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You don’t need much to monetize your marketing talent in the digital world: the right affiliate marketing program and possibly an affiliate network to facilitate the search for partners and defend your interests.
In practice, though, choosing an affiliate marketing program is like untangling a web. With so many programs and specific conditions, it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees, ending up with a sub-optimal or downright unprofitable affiliate marketing program.
But we won’t let it happen!
In this all-encompassing guide to affiliate marketing programs, we will explain how to find affiliate programs in your niche and utilize them to the fullest, growing your audience and profits. Besides, we will share our best affiliate marketing programs in 2023 across different business avenues, such as finance, home services, telecom, and more.
Buckle up – you’re in for a marketing treat.
How To Start Affiliate Marketing Business
Getting started with affiliate marketing isn’t hard if you have stellar content to back up your ambitions. For example, if you are running a home insurance company, you can promote real estate offerings, HVAC services, home security items, and other home-related products and services you have a strong command over.
Here’s how to start affiliate marketing step-by-step:
- Choose a profitable affiliate marketing niche. The most profitable niche for affiliate marketing is retail (44% of the total affiliate marketing revenue), followed by telecom & media (25%), and travel & leisure (16%).
- Research affiliate programs that resonate with your business case and make a shortlist, choosing the best of the best. You can run as many affiliate programs as you can handle if you see value in them.
- Strategically locate affiliate links to connect customers to your affiliate campaigns.
The best thing about affiliate marketing programs is that they are all designed to allow you to make money from affiliate marketing without breaking a sweat. In fact, the only truly daunting challenge is the affiliate program search and choice.
Read on to uncover how to find affiliate programs with minimum effort and risk.
How To Find Your Best Affiliate Marketing Program
It’s great if you can leverage top affiliate programs like Amazon Associates – these are time-tested promise-keepers you can rely on. However, in the affiliate marketing industry, the affiliate network or program size doesn’t always matter.
There’s a great chance you have specific demands calling for a very specific affiliate marketing program. For example, you may want to monetize exotic actions like app downloads instead of common clicks or purchases. If so, you may have to hunt for underdog companies with affiliate programs that match your needs.
How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing Programs in 3 Steps
Step 1. Shortlist the Programs that Might Be a Good Match
With nearly 10,000 affiliate marketing businesses worldwide, you need to narrow it down in the first place. Select affiliate marketing programs that match your niche, expertise, audience, and payout expectations. Remember, there’s no need for a thorough examination – save your mental power for Step 2.
Where To Search for Affiliate Marketing Programs
|Searching for an affiliate program on Google is the first thing that comes to mind – and it does make sense. Google will likely overwhelm you with options, but it might be your best starting tool nonetheless. |
The formula for Google search is:
The search result may contain too many options, but you might even hit the bull’s eye already if you’re in a less popular industry. For some niches, you don’t have to dig deep into the pages to uncover all available affiliate marketing programs.
|Competitors||If you’re already running an affiliate marketing program and want to diversify – 94% of marketers run two or more affiliate programs simultaneously – you can search for competing products. |
The downside of this method is that you can’t jump from one program to another too often in niche markets where everyone knows everyone.
|Affiliate Networks||As an intermediary between advertisers and affiliates, affiliate networks unite dozens of affiliate marketing programs, making it dead easy for you. However, such convenience entails a 20% to 30% fee, decreasing your revenues by the same amount.|
Advertisers crave the spotlight just as much as affiliates, exposing their affiliate marketing programs to the world in affiliate listings, also known as affiliate directories or affiliate program aggregators.
Affiliate directories unite hundreds of programs and vet all applicants, vouching for their trustworthiness. Likewise, they have multiple filters to speed up your search.
|Affiliate Links||To understand your potential in a specific niche by competitors’ affiliate links, find competitor websites of a similar scale using SEO tools like, for example, SEMrush and scan their links for affiliate IDs (something like “tag=affiliateID-20” at the tail end of the link).|
Step 2. Consider the Conditions of Each Candidate Program to Determine the Winners
It’s time to unleash the power saved during Step 1.
