If you write a blog, you have an excellent opportunity to add a revenue stream to your business through affiliate marketing. While we're not going to try to convince you that you'll become a millionaire overnight, it's important to note that blogger Adam Enfroy brings in up to $30K a month — a month! — from affiliate marketing. And he's not alone. In fact, affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States alone, with estimates putting US affiliate marketing spend at $8.2 billion by 2022 (Business Insider). Of course, to earn a chunk of those billions, you'll want the best affiliate marketing tools by your side. That's why we've put together this list!
In this article, we'll be sharing our 15 favorite affiliate marketing tools right now. But before we jump into the list, let's get on the same page about what affiliate marketing is, how it works, and why you'll probably want to get started with affiliate marketing if you haven't already.
Best Affiliate Marketing Programs to Grow Your Affiliate Business:
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting products from another brand or company. That's it. You basically find a product or service you like, promote it to other people like you, and earn money on the sale. Of course, you can't just choose any product or service you love and expect to get paid. You first have to make sure that the company has an affiliate marketing program. To find out, you can go through an affiliate marketing platform or even head over to Google and search "product you love + affiliate program."
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
At its core, affiliate marketing is simple: you promote a product and get paid on sales you make. There are several ways an affiliate program can be structured, though. Most commonly, you'll find affiliate programs using one of these three models:
- Customer Acquisition: You get paid when your marketing results in a new customer for the company.
- Purchase-Based: You get paid when someone uses your affiliate link to make a purchase.
- Traffic-Based: You get paid based on how many people you refer, regardless of whether or not they make a purchase.
What Are the Benefits of Affiliate Marketing?
If you're not already using affiliate marketing as an additional stream of revenue, you might be wondering if it's worth it to get started. Here are a few benefits of affiliate marketing for influencers and marketers.
(Nearly) Passive Income
We say "nearly" passive income because you'll still need to create content and promote your affiliate products. However, you can make sales at any time and you don't have to actively participate in the transaction for it to happen. Many of the affiliate marketing tools on this list will help you automate your affiliate marketing so you can get a great ROI.
With affiliate marketing, you're just selling products that you like. You don't have to create, manufacture, store, or ship the products. This means no set hours and the freedom to choose the products you want to promote.
Affiliate marketing is an easy way to start your own business without making a monetary investment. As we mentioned, you have no physical products to worry about — you just invest the time it takes to create content and promote the products.
In addition to being cost-effective, affiliate marketing is low risk. Again, you have no physical products to build or store. You might need to invest in your own domain and a content management system, but those things are pretty cheap. And, if you're reading this, you probably already have those things in place.
No Customer Support
As an affiliate marketer, you just sell. No need to think about customer support for the products and services you sell. Of course, the products that you choose to promote to your followers should be high-quality and from reputable businesses with decent support. This matters because you'll quickly lose trust with your audience if you're pushing bad products from bad companies.
Types of Affiliate Marketing Programs
There are several types of affiliate marketing programs you can choose from. The affiliate marketing program you should choose will depend on your target audience’s behavior or on which digital channel they spend most of their time on. Do they prefer to look for deals or do they like to do research beforehand by reading blogs or social media posts?
Let’s take a look at some of the common types of affiliate marketing programs and how they can fit into your marketing campaigns.
📢 Review sites
Review sites are a popular choice for affiliates. It’s a good choice if you’re focusing on marketing products that are more expensive, niche, or require more research on the part of your buyers. You can get in touch with a particular review site that’s aligned with the product or service you’re offering and ask them if they are open to affiliate partnerships or if they can provide you with an affiliate link.
📢 Loyalty programs
Many large-scale companies offer loyalty rewards to their customers. Often, they also come with a large membership base, giving you the opportunity to market your products as an advertiser.
📢 Rewards or incentive programs
Incentive programs give you the opportunity to market your products or services to a significant number of potential leads. However, this same incentive may produce lower quality leads, which, in turn, can affect your sales.
📢 Coupon portals
Coupon portals are ideal if you’re marketing a new or niche product. Given that there’s no shortage of potential buyers who are looking for good deals, partnering with a coupon portal for your affiliate marketing program can be advantageous.
Yes, you’re giving a discount for your products, but this also gives you the opportunity to put your product in front of potential buyers. This also encourages customers who have availed of your products to return to your brand and make repeat purchases.
Do note that this type of affiliate marketing program has its drawbacks. Aside from driving down your profit margins, this may cause your regular customers to only buy your products whenever you offer a discount code.
📢 Content marketing portals
Content marketing portals, such as blogs, also make for profitable (for both your brand and your partners) affiliate partnerships. Blogs and websites are valuable channels for posting about the features of your and for reviewing them. Additionally, you can work with bloggers or influencers who are aligned with your brand and your ideal buyer persona. For example, you can partner with a social media influencer whose focus is on health and wellness. Ask them to feature or recommend your brand, which can prompt their followers your target audience) to check out your website or your products.
