Top influencer affiliate marketing networks
Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions About Working With an Affiliate Network as an Influencer or a Brand
One of the best ways for brands to get their both their physical products and digital products in front of wider audiences with a minimal investment, affiliate marketing benefits all merchants, brands, and those enrolled in affiliate programs. Advertising through an affiliate marketing network is a time and cost-effective strategy for businesses of all sizes.
What is Affiliate Marketing? A General Overview
Affiliate marketing is a type of marketing where the affiliate partner promotes a physical product, digital product, or service in exchange for commission. Some of the top affiliate programs are popular enough that both brands and those partnered with the affiliate network make a full-time income from these promotions alone.
What are Affiliate Marketing Networks?
Affiliate networks are organizations that act as a liaison between brands and the members of their affiliate network. These networks connect individuals with an online platform, such as a blog owner, social media influencer, podcaster, or other public figure with brands looking to promote their digital products, physical products, services, or events
Affiliate programs typically provide training, reporting tools, and other helpful resources to ensure that both the brands and partners run successful affiliate marketing campaigns.
How Are Affiliate Links Tracked?
There are special ID codes within affiliate links that accurately track the traffic and sales from agency network participants. Affiliate networks assigns a unique code to each marketer, so that when someone clicks on the link, a cookie is stored in the user’ browser. If this customer moves forward and makes a purchase, the code signals to the affiliate network that the affiliate’s efforts have resulted in a sale. The affiliate marketer is then awarded a commission.
Can You Make Real Money Through an Affiliate Marketing Network?
It is absolutely possible that joining an affiliate network turns out to be lucrative. It is important to keep in mind, however, that merely posting your affiliate link on social media and leaving it alone isn’t going to generate any real revenue.
Affiliate programs can take time before they generate any real income, but when done strategically and consistently, affiliate marketing can turn from a side hustle into a strong revenue stream.
Affiliate marketing is heavily content based. It takes creativity, a strong digital presence, and often very active social media channels to get enough clicks on a link to bring in a substantial amount of money.
Both brands and influencers must choose their affiliate programs carefully. Some affiliate networks don’t partner with brands that generate real interest, and some don’t have strict standards when it comes to their affiliate marketer partners. It is important for both parties to engage in adequate research if either party plans on making real money through affiliate programs.
What is the Top Affiliate Program?
eBay partner programs and Amazon Associates are both extremely popular affiliate networks, generating millions of dollars per month for brands and affiliate partners collectively. These two affiliate network powerhouses are far from the only affiliate programs, however.
Some of the most popular affiliate networks include:
- Rakuten Marketing (Formerly LinkShare)
- Avangate Affiliate Network
- Awin (Formerly called Affiliate Window)
- CJ Affiliate (Formerly Commission Junction)
Affiliate programs aren’t limited to established affiliate networks. Individual companies often offer affiliate programs to their customers. Even companies like Eventbrite and Walmart act as an independent affiliate network.
How Many Affiliate Marketing Networks are There?
There exact number of affiliate networks is unknown, but the number is definitely in the thousands (if not more!). There are lists of the most well known affiliate networks, but these are not all encompassing. Because companies of all sizes often behave as their own affiliate network, this increases the number exponentially.
What are the Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing?
Like any entrepreneurial endeavor, making money through affiliate networks has its pros and cons.
Affiliate Network Marketing Pros:
- Participants can work as much as they want to, or don’t want to
- Opportunities to try products or services that you may not have tried
- Affiliate networks are often easy to enroll in
- Many affiliate networks have free trainings for partners to get started strong
- Some affiliate networks have real time tracking so partners can see their commissions in real time
- Commission rate can be significant, depending on the affiliate network
- Products and services can be advertised through social media (this is a great opportunity for influencers of all sizes!)
