Top 11 Best Affiliate Programs for 2016
Even though the old days when Amazon reigned supreme, and affiliate marketing was all the rage, are past, affiliate marketing is still a multi-billion dollar industry which many online entrepreneurs utilize as a primary source of earning.
The number of merchants who have adopted affiliate marketing techniques has gone up, which has led to fresh opportunities for affiliate bloggers and web publishers to develop an audience and promote offers.
The most popular method of promoting affiliate offers, for publishers, is to join an affiliate network and implement the available offers on their website. This does mean that a certain amount is deducted from their earnings, but the gains often outweigh this token fee.
If you don’t feel like scrolling all they way down… just click on the one you’re interested in below:
Best Affiliate Programs
- Google Adsense
- Amazon Associates
- Commission Junction
- eBay Partner Network
1. Google AdSense
Google AdSense, also known simply as AdSense, is a high paying affiliate program network owned and run by the search engine giant Google. It provides advertisement units to publishers, who have to sign up for the program network which enables them to use their publisher account to earn money through the ads posted by Google on their website / blog. Each publisher gets a unique ID upon signing up, which is used to generate ad codes for their website so they can start earning cash. You can see why adsense is on of the top affiliate networks for website and blog owners alike just by looking at our pros and cons list.
- Low traffic requirements: If your website contains unique content of good quality, you will have no trouble getting approved, since it requires very little traffic – 100 or more unique visitors each day, regardless of whether your blog/site has a sub level domain or a top level domain.
- Multiple monetization options: As a publisher, you will not be restricted to earning cash through posting ads directly on your website – you can monetize through search, feed, videos, mobile site, and online games etc.
- Multiple language support: Google AdSense is the sole publisher network to allow posting ads in languages other than English. In fact, over thirty different languages are supported!
- No waiting time for ads to show up: Because of the very long list of advertisers present in Google AdWords, ads will start showing up in your Ads space the moment you supply the ad code on your blog.
- Multiple ad formats: Text ads, display ads, link ads, rich media ads and video ads are all the various formats in which you can post ads on your website to earn money.
- Highest revenue share for publishers: As compared to other publisher networks, you’ll earn a greater cut of the revenue if you employ Google AdSense. For content, the revenue share is 68 percent, whereas for search, the revenue share is 51 percent!
- Country specific payment methods: Depending on the country you reside in, Google AdSense will let you receive your payments using options which are readily available in your country.
- Strict uniqueness restriction: If even a single article on your website gets flagged as plagiarized, you won’t be able to get your AdSense application approved. This also includes the content which was originally yours, and was copied by another party.
- Payment threshold: You won’t be able to withdraw earnings under $100, which can be a bother for smaller businesses.
For more information on one of the best affiliate programs check out Googles Adsense policies.
2. Amazon Associates
In some regards, Amazon has the most vast affiliate program of them all, containing products from over 1.6 million vendors (i.e. anyone selling products on their site), as well as thousands and thousands of affiliates. Amazon’s affiliate program mechanism is the most user friendly and easy to grasp, which makes it ideal for non-tech business minded people looking to earn money on the internet. It also provides advanced features such as APIs for sophisticated developers. Many think of Amazon as just a small ticket network but a little searching and you will realize that this can be one of the best high ticket affiliate programs out there. Many internet marketers would tell you that this is the best affiliate program they have ever worked with. And who can blame them when you can earn a living solely on being an amazon associate.
- Easy to use: The interface is intuitive and uncluttered, ideal for beginners and pros alike.
- Greatest flexibility: The millions of products sold on Amazon mean that you can choose from a very large number of ads / affiliate links to put on your website.
- Smaller commissions: The starting point for commissions is a measly 4 percent, which means you’ll have to gather quite a large number of sales before the affiliation becomes sustainable.
- Extended pay cycle: The net-60 model of payments employed by Amazon means you won’t get money for a sale until two months after it has occurred.
For more information check out Amazons Associates Guidelines.
3. Commission Junction
Now known as CJ Affiliate, this is one of the most expansive networks around, and all those who have dabbled in affiliate marketing, even briefly, will have likely come across it. Nearly all major merchants have offers listed on Commission Junction, which makes it something of a one-stop shop in the industry. Multiple creative sizes are available from the majority of advertisers, which means publishers have a greater control on performance. With such an extensive network, its no wonder this is one of the most popular and best affiliate networks around.
Keep in mind that this affiliate program requires constant management/monitoring, unlike the set and forget systems of AdSense and others.
- Vast network: With over three thousand merchant partners, and plenty of flexibility in terms of affiliate links and creative sizes, this program will find an ad suitable for your site regardless of the niche it covers.
