You probably have been seeing the term “affiliate marketing” on this blog, especially if you are an avid reader of this blog. In this article, I will be diving into affiliate marketing and sharing some of the best affiliate marketing programs.
What is affiliate marketing?
Here is a real live example: A fashion design label has made a dress, as a blogger, I post the picture of the dress and tell you why I think it is an amazing dress. Then I write “ if you will like to order this dress, click here”. The link to the dress is embedded in the word “here”. You buy the dress, I get paid a commission. That is affiliate marketing or affiliate program.
Affiliate Marketing Programs (what is an affiliate program)
Affiliate programs is one way big companies increase their sales. They serve as extra sales channels.
Anyone with a thriving blog or website can sign up for these programs, get a link and post them on their blog or website . They then proceed to convince blog/website visitors to click on the links.
You may be wondering how the big companies will know that their product is linked in your blog or website. Part of how the affiliate program works is that the links are embedded with the “referrer=” or “ref=” tag. This is how the owners know who to pay for the sale of any product.
Calculating affiliate program commission.
There are 2 kinds of products you can market via affiliate marketing: physical and digital.
The commission on a physical product is less than that on a digital product.
It is not surprising to see an 40% and above commission for a mobile app, while a physical product will bring in something around 5% or lower.
Why? Digital products require no storage or logistics, physical products do.
What to look out for when selecting an affiliate program.
When selecting an affiliate program, be careful not to jump on every program you see. Like with everything under the sky, not all that glitters are gold.
I have put together a list of factors to take into consideration when you want to select an affiliate program.
Who knew cookies will be a determining factor? I am talking about the referral cookie lifetime. The referral cookie time is the time window from the first click to the purchase of the item.
In the case of affiliate marketing programs, the longer the better.
Some sites have only 24 hours windows, some have 7 days, while some have 60 days. The cookie window is a serious criterion for judging or ranking an affiliate program
The size of a market
It is easy to judge an affiliate program by looking at the size of the market, but no. Experience has shown that it is about the number of niches you can own in that particular market and the number of competition (low competition is good) in those markets. Talking about competition…
While we love a good competition and competition is an indicator of a good market, sometimes too much competition might not be such a good thing. Every affiliate marketer is rushing into a particular market? then maybe you should reconsider.
Criteria for acceptance into the program
Some companies impose strict regulations for accepting affiliate marketers into their affiliate programs. There are some websites that accept everyone as long as your website relates to their product or service.
The commission is perhaps the most important criteria when selecting an affiliate program. You need to understand how the programs operate when it comes to commission. Some use percentage and others use a fixed commission. It is better you carry out proper research before signing up for a program. While some companies might have a generous commission, the percentage getting to you might be calculated based on what the site is earning instead of the company’s commission. A 40% commission can turn to 5% if that is what the affiliate program site is earning.
How do they handle payout?
While companies generally payout on a monthly basis, some companies that pay out more often than once in a month.
Although, some companies will want you to earn up to a specific amount before you can cash out.
Here is a simple truth, digital products and products that sell for a lot of money will attract high commission, so, yes, the kind of product the company sells is also a criterion.
Now that we know some of the important criteria to look out for when choosing an affiliate program, how about we find out which of these programs are the best affiliate programs.
Ready? Lets go.
The best affiliate programs for beginners.
New to the whole affiliate marketing business and do not know where to start ?
Here are some of the pretty good affiliate programs , based on the criteria shared above.
CJ Affiliate is like an affiliate market place where you go to find offers from different vendors. They make out a list of best affiliate programs. The site has a 400- days cookies lifetime which is great (remember the cookie lifetime rule). CJ Affiliate partners with other platforms. This partnership might affect their cookie lifetime.
Although they are not the easiest platform to start with, but they have a lot of interesting offers that will help you grow.
Coursera is a recognizable brand which makes it easy to promote. With a 32.5% commission and a 30-days cookie lifetime, this is a great place to start as a beginner.
If Amazon associates had a longer cookies lifetime, they might have been the very best affiliate program. What makes them a great choice for a beginner however is the number of offers available coupled with a great UI. They might still take best affiliate program spot.
Clickbank makes my list of best affiliate programs for beginners because
- Their payout is twice a month, which is great because the money is needed.
- It sells digital products and this makes it have a reasonably high commission of 40%.
- The 40% commission is as a percentage of what calculated not as a percentage of the offer owner’s revenue rather than a percentage of what Click bank earns, which is quite small.
I, however, have a bit of problem with their UI, but luckily, they have a lot of tools that can help a beginner navigate the site.
I recommend dating affiliate programs because they are quite easy to market. You have no need for technical terms. Match.com also has a great commission rate but sadly has only a 24-hour cookie lifetime.
The best affiliate programs generally.
This list below is not based on ranking. I have pulled in affiliate programs from travel, dating, education, web hosting and the likes. The whole idea is to give you options of great affiliate programs. The criteria used for selecting these affiliate programs are the ones listed above.
Travelpayouts travel affiliate program
This is the crème de la crème of affiliate programs. Travelpayout works with numerous brand and they have a 30-days cookie lifetime. Brilliant!
Cupid media dating affiliate program
With an above-average commission and cookie lifetime, Cupid media makes the list because they run a lot of niche dating service. The more the niches, the more options you get.
Razer Gaming Affiliate Program
Even with a 5% commission, Razer offers a great affiliate program, why? The gaming industry sells some pretty expensive accessories. 5% of something expensive is something tangible. This is where the product criterion comes in, even with small commissions, tech products still command some neat sums.
Airbnb Travel Affiliate Program
The Airbnb affiliate program would have been amazing if they didn’t have the rule. Yes, the rule that says you need to have at least 1 million monthly visitors to be a part of the Airbnb affiliate program.
This is the big leagues.
Shareasale. Category: E-commerce affiliate program
Sharesale’s affiliate program will give CJ affiliates a run for their money, but CJ affiliates left them behind with their long cookie lifetime. Oh well, something has to make you number one.
Alienware gaming affiliate program
For this company, I only have one phrase: expensive game wares. Although they only give a 4% commission, 4% of really expensive game ware is a lot.
Udemy education affiliate program
Despite being lower than Coursera’s 32.5%, Udemy has lots of courses that make their 20% commission worth it. The sheer number of courses means that you have the opportunity to make sales.
Booking.com travel affiliate program
Booking.com: Great opportunities, an okay commission, really really terrible cookie lifetime. The cookie lifetime ends once you close the browser.
Skillshare education affiliate programs
Skillshare works with a fixed commission of $10 per sign up. A large number of courses available on skillshare makes it a reasonable affiliate program.
Hootsuite social media affiliate programs
Hootsuite affiliate program has a 15% commission with no payment threshold. this means you can withdraw your earnings at any time.
There are so many other affiliate programs out there, but I have selected these ones based on the criteria listed above and honestly, we cannot exhaust all the affiliate programs available.
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