Best High Paying Affiliate Programs

 

Last updated on September 14, 2021

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For affiliate marketers, success partly depends on the commission rates they will receive. I tend to promote high-paying merchants that pay at least 30 percent or $50 per sale. If I sell $100,000 worth of goods, I’ll earn $30,000, for example. On the other hand, if I focus too much on programs that pay low or single-digit commission rates, it will be tougher to reach my revenue goals. For instance, at a 5 percent commission rate, I would make $5,000 per $100,000 sold.

It may seem obvious to promote programs that pay well. However, I see many affiliates painstakingly market low-paying merchants and programs, such as Amazon Associates, which tops out at 10 percent. I’m not suggesting affiliates only promote programs with high payouts, but they need to strike a balance and understand the math on selling thousands of dollars. For example, if you sold one Advanced Shopify plan a month for twelve months, you would earn $7,176 for the year ($598 x 12 months). That amount is probably more rewarding than what many other programs pay for the same effort.

What niches pay the highest commission rates? There are high-paying programs in every niche and category. However, SaaS, e-commerce, and marketing software companies tend to lead the pack because they avoid the costs associated with physical products, including production, transportation, and storage. For example, an email marketing provider doesn’t necessarily incur more expenses for each new customer. Therefore, it can be more generous with its affiliate commission rates. Many software and SaaS companies also have recurring affiliate programs that pay for the life of the customer.

Best High Paying Affiliate Programs

Let’s review the best high-paying affiliate programs in 2021. Most of these merchants have a cookie duration of 30 days or more. You’ll find these and many more lucrative offers on the top affiliate networks, including ShareASale, Impact, and CJ Affiliate. To qualify for my list, the merchant must:

  • Pay a minimum commission rate of 30 percent or $100
  • Have an excellent business reputation
  • Be a top consideration in its market

Marketing Affiliate Programs

GetResponse

GetResponse is an all-in-one digital marketing platform, offering email marketing, landing pages, conversion funnels, webinar hosting, opt-in forms, web push notifications, and other marketing automation tools. Learn more and join the GetResponse affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 33%/$100
  • Cookie duration: 120 days
  • Affiliate software/network: In-house and CJ Affiliate

HubSpot

HubSpot offers a comprehensive suite of apps for marketing, sales, service, CMS, and operations. Each app comes with a range of features and analytics/reporting for businesses of all sizes. Learn more and join the HubSpot affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to 100%
  • Cookie duration: 90 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Impact

SEMrush

SEMrush is a powerful and versatile competitive intelligence suite for online marketers. It features research tools for SEO, PPC, social media, and video advertising. Learn more and join the SEMrush affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: $200
  • Cookie duration: 120 days
  • Affiliate software/network: ShareASale

ShareASale

ShareASale is a leading affiliate network with the tools and technology to support advertisers and publishers. It pays $150 for qualifying merchant signups and $30 for qualifying affiliate signups. Learn more and join the ShareASale affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to $150
  • Cookie duration: 60 days
  • Affiliate software/network: ShareASale

TubeBuddy

TubeBuddy is the #1 YouTube tool and browser extension for channel management, keyword and tag research, video SEO, competitor insights, bulk processing, marketing, and more. Learn more and join the TubeBuddy affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to 50%
  • Cookie duration: Lifetime
  • Affiliate software/network: In-house

VidIQ

VidIQ helps YouTubers and marketers grow their presence and brand on YouTube with a suite of tools for keyword research, SEO, analytics, and more. Learn more and join the VidIQ affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to 50%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: In-house

Ecommerce Affiliate Programs

Debutify

Debutify is a top-rated, user-friendly, and high-converting free Shopify theme with 25+ premium add-ons to increase your e-commerce sales. Learn more and join the Debutify affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to 60%
  • Cookie duration: Up to 180 days
  • Affiliate software/network: ShareASale, Impact, and LinkMink

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform that creates customized online stores with built-in features, such as marketing tools, analytics, and hundreds of integrated apps. Learn more and join the BigCommerce affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to $1,500
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Impact

Shopify

Shopify provides everything you need to sell online, on social media, and in person. Create your store, manage products, accept payments, ship, and integrate with other apps. Learn more and join the Shopify affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 200%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: In-house

Dropified

Dropified’s software lets sellers put private labels on products and takes care of shipping and tracking orders for dropshipping businesses, allowing sellers to focus on marketing and growing their stores. Learn more and join the Dropified affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 30%
  • Cookie duration: 60 days
  • Affiliate software/network: FirstPromoter

Travel Affiliate Programs

Travelpayouts

Travelpayouts is the largest travel affiliate network. Affiliates can join various travel-related affiliate programs, such as Booking.com, GetYourGuide, Discover Cars, and more. With Travelpayouts, you can manage all your programs from a single dashboard and streamline commission payments. Learn more and join the Travelpayouts network.

