It seems unbelievable that it was only five months ago that Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook would rebrand to Meta to become a metaverse company, sparking confusion and curiosity. Today, the metaverse has become a common term that, for many, represents the future of the Internet.
Even though the metaverse has yet to evolve and come of age, everyone is doing their best to predict where things are heading to make the most of this new trend, leveraging it to promote businesses in new and creative ways. Taking advantage of all the buzz around the metaverse has become a top priority for most CEOs and marketing teams worldwide, and affiliate marketing is a promising way to do that.
But how does affiliate marketing work in the metaverse? Is it any different from other online affiliate programs? In this post, we’ll explore several examples of metaverse-related affiliate programs to see what they’re doing differently and how this will evolve when the metaverse (or metaverses) come of age.
Affiliate marketing in the metaverse
For those new to affiliate marketing, it’s a performance-based marketing strategy where businesses reward affiliates for driving traffic or sales to their websites. In other words, affiliates are rewarded for helping promote a business, but only if that promotion ends with a sale — sometimes with commissions as high as 75% of the sale price. From the affiliate’s point of view, this means more income the harder they promote your brand, and, from the business’s point of view, it means only paying for effective advertising.
How does it work?
Affiliate marketing in the metaverse is still relatively new, but it’s quickly gaining popularity as more and more businesses see the potential. The basic premise is the same as with traditional affiliate marketing — you reward affiliates for driving traffic or sales to your website — but there are a few key differences that make it unique.
- First, affiliates can be anyone, not just people with a traditional website. In the metaverse, this could be someone with their own virtual world or virtual office, an avatar in a VR social media platform like Second Life, or even a player in a game.
- Second, the way affiliates are rewarded can vary depending on the platform. Some platforms, like Second Life, have their own built-in currency that users can use to purchase goods and services from within the metaverse. Others pay in different crypto while others use traditional currencies like dollars or euros.
- Third, and perhaps most importantly, affiliate marketing in the metaverse is still in its early stages, so there are many opportunities to experiment and find what works best for your business. Similarly, companies with popular affiliate programs today (GoDaddy and other web hosting companies come to mind) may not even be around in five or ten years if the web evolves beyond them.
With that in mind, let’s look at some examples of metaverse and metaverse-based affiliate programs in operation. These examples are classified according to how they fit into the metaverse into four categories:
- Metaverse-based native affiliate programs
- Crypto affiliate programs
- Metaverse-related software affiliate programs
- Metaverse hardware affiliate programs
Read on to find inspiration from some of the most important affiliate programs either in the evolving metaverses or related to the future of the Internet.
Examples of crypto affiliate programs
For many experts, the metaverse and the new Internet will only become a reality through creators worldwide collaborating on one or more open platforms. Among these, blockchain-powered decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) will play a paramount role. In these platforms, the virtual economy is powered by cryptocurrencies, which is why crypto and the metaverse often walk hand in hand.
Let’s look at two examples of crypto affiliate programs that are relevant to the metaverse. If you’re running a blockchain-based business or are related to crypto, these affiliate programs can help inspire you to set up your own.
#1 Binance Affiliate Program
Binance has been the world’s biggest crypto exchange platform by trading volume since 2018. It offers everything from spot trading and futures trading to swaps and NFTs. It also offers a very lucrative and attractive affiliate program.
Commission structure: Binance’s affiliate program is by no means simple, but that’s only because of the large number of services they offer. The program’s commission structure includes an upfront, flat sign-up commission of $50 for the affiliate’s community members (the referred user will receive the commission, not the affiliate), boosting conversions immensely.
The program has strict eligibility requirements for its affiliates. They must have at least 5,000 followers on social media or 500 members in a trading community. This helps ensure that the brand is exposed either to a large enough crowd or to a more targeted niche, making it more effective from a marketing standpoint.
For affiliates, Binance offers:
- Up to 50% of commissions on spot trading.
- 30% of futures and Binance pool commissions.
- 20% of NFT commissions.
- 15% of liquid swap commissions.
- 3% of dual investment commissions.
They also offer an affiliate content program that rewards affiliates for creating and publishing awesome content about specific topics related to Binance’s business. These rewards can be up to 3,000 BUSD (a U.S.-regulated stablecoin), depending on the topic, the quality of the content and how well it ranks.
Key takeaways: Financial service providers can leverage more complex affiliate programs. You can add specific eligibility requirements to only target affiliates from relevant niches. Offering incentives to sign up to new users available only through referrals is a great way to boost conversions and make the program more valuable for the right affiliates.
#2 Ledger Wallet affiliate program
Ledger is one of the most popular crypto wallet manufacturers today. They offer a whole suite of metaverse-ready solutions to help you acquire, store, protect, trade and grow crypto assets like Bitcoin and other crypto-assets. This includes NFTs, the unique tokens that are powering the growth of metaverses like Decentraland, Roblox and others.
Commission structure: Ledger’s affiliate program is simple. It pays a commission of 10% of net sales (excluding VAT and shipping) with monthly payouts in Bitcoin. It also offers real-time, 24/7 reports on your account, dedicated support channels and high-impact promo assets affiliates can use on websites and metaverse platforms, including banners, links, videos, 3D assets and more.
Ledger says it has almost 20,000 registered affiliates, so it’s safe to say that it’s a successful program.
