2016 was a big year for chatbots, and the whole world is fascinated. These conversational agents are on their way to disrupt many industries and transform our everyday lives. But there are many unique industries that are going to be disrupted by the bots, and the affiliate marketing business is one of them.

Affiliate marketing is a multibillion dollar industry and the bread and butter for many entrepreneurs. First introduced in 1996 as the Amazon Associate Program, affiliate marketing has gained rapid growth in the last decade. 

Affiliate marketing is a revenue-sharing program where you promote the products of other companies by the means of your own product and earn money out of it.

Amazon Affiliate Program is the most popular right now, and you can see it almost everywhere. Like other businesses, this too has some limitations: You cannot just get up and start promoting a product; you need a specific platform for it. You can only start selling if you have a platform like a blog or a website.

Affiliate marketing is similar to the real estate business. In real estate, the agent doesn’t own houses but instead, they promote houses owned by others and help them sell and earn commission on every sale. Amazon Affiliate Marketing allows you to monetize your website or your blog. You use product ads from Amazon related to the genre of your platform. If anyone buys the product by going there from your platform, you earn a 10 percent commission.

How will chatbots disrupt this industry? Affiliate marketing is an easy market for chatbots and AI. If your chatbot solves a specific problem, you can add affiliate links in it.

Let’s suppose I have a chatbot that provides a hair solution. A user is talking to the chatbot at your site and talking about hair coloring.

A chatbot can determine the intent by seeing the words “hair” and “color” — then, the chatbot will come up with an affiliate link that will redirect the user to a product for hair coloring.

This is how affiliate marketing will work with chatbots. Even Siri and Cortana can be used for this:

User: Siri, I want to make pizza.
Siri: Here’s the recipe. *Gives recipe*
User: I’m out of cheese.
Siri: Buy this one. It’s the most popular out there.

Whether Apple would ever allow this kind of marketing is doubtful, though.

Kip is chatbot that works as an AI assistant for shopping on Slack. Kip keeps track of the stuff you need for your office. Are you out of coffee? Ask Kip and it will come up with some really good coffee suggestions and present them as affiliate links. If you click on them and buy them, Kip will make money. Kip uses user intent and machine learning to understand what the user actually wants. Kip is getting famous for both the idea of maintaining the daily needs of an enterprise and for its unique approach to affiliate marketing.

The affiliate marketing industry is expected to grow to $6.8 billion in the next five years. It’s time for all the bot-loving developers to jump into this game. Millions of bloggers are already making money from this business, and it seems like the industry is hot for chatbots as well.

Since chatbots are quite slow at making money, using your chatbot to provide affiliate links can be useful to you, and it can give affiliate platforms a new medium as well.