To make money from affiliate links, you need to refer people to the destination of the link. With sufficiently high traffic, you can make quite a bit of money. Even with lower traffic, if your commission is high enough, you can pull in quite the haul. It seems like a no-brainer to use some of that potential cash to set up an advertisement that will convert for you. It’s like having most of the work of ad placement done for you.
Facebook seems like it would be perfect for this. Invest $10, reach 50,000 targeted users who you know are going to be interested in your affiliate product. Post the affiliate link in the ad, fill it with interesting copy and an attractive image, and you’re good to go.
There’s just one question; can it be done? Is it against Facebook’s rules, or does something prevent it from working?
If you run a quick search for “affiliate” in Facebook’s ad guidelines, you won’t find much. Nevertheless, the experience of thousands of users online indicates that affiliate links are not allowed through Facebook ads. Many of these users, however, go on to ask the obvious question; if affiliate links aren’t allowed, how come we see affiliate links in ads all the time?
The Fickle Enforcement of Policies
The answer comes in the same way that any question about Facebook’s 20% text on images rule, their rule against clickbait headlines and their rule about gated content comes. That is to say, technically all of these things are against the rules, but practically there’s no real way for Facebook to enforce them with 100% accuracy. The site administration does the best they can, but they don’t have a lot of power, time or breadth of actions they can take to really be effective.
As a result, one of the biggest factors to using an affiliate link with Facebook ads is tenacity. You can submit an ad with an affiliate link, and it might be denied, or it might not. If it’s denied, you can change up the ad slightly and submit it again. Once more, there’s a chance it might be denied. If it is, repeat the process until your ad gets through.
Redirects and Sandwich Pages
Another trick you can use to get an affiliate link through Facebook’s ads filter is to use a sandwich page of some kind, or a redirect. Redirects are a little more frowned upon than so-called sandwich pages, because they’re more obviously a form of cloaking to get your affiliate link posted. Even using a URL shortener may be enough to get your link passed through successfully.
A sandwich page is a page that sits between your target affiliate link and the Facebook ad. Essentially, it operates as the meat in between the two sites, hence the sandwich metaphor. You might also use a basic landing page for this purpose. The goal would be to create a landing page where ever relevant product link is your affiliate link.
Of course, a sandwich page requires that you have your own hosting and the skills or tools necessary to create such a page. There is an art to landing pages, and you can make use of that linked page to optimize your landing page in as many ways as possible.
This does tend to go against the idea of a no-website Facebook affiliate ad, but it’s a much better route to take in the long run.
Affiliate Fan Pages
Another possible route you can take, if you want to completely avoid making a website of your own, is to invest in making a Facebook fan page instead. You can run it the same way you would run a website, or any business Facebook page.
The idea would be to accumulate users through your posts, mostly using your page to curate content from other industry sources. Become a page people follow because it posts interesting information, and then pepper in your affiliate link.
Facebook ads play three roles with this setup. First, you can use them to attract new users to your fan page. There’s a lot to learn about running Facebook ads to bring in new users, but the main route you want to learn is about lookalike audiences.
As long as you have at least a minor existing userbase, you have a block of data that represents your audience. You can use this data to create a new audience called a lookalike audience, which shares the characteristics of the people who already follow your page. You can then advertise to this audience, knowing they are highly likely to be interested in your page.
The second way to use Facebook ads with a Facebook page for affiliate marketing is to link directly to your marketing posts, or to an app that links to your affiliate. These are going to be your more direct moneymaking ads.
The third way is to promote your posts directly. This directs user attention to your sales messages – never promote a post that doesn’t link to your affiliate – and gets people to click through.
If all of this sounds too limited, well, it really is. You can do a lot of good for your affiliate – and your bank account – by establishing a niche website. Follow good SEO protocols, write good content and generally make yourself a niche authority.
There’s a lot to consider with a niche website. Foremost amongst those concerns are your domain and hosting, which cost money and are thus an investment before you can begin making money from the site.
You also need to make sure you don’t accidentally use black hat SEO techniques and earn yourself a penalty from Google. A penalized niche site is a valueless niche site. Many affiliates put so little effort into their niche sites that a penalty becomes a slash and burn, with the affiliate restarting with a new site. This is a waste of time; do it right the first time and you’ll grow while others falter.
Content you can write yourself on a weekly basis, or you can purchase from various ghostwriting services. Just make sure the posts are interesting and relevant, and that there’s enough meat to support becoming a legitimate authority. You don’t want to steal content or post thin content, because it will hurt your organic rankings.
Finally, of course, you can use Facebook ads to link to your authority niche site. This is a much more convincing argument than a Facebook ad that links to an affiliate storefront.