Affiliate marketing is a very large industry and has become a key source of online income for many thousands of professional bloggers. With more and more online businesses becoming involved in affiliate marketing, more opportunities have arisen for bloggers, like you and I, to make money with their blog.
In this post I will go through some of the most popular affiliate marketing platforms.
ShareASale is one of the largest affiliate networks. The Shareasale platform has about 4,000 merchants listed, of which over one thousands of them are exclusive to them. ShareASale publishes a large amount of data on each of the offers they are running, these include:
· Earnings per Click
· Reversal Rates
· Average Sale Amount
· Average Commission
While these figures aren't guarantees of payouts you can expect, they're certainly very helpful in assessing a campaign.
The advantages of ShareASale include:
Large Partner Network. The 4,000+ merchants include more than 1,000 that are exclusive.
Easy to Compare Offers. When trying to choose from the various offers available, ShareASale make it very easy to evaluate the best ones based on the metrics.
Quick Payment Cycle. ShareASale pay out on the 20th of every month, assuming your account balance is more than $50.
Flexoffers is another huge affiliate marketing network. They pay you (the affiliate) a lot faster than others in the industry. It has more than 10 years of experience in the field. While they do not offer anything that is neither groundbreaking nor revolutionary, they do provide a solid array of tools and features that will surely aid you in your campaigns. In addition to the fast payouts, Flexoffers lets you choose from thousands of affiliate programs to promote, offers various content delivery formats, and more.
They have tens of thousands of different affiliate programs to choose from. They have divided these affiliate programs into dozens of broad and hundreds of sub-categories, which makes the publisher's life easier to find exactly what would fit into their niche.
Flexoffers also has their own affiliate program which is a licence to print money. If you refer someone to FlexOffers and they earn commission, you also earn commission. You can earn as much as
50% of any earnings generated by any affiliates referred by you. How cool is that!!!
The advantages of FlexOffers include:
Revenue Share. As I just mentions, if you refer someone to FlexOffers and they generate income, you get a cut of what they earn.
Dedicated Affiliate Manager. A lot of networks leave you to your own devices. Not FlexOffers. You get your own Affiliate Manager to help you get the most out of your affiliate marketing efforts.
Vast Amounts of Affiliate Programs. Well over 15k affiliate programs to choose from and apply for.
Disadvantages of FlexOffers
Paypal the only payment option for those who are based internationally (Outside US)
Tradedoubler was founded in 1999 by two young Swedish entrepreneurs. They have offices in the UK and multiple countries throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. Their focus has always been to provide smarter results for both clients and affiliates through technology. In 18 years, they've amassed an army of 180,000 active publishers, connecting them to over 2,000 merchants in Europe and the UK. Many of these merchants are household names.
CJ Affiliate is considered to be the biggest affiliate platforms online; if you have worked in the affiliate marketing space for any amount of time, you've probably come across them.
Nearly every major retailer have their affiliate programs on CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), which makes them as close to a one stop shop as you can get in the affiliate marketing business. Most retailers have multiple ad sizes available for affiliates, which gives you better control of the offers you show on your blog.
With such a wide array of advertisers on the CJ Affiliate platform it makes it relatively easy to compare and segment different offers. Finding the affiliate tracking code to place on your blog is also straightforward; once you're approved to promote an offer, you can be running lots of different offers on your site in just a few short hours.
The advantages of the network are:
Large Partner Network. CJ Affiliate has over three thousand advertising partners, many have lots of creative sizes and various affiliate link options.
Reliable Payments. They offer a net-20 payment term which means that you'll get your commission paid out in a timely manner each month.
Powerful Reporting Options. The reporting suite from CJ Affiliate is pretty impressive, which is a big advantage for marketers who plan to spend a their time optimizing their sales performance.
Disadvantages of the network include:
Steep Learning Curve. While the reporting capabilities are great, they're also quite difficult for beginners to get to grips with. You'll need to spend time in the dashboard before you're comfortable navigating the reporting suite and can then start to take full advantage of the tools on offer.
