Hello, community! Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and marketers from around the world are always coming up with new features and approaches to engage users. And, of course, the more information you need to digest, the more specialists appear on the market. With the advent of targeted advertising on various platforms, the digital sphere has seen a need for those who understand its setup. Yes, you’ve definitely heard about targetologists before. But here we mention that our media is about Affiliate Marketing, and Affiliate also deal with advertising. Oh, it’s confusing again…
Don’t panic! We are here to help you understand who a targetologist and an Affiliate are and what the difference between these two specialties is. Who has it harder to work, where there are more pitfalls and risks.

By the way, if you want to start your journey in Affiliate Marketing and learn more about current positions, we recommend reading our article, where we talk about farmers, media buyers, designers, layout designers.

Now let’s sort everything out 🙂


The most popular social networks currently are Facebook and Instagram, so we will explain using their example. Facebook has its advertising dashboard, where there are numerous settings. It is these settings that the targetologist works with. Having information about the target audience, they set up advertising for it to attract new clients to the business or remind the existing ones about themselves.

Targetologists can search for clients themselves, i.e., work with businesses directly as a contractor, or be part of agencies or, actually, the staff of a particular company that needs a targetologist. Often a targetologist works with a designer, an SMM specialist, a copywriter, etc. The symbiosis of these specialists provides a good result for the business.

And what does an Affiliate do? Also leads audience (traffic) to the advertiser’s site. However, they do this through affiliate programs.  The main task of an Affiliate is to make the user perform the necessary action. It could be buying a product, registering on various sites, making a deposit, etc. It is for these target actions that the Affiliate gets paid, which is stated in the terms of the chosen offer.


Let’s start with the responsibilities that fall on the shoulders of these two specialists.

We’ve already defined who a targetologist is (fun fact: the more you say this word, the more it starts to sound like “tarologist”). But the phrase “setting up ads” is not enough to grasp all the pains of this profession.

The responsibilities of a targetologist include:

  • Analysis. Firstly, of the product being advertised. Secondly, of the ads that have already launched and are yielding results.
  • Defining the target audience. Yes, the business owner/marketer should provide all the necessary information, but the targetologist needs to be able to isolate those who are most likely to be interested in the product.
  • Monitoring competitors and their target audience. It’s important to follow trends and make conclusions about what will best suit an audience similar to yours.
  • Budget planning. With experience, a targetologist can plan the advertising campaign budget and adjust it in advance if needed.
  • Creating creatives. Not always does the targetologist deal with this directly, but they definitely need to know how to do it. Based on all the data received, several different creatives are prepared to test and choose the best approach.
  • Target setting. Most think it’s just clicking some settings, and everything will work perfectly without interference. If only…
  • A/B testing. Yes, that’s what we hinted at in the point about creatives. You’ll have to test a lot to make the ads bring the maximum profit to the business.
  • Optimization. Analyzing the testing results, the targetologist makes changes to the advertising campaigns for their improvement.
  • Reporting. This duty is integral to the work of every specialist.

An Affiliate must be competent in many areas to fully perform their work and earn well. This list includes knowledge of marketing, SEO, the ability to set up targeted advertising, etc.

What falls under the responsibilities of an Affiliate:

  • Traffic management. Pouring traffic to the site/app of the advertiser needs to be done from various sources (social networks, push and popup networks, search engines, etc.).
  • Testing. Finding and testing new methods, sources, channels. 
  • Analysis. Keeping track of testing results and making the right conclusions based on them.
  • Lead generation. Users brought to the site should become leads to make purchases and bring profit.
  • Cloaking and tracking. Considering that it’s often necessary to work with gray and black niches/products, using cloaks is sometimes essential. 
  • Copywriting. Yes, an Affiliate needs to be able to write. But not essays about autumn, but ad texts that will resonate with the target audience.
  • Working with photo/video. Being able to create creatives, find video material, and edit it.
  • Finding connections and scaling them. Working connections for an Affiliate are a treasure.
  • Reporting. The work of any specialist needs to be visible, so preparing reports is mandatory. 

Yes, there are indeed similarities in these positions, but there are also many differences.


If you’ve looked through all the duties, you’ll notice that although both the targetologist and the Affiliate set up ads, there are many nuances. Let’s consider them.