Working With Affiliate Networks: The Cons
- Can take an extended period of time for those with smaller audiences to earn commissions
- Commission rate may be low for some affiliate networks
- Affiliate network pay schedule may not align with you financial needs
- The big name affiliate networks often have stringent standards before partners are approved
- May not be good for people who are not well versed in marketing
- You may have to purchase physical goods or digital goods to adequately promote products them on your social media channels or blogs
- Some people may not want to promote products that they don’t like but earn a larger commission
- Links are often clicked with no further action. There are no guarantees that your audience will make a purchase
- Your earnings for your sales may not equate to enough to make your affiliate marketing efforts worth it, even when you are promoting products for top brands
Depending on your work ethic, your sales and marketing experience, and your willingness to learn the nuances of how affiliate platforms work, affiliate marketing may be a great fit for you — or you could find yourself promoting products for no real return. It all depends on how hard (and smart) you want to work.
For those who don’t mind working for a varying commission rate, making money through the top affiliate networks can be extremely lucrative.
How effective affiliate programs are for you directly correlate to how much effort you put into them.
Who is the Highest Paid Affiliate Marketer?
Fun fact: a man named Pat Flynn is the world’s highest paid affiliate marketers. Flynn started his online business after being laid off from his job in 2008. He spent a year and a half working on this website before making his first commission of $8,000. By the year 2013, he was making over $50,000 via affiliate marketing.
Who is the Number 1 Affiliate in the World?
With their monthly web traffic at an average of 7million visitors per month and their annual revenue estimated at 9,400 million dollars annually, with 40,000 affiliate marketers, Rakuten is the world’s largest affiliate marketing network.
Which Social Media is Best For Affiliate Marketing?
There is no definitive answer for the best social media channel for affiliate marketing. The success of affiliate marketing depends on how well the affiliate marketer utilizes their channels, and the demographics of their respective channels.
For example, products that appeal to a younger generation would yield better results on a platform like TikTok or Instagram, whereas a products that appeal to Generation X or above might garner a better response on Facebook, LinkedIn, or a blog.
Affiliate Marketing for Brands: What You Need to Know When Enrolling in an Affiliate Marketing Program
The idea of affiliate marketing is exciting for brands of all sizes. Affiliate marketing gets your product in front of more people for little to no cost to you. Here’s what you need to know about getting your products listen on affiliate marketing networks and how to get them into the hands of influencers.
What Kind of Industries Benefit From Affiliate Marketing Programs?
Industries of every kind can benefit from affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a paid version of word-of-mouth advertising. Word of mouth advertising offers social proof, which is one of the most influential marketing tools in existence. People tend to ask for the opinions of their peers before making a purchase. With affiliate marketing, the marketer has built an audience of people who know, like, and trust them — when they promote a product or service, their audience (which qualifies as their peers for the purpose of this example) take their word for it. This is one of the reasons that affiliate marketing can be extremely lucrative for influencers.
How Do You Become Part of an Affiliate Network?
As a brand, the easiest way to become part of an affiliate network is to list your products for sale on their website or associated websites. With networks like Amazon Associates, simply listing your products on their website makes you automatically part of their network. You don’t get any additional kickback or commission like the person running the promotions, but you do have the opportunity for free marketing for your product if the affiliate marketer decides to push your product or offers.
Is Affiliate Marketing the same as Network Marketing?
While affiliate marketing depends on the marketer’s network, affiliate networks are not the same as network marketing. Network marketing, or multi-level marketing, depends on recruiting others to sell products or services. Affiliate networks, on the other hand, do not. In short, no, affiliate marketing and network marketing are not the same thing.
Is Affiliate Marketing Better for Digital Products or Physical Products?
Affiliate marketing is beneficial for both digital products and physical products. There are affiliate marketers and influencers in every imaginable industry who are ready to push your products. It’s up to you to find the affiliate network that best caters to your unique offers.
I’ve Heard of Amazon Associates. Is That a Worthwhile Affiliate Network for Brands?
Getting your products into Amazon Associate members’ hands is worthwhile for several reasons. First, Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer, meaning just by having your products on Amazon, you are opening up a new potential revenue stream. Second, Amazon Affiliates is a wildly popular affiliate network and easier than most to sign up with. This means ample opportunities for marketers to find your products and promote them.
It is important to note that you do not get any additional kickback when an affiliate marketer sells your product, but you do get all of the money from the sale (minus Amazon’s own fees). You do not have to pay the commission to the Amazon Associate’s partner: that comes out of Amazon’s cuts.
What are the Best Affiliate Networks for Brands?
