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Millions of individuals participate in the games of love, sex, and relationships daily. To navigate these experiences, people use dating websites, apps, services, coaches, and experts. Bloggers, YouTubers, and columnists provide advice while entertainment executives shape the narrative with television shows like The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Love Island.
Swipe right or swipe left, that is the question (actually, it’s one of many questions because how little information many user profiles have). Tinder is one of many ways to meet people. It’s a social search mobile app that is typically used for dating. It allows users to like or dislike others and chat if both parties show interest. It flourished with the penetration of smartphones and the growth of mobile apps. While Tinder might be synonymous with dating apps, it isn’t the only one. Search Apple and Google app stores, and you’ll find hundreds more, for example, Badoo, Bumble, and Happn. Furthermore, Facebook has entered the arena with Facebook Dating.
Before dating apps, online dating sites were the go-to option for thousands of relationship possibilities. In the early 2000s, sites like Plenty of Fish (POF), OkCupid, and Match led the way (Match owns POF, OkCupid, Tinder, and many other well-known dating brands). IAC’s Match, alongside eHarmony and Spark Networks, rounds out the top three dating website companies. Nonetheless, apps and websites are only one facet of the multi-billion-dollar dating and companion industry. As one report states, “The dating industry consists of much more than just dating websites, although these get the bulk of the media attention and account for 70% of the industry’s revenues. America’s 124 million singles are using mobile apps more often, but traditional services like matchmakers and dating coaches are also doing well.”
How to Make Money
Given the size and appeal of the dating industry, many bloggers and YouTubers wonder how they can profit. Many publishers generate revenue from ads and affiliate marketing. For example, online advertisements managed by Google appear on blogs and YouTube videos. Google splits ad revenue with publishers and issues payments through AdSense.
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing activity. An affiliate promotes a product/service online and receives compensation for achieving a specific objective or action. A merchant or advertiser specifies the goal, which is usually a valid sale or lead. For example, a merchant will pay the affiliate a 30 percent sales commission or $3 per new account created.
Creators who focus on dating and relationship content might also cover related categories such as lifestyle, fashion and accessories, cosmetics, health and wellness, self-help, entertainment, events, food, books, gifts, adult toys, horoscopes, and travel. Case in point, you might write about what to wear on a third date, six period-tracking apps, nine fantastic restaurants in NYC to celebrate an anniversary, and the best countries to have a destination wedding.
The Top Affiliate Programs
Publishers want to promote the top affiliate programs because they can yield more commissions. It’s as simple as that. Other articles highlight “the best programs,” but most of them include random and unvetted merchants that won’t increase your earnings. Let’s identify what excellent and profitable affiliate programs have in common.
High Conversion Rates
The best performing merchants frequently convert traffic into sales. Earnings per click (EPC) indicates how much money an affiliate program is generating per click. It can also represent how much an affiliate is making per click. Without EPC or conversion data, it’s impossible to say how a merchant is performing. (Some merchants boast about how well their programs do without providing real evidence.)
EPC data is available on most affiliate networks, and a valid comparison can be made between similar merchants, products, and services. A merchant with a low EPC could indicate that conversion rates need improving or the merchant is new.
A Generous Percentage-Based or Fixed Commission
Advertisers who pay single to low double-digit commission rates (or who nickel and dime publishers) aren’t worth your consideration. (Note: some industries pay low rates because they operate on thin margins.) A commission rate of 20 percent is the benchmark I use, whereas the fixed commission amount will vary. An advertiser who pays well wants to:
- Scale its program and revenues
- Build profitable relationships and mutually beneficial outcomes
- Show an appreciation for affiliates
A Minimum Cookie Length of 30 Days
Giving marketers one or a few days to convert traffic is ridiculous and unfair. By contrast, a 30-day conversion period allows for prospects to become customers and affiliates to get credit for their promotional efforts. Although thirty-day referral periods are a standard industry practice, a minimum of 90 days should be commonplace.
A Low Payout Threshold
A low payout threshold keeps affiliates motivated and engaged. Many merchants have reasonable thresholds of zero to $100. On affiliate networks, $50 is the standard. However, some companies want publishers to reach $100+ before issuing payments, which is unjust.