Examine every candidate program against four key parameters: acceptance, payment terms, marketing resources, and cookie duration. The table below will help you.
How To Research Your Affiliate Marketing Program
|Acceptance||Not all affiliate marketing programs accept everyone, having strict guidelines as to who is allowed to participate. |
Among possible exclusions are:
Here’s how to start an affiliate marketing website or blog without risk.
Likewise, affiliate marketing program owners may exclude specific products and promotional methods, such as paid search, browser extensions, coupon sites, etc. Make sure you are a good fit before everything else, especially if you’re from a borderline or difficult niche like, for example, finance or insurance.
|Payment terms||The three most popular payment models are Pay Per Sale (PPS), Pay Per Click (PPC), and Pay Per Lead (PPL), but you may want to monetize downloads, installations, signups, or else. Select the program that fully satisfies your financial expectations. |
Wonder what commission structure can propel your affiliate business? Here’s your affiliate commission navigator.
Some affiliate programs may allow you to:
Make sure the commission size and the payment issuance model resonate with you. Speaking of which, the highest average affiliate commissions are in SaaS services (up to 70% of the sale amount), followed by finance (up to 40%), e-learning (up to 30%), and beauty & health (up to 30%).
|Marketing Resources||To maximize your marketing power, most affiliate marketing programs include the so-called creatives: pre-made banners, email templates, product images, and more. Some advertisers also provide learning sessions to educate their affiliates about the best marketing practices.|
|Cookies Duration||Cookie duration establishes how much time you have to earn a commission after a click. Cookies may last for only a single session, 90 days, or never expire. All other things being equal, choose an affiliate marketing program with the largest cookie window.|
Step 3. Get Your Affiliate Links to Start Promoting
Now that you’re ready to promote, it’s time to think about proper affiliate link marketing.
To get your personal affiliate links, log in to your affiliate account and generate these links for every product you are going to promote. You can place affiliate links on your website, blog, social media channels, forums, and anywhere you have an online presence to capitalize on.
Maximize Your Affiliate Marketing Performance With Phonexa
Whether you are an affiliate marketer, affiliate network, or advertiser, you need marketing insights to rely on. And you can get them, among many other things, for only $100 a month.
Meet Lynx, a tool that closes the loop between clicks, leads, and revenue. Part of Phonexa’s marketing automation software suite, Lynx empowers you with accurate lead attribution, journey control, targeting, and more.
Phonexa’s unique performance marketing automation software suite unites eight proprietary solutions to grow your marketing across the board at a laughable price!
Your Ultimate List of Affiliate Marketing Programs in 2023 and Beyond
Debt Relief Affiliate Programs
Whether you acquire a car, pay a mortgage, finance studies, or face medical bills, this may lead to debt accumulation, a problem 70% of Americans are familiar with. The most popular sources of debt are mortgages, followed by student loans, auto loans, and credit card loans.
Naturally, most debtors seek to pay off debts as quickly as possible, including via debt relief programs. In turn, debt relief companies run debt relief affiliate programs – also known as debt consolidation affiliate programs – to turn debtors into customers.
Among the most popular debt relief affiliate programs are:
- National Debt Relief Affiliate Program
- Guardian Debt Relief Affiliate Program
- CuraDebt Affiliate Program
Let’s review these three in detail.
National Debt Relief Affiliate Program
|Sector||Monthly Visits||Commission||Who Can Apply|
|Debt||1.4 million||$27.5 per qualified lead and 12% on the referred affiliates’ commission||Finance, credit, or debt-related websites|
The National Debt Relief Affiliate Program allows you to earn in two ways:
- By referring leads – $27.50 per free debt relief quote from the qualified lead from your traffic source (the referred leads must fill out the 6-field form to earn you a commission)
- By referring other affiliates – 12% override on commission on the referred affiliates
Referrals from Connecticut, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia are not accepted.