Working with brand ambassadors who have an established following on various online platforms would enable you to expand your reach. Plus, blogs or articles are more likely to organically rank in search engine results pages. This increases the likelihood of your product showing up when your target audience uses search engines like Google.
📢 Email marketing
Email marketing has been around for ages and has proven to be an effective tool. However, while it may be effective, it’s best to be mindful of how you’re going to go about it. This means working with affiliates who embody your target buyer persona or have a following made up of individuals who are likely to be interested in what you’re offering.
Refersion is an affiliate marketing network that claims to make influencer and affiliate marketing simple. It’s an all-in-one tool that’s designed to help you quickly launch your promotion network and create smarter brand partnerships for growth. It currently has 16,000 merchants onboard as well as 590,000 affiliates registered.
It’s a tool that works well for brands that already have an active affiliate marketing program or businesses that want to start one. It lets you track digital sales from your affiliates’ referral, automate your commissions, enjoy access to unlimited commission structures, and create better relationships with your affiliates through its personalized affiliate portal.
It’s easy to integrate with the e-commerce platform that you’re using, and it lets you monitor clicks and conversions in real time. Once integrated, you can start using Refersion to:
✔️ Sign up your affiliates
✔️ Manage conversions
✔️ Send payments
✔️ Run and schedule detailed reports
✔️ Encourage customers to become your affiliates
✔️ Promote your offers
Its main tools include:
🔔 Account settings
🔔 Payment settings
🔔 Dashboard views and reporting
Furthermore, with its analytics performance dashboard and recurring performance reports, you’d be able to track your brand and your affiliates’ performance.
Refersion is designed to help businesses of all sizes grow, thus it offers two plans:
- Professional at $89 per month for growing businesses that want to expand their existing network
Enterprise (price available upon request) for businesses with larger channels and referral networks.
Flippa is an online marketplace where you can buy or sell a website. If you want a shortcut that will help you circumvent the sometimes long and arduous process of building a website from scratch, this site can help you out. On Flippa, you'll bid against others for websites and there are tons of different sites to choose from. Just search the listings for your niche and bid on a site that already has a strong backlink profile that's great for SEO and bringing in traffic.
- Listing fees vary depending on the type of site you're listing
- Website purchase prices range from dirt cheap to millions of dollars
ShareASale is an affiliate network that connects bloggers to companies with affiliate marketing programs. The network has been around since 2000 and has built a solid reputation. As you can imagine from an affiliate network that's been around for so long, ShareASale has a large catalog of products. This makes it pretty much a given that you'll find products to suit you and your audience. ShareASale makes monthly payments ($50 minimum) with a wide variety of payment options.
- Free for affiliate marketers
- Merchants pay a one-time setup fee and ongoing transactions fees
4. CJ Affiliate
CJ Affiliate is another affiliate marketing network that's been around for more than 20 years. They offer more than 3,000 products from a wide range of merchants so you're sure to find a product (or several) that you love enough to promote to others. CJ Affiliate tends to work with established influencers and affiliates and isn’t as likely to accept newbies. CJ Affiliate offers real-time reporting so you always know how your affiliate marketing efforts are performing. All offers on CJ Affiliate are cost-per-action (you get paid only for conversions).
- Free for affiliate marketers
- Merchants need to contact them for pricing
5. Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates is Amazon’s very own affiliate marketing program and is considered as one of the largest programs in the world. It’s designed to help creators, such as content creators and bloggers, monetize their traffic. Amazon itself is an immense marketplace with millions of products generating a revenue of $295 billion in 2020 alone.
Given its enormous scale, affiliates can choose any product and use the Amazon Associates’ link-building tools to earn commissions.
Getting started with the Amazon Associates affiliate marketing program is relatively easy. All you need to do is sign up for the program and Amazon will review your application. Once you get accepted, you can start using its customized linking tools and earn money.
To qualify for the program, you need to be a blogger, publisher, or content creator who has a qualifying website or a mobile app and your platform must meet the Amazon Associates program participation requirements.
How much you earn from qualifying purchases will vary depending on the product category. For example, the Amazon games product category has a fixed commission income rate of 20%, while home improvement and pet products have a rate of 3%. You can also stand to earn a special commission income from bounty events and bonus events. To check the complete table of rates, click here.
For influencers with an established following on their social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube), Amazon also has an Amazon Influencer Program that you can sign up for. With this, you can build or curate your storefront, select Amazon products or services that are aligned with your brand, recommend them to your audience, and earn commissions on qualifying purchases.