  • Commission rate: Up to 50%
  • Cookie duration: Avg of 30 days
  • Programs in the network: 80+

Skyscanner

Skyscanner is a leading global travel search site providing instant online comparisons for flights, car hire, and hotels. Learn more and join the Skyscanner affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to 50%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: CJ Affiliate

Education Affiliate Programs

Coursera

Coursera offers online courses through partnerships with hundreds of top-ranked universities, including Stanford and Columbia. Learners can take courses, specializations, and degrees. Learn more and join the Coursera affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to 45%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Rakuten Advertising

Pluralsight

Pluralsight offers extensive online developer, creative, and IT courses that are taught by industry experts. It offers 6,000+ courses to businesses and individuals. Learn more and join the Pluralsight affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to 75%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Impact

Web Hosting Affiliate Programs

Hostinger

Hostinger offers fast and user-friendly web hosting solutions at a price nobody can beat. Learn more and join the Hostinger affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 60%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Impact and CJ Affiliate

Liquid Web

Liquid Web provides managed web hosting and data center solutions. It offers cloud, VPS, dedicated, managed, and private cloud plans. It also owns iThemes Hosting. Learn more and join the Liquid Web affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to 150%
  • Cookie duration: 90 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Impact

SiteGround

SiteGround is a leading web hosting company with millions of customers. It offers shared and cloud hosting, dedicated servers, and domain services. Learn more and join the SiteGround affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to $125
  • Cookie duration: 60 days
  • Affiliate software/network: In-house

Weebly

Weebly makes it easy to create a high-quality website, blog, or online store. Millions of people use Weebly to bring their unique ideas to life. Learn more and join the Weebly affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 30%
  • Cookie duration: 120 days
  • Affiliate software/network: ShareASale

WP Engine

WP Engine provides managed WordPress hosting for sites around the world. It offers robust support and optimized solutions for WordPress. Learn more and join the WP Engine affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to $200
  • Cookie duration: 180 days
  • Affiliate software/network: ShareASale

Other High Paying Affiliate Programs

Audext

Audext offers advanced transcription software services to convert your audio and video files to text. It supports various file formats, including WAV, MP3, MP4, OGG, etc. It has an in-built editor, automatic timestamping, and other useful features. Learn about the Audext affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 30%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: ShareASale

Apple

Apple’s affiliate programs enable you to promote millions of songs and albums, as well as books, audiobooks, movies, news, and TV shows. Learn more and join the Apple affiliate program.

  • Commission rates: Apple Music (100%), Apple TV+ (300%), and Apple News+ (400%)
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Partnerize

AppSumo

AppSumo is a daily deals website for digitally distributed goods and online services. Learn more and join the AppSumo affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to 100%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Impact

Canva

Canva is a graphic design tool that helps people create images, logos, thumbnails, posters, and more. It provides access to over a million photographs and templates. Learn more and join the Canva affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 25% – 80%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Impact

Fiverr

Fiverr is the largest online marketplace for freelance services starting. It also offers courses, exclusive benefits, and small business software. Learn more and join the Fiverr affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to $150
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Cellxpert and CJ Affiliate

FreshBooks

FreshBooks offers small business accounting and management software, including the ability to send invoices, track time, manage receipts, expenses, and accept credit cards. Learn more and join the FreshBooks affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to $200
  • Cookie duration: 120 days
  • Affiliate software/network: ShareASale

Ivacy VPN

Ivacy is a leading VPN service and makes the digital world safer and more accessible for everyone. It has apps for all the major operating systems and browsers. Learn more and join the Ivacy VPN affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 40%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: ShareASale