There is no specific affiliate marketing network that can be considered ‘best’ for brands. While some affiliate networks have a lot of organic traffic, having eyes on your products doesn’t automatically mean you will make sales.
How Do I Know What Affiliate Marketing Networks Will Work for My Products?
Knowing your audience is key to building your brand. Part of knowing your audience is knowing where they’re looking for products similar to yours. What platforms will be best for your specific brand also depends on who your product is designed for. Very niche products may get buried on large online shopping platforms and may do best creating their own affiliate programs internally.
How Can I Get Influencers to Promote My Products Through an Affiliate Program?
It is entirely possible to get your products into the hands of influencers associated with an affiliate marketing program, but whether or not this happens depends on how interested they are in your product or how much you are willing to pay.
Many brands will partner with influencers directly and pay commissions to have their products promoted on an influencers platforms, but many influencers prefer payment for advertising instead of just a percentage of a sale.
When reaching out to an influencer, it is always a good idea to first ask for their sponsorship rates before suggesting a price point.
Do I Get to Know Who the Affiliates Are Who Are Pushing My Product?
In some cases, yes. The best way to be sure that your products are only in the hands of people you want representing your brand is to form your own affiliate program so that you can hand-select your marketers. However, on larger sites such as ShareASale, Amazon Affiliates, or similar affiliate networks, you may never know who is promoting your brand.
Do I Get Paid From Affiliate Marketing as a Brand?
Brands don’t earn a commission from the sale of their products on top of the revenue from the sale, so no, no ‘double dipping.’ However, because an affiliate marketer is promoting your products, you will make more sales and generate more revenue overall.
Can I Earn a Commission On Top of Sales Using My Own Affiliate Link?
This is typically frowned upon by affiliate networks as when you get the kickback from your own link, it is a roundabout way of giving yourself a discount. This may be against the terms of service of the program you are enrolled with.
Using your own affiliate link is most of the time, counterintuitive. Unless you truly needed to buy the product, you’re basically spending money that you won’t make back through your link.
For Influencers: Thinking of Joining an Affiliate Marketing Platform? Here’s What You Need to Know
What are The Top Influencer Affiliate Marketing Networks?
While there is not yet a dedicated affiliate network for influencers specifically, there are a wide range of affiliate networks that work with high quality products and top brands. Influencers, because of their engaged audiences, are much more likely to get access to more elite affiliate networks than people with a smaller following.
When looking to join an affiliate network, have your electronic press kit (EPK) ready with all of your current statistics, as you will get access more quickly when you come prepared.
Does Audience Size Effect Commission Rate?
With standard affiliate networks, not usually, but big name brands often run their own independent affiliate networks and pay a higher commission to influencers with audiences that they believe will be more receptive to their products.
Do I Need to Be a Popular Influencer to Make Money Through an Affiliate Program?
Not necessarily. An influencer with a very niche or very small (but engaged) audience can make a significant amount of money through affiliate networks, even if the commission is on the lower end of the spectrum.
Affiliate marketing can be very lucrative for an influencer with a smaller following in a niche industry if the influencer has the ‘know, like, and trust’ factor. A smaller influencer with high quality followers often bring in better commission than a larger audience of less engaged followers.
How Do I Know Which Affiliate Network is Right For Me?
Depending on your niche and audience demographics, you could be a fit for any number of affiliate networks. If your demographics are very specific, it might be a better idea to contact brands directly and ask about affiliate options, whereas if you have a more general audience, an affiliate network like Amazon Associates can be more beneficial as the platform has a lot more products and offers.
With big name merchants like Amazon Affiliates or even eBay partners, you have the opportunity to push offers from names like Nike, Adidas, and Sony, simply because their products are sold on the these platforms.
Can I Be Part of More Than One Affiliate Marketing Network?
Unless you are somehow contractually obligated to a single partner network, you can join multiple affiliate networks. Diversifying your affiliate income is a great way to create multiple revenue streams with products that appeal to different demographics.
How Much is the Typical Commission Rate Through Top Affiliate Networks?
Commission rates typically vary per product or service sold through your unique affiliate code. Some of the highest commission rates in the affiliate marketing industry are individual companies that sell digital goods, including names like Bluehost, SEMrush, Ninja Outreach, and Shopify.
