You’re here because you want to know the best affiliate networks that you should be promoting. My genius instinct tells me you are an affiliate marketer who runs a niche blog and wants to start monetizing it.
Good. You are in the right place. I’m gonna highlight some of the best affiliate networks to help you figure out which one is best suited for you. However, before that, let’s answer some critical questions:
What’s an Affiliate Network?
As my college professor would say, imagine a variable A, now I want you to imagine a marketplace where merchants and publishers come to do exchanges. Publishers like you have audience, while merchants have the products that your audience are interested in.
By deciding to work with merchants on commission basis, you become an affiliate. Now you come to this marketplace to find the merchants that you want to become an affiliate for. This marketplace is what is called an affiliate network. Think Amazon for Affiliates or Fiverr for affiliates.
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The affiliate network offers a single portal where publishers get access to numerous affiliate programs from various companies or merchants.
This monetization model is what is called affiliate marketing?
What’s Affiliate Marketing?
This is a commission based monetization model where you, as an affiliate earns a certain commission for every product that you sale or every customer that you bring on board.
Most affiliate marketing models are Cost-per sale, however some do offer additional cost-per-click models where you earn a commission every time someone clicks on your link, while others are cost-per-lead where you get paid when someone you refer signs up for a newsletter or free trial without necessarily having to purchase the product.
What’s an Affiliate Program?
Affiliate programs are the individual partnerships that you join to earn a commission. Affiliate programs can be self-hosted companies or ran through an affiliate network. For instance, Impact Radius is an affiliate network that have over 1000 affiliate programs. I promote Skillshare affiliate program through Impact network.
Bluehost on the other hand is an affiliate program that is self-hosted on the companies servers.
Can You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
Definitely. If you’ve come across those ‘blogging income reports’ then you should know that affiliate marketing is a huge earner for most bloggers.
How much you make however, relies heavily on the affiliate marketing strategies you put in place, the assets you create and the targeted traffic you drive to those affiliate assets. For instance, you can easily make $750 a month if you manage to rank a post on how to start a blog for a keyword that gets 1000 searches a month when you are promoting Bluehost, for instance.
Not much, but it’s something that is doable even when your blog is new. And this applies to other affiliate programs in other niches as well. To make that much with Display ads you gonna need at least 50,000 page views a month and acceptance into a good ad network.
Yeah, that takes time, doesn’t it?
Pat Flynn, a renowned blogger and affiliate marketer crosses over $1 million in revenue annually with affiliate marketing alone while Michelle of Making Sense of Cents earns over $50,000 every month with this model
Best Affiliate Networks to Join in 2021
Compared to all the other affiliate networks in this list, FlexOffers is a relatively new entry in the industry, having been founded in 2008, yet a rapidly growing program with over 12000 merchants in 25+ niches.
The platforms pays within 30 days and have a minimum threshold of $50. The main payment methods in the network are Wire transfer, Check and PayPal, so if you are outside US you can easily get paid as well.
In my opinion, FlexOffers has a more user friendly interface than all the other networks which are a bit clunky. With their code you can also automatically monetize the non-monetized links on your website for the merchants that you have been approved for in the platform, which is kinda genius and helpful if you have lots of content that may require you to go back and edit them individually.
The platform also has a Revenue Share program. This means, you can refer other publishers and you will earn a cut of what they earn promoting programs in the platform. You also get a dedicated affiliate manager to help you get the most of the platform
2. Rakuten Marketing
This is one of the oldest platforms having been founded in 1996 as LinkShare. The platform doesn’t have many merchants, roughly 1000 programs only. Some of the notable merchants in Rakuten Marketing are:
- Best Buy
The platform offers extra features such as ad rotation and more flexible Deep Linking Options which come in handy when promoting programs like Udemy that have so many products.
The one disadvantage of the platform is that its payments are quite unpredictable as they only pay out affiliates once commissions are collected from their partners.
