Top 6 Affiliate Marketing Sites and Programs for 2020

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Once you’ve decided to engage in affiliate marketing, the next step is browsing through affiliate marketing sites looking for that one network befitting you.

I agree this is a tough stage to be especially if you are a beginner in this industry. For this reason, I have compiled a list of best affiliate networks out there.

Read through all of them and pick one.

But before that, there are two things I’d love to point out:

One, affiliate marketing requires you to have a blog. And if you don’t have one already, I have an offer for you.

You see, with a blog, you are set for success with affiliate marketing. Unlike not having one.

Here’s an in-depth article I wrote about starting and growing a blog in 2020. If you already have a blog, well and good, let’s dive right in.

Second:

When looking for an affiliate marketing site, there are three important factors to look for;

  • One that allows you to participate in multiple affiliate programs through a single network. In simple terms, an affiliate site that gives you control on what to promote
  • A site that presents analytics in a user-friendly interface. The analytics should show the data you care about. On top of this, you need a reliable payment process, don’t you?
  • Should contain an affiliate offers database you can easily access and filter information to your taste

Now, based on the above criteria, here’s a list of best affiliate marketing networks for you to join in 2020.

1. ShareASale affiliate marketing site

ShareASale is an affiliate network founded over 20 years ago. 20 years is a ton of experience considering this is an ever-evolving industry.

ShareASale is among the top affiliate networks in the US and for a reason.

The site currently boasts over 4K merchant programs. That’s a huge database of affiliate offers for you.

This has attracted over 1.2M affiliates registered to this affiliate marketing site. These guys enjoy first-class technology known for its speed, accuracy, and efficiency.

This alone has earned the company a reputation as a fair and honest business within the affiliate marketing industry.

Is ShareAsale for me?

ShareASale provides training resources that include extensive affiliate marketing classes, webinars, and other marketing tools.

Taking that into consideration, the answer is:

Both affiliate marketing beginners, as well as experts, can use ShareASale.

Let me explain.

As a beginner, you will need someone to hold your hand and point out pit holes riddled throughout the journey. And that’s where the ShareASale training comes in handy.

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If you are an established affiliate marketer, your main aim is to scale your affiliate marketing business. ShareASale has a ton of marketing tools you can take advantage of.

Plus, their training can help you nail the basics and build a strong foundation for your business.

To recap:

Pros

  • Wide variety of affiliate programs to choose from
  • Offers training
  • Flexible payout options

2. Affiliate Window (AWIN)

AWIN, as it’s currently known, was called Affiliate Window back in the day. The changes came about when it acquired Zanox like 9 years ago.

This affiliate network has over 13K registered advertisers which have attracted over 100K affiliates like you.

Technically, AWIN was founded in Germany but the majority of its advertisers (merchants) hail from Europe. It has a US network that’s growing really fast.

On the simplicity front, AWIN has one of the simplest and user-friendly dashboards that come with a ton of vital tools to help you set up and grow your affiliate marketing business.

Talking of tools,

  • AWIN comes with a WordPress plugin that streamlines the affiliate link building process for blog owners.
  • A Google Chrome extension.

Products available on AWIN network.

Well, AWIN houses products from all verticals. Which means you won’t miss an affiliate offer to promote.

On close scrutiny though, you’ll realize that AWIN offers affiliate products mostly from;

  • Fashion, sports, beauty, home, and garden products.
  • Financial affiliate programs.
  • Travel products.

It is worth noting that these products are both physical and digital products from such brands as AliExpress, Etsy, and HP among other reputable companies.

Commission rate.

AWIN affiliate site has one of a sophisticated site.

Let me explain.

You see, normally when I want to know upfront the size of commissions offered by an affiliate marketing site, I just use commission tracking tools such as Affscanner or OfferVault.

I tried this with AWIN but I came up empty-handed.

It turns out, commission rate, as well as price information, are exclusively shown to those who’ve been accepted to the AWIN site.

This makes it hard to answer this question if you are not an approved AWIN affiliate.