There are a wide range of affiliate programs out there, and some of the best commission rates are actually paid through direct partnerships with companies.
When Should I Join an Affiliate Platform?
There is no right or wrong time to join an affiliate marketing program, but the best time to do so is when your promotional channels are marketing-ready. This means a high speed website, active social networks, and an engaged following. You should also be ready to dedicate the time it takes to be a successful affiliate marketer. The most successful influencers understand that it takes a lot of time and effort to create enough content to earn the trust of your audience before trying to leverage your followers for sales.
When You’re Part of an Affiliate Program, Do You Get Paid Per Click?
Typical affiliate networks do not pay per click, but instead pay based only on commission. Some influencers, however, if their followings are engaged enough and if the company really wants the partnership, can negotiate brand partnerships and ask for pay per click terms.
What Affiliate Network Caters Best to Influencers?
because influencers are so different, there is no one network that is best for influencers. However, one of the best ways to make commission through your promotions is to contact big name brands directly. Even big brands including Southwest Airlines and Lowes have their own referral programs. From health, beauty, sports, travel, home improvement, décor, clothing, and more, depending on your niche, there is likely a perfect affiliate network for you to join.
Do Only Top Affiliate Program Partners Make Money?
Pretty much anyone involved in an affiliate program can make money. Although some affiliate programs will tout their most well known partners, as long as you are comfortable with sales and marketing, your profits will scale with how hard you work.
Can I Pull Out of an Affiliate Program?
Most affiliate marketing programs do not require contractual obligation for any length of time. However, if you are working directly with a company rather than a general affiliate network like Amazon Associates, you may have to fulfill the terms of your agreement. It is always a good idea to have your legal team or the influencer marketing agency that represents you look through your contracts in detail before you sign your name.
Do I Get to Choose Which Products I Promote Through an Affiliate Network?
Yes and no. This again depends on whether or not you are involved with a general affiliate marketing network or have an agreement with an individual brand.
Large, general affiliate networks like Amazon Associates or ShareASale partner with hundreds of thousands of brands, meaning you have ample choices when it comes to which products you promote.
For the best results (and a better shot at making that commission), the affiliate program you join should best serve the people in your audience. For example, affiliate programs with a more diverse selection are great for lifestyle influencers that cater to a wide range of people with varied interests. Lifestyle influencers might do well promoting a variety of products from health, beauty, pet products, childcare products, cleaning products, luxury products, and more. More ‘niched down’ influencers, such as influencers in highly specified industries like movie reviews or home improvement may make more commission working directly with a company that offers highly specific products or services over a larger affiliate network.
Can Affiliate Networks Refuse to Pay You?
Unless you have violated the terms of your agreement, it is typically illegal for affiliate networks to withhold payment. However, it is important to read the fine print of any agreement you sign; one small oversite in the way you do your marketing might make your agreement null and void. All influencers would be wise to have a legal team review their agreements prior to signing to ensure you are meeting any brand guideline as well as program rules and regulations.
How Can I Make More Money as an Influencer in an Affiliate Program?
A great way to ensure you’re getting the best return on investment from your time is to partner with an influencer marketing agency.
An influencer marketing agency helps manage and facilitate brand partnerships as well as can implement the best marketing strategies to earn the highest possible profits.
Keep in mind, however, that these specialized agencies are best suited for influencers working with top influencer marketing networks that require extensive campaign management. If you are simply promoting a few products on your blog using your Amazon affiliate link, partnering with an agency is not the best option for you.
How an Influencer Marketing Agency Can Help Boost Sales for Affiliate Program Partners and Brands
If you are a brand looking to get your products in front of interested, engaged audiences, influencer marketing is a great way to activate new audiences and increase brand awareness. Many top finance influencers look for partnerships with brands that they love and are eager to promote their products in exchange for a commission.
If you’re an influencer, know that some of the world’s biggest brands are out there waiting to get their products into your hands.
An influencer marketing agency helps forge these connections and manage affiliate campaigns. At HireInfluence, we work with some of the world’s biggest name brands and some of the internet’s most sought-after influencers to create lasting, lucrative, and powerful brand partnerships.
Contact a member of our team today and learn how influencer marketing can help elevate your brand.