The benefit of affiliate programs for publishers and advertisers is that it can be used to market physical products, software or services. It can take a bit of time, patience and even trial and error to find what works and what doesn’t but it is a growing area for businesses. There are typically two parts to an affiliate marketing program the advertiser and the publishers the following information will explain it in some more detail and list some of the leading programs in more detail.
- Share a Sale
- Commission Junction
- Click Bank
- Kontera ContentLink
- Amazon Affiliates
- PepperJam Network
- Google Affiliate Network
How do publishers make money from affiliate marketing? The promotion of the advertisers product is done via affiliate display ads, text links or product links on the publishers website. A publisher can be paid a commission when one of their website visitors performs a specific action such as filling out a lead form, subscribing to a service/newsletter or making a purchase.
What about bigger publishers? For those publishers who deliver a lot of business they can also be offered a payment per click similar to Google Adsense. Some affiliates even offer a set amount per thousand visitors shown the advertisers banners as they already understand the likely CTR from the publishers website.
What other affiliate earning options are available? New earning programs such as Share a Sale also offer a Pay Per Call platform for trusted publishers who meet certain requirements for past performance based on factors such as leads, sales or even website traffic. Typically the more money a publisher gets paid as an affiliate depends on their performance and quality of traffic. Many programs have a number of very strict criteria which seek to limit the incentive to spam people for sales. The rules and conditions can be very specific on some programs and most require the publisher to provide more details how they plan to promote the advertiser.
Affiliate marketing methods? Some of these affiliate promotional methods include Search Engine Marketing (AdWords), Email Marketing, Direct Linking, SEO, Domains.
What policies must affiliates follow? Most of the top-tier advertisers can have dozens or more policies the publisher must agree to in order to qualify for commissions, and these can often include:
- Protected SEM bidding keywords: trademark terms, brand terms….
- Prohibited SEM Display URLs: Trademark.com/affiliate#
- Prohibited SEM Ad Copy Content: Buy direct from Trademark
- Prohibited Website Domain Keywords: www.trademark-example-site.com
- Prohibited Website Site URLS: /trademark/product/
- Unacceptable Websites Topics: Sexual,War,Conflict,Death,Gross,Profane,Crime
What assistance do Advertisers offer affiliates?
- Recommended SEM bidding keywords that convert well for other advertisers
- Coupon Discount Codes
- Affiliate Discount Codes
- Promotional Codes
- Can use Sub-Affiliate networks
Affiliate Marketing Programs Reviewed
Share a Sale
Learn how more about how Share A Sale can increase your sales, develop your brand, and generate interest in your site. One of the better earning platforms with a number of high quality software solutions such as social media platform Knowem using it to run its affiliate marketing program. We like Share a Sale it is a nice and simple affiliate program that has a growing number of merchants. It its flexibility for link types is also quite impressive:
- Get a Link
- Banner Link
- Gift Cards
- Specific Product Linking Code
- Custom Link to a Page
- Make a Page
- Get Widgets
- Get Videos
Note: Not all the advertisers offer all the affiliate link types available.
Share a Sale Payment Options
- Direct Deposit
Affiliate payment cycle: 20th of the Month
Affiliate payout minimum balance: US$50
Share A Sale Dashboard Screenshot
Avangate is a more advanced affiliate network that combines a eCommerce platform for software publishers to sell their products, an affiliate network to promote them and a market place to sell them in. The benefits of affiliate networks like Avangate is that software has very high margins which can be shared with affiliates. Some companies offer upto 75% commission for every purchase made by customers referred via links or banners from the publishers website.
Avangate cookie length tracking? a number of sites only offer 7-30 day cookies but Avangate offers upto 120 days. So if a visitor decides to buy the product within 120 days of the original visit you still get the commission.
Is there a cost to join Avangate? like many of the affiliate programs, avangate charges no setup fee, no startup cost or no hidden performance targets you must reach.
Avangate Affiliate Reports offer:
- Click-through-rate – unique clicks sent to vendors (advertisers)
- Products Sold- successfully sold products for the selected period
- Conversion ratio – percent of successful sales
- Total Sales valid for avangate affiliate commission
- Any Refunds processed against your avangate affiliate commission
- Average order amount for every referred click from your site.
