If you’re either in the business of e-commerce or lead generation and you’re not taking advantage of affiliate marketing, you’re missing out on one of the best online advertising strategies available to you.
For something so inexpensive and easy to implement, the top affiliate programs deliver high traffic, solid conversion rates, and increased revenue in a short amount of time. But choosing the best affiliate programs isn’t so straightforward – not every program offers the same customer reach and publisher quality. While an affiliate manager can help you scale your network of affiliates, it is important to choose the program that is the best fit for your online business.
Here is a list of my top ten affiliate programs of 2018. As you read, keep in mind that any affiliate program can be made more effective and produce higher sales with the right affiliate management team. It is definitely an important way of rounding out your digital funnel. Here are the picks:
- CJ Affiliate (Commission Junction)
At number one on our list of top affiliate programs is CJ Affiliate (formerly known as Commission Junction). CJ Affiliate easily has the greatest reach of any affiliate program, with millions of customers buying products through their network every day. With 20 years of experience in the affiliate business, it’s become the most trusted and reliable option for merchants of all types from all over the world.
Pros: Large advertising network, user-friendly, transparent data reporting, long list of features, experience
Cons: Can be difficult to get accepted at times
Another veteran in the affiliate business, ShareASale has specialized exclusively in affiliate marketing for the last 18 years. Well respected for their transparent business practices and consistently positive results, ShareASale currently has more than 700,000 affiliates in its network.
Pros: Low start-up costs, large network, industry experience, offers are easy to compare
Cons: Slightly outdated user interface
- Amazon Associates
It’s no surprise that one of the most well-known affiliate programs also happens to be one of the best affiliate programs out there. With more than 300 million users, Amazon has the greatest reach of any program, but that reach doesn’t do anything to help service-based or specialty merchants who aren’t selling on Amazon. However, if your products are available through the massive e-commerce company, Amazon Associates is a must-have partner.
Pros: Great for beginners, easy to start, more than 300 million customers use Amazon
Cons: Useless for businesses that aren’t selling on Amazon, low commission rates for publishers
Another big name in affiliate marketing, ClickBank reaches more than 200 million customers all over the globe. With over 100,000 active affiliates, partnering with ClickBank is an easy way to get more affiliates for your brand and increase your exposure.
Pros: Large network of active publishers, easy way to increase the number of affiliates promoting your product, easy to set up
Cons: No instant commission payment option, affiliate tracking is less than perfect
Avangate is the only company of our list of top affiliate programs that specializes exclusively in software and digital goods. Unique services include online subscription billing management, webinar promotion, and SaaS (Software as a Service) specific solutions.
Pros: Niche market, services available in 180 countries, easy to use
Cons: Small compared to other affiliate programs
European performance marketing company TradeDoubler has been generating revenue for merchants and affiliates for more than 18 years. The company makes our list of best affiliate sites because of its superior ability to innovate for mobile campaigns.
Pros: Technologically savvy, large network of active publishers, high-quality mobile affiliate campaigns
Cons: Difficult to reapply if your application is rejected
Like Amazon, eBay is one of the best affiliate programs because it’s a well-known name with a large reach. It’s similar to Amazon in quality and ease of use, but ranks lower because it’s so much smaller by comparison – eBay has roughly half (150 million) or Amazon’s 300 million customer reach.
Pros: High-quality tracking tools, exclusive product niches
Cons: Smaller reach than Amazon, below-average customer service
- Flex Offers
There’s nothing too flashy or exciting about Flex Offers, but its reliable no-nonsense approach to digital media strategy earns it a spot on our list of top affiliate programs. With more than 12,000 advertisers for merchants to choose from, Flex Offers has a solid network of quality partnerships.
Pros: Growing advertiser portfolio, strong client support network
Cons: Clunky user-interface, low commissions for publishers
At number nine in our list of top affiliate programs is JVZoo, a newer addition to the affiliate market that’s growing fast. Recognized as one of America’s top 500 fastest growing companies two years in a row (2016 and 2017), JVZoo has the potential to become a much larger and more profitable network in the near future.
Pros: No start up fees, flexible commission payment options, easy to integrate
Cons: Affiliate compliance is not as carefully monitored as it is for other programs
Last on our list of best affiliate programs is DigiResults, an up and coming performance marketing company. While DigiResults has a smaller advertising network compared to the other programs on this list, it makes up for its size with the quality of its client support.
Pros: Flexible commission pricing, free instant sign-up, good client support
Cons: Small network with few premium websites
Maximize Sales by Choosing the Right Affiliate Management Agency
As we wrap up our list of the best affiliate programs of 2018, you should have a better idea of what programs you can use to promote your e-commerce brand. Affiliate marketing is not an advertising strategy that’s going away anytime soon, so the best time to start incorporating it into your media strategy is now. There are no sure things, your product must deliver and you must have a strong sales and marketing funnel. As long as that is the case, don’t miss out on this performance driven model to help scale your busienss.