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Who is the AWIN network for?

This affiliate marketing site is best suited for experienced marketers who know what they are doing and not looking for guidance.

There’s also a $5 registration fee which might scare marketers who are just starting out.

You will be refunded the $5 onto your account if your application is accepted. And you lose it if it is unsuccessful.

Pros.

  • You get real-time reports.
  • Advertisers are thoroughly vetted to filter out scammers.
  • You can cash your commissions twice per month ($20 account minimum).
  • Responsive customer service.

Cons.

  • That $5 registration fee is a turn-off and to make it worse.
  • If your application is unsuccessful, you lose the $5.

3. MaxBounty.

This a pretty new kid in town compared to ShareASale and AWIN. Founded back in 2004 in Canada, MaxBounty is one of the affiliate marketing sites you can say are built with marketers in mind.

Despite entering the affiliate marketing industry recently, MaxBounty has worked with some high-end brands in the world such as McAfee, T-Mobile, and Norton.

This can be attributed to the fact that the company is dedicated to doing what most of their competitors haven’t grasped yet.

If banner ads or the like annoy you, MaxBounty is your affiliate network. It exclusively operates a CPA (cost per action/acquisition) model. This means that MaxBounty doesn’t publish annoying ad banners.

As a publisher (affiliate), all you get is a custom link that you can place anywhere on your blog.

Products in MaxBounty Network.

MaxBounty has built its network around digital products from a business niche.

This has simplified the acquisition process. Allow me to explain.

Since this is exclusively the CPA model and you are promoting digital products, the user only has to either input their email address or signup for the newsletter. That’s it, and you earn your commission.

Besides the CPA campaign, MaxBounty also offers CPL and PPC (Pay per click) campaigns. Just go with an option that suits you well.

Products include;

  • Market research.
  • Real estate.
  • Social games.
  • Finance.
  • Diet.
  • Dating.

Commission rate.

The commission rate is determined by the type of campaign.

But the MaxBounty website shows rates ranging from $2.50 to $85 per CPA campaign. Other campaigns, though, pay you a percentage of the sale which is not bad if you are looking to cash huge affiliate commission cheques faster.

One more thing:

You earn 5% for every successful referral to MaxBounty network.

Who is it for?

Considering how MaxBounty operates, I can say it is best suited for mid to top-level affiliate marketers.

Here’s why.

As a beginner, you will need a site that earns you enough commissions to afford to keep going. MaxBounty isn’t one of them simply because of its CPA model.

Another thing, CPA needs marketers who are established and really comfortable with driving traffic. And this might be a problem with newcomers who do not yet understand how this works.

Therefore, if you are starting out, this might be your best affiliate marketing site.

Pros.

  • Responsive customer service.
  • A $1000 bonus if you earn $1000 or even more during your first three months.
  • Works with popular brands.
  • Simple and user-friendly dashboard.
  • You can cash your commissions weekly provided you have $50 minimum.

Cons.

  • There’s this norm of MaxBounty terminating accounts without enough explanation.
  • Several affiliates have reported discomfort.
  • The registration process can take ages.

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4. CJ Affiliate.

If you’ve been into affiliate marketing for some time now, you must have heard about CJ Affiliate. Formerly known as Commission Junction, CJ Affiliate is considered one of the biggest affiliate marketing sites.

This is for a reason.

Almost every notable retailer has their affiliate sites on this network.

The company boasts $15 billion in annual sales with over $1.8 billion as commissions to its publishers (affiliates).

If you are looking for an opportunity to work with the world’s top brands, registering as an affiliate with CJ is a great choice. Brands like Priceline, GoPro, Office Depot among others, partner with them.

Products on the CJ Affiliate network.

This affiliate company offers affiliate programs from almost every niche you can think of.

You will have a hard time sorting through all the offers.

Commission rate.

The average commission rate will depend on the specific products you choose.

Once you start earning, the minimum payout stands at $50 for direct deposit or $100 for checks.

Who is CJ affiliate for?

Looking at the size of the company, CJ is one of the biggest. This means they attract huge publishers like Buzz feed, CNN, Digg, among others.

Newcomers don’t stand a chance with such publishers.

Such stiff competition makes it hard for small publishers to be accepted to the network.

However, with its easy to use and free dashboard, awesome reporting tools, and timely monthly payments, CJ Affiliate is the best affiliate marketing site to join in 2020.

Pros.

  • Over three thousand merchants on the network.
  • Reliable payments every month.
  • Impressive reporting suite which is a plus for marketers keen on optimizing their sales.

Cons.

  • The stiff competition which makes it hard to be accepted to the network.
  • This also means that the application process is pretty scrutinous.

5. Rakuten Marketing (formerly LinkShare)

It’s a popular and one of the oldest affiliate marketing sites that houses a lot of merchants on its network.

Some of these notable merchants include:

  • Best Buy
  • Papa Johns
  • Walmart

You can also find small merchants in there but nothing compared to ShareASale or CJ Affiliate.

If you are looking for a huge network with a large number of merchants, you are better off elsewhere. But Rakuten is a perfect choice if you want access to huge brands and sophisticated tools.

For instance, there’s this feature making Rakuten Marketing stand out from the rest

The ad rotation.

This is a feature that allows you to rotate ads without the need for help from an external tool.

Do you see how this is huge?

Instead of manually choosing the ads to run on your blog, Rakuten lets you run multiple versions rotate with just a simple code tweak.

Quick notes on Rakuten Marketing.

  • Commission rates: depends on the products you will be promoting.
  • Minimum Payout: at least $50.
  • Products types/niches: with over 1K merchants, you can find products from all the niches.

Pros.

  • Rakuten is a billion-dollar company. Which means it is a trusted brand.
  • Nice tools like ad rotation.
  • Gives you access to big brands like Walmart and New Balance.

Cons.

  • Do not have as many merchants as other affiliate marketing sites.
  • Irregular payment schedules since they only pay you once they collect commissions from merchants.

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6. Amazon Associates.

If you’ve bought anything online, you must have heard of Amazon.com. It is an eCommerce company worth trillions of dollars offering both physical and digital products.

Due to its reputation, the company attracts thousands of merchants on its marketplace.

As an affiliate, this is pure gold. Amazon Associates is a program targeting affiliates.

And with this program, you can do the following:

  • Earn commissions from pretty much every product sold on Amazon.com.
  • You earn commission on everything else your referral purchases on the platform.

That last point is what makes Amazon Associates the most lucrative affiliate marketing program.

This is how this works:

If you are promoting an e-book as an affiliate, but that person ends up buying a $700 TV, you get a commission for that too.

In the past days, Amazon Associates would pay you commission based on the total amount of sales you brought in.

But recently (2017) they scrapped this and moved to a flat-rate commission structure. Here, the commission rate is calculated based on the category of products you promoted.

Well, this change received some criticism, especially from high-volume affiliate marketers. But it was good news to small site owners since they now had not to worry about hitting certain sales numbers to rake high commissions.

What you need to know about the Amazon affiliate program.

  • Product types: – Amazon houses both in-house products as well as those from third-party vendors. You make commissions from all of them.
  • Commission rate: – something between 1% to 10% depending on the product category on the commission structure
  • Payout: to withdraw your commissions, you need at least $10 in your affiliate account

Pros.

  • Wide variety of products to choose from.
  • Universal cookie – you get credit for everything a person purchases within the cookie duration (24 hours).
  • Reputable brand in the e-commerce industry.
  • Very low payout threshold of only $10.

Cons.

  • Their cookies have 24 hours duration.
  • Some of their products’ categories have really low commission rates, good example, video games with 1%.

Which affiliate marketing sites should you choose?

Having discussed some of the best affiliate marketing sites out there, you might be left wondering which of them to go for.

As it turns out, you don’t have to pick just one.

That’s right. You can sign up with all of them and only concentrate on those that interest you.

This way, you are not missing on the best advertisers and payouts. Good luck.

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