- VSO Softare
- Kaspersky Lab
- Dr Web
Avangate Payment Options
- Wire Transfer
- Avangate Prepaid Mastercard
Affiliate payment cycle: Monthly
Affiliate payout minimum balance: US$100
Avangate Dashboard Screenshot
Commission Junction is one of the largest affiliate marketing channels. The benefit is that CJ is able to attract a high grade of advertisers which is good for publishers and reassuring for advertisers that they are in a suitable affiliate network.
Commission Junction for Publishers
Some current Commission Junction advertisers
- Discover Cards
- Network Solutions
Some newer Commission Junction advertisers
- EA Store
- Marvel Digital Comics
Commission Junction Payment Options
- Wire Transfer
- Direct Deposit
Affiliate payment cycle: Monthly
Affiliate payout minimum balance: Varies between payment type
- Direct Deposit: US$50
- Check/Cheque: US$100
Commission Junction Dashboard Screenshot
ClickBank is one of the larger platforms with its clients having earned close to US$1.6 billion over the last 10 years and it claims to have never missed a payout once to its advertisers or affiliates. ClickBank is interesting because it actually offer 3 parts to its affiliate marketing program.
- Sell Products (Vendors/Advertisers)
- Promote Products (Publishers/Affiliates)
- Buy Products (Marketplace)
Clickbank for Affiliates - Like Avangate it offers upto 75% commission, but it has a larger variety of tens of thousands of products. Unlike many other affiliate platforms you can begin promotion almost immediately. Global reach with 13 currencies accepted and promotion suitable for English, Spanish, French, and German affiliates.
Clickbank for Advertisers - For those who just want to create something and sell it Clickbank seems to make it easy with the following features, low one-time $49.95 activation fee, fraud prevention, no merchant account required and credit cards and paypal accepted. A number of other affiliate programs don’t offer as much flexibility or like Commission Junction a minimum level of online sales/month. Clickbank allows advertisers to reach more than 100,000 active affiliates in 145 countries around the world.
Clickbank Market place – Browse the categories or find products via the search box and buy direct from Clickbank advertisers.
ClickBank offers 2 ways to display ads on the publishers website
- Text Ads Builder
- Tabbed Ad Box Builder
To show more about how ClickBank works we have included 2 live working examples of each type ClickBank HopAd Builder can generate, which showcases how it works.
The Text Ads Builder
The ClickBank ad shown above is built using text preselected targeting “affiliate,marketing”. It is not tailored to your past search behaviour, onsite contextual elements or keywords used to find this page. The box is a simple and easy way to run ads tailored to match the style of your site. Tabbed Ad Box Builder
The ad shown above allows for more ads to be displayed, so you can promote multiple related products in a single Ad box. This allows for more niche advertising to be run and takes up less realestate on your site.We targeted the following keywords: adwords, affiliate marketing and jobs. Limitations of ClickBank? The limitations of the product is that it doesn’t allow for competitive filtering, negative keywords or using a pages contextual elements. While the fine tuning allows you to be very specific the setup time required is much greater than competing products. There is also no suggestion around what keywords, or tabs titles may produce the most clicks or most variation of ads which may make this a bit more complicated for those new to affiliate marketing. But the longer term advantage of this total control of your ClickBank ads does allow for some fine tuning and testing to get a better ROI from your affiliate ads. ClickBank Payment Options
- Direct Deposit
Affiliate payment cycle:
- Direct Deposit (weekly)
- Other payments (every 2 weeks)
- Keywords – block specific brand or product keywords from being highlighted on publishers site.
- Advertisers – block specific advertisers from showing up on publishers site.
- Advertisers – block specific advertisers from showing up on publishers site.
- Topics – block specific topics (retail,employment…) from publishers site.
There are two more control items that Kontera publishers can select to use:
- Zone Tags – forcing Kontera Text Ads to show in specific paragraphs/areas
- Filter Tags – restrict Kontera Text Ads to specific paragraphs/areas
Too Many Kontera ContentLinks? If you are a publisher you can request to reduce the number of In-Text ads that are shown. This can important when the number is affecting other advertisers or reducing the user experience. You can see on the Kontera section is the only place that the Kontera ContentLinks are showing on this whole page. Kontera Affiliate Reports: Summary, Detailed, Keyword, URL Kontera ContentLink Payment Methods
- International EFT
Amazon associates affiliate program used to be a decent earner for a number of websites but personally i’ve struggled to see it perform even close to what the worse affiliate network has done lately. It’s not clear if the life of the tracking cookie is not long enough to capture the sale or multiple tracking from other affiliates replace each other so only the last affiliate to see the visitor is awarded the sale. Amazon should be one of the leading affiliate platforms as it has the most experience in this area and some of the most powerful ad options listed below. Amazon Associates are offered:
- Links & Banners
- Product Advertising APIs
Affiliate Links to Amazon
- Amazon Product Links enable affiliate to link to a specific product on Amazon while showing information about it in more detail. Amazon Associates can build customised Text Links, Text and Image Links and also Image only links to the Amazon product.