Payment. Unlike the Affiliate, the targetologist does not invest their own money in attracting traffic. They receive a task from the advertiser, plan the budget, set up the ads, and bring clients to the business. The cost of the ads, as well as the targetologist’s services, is paid by the advertiser. Often targetologists also receive a percentage of sales. In the case of Affiliates, it’s different. They need funds to invest in traffic to then sell it cheaper and make a profit from the price difference.

Firstbilling. This phenomenon is related to the activities of Affiliates. There’s a certain percentage of those where the desire to get free traffic outweighs common sense. In short: firstbilling is a type of fraud that involves getting free traffic from FB by blocking the post-payment of the first billing. Since Affiliates pay for traffic out of their pocket, this option often seems very tempting. Targetologists don’t engage in such activities. Firstly, they assess the quality of traffic. It’s important to understand that the advertising network requires time to optimize and only later provides quality traffic.

Analysis. This stage also has significant differences. To keep the advertiser satisfied with the targetologist’s work, the customer funnel must work excellently, so the traffic doesn’t leak in vain. Therefore, it’s important to check how convenient and clear the path to the target action is.

Affiliates assess the offer through a different lens: they care about GEOs where traffic can be poured; allowed traffic sources; payout amount; payment model (for which target action they will receive their payouts).

Testing. Not everything is straightforward here, but targetologists give more importance to A/B tests than Affiliates. A/B tests help save time and money. They provide information about the effectiveness of web pages and increase conversion. By changing elements, their color, placement, etc., the advertiser can significantly improve the performance of their site. They are used to test ad texts, calls to action, individual pages, newsletters, subscription forms. Affiliates sometimes neglect testing as it involves additional costs, and not all know how to use this tool.

Scaling of Affiliates and targetologists differs in speed and thoroughness. Targetologists in this matter do not rush and carefully monitor advertising campaigns to timely disconnect the least effective approaches and optimize the best ones. Affiliates need to use a working connection as quickly as possible not to leave an advantage to competitors.

Vertical. While targetologists take on any project (even if they have never worked with a similar niche before), Affiliates work with products they have repeatedly poured traffic onto. That is, each Affiliate usually has a certain specialization in which they really excel and can bring good results.

Traffic sources. Here Affiliates lose to targetologists, as the latter usually study the source they work with more thoroughly. 


Let’s summarize the above and outline the main pros and cons of working for each of these specialists.

Pros of working as a targetologist: the never-disappearing need for specialists who will bring clients to the business; the opportunity to work with several clients at once; remote work; the perspective to assemble a team and open your own agency; the ability to choose comfortable clients/niche/product yourself; learning won’t take much of your time.

And how could we forget about the cons: responsibility for someone else’s budget; direct communication with clients; dependence on the algorithms of social networks, which are constantly changing; the inability to disappear from radars and ignore client requests.

The advantages of working as an

working for yourself without a work schedule defined by someone else; practically unlimited income; the opportunity to receive bonuses from affiliate programs; receiving all the profit from working with traffic.

And now the main cons: working for yourself implies responsibility for your income; the risk of losing your own money by investing it in traffic; the inability to spend all the income because these funds will be needed for scaling in the future; the need to find assistants to manage more; the lack of diversity; the absence of a stable income and benefits package.


So, today we’ve told you who is who. We’ve looked at the main duties of a targetologist and an Affiliate, their key differences, advantages, and disadvantages in the work of these specialists. Whatever the difference between them, the goal is the same: to increase the efficiency of advertising campaigns and the conversion rate.

Both the targetologist and the Affiliate need to have developed data analysis skills, be able to work with the target audience, research the market, follow trends. In addition, do not neglect testing to work on optimizing strategies and increase profitability. And without knowledge of various tools and platforms, neither of these specialists will be able to perform their work at 100%. 

If you like communicating directly with clients, want to receive a fixed payment, and work with various niches/products, it’s worth considering specializing as a targetologist. 

Not averse to risks and investing your own funds with the prospect of scaling up and, working solo, achieving earnings of several thousand dollars a month? Then it’s time to think about starting your journey in Affiliate Marketing.

And you already know a great media about Ukrainian Affiliate Marketing. Yes, we’re talking about us 🙂

We also have our own Telegram community, where we share announcements, news, useful info, and communicate on the topic of Affiliate Marketing and more. Join us!

With love, Your Geek!

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