance of ads and videos in the media and manually remove any with poor results.
To learn more about how JapanMarketing’s affiliate marketing services and fees, contact us today!
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