Guardian Debt Relief Affiliate Program
A less obvious choice in debt affiliate programs is the Guardian Debt Relief Affiliate Program, enabling a diverse commission structure:
- $32 per referral who has filled out the Free Debt Relief Quote Form
- $45 per lead qualified over the phone
- $325 per referral who joins the Guardian Debt Relief Program
- 15% commission on sales earned by referred affiliates
The qualifications are:
- Any lead must live in a qualified state: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Washington D.C., Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, New York, Texas, or Virginia
- Any lead must have at least $10,000 in unsecured debt
CuraDebt Affiliate Program
|Debt||18,600||Up to 30%|
CuraDebt Affiliate Program is run by a niche debt relief and settlement company, providing lucrative commissions of up to 30% from the purchase and a long 60-day cookie window.
The attribution process is standard: once users lend on the website, they get their IP tracked and a cookie placed in their browser for 60 days to track associated purchases. This means that even if the referred user makes a purchase within 60 days from the link click, you receive due commission.
Home Improvement Affiliate Programs
Valued at $830 billion, the home improvement industry has gained momentum during the notorious pandemic, with increasingly more customers focusing on renovations, DIY projects, and home improvements. The affiliate marketing programs have gained a following as well, advertising various building and home enhancement materials and services.
Among the popular home improvement affiliate marketing programs are:
- The Home Depot Affiliate Program
- The Houzz Pro Agency Partner Program
Let’s review these two in detail.
The Home Depot Affiliate Program
|Sector||Monthly Visits||Commission||Who Can Apply|
|Home Improvement||227.4 million||Up to 8%||Everyone, but the products are only shipped within the continental U.S.|
Home Depot Affiliate Program – divided into the Home Depot Affiliate Program and the Home Depot Installation Program – is run by one of the largest home improvement retailers in the United States, offering you up to 8% commission on home décor items and 1% or regular “buy online pick up in-store” products.
Likewise, you can get a $20 to $200 performance-based commission for generated leads. The cookie window is one day for the Home Depot Affiliate Program and 30 days for the Home Depot Installation Program. The minimum payout is $50.
The Houzz Pro Agency Partner Program
|Sector||Monthly Visits||Commission||Who Can Apply|
|Home Improvement||15.8 million||5% per sale||Everyone|
The Houz Pro Agency Partner Program is a B2B affiliate marketing program for marketing and accounting agencies that want to monetize their traffic through linking to educational and debt relief materials and products. The program offers a lifetime commission on referred customers, a 30-day cookie window, and proprietary tracking tools through a partner console.
|Sector||Monthly Visits||Commission||Who Can Apply|
|Accounting||15.6 million||Up to 10%||Everyone within the U.S.|
QuickBooks affiliate marketing program is run by a popular cloud-based accounting software company, offering up to 10% referral commissions from selling the software. The gist of the program is placing the QuickBooks logo on your website.
QuickBooks helps with adding logos, banners, and links to your website and provides a proprietary affiliate toolkit to track your sales. You are allowed to promote on multiple websites and track the progress of each of your campaigns individually (while being paid with one check).
The program is free, and everyone in the United States can apply, with priority given to relevant small service providers, accountants, and business associations. If you are not selected initially, you can re-apply
Finance Improvement Affiliate Programs
|Sector||Monthly Visits||Commission||Who Can Apply|
|Finance and Crypto||56.8 million||Up to 50%|| |
The Binance Affiliate Program needs no introduction to those who survived the 2017-2018 crypto rollercoaster. The world’s biggest crypto exchange invites you to earn incredible commissions – up to 50% on spot trades – and special rewards for spreading the word with your audience.
The program earns you the following commissions from referral trades:
- Spot commission – up to 50%
- Futures – 30%
- Binance Pool – 30%
Likewise, you can earn a 10% bonus commission on Futures besides the core commission. For example, if your referral generates $1,000 in trading fees over a month, you will earn $100 in addition to the core 30% commission.
|Debt and Tax||5.1 million||$8 per sale|
Experian Affiliate Program is run by a leading global credit reporting agency, allowing you to promote the company’s financial control products: Experian Credit Score, Experian Credit Report, and credit deal comparison.
