Types of Affiliate Marketing: Unattached, Related, & Involved

Updated: 21 Jun 2024


Have you ever seen someone online promoting a product they love? Maybe it’s a beauty blogger recommending their favourite makeup or a tech reviewer recommending a new laptop.

This is a type of affiliate marketing, and there are many ways to do it! 

Affiliate Marketing

This article will explain the different types of affiliate marketing so you can choose the best option for earning money.

Definition of Affiliate Marketing 

Affiliate marketing is when you help sell someone else’s stuff online and earn a commission for each sale. Basically, you promote products or services through special links, and when people buy those things using your links, you get paid. 

It’s like being a digital salesperson for companies, but you don’t have to worry about making the product or dealing with customers.

To learn more about affiliate marketing, visit this “What is Affiliate Marketing”.

Types of Affiliate Marketing 

There are three major types of affiliate marketing: 

  1. Unattached Affiliate Marketing
  2. Related Affiliate Marketing
  3. Involved Affiliate Marketing

Now, let’s learn about these different ways of affiliate marketing in detail. 

1. Unattached Affiliate Marketing 

  • Definition: Unattached affiliate marketing is like recommending products to strangers. You’re not particularly invested in or knowledgeable about the products you’re promoting.
  • Examples: Think of it like putting up billboard ads or running online ads that people click on. You don’t have to interact directly with your audience.
  • Advantages: It’s a quick way to start making money online because you don’t need to build a relationship with your audience. Also, you can potentially reach a wide audience.
  • Disadvantages: However, because there’s no personal connection, people are less likely to trust your recommendations. This leads to lower conversion rates, meaning fewer people buy the products you promote. Plus, it would be best to have a lot of website visitors or online traffic to make a decent income from this method.
  • Definition: Related affiliate marketing involves promoting products that match your audience’s interests or fit into your niche.
  • Examples: You might create blog posts or social media content discussing products your audience would find helpful or interesting. For instance, you might review different computer types if you have a computer guide.
  • Advantages: Because you’re targeting products your audience is already interested in, they’re more likely to trust your recommendations and purchase. Compared to unattached marketing, you can also start earning money with fewer website visitors or followers.
  • Disadvantages: However, it requires a good understanding of your audience’s preferences and interests. You also need to create valuable content to keep your audience engaged regularly. Additionally, since others in your niche might also be promoting similar products, competition can be stiff.

3. Involved Affiliate Marketing

  • Definition: Involved affiliate marketing means promoting products you have personal experience with and genuinely believe in.
  • Examples: You might create in-depth tutorials or case studies sharing your firsthand experiences using a product. This could include showing how you solved a problem using the product or sharing your results.
  • Advantages: Because you share your authentic experiences, your audience trusts you more, leading to higher conversion rates. Also, consistently recommending high-quality products can build a strong personal brand and a loyal following.
  • Disadvantages: However, it requires significant knowledge and experience with the products you’re promoting. You’re also limited to promoting products you’ve tried, which can restrict your options.

Choosing the Right Type of Affiliate Marketing

There are a few things to think about when choosing which type of affiliate marketing to try:

  • Your niche: This is your area of expertise or the topic your content focuses on (e.g., technology, fitness, travel). Picking products related to your niche makes your recommendations more relevant and trustworthy.
  • Your audience: Who are you trying to reach? Understanding audience interest will help you choose products that they’ll buy.
  • Your content creation skills: Do you enjoy writing blog posts, creating videos, or designing graphics? Choose a method that fits your expertise and allows you to create engaging content.
  • Time and effort: Some methods require more work upfront (like creating in-depth reviews) than others (like displaying banner ads). Consider how much time you can dedicate to creating content.
  • Building trust: No matter your chosen method, focus on honesty and recommending products you genuinely believe in. 

By considering these factors, you can choose the type of affiliate marketing that allows you to be most successful!

Pros & Cons of Affiliate Marketing 

Here are some significant advantages and disadvantages of affiliate marketing.

Pros of Affiliate Marketing

  • Low Startup Costs: You don’t need much money to start.
  • Passive Income: Earn money even when you aren’t working.
  • Flexible Schedule: Work whenever and wherever you want.
  • No Customer Support: The merchant handles all customer issues.
  • Variety of Products: Promote many different products.
  • Performance-Based: You earn more if you work harder.
  • Easy to Join: Many affiliate programs are free to join.
  • No Inventory: You don’t need to store or manage products.
  • Global Market: You can reach customers all over the world.

Cons of Affiliate Marketing

  • High Competition: Many people are doing it, so it’s competitive.
  • Income Fluctuations: Your earnings can go up and down.
  • No Control Over Products: You have no say in the product quality or price.
  • Dependence on Merchant: If the merchant changes the program, it affects you.
  • Payment Delays: Sometimes, you might have to wait to get paid.
  • Requires Time: It takes time to build an audience and trust.
  • Risk of Scams: Some affiliate programs can be scams.
  • Strict Rules: Affiliate programs may have strict guidelines.
  • Need for Marketing Skills: You need to learn and use marketing strategies.


So, guys, in this article, we’ve covered the three main types of affiliate marketing: unattached, related, and involved!

Choosing the best type boils down to your unique situation.

If I were just starting out, I’d be tempted to try unattached marketing first. It’s a good way to get your feet wet and see what kind of products generate interest in your audience, but I wouldn’t focus on it for long-term success.

Related affiliate marketing feels like the sweet spot. Once you have a niche and a following, you can build trust by recommending products that align with your content and your audience’s needs.

However, if there are products I love and use daily, involved affiliate marketing feels like the most natural fit.  Sharing my genuine passion can lead to some powerful results.

The key takeaway? Experiment, find what works for you, and always prioritize building trust with your audience. With the right approach and dedication, affiliate marketing can be a fantastic way to turn your passion into profits!

Most Frequently Asked Questions

You can read some frequently asked questions about the different types of affiliate marketing.

What is the difference between affiliate marketing and digital marketing?

Here is the clear difference between affiliate marketing and digital marketing:
“Digital marketing” is a way for a business to sell and promote its goods through different online platforms. “Affiliate marketing” involves promoting other companies’ goods in exchange for a cut of the sales.

Which type of affiliate marketing is easiest to get started with?

Unattached affiliate marketing is generally the easiest to set up, as it doesn’t require a specific niche or content creation.

Is unattached affiliate marketing the most profitable?

Not necessarily. Unattached marketing often has lower conversion rates because the recommendations might not be relevant to your audience.

I already have a blog about healthy recipes. What type of affiliate marketing should I focus on?

Related affiliate marketing would be ideal! You could promote healthy cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, or grocery delivery services that complement your recipes.

Do I need to have used a product before recommending it for affiliate marketing?

While involved affiliate marketing focuses on promoting products you love, it’s not always mandatory. However, recommending products you believe in builds trust and can lead to better results.

How can I build trust with my audience in affiliate marketing?

Be honest and transparent! Focus on recommending high-quality products that benefit your audience and avoid overly promotional content.

Can I use more than one type of affiliate marketing?

Absolutely! You can experiment with different approaches to see what resonates with your audience and content strategy.



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