Limited Customer Support. Due to the large number of affiliates and merchants, it's understandable that customer support is quite limited. But only having a contact form as the main method to get in touch with the support department can be restrictive.
Rakuten LinkShare is considered to be one of the oldest affiliate partner networks, it is now a fair amount smaller than some of the bigger players in the affiliate industry. There are a few slick features of Rakuten LinkShare that differentiate this platform from the rest.
For example, they have the ability to rotate through the various banners automatically for a product which is a huge advantage when trying to optimize your offers. Instead of having to manually select which ad you want to run on your blog, LinkShare lets multiple versions rotate with only one small piece of code.
LinkShare also allows for more flexible "deep linking" to individual merchant landing pages, this allows for increased customization of the types of campaigns you can run.
Advantages of LinkShare are:
Ad Rotation. This may seem like a pretty minor feature, but it can make a significant difference when it comes to optimizing your ads.
Deep Linking Options. LinkShare lets you choose the page you want to send your traffic to on their site, giving you more flexibility for promoting different affiliate offers.
A Much Smaller Network. LinkShare have around 1,000 partners – this is considerably fewer than the bigger networks like CJ Affiliate or ShareASale.
Unpredictable Payments to Affiliates. Rakuten LinkShare only pay out to their affiliates once the commissions are collected from their partners.
Previously known as Affiliate Window but now officially referred to as "AWIN" after acquiring Zanox a few years ago, this network claims to work with over 13,000 active advertisers and 100,000 publishers (affiliates). Founded in Germany, AWIN's merchants primarily hail from Europe (especially Great Britain) although the U.S. network is growing rapidly. AWIN is currently active in 11 countries.
Established in 2000, this company has since grown into one of the most well regarded affiliate networks in the UK, as well as the world. Currently, it boasts of over 1,600 brands across 77 sectors in 11 territories worldwide.
They also provide a simple, user friendly dashboard, as well as an array of useful tools that can definitely help you boost your affiliate marketing campaigns.
VigLink works a bit differently than other affiliate programs in that it is specifically designed for bloggers. Instead of affiliates picking and choosing which merchants to work with, VigLink uses dynamic links that automatically change to work with merchants that VigLink has determined are offering the highest conversation rates and/or commissions at any given moment.
In effect, VigLink works as the middleman between a publisher (blogger) and merchants by scanning the publisher's content and automatically creating links to publishers that are chosen "in real time" based on their payout/conversation rates. This makes VigLink a very hands-off affiliate program for publishers who prefer to focus on content instead of managing their affiliate links.
VigLinks works with all types of advertisers/merchants but does categorize them by "trends" or what's popular. It's important to note that this information about trends comes from third-party sites, not VigLink itself.
VigLink is primarily about selling physical products but also does work with some digital-only products and services.
Average Commission Rate
VigLink allows affiliates to filter between CPC, CPA, or both CPA and CPA offers. The commission rates are set by the merchant, not VigLink.
Who is it for?
VigLink is an intermediary platform, so it can serve as a backdoor for affiliates who have previously been banned/suspended from working with other affiliate programs like Amazon. And while you can choose specific merchants or offers, VigLink can be set up to work automatically by scanning your published content and dynamically generating affiliate links, making it a great choice for established content producers who are looking for a simpler way to generate revenue via an affiliate program.
A quick round-up of the pros and cons of this program:
Pros of VigLink:
Ø Works well across websites/social media/apps.
Ø One-page dashboard is very simple to use yet powerful.
Ø Great for bloggers who want a more hands-off affiliate program.
Ø A good option for people banned from Amazon or other affiliate programs.
Ø Can be set to dynamically update links to maximize your income.
Cons of VigLink:
Ø You have to be approved by each merchant separately.
Ø The "automatic creation of links" needs to be fine-tuned (esp. the WordPress plugin) in order to maximize earning potential.
Ø Huge disparaties in payouts between merchants/offers.
Ø Only pays out once a month.
Ø VigLink will take a healthy slice of your commissions/income.