To apply for the program, you must provide your website statistics and the most relevant articles for the target product. The good news is that the company promises to review applications within two business days and provide you with creatives and a tracking code if they accept you.
|Finance||2.6 million||1% from the sale|
Upstart Affiliate Program is run by a well-known financial company that partners with banks to issue personal loans with low fixed rates. The program is divided into three parts – Upstart Personal Loans, Upstart Auto Loans, and Upstart Business Loans – each catering to a different category of borrowers.
Other Affiliate Marketing Programs
|Marketing||2.6 billion||Up to 20%|
The world’s largest affiliate program unites over 900,000 affiliates, bloggers, content creators, and publishers promoting Amazon products and programs on their traffic channels. The main advantage of Amazon Associates is the countless choice of products and, as a result, room for almost every type of affiliate business and marketing strategy.
Amazon Associates provides the following promo tools:
- Site Stripe toolbar for the link and earnings display
- Customizable text and image links
- Graphical banners of various sizes and shapes, including seasonal promotions like, for example, Black Friday
For professional affiliates, you can integrate Amazon products directly into your website using Product Advertising API and get access to advanced product information like Wish Lists, Similar Products, Customer Reviews, and Used Listings.
Commission-wise, here’s the commission table. The highest 20% commission is paid for promoting the Amazon Games category, followed by 10% for Amazon Explore, Luxury Beauty, and Luxury Stores Beauty.
The participation requirements are standard: no plagiarized content, sexually explicit scenes, obscene materials, etc. There’s no minimum traffic barrier, so even small bloggers can partake.
With Amazon Associates, you can also promote through your app as long as it’s free to download and available in Amazon, Apple, or Google Play app stores. Or – if you are an established social media influencer – you can enroll in the Amazon Influencer Program under special conditions.
|Travel||206.7 million||At least 50%|
Known to every traveler and affiliate marketer across the globe, Tripadvisor runs one of the most lucrative affiliate marketing programs, allowing you to earn up to 50% from the platform’s commission received from their hotel booking partners.
Tripadvisor Affiliate Program works as follows:
- A user comes to Tripadvisor by your affiliate link.
- They click a hotel booking link that leads to one of Tripadvisor’s booking partners.
- You receive the agreed-upon commission.
Important: No booking is required to earn a commission – you just need referrals to click on one of the partner websites on Tripadvisor.
In promoting Tripadvisor’s products, you can use text links, banners, buttons, and widgets from the chosen network partner. Downsides? API is unavailable, and you can only earn commission on hotels (flights, restaurants, cruises, etc. are not supported).
Here’s an example of earnings with the Tripadvisor Affiliate Program:
To kick things off, choose a network partner, search for Tripadvisor there, and apply for the program. You might have to wait a while for the application to be processed. On the bright side, there’s no minimum traffic requirement – all you need is a relevant, unique, and valuable website.
Shopify Affiliate Program
|E-commerce||112.5 million||Up to $2,000 per purchase|
Shopify Affiliate Program allows content creators, influencers, educators, and entrepreneurs to teach and inspire their audiences about entrepreneurship with Spotify in exchange for a commission – a fixed bounty for all full merchant plans, from $58 to $2,000 – on each referral.
To apply for the Shopify Affiliate Program, you must create original content and have a sizable audience. Applications are reviewed within five business days.
As an affiliate with Shopify, you will get access to affiliate software for managing your affiliate links and a cookie window of 30 days. The payments are issued bi-weekly in USD, starting from the $10 minimum.
Verizon Affiliate Program
The American telecommunications giant runs one of the most comprehensive and complex affiliate marketing programs that encompasses four various types and even more subtypes:
- Agent: Business Agent, Subagent, Door-to-door, and Telesales
- Sell With: Mobility Co-Sell Partner and Bill on Behalf of
- Reseller: Wireless Connectivity Partner and Wireless Resellers
- Strategic Integration Partner
It’s extremely challenging to wrap your head around all possible partnership scenarios, but there’s a survey-type Partner Assessment Tool to help you. Selecting the answers from the pool of options may help you understand what partnership model might resonate with you.