Excellent Affiliate Tracking Software
Affiliate tracking software is the cornerstone of success, and there are good and bad applications. Reliable tracking, user-friendly dashboards, and robust reporting make for excellent user experiences. Activity data—such as impressions, clicks, and conversions—should be available. Applications that omit activity data and reporting make it difficult to track and evaluate performance.
Deep Linking Capabilities
Deep linking is the practice by which an affiliate creates a link to a specific page on the merchant’s site. For example, instead of using a generic homepage affiliate link, I can link to an article that relates to my post. Deep linking has the potential to increase conversion rates because traffic is sent to targeted landing pages. Most affiliate tracking apps offer deep linking, but advertisers might have to enable.
Fantastic Program Management
The best merchants typically employ affiliate managers who can run and scale programs effectively. These managers welcome everyone (not only existing customers) to promote their goods and approve affiliates quickly. Please consider the above criteria when selecting merchants and programs.
Let’s review the best relationship and dating affiliate programs. Dating and matchmaking programs tend to pay generous sales commissions, like 30 to 50 percent, and per lead such as $2 to $10. Many of these programs are available on the top affiliate networks. Merchants typically link to their affiliate programs in their website menus and footers, and some offer programs on multiple networks.
Dating Affiliate Programs
- CatholicMatch – 75% commission rate
CatholicMatch offers single Catholics the best opportunity to grow in their faith and fall in love in an environment related to their values. Learn about the CatholicMatch affiliate program.
- ChristianCafe – 40%
ChristianCafe is the Christian dating site of choice for millions of Christian singles from across the globe. Learn about the CatholicMatch affiliate program.
- Christian Mingle – $2
Christian Mingle is a leading Christian dating site for single men and women looking for a God-centered relationship. Learn about the Christian Mingle affiliate program.
- DatingDirect – £2.50
DatingDirect is a fun and friendly place to meet new people and explore relationships. Learn about the DatingDirect affiliate program.
- eHarmony – Up to 42%
eHarmony is making history by creating more meaningful connections that lead to fulfilling marriages. Learn about the eHarmony affiliate program.
- EliteSingles – $7
EliteSingles is an innovative matchmaking service designed for sophisticated and ambitious professionals of all ages. Learn about the EliteSingles affiliate program on CJ.
- BlackPeopleMeet – 50%
BlackPeopleMeet is the premier online dating service for black singles. Learn about the BlackPeopleMeet affiliate program.
- Jdate – $2
Jdate is the premier Jewish dating site and largest community for Jewish singles looking to make great connections. Learn about the Jdate affiliate program.
- Match – 50%
Match redefines the way single men and single women meet, flirt, date, and fall in love through online dating. Learn about the Match affiliate program.
- OurTime – Up to £40
OurTime is a dating site that not only understands what it is to be over 50 but also celebrates this exciting chapter. Learn about the OurTime affiliate program.
- Parship – 25%
Parship is one of the leading online matchmaking agencies for discerning singles in the UK and across Europe. Learn about the Parship affiliate program.
- People Media – 50%
People Media, a sister company of Match.com, is a leader in niche dating. SingleParentMeet, ChristianPeopleMeet, and BBPeopleMeet are some of its brands. Learn about the People Media affiliate program.
- SilverSingles – $7
SilverSingles is a dating platform exclusively for singles over 50. Meet the young at heart who share the same desires. Learn about the SilverSingles affiliate program on CJ.
- Sugar Daddy – 50%
Sugar Daddy is a dating service to discover your perfect sugar partner and enjoy the sugar lifestyle. Learn about the Sugar Daddy affiliate program.
- Cougar Life – Up to $80
Cougar Life is one of the largest online dating sites catering exclusively to cougar singles and hot young men looking to date them. Learn about the Cougar Life affiliate program.
- AdultFriendFinder – Up to $130
AdultFriendFinder is a site for finding quick sexual encounters, regular hookups, and anything else remotely related to sex. Learn about the AdultFriendFinder affiliate program.