- Payment reliability: The net-20 payment system ensures timely reception of commission each month.
- Robust reporting: Impressive reporting capabilities enable performance optimization tweakers to play with their site’s ad configuration as much as they want.
- Difficult to familiarize with: The powerful reporting abilities mentioned above aren’t easy to come to grips with for beginners.
- Little customer support: The only way to acquire support is to fill a contact form, which can be quite frustrating at times. However, it is impossible to provide full scale support due to the very large number of merchants and affiliates who are part of the program.
For more information visit Commission Junctions Sign up page.
If you’re a vendor of digital products, this affiliate network should definitely be a consideration for your affiliate program setup. With its 12 thousand vendors and one hundred thousand affiliates, coupled with a perfect history of timely payment, it is a strong contender for the top affiliate program. It isn’t an affiliate software; rather, it plays the role of a payment processor with a significant affiliate marketing element. This makes it easy to configure both your payments, and affiliate programs, which doesn’t take more than a few minutes.
- Promote as much as six thousand products on your website: As soon as you get your affiliate ID, you’ll be able to do this without having to register each product separately.
- Higher commission rates: The majority of products sold via ClickBank are digital in nature, which means their commission rates are higher as compared to other marketplaces. You’ll be able to make between 50 and 75 percent for every sale.
- Timely payments: The impressive payment system disburses cash to affiliates through direct check deposits every one or two weeks. Even if your merchant’s business goes bankrupt, you’ll still get your payment through ClickBank.
- Before you get your first pay-out, you’ll have to be patient due to the fact that you have to meet two requirements: Customer distrubution and your payment threshold
- Product scams: Sometimes, you may be promoting a product that fails to meet your expected returns. This is likely due to the product being a scam, something that certainly exists on ClickBank. If the rate of product returns is 10-20%, stay well clear of it.
For more information on Clickbank click here.
Now a part of the Rakuten affiliate network, LinkShare been around since the early days of the industry. In recent years, however, it has seen its role get dwarfed compared to some of the other players such as CJ Affiliate. Keep in mind that a larger playing field is highly recommended when starting out with affiliate marketing.
LinkShare has a couple of distinct features which set it apart from the crew though. One, it automatically rotates through the various banner ads for a specific product, which makes your website easier to administer and optimize in the long run. Instead of having you manually choose the 300×250 ads that should be run, LinkShare allows the rotation of multiple versions with just one code snippet.
It also has a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to ‘deep linking’ to particular merchant landing pages, which translates into greater customization potential for your campaign.
- Rotation of ads: Even though it may appear to be a minor feature, it can prove instrumental in streamlining the consumption of your time and efforts in optimization / management.
- Flexible deep linking: You’re able to select the page of the merchant’s site that the click is directed to, which enables you to better determine the best way to funnel affiliate purchases.
- Small network: This network is much smaller than competitors such as ShareASale and CJ Affiliate, which means you’ll have fewer opportunities of landing a profitable program.
- Payments aren’t predictable: You get your cut only after the commission has been collected from the merchant, which can lead to delayed/erratic payments. This is bothersome when compared with the reliable net-20 system employed by Commission Junction.
Read more on LinkShare here.
This is yet another one of the biggest affiliate programs operating on the internet, with some 3800 merchants on its list. Around a thousand of these merchants are ShareASale exclusives, and you’ve got the option to focus on these merchants, whose offers aren’t available on any other platform.
ShareASale offers plenty of statistics for the offers an affiliate is running – Average Commission, Average Sale Amount, Reversal Rates and Earnings per Click are all there. Even though these numbers aren’t express guarantees of what you’ll get paid, they definitely will give you a helpful illustration of your campaign’s attractiveness.
- Expansive network: The ShareASale network comprises of more than 3800 merchants, among whom, around 1000 are not operating on competitor platforms.
- Easy to compare offers: When you have to choose between various offers made available to you, ShareASale will allow you to evaluate the best one on the basis of key metrics.
- Rapid payment: You’ll get paid on the 20th of every month, if you have a minimal balance of $50 in your account.
- Reporting isn’t very streamlined: The reporting interface of this platform seems aged, and isn’t as intuitive as the ones offered by competitors. While definitely not a deal breaker, it does take some time to get used to.
Read more on ShareASale here.
A well-known affiliate network, Neverblue has matured and established its reputation of delivering personal services as well as quality offers in order to keep its affiliates relevant. Its competitive pay-outs and diversity of offers have ensured its popularity among affiliates.
- Simple sign up: Signing up for the program is quick and easy, with only a few questions asked from you.
