But with referral marketing, all the targeting is magically and perfectly done for you. Many of your clients will recommend you are amazing products and services to those friends and family members (and social media followers) that WANT it and NEED it the most. So you see? Your targeting can’t get any better than this (and without any efforts on your part whatsoever!).
Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[39] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
This is the standard affiliate marketing structure. In this program, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies. In other words, the affiliate must actually get the investor to invest in the product before they are compensated.
Priit is the founder and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, an internet marketing and social media company. With his 20+ years internet marketing experience he is Helping companies to understand and use the digital marketing to reach their target audiences. He's also writing on a personal growth website Fixwillpower.com. He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences on different aspects of internet marketing. Priit is also the organizer of Digital Elite Camp, a leading traffic and conversion event.
Firstly, we covered off a little bit about what viral marketing is – other than one of a long line of buzzphrases that we’re so fond of in this industry of ours. Then we shared a few of my favourite examples of viral content, and finally, we left them with a playbook of sorts that aims to offer some guidance on how to go about creating earth-shattering virals!
Dropbox, a leading online file storage company implemented a referral marketing program for its subscribers in 2009. In referral marketing program, those who signed up and those who referred got free space. Within a year, referral accounted for more than 35% of the new business for Dropbox. There are several examples from industry all over the world that have employed referral marketing –AT&T gives customers an opportunity to earn up to $575 per year through referrals.
Internet usage around the world, especially in the wealthiest countries, has steadily risen over the past decade and it shows no signs of slowing. According to a report by the Internet trend investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, 245 million people in the United States were online as of 2011, and 15 million people connected for the first time that year. As Internet usage grows, online commerce grows with it. This means that more people are using the Internet with each passing year, and enough of them are spending money online to impact the economy in significant ways. (See also E-Commerce Marketing)

Most products are bought not because of the impact of ads alone but through word-of-mouth. If someone has bought a mobile phone and is happy with it, he or she is likely to tell it to at least 10-12 people about the merits of the product. This kind of marketing comes free for the company and in a way it is a reflection of the branding effort taken by the company.

It is increasingly advantageous for companies to use social media platforms to connect with their customers and create these dialogues and discussions. The potential reach of social media is indicated by the fact that in 2015, each month the Facebook app had more than 126 million average unique users and YouTube had over 97 million average unique users.[27]
Four months later, Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel, partners in a law firm, broadly promoted their legal services in a USENET posting titled "Green Card Lottery – Final One?"[15] Canter and Siegel's Green Card USENET spam raised the profile of online advertising, stimulating widespread interest in advertising via both Usenet and traditional email.[12] More recently, spam has evolved into a more industrial operation, where spammers use armies of virus-infected computers (botnets) to send spam remotely.[10]

According to a paper by Duncan Watts and colleagues entitled: "Everyone's an influencer",[66] the most common risk in viral marketing is that of the influencer not passing on the message, which can lead to the failure of the viral marketing campaign. A second risk is that the influencer modifies the content of the message. A third risk is that influencers pass on the wrong message. This can result from a misunderstanding or as a deliberate move.
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