Disney Affiliate Program
|Movie||6.6 million||8% per sale|
From clothing to accessories to unique designs to collectibles, the Disney Affiliate Program allows you to promote their products by linking shopDisney.com from your website or using banners. Once your referrals purchase from the shop, you receive an 8% commission.
Disney+ Affiliate Program
|Sector||Monthly Visits||Who Can Apply|
|Movie||295.7 million||150+ countries|
The Disney+ Affiliate Program is another affiliate marketing program from the entertainment giant, now connected to its online streaming service Disney+.
Disney+ is home to National Geographic, Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and many more nail-biters, giving you huge room for promotion.
To apply for the Disney+ Affiliate Program, fill out this form.
Coursera Affiliate Program
|Education||66.7 million||Up to 45%|
The Coursera Affiliate Program allows you to invite referrals and earn a 15% to 45% commission on eligible purchases: certificates, courses, specializations, and Coursera Plus subscriptions.
You can even earn a commission from a referral who is already a registered user at Coursera, as well as recurring commissions. However, when it comes to subscription commissions, you can only earn a commission from the user’s first month’s subscription.
The Coursera affiliate marketing program includes affiliate tracking links, banners, weekly newsletters, and access to the ever-updated selection of Coursera products. The cookie window is 30 days.
Netflix Affiliate Program
Netflix doesn’t run an affiliate marketing program, although they did during their early days.
Moz Affiliate Program
Moz stopped its affiliate marketing program in 2015 as one providing little value to its customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is affiliate marketing, and how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is a popular business model when an affiliate (publisher, content creator) promotes a third-party product in exchange for a commission from the sale or a bounty (fixed sum) per an agreed-upon target action: click, download, installation, or else.
At the core, affiliate business is about matching the supply (the willingness to promote products or services on the affiliate’s side) and demand (the need for advertising on the merchant’s side). Affiliates and advertisers can partner directly or – increasingly more often – through an affiliate network that acts as a middleman between the two.
Whether the business model involves an affiliate network or not, it’s always regulated by a specific affiliate marketing program that establishes the partnership framework between the parties.
What is an affiliate marketing program?
Affiliate marketing program is a partnership framework for advertisers and affiliates, which usually includes the affiliate agreement, marketing materials, affiliate tracking software, and guides and manuals. Your affiliate marketing program establishes your payment terms, structure, and type – Pay-per-sale, Pay-per-click, Pay-per-lead, or else – including what counts toward the payment (for example, some promotions methods may be forbidden), and how and the payment is issued.
Among the examples of successful affiliate marketing programs are Amazon Associates (900,000 affiliates), ShareASales (700,000 affiliates), Awin (225,000 affiliates), Rakuten (150,000 affiliates), and ClickBank (100,000 affiliates).
Can you really make money with affiliate marketing?
It’s relatively simple to make money with an affiliate program as long as you create valuable content, are knowledgeable about digital affiliate marketing, and are able to come up with a unique value proposition for the promoted product.
Read more about how to make money with affiliate marketing.
However, this doesn’t mean you’ll be rolling in money immediately. The annual affiliate marketing revenue distribution is as follows, according to Statista:
- Over $150k – 3.78% of affiliates
- $100k to $150k – 7.94%
- $50k to $100k – 5.15%
- $10k to $50k – 16.21%
- Below $10k – 7.55%
The numbers may not be extremely accurate – 9.37% of respondents refused to disclose their revenues – but it’s still clear you need business acumen to make money from affiliate marketing.
Is becoming an affiliate hard?
Becoming an affiliate marketer isn’t hard as long as you create valuable content and have an audience.
Here’s how to become an affiliate marketer:
- Make sure you have enough audience to promote third-party products and are aware of how affiliate marketing works.
- Find an affiliate program among the affiliate companies in the chosen niche; for example, you can start with affiliate programs for beginners.
- Peruse your affiliate agreement for nuances like payment terms before taking action.
That said, starting affiliate marketing is much easier than succeeding in it. If you don’t know where to start, here’s your all-encompassing guide on affiliate marketing in 2023 and beyond.