Key takeaways: Leveraging Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency as a payout option can attract a crowd. It’s important to offer metaverse-ready digital assets so affiliates can promote your brand creatively and effectively in the different metaverses where they spend most of their time. Keeping it simple can be as effective as a highly structured affiliate program.
Examples of metaverse native affiliate programs
While there aren’t too many native affiliate programs from metaverse platforms, there are a few examples we can draw inspiration from.
#3 Second Life affiliate program
You may have noticed an explosion of Second Life banners on the Internet since late October 2021. Second Life is arguably one of the first metaverses to appear, and they’ve had an affiliate program in place for years. Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life, rewards affiliates for driving traffic to Second Life.
Commission structure: Besides paying a commission on effective sales, this affiliate program even pays affiliates a commission every time someone they refer signs up for Second Life’s free seven-day trial, which has been highly successful in making their community grow.
However, Linden Lab runs its affiliate program through Commission Junction, a major player in the affiliate network game but one that has received many negative reviews from affiliates on Trustpilot and other review sites. This is probably why, months after the boom in affiliate banners for Second Life all over the Internet, it now seems to have disappeared.
Key takeaways: Don’t focus your metaverse affiliate marketing strategy solely on sales. Getting the word out that your business is entering the metaverse and making your community grow is more important as the metaverse evolves. Also, choosing the right affiliate network is essential for the program’s long-term success.
#4 Aftermath Islands affiliate/referral program
According to their own description of the platform, “Aftermath Islands is a blockchain-based virtual reality interactive platform.” Created in 2017, this is a virtual water world where users go to different islands they either own or visit; they can purchase virtual real estate, build houses, have adventures, and meet and interact with other community members. Theme Islands are like social media groups where users can meet like-minded individuals.
Commission structure: The Aftermath Islands metaverse offers an affiliate program that pays commissions as a percentage of sales. It’s a hybrid between an affiliate and a referral program since you have to be a user to participate in the program, and one of the payout channels works with the platform’s native currency (points), which works as store credit.
Alternatively, you can also cash out on normal fiat currency through PayPal like any other affiliate program. However, it takes 60 days for the commission to be paid out this way.
The program has a three-tier system composed of bronze, silver and gold status, which earn a 10%, 15% and 20% commission on every sale, respectively if redeemed for store credit. If redeemed for cash, commissions are halved (5% for bronze, 7.5% for silver and 10% for gold). Each tier is reached based on total referral sales. You start as bronze, reach silver after you refer $1,000 in sales and gold after referring $5,000.
It also has an affiliate network feature that lets affiliates refer other affiliates to the program, earning an extra commission on the sales your network generates.
Key takeaways: Hybrid affiliate/referral programs are easy to set up and can help you increase the interaction of affiliates with your brand while they promote it to others. Adding a tier system helps encourage affiliates to work harder promoting your brand in the metaverse.
Metaverse-related software affiliate programs
#5 VR Sync Affiliate Program
VR Sync is a virtual reality synchronization software that enables users to stream synchronized 360° video across multiple VR devices. As such, it is a highly relevant company in the metaverse space since VR is one of the metaverse’s cornerstones.
Commission structure: As with other examples, VR Sync’s affiliate program relies on simplicity, rewarding affiliates with a standard 30% fee on every sale, which is a lot more profitable than most other affiliate programs (most offer 5% to 10%, tops).
Payouts are done through bank transfers within 30 days of purchase or less (one payout every month). One thing that sets this program apart, besides the great commission, is that cookies last for 60 days, whereas in most other affiliate programs, they last half as long.
Finally, VR Sync’s affiliate program also offers some insight into the potential purchase value, which, in turn, can help affiliates get an idea of how much they could be earning from every successful referral, which goes from 15 to 1.500 euros.
Key takeaways: Newer brands should offer more juicy rewards and add longer cookie times to attract more affiliates.
#6 Autodesk Affiliate Program
The metaverse cannot exist without virtual 3D worlds, and these cannot exist without 3D design, rendering and animation software. Autodesk has forever been at the heart of this technology. This American software company has rolled out some of the most important software packages to date in computer-aided design, including the world-famous AutoCAD software and Revit for 3D construction and design of buildings and different structures, but also software like 3ds Max, Maya and Mudbox that allow you to build, model and animate entire 3D worlds.
These proprietary platforms are not cheap, and Autodesk offers an affiliate program to help drive sales.
Commission structure: Simple 7% commission on every new sale (not including license renewals) with no minimum sale requirements, a dedicated affiliate manager. This program also has a 60-day cookie duration and features geography-specific marketing material, affiliate newsletters to keep everyone updated, and extensive product data feeds. This last part is essential for successful referrals and high conversions since these products usually target design professionals who do deep technical research before choosing what to buy.
Key takeaways: Provide as much information as possible about your products or services to your affiliates. Be proactive in keeping your network well-informed about any new product or promotion you may be rolling out that may be relevant to your business or the metaverse.
The bottom line
Starting an affiliate program in the metaverse can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With these six examples of successful and profitable programs, you’ll get some ideas on how to set up your own. You may need different strategies based on what you’re selling or who your target customer is; if that’s the case, all the better because you’ll have a lot of room to get creative. But remember, the most important thing is to make it easy for affiliates to promote your products or services and provide them with all the information they need to do so effectively. And, of course, make sure your payout structure is competitive and juicy enough to reel them in.