- Free for website owners and content creators
AnyTrack is one of our favorite affiliate marketing tools for tracking and syncing conversions from your affiliate networks using Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics. Understanding your conversion data is vital if you want to keep your affiliate marketing campaigns optimized for growth. AnyTrack uses just a single line of code to automate data collection and automatically track affiliate links and form submissions. The tool offers one-click integration with Facebook Ads and Google Ads as well as native integrations with more than 50 affiliate networks and software.
- Free plan for up to 5,000 sessions
- Basic: $50/month
- Personal: $150/month
- Advanced: $300/month
SEMrush is an all-in-one SEO tool, one of the best SEO tools around. It gives you everything you need to find link-building opportunities, improve your technical SEO, and create high-quality content. For affiliate marketers, this means being better equipped to create content that brings in organic traffic and convinces your readers to convert. SEMrush includes deep link analysis, helps you understand the behavior of potential customers, and makes it easy to find the best keywords for your PPC and SEO campaigns.
- Limited free plan
- Pro: $119.95/month or $1,199.40/year
- Guru: $229.95/month or $2,299.44/year
- Business: $449.95/month or $4,499.40/year
impact.com leverages partnership automation for growth. It’s a robust platform that lets you easily manage all your partnerships and provides migration assistance. It also enables brands to expand their existing programs and scale their partnerships with affiliates, influencers, business partners, and more.
This platform lets you discover and recruit partners with its automated nurture campaigns. It also enables you to engage and train your new partners and help them become more productive.
One unique aspect of impact.com is it lets you optimize partner management based on your partners’ contributions. With it, you can tweak your partner strategy in a way that can help your most productive partners get more motivated.
For brands, this personal relationship management software lets you manage a variety of partnerships, including:
✔️ Influencer and affiliate marketing partnerships
✔️ Mobile partnerships
✔️ Business development partnerships
Another unique feature of impact.com is its fraud protection feature, which allows you to protect and strengthen your partnerships by exposing affiliate or influencer fraud and fake installs, identifying dubious payments, and detecting traffic abnormalities. This lets you eliminate invalid traffic, so you can retarget your efforts and your budget on legitimate and high-quality partnerships.
For publishers, impact.com helps you connect with some of the world’s biggest brands. It gives affiliates, mobile apps, content publishers, and influencers and creators more ways to promote (and earn) by letting you earn through channels such as retail sales, travel bookings, lead generation, installs, and downloads.
Other helpful features that allow publishers to scale faster include:
✔️ Automated contracting
✔️ Exclusive promo codes
✔️ Product catalogs
✔️ Direct linking
- If you hand a brand, you need to contact them for pricing.
- If you’re a creators or publisher, signing up is free.
Ahrefs is another of the best SEO tools, particularly for technical SEO and backlink analysis. This tool gives you in-depth insights about your backlinks, competitor backlinks, and sites that are linking to broken links on your site. You can also use Ahrefs to find the content that's performing best for your competitors so you can create even better content. Ahrefs provides tools for backlink audits, keyword research, URL rankings, competitive analytics, and more.
- Lite: $99/month or $990/year
- Standard: $179/month or $1,790/year
- Advanced: $399/month or $3,990/year
- Agency: $999/month or $9,990/year
10. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free SEO tool from Google. It gives you access to a broad range of data that you can use to improve SEO, as well as track and analyze data about your visitors and site. It's an incredibly robust tool, allowing users to add secondary dimensions to reports, advanced filters to segment results, and even create a quick pivot table without having to export your data to spreadsheet software. For affiliate marketers, Google Analytics can help you figure out where users are dropping out of your funnel so you can tweak your strategy and tactics to keep them engaged long enough to convert.
Affise is a performance marketing platform you can use to manage, track, analyze, and optimize online advertising campaigns in real-time. It offers configurable dashboards, smart targeting, multi-currency support, AI smart links, fraud protection, and a whole lot more. Affise lets users automate ad campaigns using data so you can get the results you want.
- Scale: $499/month
- Custom: By quote
12. Pretty Links
Pretty Links is an affiliate marketing plugin for WordPress that makes those long (and ugly) affiliate links much easier to use. This affiliate marketing tool also makes it a lot easier to brand and advertise links, manage server-side redirects, and monitor the activity on your affiliate links. Pretty Links has some pretty cool automation features, too. You can automatically tweet customized messages when a post is published, add relevant links to your blog posts automatically, specify the number of keywords or key phrases you want, and more. Pretty Links will also analyze the content on your site and replace those keywords with affiliate links.
- Beginner: $79/year
- Marketer: $99/year
- Super Affiliate: $149/year
Awin is an affiliate marketing platform with a massive network of global brands and partners. It has 16,500 advertisers and more than 225,000 active publishers, generating 182 million sales in 2020.