- Amazon Banners enable affiliates to link to a specific product category or promotion. Amazon banners are offered in standard banner sizes and shapes, and offer referrals of upto 15%.
- Amazon Site Strip enables affiliates to easily share product links via social media tools such as Twitter with a simple click.
Poor Amazon Experience The Amazon Associates platform is also very clunky and does not allow for easy sharing of email links or short links via platforms such as Bit.ly which a number of other platforms such as Share a Sale offer, which makes it hard for you to customise your affiliate links to suit your website or blog. My experience with the Amazon Associates program has been less than positive compared to a number of other affiliate programs, as it tracked that my affiliate code has captured 1979 clicks but only 8 items have been successfully ordered, which is a conversion rate of 0.40% well below any other platforms conversion rate. Why not Adsense? That same traffic sent even to Google Adsense might have delivered with an average Adsense earning of $1.55 per click approximately $3,076.39 would have been earned instead of the actual $15.09 from Amazon Associates. From a affiliate marketing perspective its not really one that seems to suitable to webmasters anymore and it has more restrictions of medium used to generate traffic with any type of paid promotion such as AdWords now banned and any direct links only benefits Amazon’s SEO rankings leaving the publisher/affiliate with a leaking money bucket. You can make up your own mind but it seems that a number of affiliate marketers are dropping Amazon Associates program in favour of other affiliate programs that actually convert or lead to sales.
Amazon Associates Dashboard Screenshot
LinkShare offer a number of marketing solutions for Advertisers such as Search Marketing, Lead Generation, Affiliate Marketing & Creative Services. Search Marketing: Paid Search, Search Optimisation, Social Media Lead Generation: Pixel or Enterprise Tracking Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate Network, Link Distrubution, Emerging Media (Flash,Video,Widgets,Mobile,RSS,Twitter,Blogging) Creative Services: Website Design, Content, Optimisation, Banners,Templates. Similar to Commission Junction a high number of well known advertisers are using their affiliate marketing platform with over 600 of the largest and well know advertisers are also advertising on the LinkShare platform. Some of these selected LinkShare advertisers are:
- Pearsons Education
- Toys R Us
Note: We have just setup this account and yet to test it in much detail but it does have some very well know advertisers which should help drive clicks and hopefully sales. LinkShare Payment Options
- Check/Cheque (US/UK/CAN/AU/NZ/EU/OTHER)
- Direct Deposit (US/UK/CAN/AU/NZ/EU)
The PepperJam Network is a combination of tradational affiliate marketing with Search and Link bait solutions for advertisers, unlike other affiliate networks PepperJam provide consultant services for their advertisers to ensure the best possible ROI. PepperJam Merchants - Can benefit from technology, brand protection via the publishers transparency score. PepperJam Affiliates - Resources such as free webinars and educational materials prodvided to grow into super affiliates. Featured pepperjamNETWORK Clients
- SEMPO Institute
- SEOmoz Pro
- Sesame Street
- English Laundry
- Fiji Water
The affiliate programs are split into 3 options when filtering lists of affiliate programs.
- Show Revenue Share Offers Only
- Show CPA Offers Only
- Show Both Revenue Share and CPA Offer
The cookie duration also varies between advertisers which is unusual because its usually standard across an affiliate network. The Pepperjam Network affiliate link options
- Generic Links
- Text Links
- Advanced Links
Pepperjam Store Builder This cool feature allows you to build a dynamic storefront displaying merchant feeds within the selected program. You can filter the merchant feed to display specific products “nike” or groups of products “shoes”. Finally you can customise the code with colours that match your website. You can cut and paste the code into your site and the Pepperjam Store Builder will automatically resize to fit the look and feel of your website. PepperjamADS These are a smart affiliate marketing widget similar to ClickBank’s Tabbed Ad Box Builder as it allows you to serve single ads or ads from multiple Pepperjam Network advertisers at the same time. Unlike the ClickBank Tabbed Ad Box, the ads are served contextually based on the site’s content and come in various shapes and sizes. Pepperjam Network Payment Options
- Direct Deposit (US)
- Wire Transfer
Google Affiliate Network
The Google Affiliate program is based on its Google Adsense payment platform and is growing very aggressively with a number of advertisers been added weekly. We are yet to test this platform but may examine it in more detail in the next few months. The Google Affiliate Network is an expension of its Google Adsense network trial of a CPA model which was retired in 2009. The benefit of exploring the use of the Google Affiliate Network is because advertisers can now pay not just for clicks but actions that lead to sales or conversions and publishers are rewarded with a larger amount as it is now % of sales/referrals. Google Affiliate Network seeks to offer:
- Leading advertiser and publisher services
- Rigorous Google content network quality standards
- Reliable conversion tracking via Conversion codes
- Detailed reporting for both advertisers and publishers
- Publishers receive Automated payments via Adsense
- Simple link and creative delivery tools for publishers
- Flexible commissions to specific publishers
- Publishers can access to top brands on the web
Advertisers can begin to attract quality publishers because:
- Affiliate marketing expertise - Consult with Google’s affiliate marketing specialists on planning & distribution, account optimisation, and any technical issues.
- Google Network depth - Choose from a wide variety of thousands of high-quality publishers based on detailed profiles & metrics.
- Easy Tracking and reporting - Track your conversions, evaluate Affiliate performance, and optimise your program with actionable data.
- Network reviewed for quality - Work only with qualified publishers who are continually screened, reviewed, and advised by the Google quality team.
- Offer performance-based pricing - Rest assured that cost-per-action pricing means Google’s interests are aligned with yours.
Google Affiliate Network Payment Options
- Via Adsense Payment
Chitika Affiliate Program
One of the growing alternatives to Google Adsense is Chitika which offer premium PPC ad units that are compatible with Google Adsense, they also offer their own Local map units similar to Google Places that you can add to your site.
Chitika offers a number of alternatives for ads such as their Chitika List Unit which automatically adjusts it’s height to reduce any ugly spaces that impact on the user experience. You can select the unit width in pixels, the number of ads to display, and as Chitika only displays to select traffic what Fallback display options you want to use such as shown an alternative ad or collapse the Ad Unit. The Chitika Ad Code allows for a good range of alternative formats from their own custom ad sizes specifically designed for blogs, to their look at me super sized boxes and the standard Adsense sized banners.
Ad Unit Options: Multi-purpose unit, map unit, mobile unit
Affiliate Payment Cycle: Monthly
Affiliate payout minimum balance: $10 (paypal) $50 (check)
This is has been one of our early tests of affiliate marketing as they did have some decent advertisers but it seemed that most of the time the notification emails were about advertisers suspending and restarting campaigns which may have lead to some lost sales when the tracking codes were not updated. But this happened so often with some advertisers that we just gave up on adding any more affiliate links and slowly removed the existing links. Poor Clix Galore Experience My experience with the Clix Galore program has been less than positive compared to a number of other affiliate programs, as it tracked that my affiliate code has captured 488 clicks and none have been successful. The 0.00% conversion rate was one of the reasons that this affiliate program was dropped even though the click-thru-rates were averaged at just over 34% it did not equate to sales and this affiliate program does allow for deep links into the advertisers website. Why not Adsense? That same traffic sent even to Google Adsense might have delivered with an average Adsense earning of $1.55 per click approximately $758.60 would have been earned instead of the actual $0.00 from Clix Galore. Google Affiliate Network Payment Options
- Direct Bank Transfer
- EFT ($1000+)
- Bank Cheques/Checks (US Only)
Affiliate payment cycle: Monthly Affiliate payout minimum balance: AUD$100, NZ$100, UK£35, €60, US$50 ClixGalore Dashboard Screenshot Affiliate Marketing is Trial & Error The two examples of Amazon & Clix Galore show that affiliate marketing can be a fair amount of trial and error as one advertiser might work and match very well to your website, but using that same affiliate program for all its other advertisers doesn’t equate to the most money your can generate from being a publisher and advertisers won’t reach their desired sales targets. If you are interested in affiliate marketing there are a number of experts in the field you can help but its not a get rich quick scheme. Some of the people in the industry have made thousands of dollars using a number of the following Affiliate networks or a combination of the above, so its a matter of what suits your website and what products you are trying to promote as a publisher.