- Excellent UI: The user interface is one of the most streamlined ones around, and offers optimum navigation and search filtering capabilities.
- Wide selection: Affiliates can choose from a very diverse collection of offers in order to maximize their campaign’s effectiveness.
- Personalized tracking system: Organizing things is simplified thanks to the personalized tracking system integrated into the platform.
- Affiliate manager follow up: Affiliates are followed up by managers to make sure that everything is in order.
- Difficult to get accepted: Getting yourself approved after signing up can be difficult at first. This is deliberate – so as to prevent the prevalence of black hat marketing techniques.
8. eBay Partner Network
This program also stands in a light comparable to Amazon’s program, since it is run by a website that is a household name around the world. Moreover, eBay awards handsome commissions. Run by Commission Junction in the UK and US, and by Afflinet in Germany, this program operates in the following manner:
- You’ll get paid if someone registers on eBay (through your link) and places a bid within 30 days of having clicked on your affiliate link.
- You’ll get paid if a user registered in this way bids at a live auction on eBay.
The buttons and banners are nicely designed, and make no attempt at concealing the fact that you’re a fan of eBay.
- Diversity of products: There are millions of products that you can choose to promote, all grouped under several dozens of categories.
- Seasonal discounts: These are offered on brand new products and allow you to acquire more sales during the holiday season.
- Swifter payment: The payment is made through PayPal, and is much faster than that of Amazon – you don’t have to wait for 60 days to get your cash.
- Cumbersome approval: You’ll need a working website with a requisite amount of traffic or your application will get rejected. Getting accepted without a website is next to impossible, and your chances with a website that has low traffic aren’t very good either.
- Earnings aren’t predictable: Based on the earnings-per-click mechanism, the earning depends on traffic quality, which means earning big will require you to attract high quality visitors to your site.
Find out how the Ebay Partner Network works.
With over 1500 active affiliates, this network offers lucrative forms of commissions such as CPL, CPS and CPA. A customized, made from scratch, software is used to sign up publishers from around the globe. They have eliminated third party hosting in favour of streamlining their operations due to their click per action nature.
- Reliable custom software: You will not experience problems such as downtime.
- Global acceptance of affiliates: All types of traffic, and affiliates from around the world are accepted.
- Multiple payment methods: Wire services, Check, PayPal and Payoneer can all be utilized to get your earnings. US publishers may also opt for ACH.
- Diverse offer range: Diversity in offers means that you’ll definitely be able to find one relevant to your website.
- Flexible payment: You can get your payment any day, provided you have the minimum balance of $50 in your account.
- Tough approval system: Getting into this network can be challenging, but this is done to ensure that only genuine, reliable parties are allowed in.
- Private affiliate programs: A considerable number of product owners run their own affiliate networks which comprise of products on which is available monthly as well as lifetime commission, whenever your referral leads to a purchase of the said product. A popular affiliate software for such vendors is InfusionSoft.
Click here for more information on PeerFly.
OSI Affiliate Software allows you to create and manage their own in-house affiliate network. This is great for merchants, because it comes out cheaper. All you have to do is pay and reward the affiliate for successful sales.
If you’re an affiliate, OSI Affiliate Software is a great option to use with merchants. You can get merchants who are not members of any affiliate network to get OSI Affiliate Software and use it to reward you.
This is how it works:
OSI Affiliate’s tracking code will be added to the merchant’s website. You will join the merchant’s affiliate program and you will get your unique affiliate url. Any sales you send via that url will get you rewards and commissions.
You can try OSI Affiliate Software here.
WEB-SET Ads is a new CPC and CPM advertising network (Beta version) which is offering text-based ad types.
This new program has been developed to provide value added content to blogs or small websites, like content feeds.
These content feeds are mapped to the most interesting verticals markets, like jobs, cars, or real-estate.
- very simple signup: the signup for the program is very easy.
- simple UI: the user interface is very simple and easy to use.
- automatic ads: the content feeds are selected automatically from the inventory. Mostly you will see ads like jobs, cars, or real estate.
- no waiting time for ads to show up: the ads are already available in the inventory.
- to get accepted: your website should have at least 30000 Views per month
- payment threshold: is about 100 EUR. The payments are done via PayPal.
- few formats available: at the moment the program offers only 3 formats, 728×09, 160×60, and responsive (flexible format).
The surest way to decide which network is best for you is to try several of them simultaneously: there is no hard and fast rule to disprove the usage of several affiliate networks at the same time, and it is even recommended by experts for maximizing your gain. It may require some extra effort on your part, but it will enable you to experience, first-hand, the advantages one network has over the others.