It’s a platform that works for both brands and publishers. It connects brands with their active affiliate partners, helping the former to grow their reach. It also helps publishers build profitable relationships for brands, enabling them to monetize their traffic.
For advertisers, Awin gives you access to high-quality publishers and 15 global markets each managed by local experts and specialist account teams. Its diverse network of affiliate partners include finance and insurance partners, retail and shopping partners, telco and services partners, and travel partners.
Awin can help you connect with the right advertisers for your brand. You’d also get to enjoy more consistent payments and access to an expert support team. Furthermore, you’d be able to use Awin’s intuitive and easy-to-use platform, allowing you to easily manage your affiliate campaigns.
It’s worth noting that despite the multitude of products and services offered on Awin, you may need to sign up for such offers individually.
- To become an advertiser, you need to get in touch with Awin.
- To join as a publisher, you need to pay a $5 deposit, which will be refunded to your publisher account when you get your first sale or reach your first payment threshold.
ClickBank is a global affiliate marketing program that’s been around for over 20 years. It works with brands and partners in more than 200 countries and has paid over $4 billion in commissions. It’s an ideal platform for newcomers to the affiliate marketing game and offers a variety of brands you can partner with.
ClickBank offers higher commission rates (as high as 90%) and over 4,000 marketplace products for you to choose from. It also has Spark, an education platform that helps both novices and experienced vendors to gain the knowledge and skills needed to grow their online business.
As a ClickBank affiliate, you get paid on time and get credit for every sale with its HOPLINK tracking system. You’d also have the opportunity to select products that are bundled with upsell offers. Furthermore, you can receive the chance to receive recurring commissions, as ClickBank also features products that have subscription options. This means that you’ll be able to continuously earn even after the original sale has been completed.
- Signing up for ClickBank as a brand costs $49.95, a one-time fee for product approval, and 7.5% plus $1 per sale for its sales and stocking fee.
- Joining ClickBank is free for affiliates.
15. Easy Affiliate (formerly Affiliate Royale)
Easy Affiliate is one for the folks with a membership site, eCommerce store, or product of their own they want to bring more attention to with affiliate marketing. It's an all-in-one affiliate program plugin for WordPress that helps you create a self-hosted affiliate program for your WordPress membership site or eCommerce store within minutes. Creating your own affiliate program can help you bring in completely passive income — and you can set your program up to only pay when an affiliate makes a sale. The platform comes packed with features that make managing your affiliate program super easy, including an affiliate dashboard, eCommerce integrations, real-time reporting, fraud detection, email marketing, one-click integrations, and a whole lot more.
- Basic: $99.50/year
- Plus: $149.50/year
- Pro: $199.50/year
An interesting offer for crypto enthusiasts—Paxful has a Bitcoin affiliate program that lets you earn money every time you refer someone to the platform. You can earn a 50% escrow fee when you invite people to buy Bitcoin using the platform. You’ll also earn a 10% escrow fee when the people you referred invite their friends to buy Bitcoin on Paxful.
But what is Paxful? It’s a global cryptocurrency trading platform where you can buy and sell digital currencies. It offers over 350 payment methods and is being used by 6 million people worldwide.
With Paxful’s Bitcoin affiliate program, you have the opportunity to grow your network and earn while doing so. Once you’ve earned at least $10 worth of Bitcoin, it will then be transferred to your Paxful wallet. When your wallet reaches $300, you can withdraw your money anytime.
The program is pretty straightforward: you invite your friends by sharing your affiliate code or link, encourage them to trade on Paxful, and you get paid for every time your referrals buy Bitcoin.
Moreover, Paxful lets you sell your Bitcoin on its platform, allowing you to earn more money in the process.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Tools Are the Ones You'll Use
Affiliate marketing can be an effective and lucrative way to monetize your blog or other marketing efforts and bring in another revenue stream. While affiliate marketing isn't difficult, there can be a long ramp-up before you start seeing your efforts pay off. We recommend checking out the affiliate marketing tools on our list and choosing two or three to get started (one of those should be an analytics tool). From there, you can add more affiliate marketing tools as needed.
Also, be sure to take advantage of the free trials offered by any of the affiliate marketing tools you're interested in. If you find yourself not enjoying the interface or the tool is too difficult to use, move on. Ultimately, the best affiliate marketing tools for you are the ones you're going to actually use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting products from another brand or company.
How do I get started with affiliate marketing?
Join an affiliate marketing network or head to your favorite search engine and search "product you want to promote + affiliate program."
What are affiliate marketing tools?
Affiliate marketing tools help influencers and marketers manage their affiliate marketing. These tools are helpful with tracking affiliate link performance, tracking your earnings, and learning more about what does and doesn't work with your audience.
What are the tools you need to start affiliate marketing online?
There are hundreds of affiliate marketing tools to choose from. Our favorite tools right now are: