How Much Do the Average Affiliate Marketer Make

How To Make Money In Affiliate Marketing Business

Affiliate marketing can be an incredible business. It's an important part of the digital marketing ecosystem. In the US alone, the affiliate market is expected to reach $ 8.2 billion in 2022.

That's a lot of money to get around.

Getting started in affiliate marketing is easy - all you need to get started is basically just a blog.

However, there is a huge difference between getting involved and actually making money in the affiliate business. It's a very competitive industry, after all.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Think of affiliate marketing in a similar light to being an independent seller for a brand. Your job is to win people over to a product in order to sell it. However, you do not make the product.

You are also not responsible for stocking, delivering, or even making the actual sale. Before we get into that, let's take a look at the entire ecosystem.

There are three key roles in affiliate marketing:

1st partner

This is the role that you want to play as an affiliate marketer. Your job is to convince people that a product is worth buying. As soon as someone swallows your parking space and buys the product, you will receive a commission from the dealer. You need to provide potential customers with useful information that they can use to rate products for purchase.

2. Dealer

These are the people who have a product that people are supposed to buy. However, they are interested in developing the best possible product and supporting their customers. In order to attract more customers, they are looking for partners who will offer the products on their behalf.

3. Customers

Outside of affiliates and distributors, the rest of the internet population are potential customers. As customers, you have needs or interests. When trying to find products that meet these requirements, they want more information than sales brochures usually provide.

While the roles of dealer and customer are pretty simple, your work as an affiliate is a little more difficult. Part of this is due to the fact that there are many affiliate marketers out there.

Your success depends heavily on how well you can capture (and convince) an audience.

This is exactly how the magic happens. There are several different methods that affiliate marketers can use. For example, you could opt for a simple blog that has affiliate links embedded in it. Or create an e-book, stream a live pitch, or create podcasts and videos.

In addition to the form or medium of your communication, you also need to decide what tone you want to give your audience.

Are you going to shower them with unicorns and sunshine over the product? Are you going to give them ideas and gently move them to what you are selling? Some or all of these methods are possible, but there are some models that I've seen work pretty well.

Different Approaches to the Affiliate Marketing Business

1. Influencer model

Influences are people who can grab the attention of a wide audience. They form large groups of loyal followers and can move them to specific opinions or even products (hence the term "influencer").

Who are influencers?

  • Bloggers
  • YouTuber
  • Podcasters
  • Social media user

Building on their popularity, influencers will try products and introduce them to their audiences in a variety of ways. Some may offer unbiased opinions, while others directly promote, showcase, or use other means to raise audience awareness.

In these situations, they provide affiliate links that their followers can use to purchase the products. With every purchase, the influencer receives a commission from the brand that sells them.

Influencers come in a wide variety of flavors, and you may be shocked by the possibilities. Let's look at some examples.

Notable influencing factors

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg alias PewDiePie

Platform of choice: YouTube

PewDiePie has been around for so long that it most likely doesn't need an introduction. With over a decade on YouTube, he's built a following that could conquer most countries if the numbers count.

Ignoring the nature of its content, PewDiePie is the model influencer who uses not only its subscriber base but also the media and hype to get to the top. Because of this, everything he touches turns to gold and he brings home not just the bacon but the entire pig.

Pat Flynn

Platform of choice: blog

As the average Joe who is just like many of us during difficult times, Pat Flynn is the perfect icon to appeal to an audience. He did this to great effect in his blog “Smart Passive Income”.

He shares his thoughts and experiences in affiliate marketing to help others, as the name of the blog suggests, generate some income. Pat also uses podcasts and holds workshops to share his knowledge.

Advantages of the influencer model

The nice thing about influencers is that they don't necessarily have to do anything special. People love (or hate) and follow them naturally and in great numbers. You could say, “You do it, boss.

Because of their large following, influencers are very much loved by advertisers. They are often versatile and can meet the needs of multiple brand profiles. Best of all, they are so much in focus that whatever they suggest or promote immediately falls into the spotlight.

Challenges influencers face

Despite their massive popularity, influencers are often threatened with the risk of a quick fall. Your worst nightmare is to wake up one day and find that they are a thing of the past and no longer trending. After all, the audience is moody.

In addition, due to the massive follow-up and review, small incidents can quickly become larger incidents. Promoting a "bad" product can lead to massive and immediate setbacks from an angry audience.

2. Niche-oriented model

Affiliate marketers with a more surgical strategy will try to build a small but focused following in a particular niche. As with influencers, the platform of choice can vary. Usually, however, your selection of content will not.

Niche Affiliate Marketers:

  • Bloggers
  • Website owner
  • Experts in the niche market
  • Tech freaks

This is the most common business model for affiliate marketing. You're creating a website, blog, or even YouTube channel around a niche. Your goal is to attract the attention of a very specific group of people.

While at a glance the numbers may seem low compared to the influencer model, those who are most interested in your niche are likely to buy the things you recommend too. Niche marketers aren't necessarily segregated from influencers, however, especially in more popular niches like food.

Also read -

Notable niche marketers

Mark Weins of Migrationology

Platform of choice: YouTube / niche: food and travel

Mark Weins (Migration Research) is one of my favorites as I love all kinds of food, especially spicy foods. He is an American born man who moved to Thailand and just immersed himself in the food culture there.

In his early days, Mark wandered the streets showing real-life examples of the local street food. As his fame grew, it mainly focused on Thailand, but also included other areas in its scope, such as the US and even Africa.

Ryan Kaji from Ryan's World

Platform of choice: YouTube / niche: toys

The first thing you need to know about Ryan Kaji (Ryan's world) is that he is a kid. This eight year old boy has a subscribed audience of over 26 million from around the world. To put that in perspective, the entire population of Australia is lower than Ryan's subscriber base.

On his YouTube channel, Ryan has a lot of fun alone or sometimes with friends. His job: to share with the world all the great opportunities to have fun. Along the way, he takes a look at toys, food, and other things that children love.

While having so much fun, Ryan made an estimated $ 25 million in 2019, as of 25. This is one kid who will likely wallow in toys for the rest of his life.

David Janssen from VPN overview

Platform of choice: website / niche: online privacy and security

David runs an affiliate site - VPN Overview, which focuses heavily on Internet privacy applications - primarily virtual private networks. It not only provides knowledge about how, but why users have to defend their digital rights.

This is a niche that literally creates value, especially given how intrusive even legitimate businesses are becoming today. Of course, there are lots of fun things you can do with the same apps too.

Benefits of niche marketing

This segment of affiliate marketing is perhaps the easiest to get to. All you need is a suitable platform and to create content. Most of all, it is important to be aware of the niche you are in and create appropriate content for it.

The cost of entry can be immensely low, and if you're committed enough, content can build steadily. All you need is passion, a computer with internet access, web hosting, and some research skills.

Challenges niche marketers face

Because of the low cost of entry, there are plenty of niche marketers out there and everyone tries to masquerade as an expert. Within this group there are top niche marketers who have already captured a good chunk of their market share, and the scratching away can be like trying to climb Mount Everest.

Niche marketers also rely heavily on search engine and social media algorithms to drive traffic. This can be very moody and what works today could just go away overnight and be gone for good by tomorrow.

3. Digital megamall concept

In the last few years the world has become even more digital. A combination of factors has resulted in a massive explosion in digital retail. Part of this is due to increasing internet penetration as well as borderless commerce.

Getting a piece of this cake is a bit more difficult, though. Because of the leeway required to succeed in the digital megamall space, those who seek access are usually the 800 pound gorillas who have the skills and money to support their endeavors.

Who enters this room:

  • Startups
  • Established, well-financed partners
  • Media company

As the value of the digital marketing space increases, more and more players are entering this particular category. Part of that has been building on successful affiliate marketing careers, but other interests like venture capitalists have seen the potential as well.

Notable Digital Megamall Concept Player


Tripadvisor has become such a household name that not many realize that it is actually an affiliate site. The company is becoming the goliath of online travel, having its fingers in almost every area of ​​business and making money with hotels, airlines, other travel companies and much more.

They account for roughly 10% of total global travel spending - that's an astonishing final estimate of $ 546 billion. Most of the money they make comes from click-based advertising, so their content can be as independent and user-centric as they want.

wire cutter

Cable cutter is a prime example of two things. The first is the transition from a niche partner to the megamall concept. The second is for investable funds to take control of a successful company and move it towards the megamall concept.

It's a two-in-one demonstration of how much value and money there is in this scale of affiliate marketing. WireCutter, when independent, focused on the technology and engineering equipment market that was maintained with the NY Times acquisition.

Success in affiliate marketing is not just about individual campaigns

With all the talk of success, it can be easy to be charmed by the lure of affiliate marketing. If this is really what you want, you need to know that, despite the potential, success is not built overnight. This is especially true when it comes to making money in the affiliate marketing business.

It is not something that you can invest X hours in and then make money for the rest of your life. Affiliate marketing is more than a full time job. To be truly successful, you must be ready to put in many hours of hard work.

That being said, there are a few more things to consider before you begin:

Make the right decisions

Industry consistency - While doing something that you are really passionate about is important, remember that not every industry has the same potential. Ideally, step into an industry with an established ecosystem of notable brands and demand - plus keeps growing.

Affiliate program - By affiliate, I mean brands and this is an area that affiliate marketers need to approach with a little caution. Brands aren't always your friends and sometimes try to cheat you of your fair share of income. Pick the right partners and work closely with those you choose.

Content approach - Decide in front on which platform you live or die. Do not try to establish yourself on all or even several at the beginning. That's a specific recipe for heartbreak. Not all platforms are suitable for different approaches.

Marketing angle - Decide how you want to market your content. Are you going to go to gold school and rely on yours? SEO Skills To Draw Search Engine Traffic? Or are you ready to invest money and put money into PPC and social media promos? I would recommend that you consider a holistic approach.

Offer your users added value

No matter what platforms, models or decisions you make, always remember that you need followers, viewers or readers. They are your main source of income and the only way to attract and hold them is to provide them with real value.

This does not mean that you give them constant freebies or anything, but rather that you deliver something to them. If you are an entertainer - make them entertained. If you want to see food culture - explore and show it off. As they run a business, show them how to simplify solutions or solve problems.

Take the case of TripAdvisor, for example. A big part of the reason for their success is that they offer so much useful information like guides and tips from those who really experienced the places. The value is unimaginable.

Places to join affiliate programs

When you're ready to start making money, there are two main types of places to look. The first and most direct are the brands that run their own affiliate programs. For example, many software publishers will have affiliate programs such as ManageNinja or Microsoft Advertising.

For those looking to work with a bigger branded stable, it might be a better idea to look for affiliate networks. This includes many big names like CJ Partner, Shareasale, and many more.

Affiliate Marketing FAQs

Is Affiliate Marketing the Same as Network Marketing?


When you participate in a network marketing program, you are basically participating in a franchise operation. As a network marketer, you typically pay upfront costs to market products / services through direct sales.

Affiliate marketing differs from network marketing in the following ways: The company you sign up with rewards you for every customer you bring in as a result of your marketing efforts. You get paid every time you drive a customer or run to the company you're affiliated with - instead of waiting to be paid every time you sell a product.

Who started the first online affiliate program?

According to Small Biz Trends, the first online affiliate marketing program was run by a company called PC Flowers & Gifts in the mid-1990s. William J. Tobin founded the Prodigy Network to launch a revenue share program. Tobin convinced thousands of partners to promote his company's products and a new method of online marketing was born.

Who are partners?

In affiliate marketing, affiliates are the people who market products for a company. A partner (often referred to as a publisher) can be a person or an entire company. As an affiliate of a particular company, you would market the company's products / services to make sales for the company. You would most likely be promoting the products on your own website or blog.

Where can I register for an affiliate program?

Affiliate opportunities are everywhere. One example is the Amazon affiliate program. Whether you sign up as an individual or as a business, you would register, advertise through your website and / or business, and make money when others respond to your marketing efforts.

You can become an affiliate marketer in two ways.
You can sign up with an existing company's affiliate program (e.g. Amazon's internal program and smaller retailers). This would mean that you would be promoting the products advertised by Amazon. Every time you promote the business and send leads this way, you get paid.

The other option is to join an affiliate network (like Commission Junctions and ShareASale) and connect with merchants who are already on the network. We'll talk more about this in FAQ # 6 and # 7.

What are some of the most popular affiliate networks?

Coversant's CJ partner - offers a variety of service levels and packages
Shareasale - strong reputation for being honest and fair and known for fast technology
Impact Radius - easy-to-use software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform
Amazon Associates - over a million products available
Clickbank - more than six million products with a focus on digital information products
Rakuten - one of the world's leading e-commerce companies

How are partners paid?

As an affiliate, you can get paid in a number of different ways. This is determined by the company you are affiliated with.

These are the basic options:
Cost Per Sale (CPS) - Receive a flat fee per sale or a percentage of the cart value.
Cost per Lead (CPL) - You are paid for every validated, completed lead.
Cost-per-click (CPC) - You get paid to drive traffic through ad clicks.
Cost-per-Action (CPA) - You get paid when people carry out promotions you advertise (such as offer forms or surveys).

What is an affiliate cookie?

An affiliate cookie is the same as an ordinary cookie (it tracks data). Instead of tracking login information like a normal cookie, your partner account information is tracked. So you will receive credit if someone on the website you are tracking makes a purchase based on your promotional recommendation.

How long does an affiliate cookie usually last?

The cookie duration depends on the merchant. Some affiliate programs allow cookies to store and transmit information for up to 90 days, while others only track the data for 24 hours (which is terrible from the affiliate's point of view).

Do I need a website to start as an affiliate?

However, You Don't Have to Affiliate a Website Having a website usually improves your chance of making more money. For example, you can post your affiliate links on social media websites that make this possible.

One way to market as a partner without a website is YouTube. However, you will likely find it a lot easier than advertising to publishers if you have a website. At the very least, you should have a blog that you can partner to market on.

Remember, the more places you promote, the more feedback you get - it's a numbers game. Also, remember to post links to all of your social media pages, blogs, and other websites across the board. For example, if you are advertising on a YouTube channel, make sure you post links to your websites, channels, and social media pages there.

What is a product data feed?

A product data feed is a list of products and their attributes organized and displayed so that buyers can use the information provided to make purchasing decisions. This type of optimized information makes it easier for a partner to market products to website users. A product data feed can be converted into descriptions, image links, and clickable links that enable visitors to make informed purchasing decisions.

What does EPC mean?

EPC stands for earnings per click. This is an important metric for affiliates. It usually states how much a partner can expect to earn after every 100 clicks of a link.

What does EPM mean?

EPM refers to earnings per 1,000 impressions provided by a publisher or website.

Are there any costs to register for the affiliate program?

No. When you join a program as an affiliate, you usually don't have to pay a fee.

About Jerry Low

Founder of (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and useful by 100,000 users. More than 15 years of experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing and SEO. Contributor to,,, and others.