Awin is one of the oldest platform in the industry having been founded in 2000 and sees over 13000 merchants and 100,000 affiliates.
Unlike all the other networks here, Awin does charge $5 before you are approved. If you are approved, the $5 will be added to your Awin earnings, however you stand to lose this if your account is not approved.
Awin network is more inclined towards Fashion, personal finance, retail shopping, beauty and travel products so if you are in the tech and software niche this platform may not have enough merchants for you. That said, some of the notable programs in the platform are:
- XE (money transfer)
- Under Armour
If you want to promote Etsy primarily, then Awin is your better choice of affiliate network and it has lots of plugins tools and chrome extensions that you can leverage to create your affiliate assets.
This is another most popular affiliate network that has over 4000 programs, 1000 of which being Shareasale exclusive.
The platform pays on 20th of every month with a minimum $50 threshold thus a predictable payment cycle for your planning needs.
Sometimes getting approved can be a hustle and they do not disclose why you were rejected though they say you can always reapply. The reapplication process isn’t clear as it seems you will need to create an account every time, with a different email.
The platform houses both digital products and physical goods.
5. CJ Affiliate network
Formerly known as Commission Junction, CJ affiliate is a popular program with thousands of merchants and a user friendly dashboard.
Their reporting tools are more elaborate and advanced. They also have widgets that you can place on your website.
Currently, CJ has slightly over 2500 merchants spread across 32 categories.
Some of the most notable programs are
- Office Depot
Pepperjam affiliate network came into place in 2015 and now has over 1500 merchants. One good thing about the platform is that publishers and merchants can communicate within the platform.
The platform offers PayPal, Check and Direct Deposit payment methods, so you’ve got options.
7. Amazon Associates
Amazon, being the giant in ecommerce, has its own affiliate network that allows affiliates to earn commissions for the sales made through their links within 24 hours of clicking. That is the shortest cookie period but since Amazon is a trusted brand, it’s very easy to make sales.
The network has been around since 1996 thus making it one of the oldest affiliate programs available.
JVZoo is different from the other networks since it’s more of an instant program. You make a sale and your commission is sent to you instantly via PayPal. Many merchants use this platform since there are no upfront fees. All fees are taken after the sale is made.
The platform have nearly 800, 000 despite being a new entrant, having entered the market in 2011
The platform works exclusively with digital products (ecommerce, online courses and internet marketing) Due to the nature of the acceptance policies, the platform do have weak offers. You want to find high quality products and promote them.
So if you are looking for an alternative to Clickbank, then JVZoo is the way to go
If you are into software niche products, then this new affiliate network is a goldmine for you. The interface is so easy to use and only just the right programs are available, with no clutter.
Some of the best affiliate programs in the network are:
Working with Affiliate Networks
While most of the above networks have thousands of merchants in their database, some affiliate networks tend to be inclined to merchants in particular industries.
For instance, Clickbank is more for infoproducts, while Partnerstack is made specifically for SaaS products.
Things to consider when deciding on affiliate networks
There are 20+ affiliate networks if you decide to look. You can’t possibly work with every Tom, Dick and Harry. Some of the things to put into consideration when selecting the best affiliate programs networks include:
- Number of merchants. Depending on your industry, having a huge database can be a priority since you’ll have a variety of programs to promote.
- Industry inclination: Some networks are developed specifically for particular niches. You may want to join the networks that apply to yours, if they are available. Markethealth is for health products, Partnerstack is for software while Rakuten and CJ are more general affiliate networks.
- Affiliate Network Reputation: Working with reputable networks will mean that you will find genuine programs to promote. One such program is Amazon associates.
- Quality and Relevance of Offers: Before you join an affiliate network, you want to do sort of window shopping. If they have open marketplaces, then go there to see what merchants are in the program. If you are in a health niche, joining a software- focused affiliate network like PartnerStack will not be helpful.
You now know where to look, and with the suggestions above, it shouldn’t take you quite long to find your ideal products.
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