Placeit

Placeit is a mockup and design tool that allows its users to create beautiful visuals and marketing materials instantly and straight from their browsers. Learn more and join the Placeit affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 50%
  • Cookie duration: 60 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Impact

Sucuri

Sucuri is an all-in-one platform for website security, protection, performance, and monitoring. Learn more and join the Sucuri affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to $210
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: CJ Affiliate

STDcheck

STDcheck takes the embarrassment and hassles out of conventional STD testing. It provides fast, affordable, and private STD testing to adults and minors at thousands of locations nationwide. Learn more and join the STDcheck affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 40%
  • Cookie duration: 45 days
  • Affiliate software/network: CJ Affiliate

Thrive Themes

Thrive Themes offers a robust suite of WordPress plugins to build websites, market products, and convert users. As a result, thousands of users use their all-in-one toolkit for excellent results. Learn more and join the Thrive Themes affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: Up to 35%
  • Cookie duration: Two years
  • Affiliate software/network: iDevAffiliate

Upwork

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace connecting millions of businesses with independent talent globally. It serves everyone from one-person start-ups to 30% of the Fortune 100 with a powerful trust-driven platform. Learn more and join the Upwork affiliate program.

  • Commission rate: 70%
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Affiliate software/network: Impact

Your Next Move

Jump onboard the high-paying affiliate program yacht because it’s where the big money is being made. That mindset helps me to make five figures annually in affiliate commissions. By contrast, promoting companies that pay low commission rates or that try to nickel and dime you is how you’ll fail to meet your goals.

You should also consider promoting high-ticket affiliate programs because low commission rates will be offset by large affiliate payments. Case in point, a furniture company pays a 10 percent commission rate but sees an average purchase of $2,000, producing an average commission of $200.

How to Choose Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs aren’t created equally. Some are excellent, while others are terrible. Being able to distinguish one from another is how affiliates become successful. Let’s review the critical factors that determine the viability of an affiliate program and merchant.

Conversion Rate

The best-performing merchants frequently convert traffic into sales. A conversion rate specifies the frequency at which a user becomes a lead or paying customer. Suppose a website gets 100 visitors. If one of those people makes a purchase, the conversion rate will be 1 percent.

Many affiliate tracking apps and networks provide conversion rates on their dashboards and through reporting. Affiliates can also manually calculate. Anything above a conversion rate of half a percent is satisfactory. Marketers should not expect conversion rates of 2 percent or more.

Earnings Per Click

Earnings per click (EPC) indicates how much money an affiliate program is generating per click. For example, a merchant registers 1,000 unique clicks and generates $50 in sales. Its EPC will be $0.05. EPC can also represent how much an affiliate is making per click.

EPC data is available on many affiliate networks, and a comparison can be made between similar merchants, products, and services. A low EPC might suggest that the merchant’s conversion rate is low, the merchant is new, or there are tracking issues.

Without EPC or conversion rate data, it’s impossible to conclude how a merchant is performing. Therefore, you must be able to view performance data, including clicks and sales.

Commission Rate

A commission rate of 20 percent, or more, is what I seek. Regarding fixed commissions, I’m open-minded. An advertiser who pays well wants to:

  • Scale its program and revenues
  • Build profitable and mutually beneficial relationships
  • Reward affiliates for their activities

Merchants who pay less than 20 percent don’t grab my attention and active participation. I avoid advertisers who pay single to low double-digit commission rates (or who nickel and dime publishers).

Note: Some industries and sectors pay low commission rates because they operate on thin margins, for example, clothing merchants.

Cookie Duration

Giving marketers one or a few days to convert traffic is ridiculous and unfair. By contrast, a 30-day cookie duration allows for prospects to become customers and affiliates to get credit for their promotional efforts.

Although thirty-day referral periods are a performance marketing standard, a minimum of 90 days would be more beneficial to each party. I focus on merchants that provide ample time to convert.

Payments

Payment processing involves how and when to receive commissions. “How” refers to the options given to affiliates to receive their commissions, such as a bank, PayPal, cheque, and so on. “When” refers to the payout threshold and timeliness of payments. For instance, GetResponse has a limit of $50 and pays in the month following the month of the account referral.

Many merchants have reasonable thresholds of zero to $100. On affiliate networks, $50 is the standard. A low payout threshold keeps affiliates motivated and engaged. Alternatively, companies with limited payout options or high thresholds are the ones I usually don’t join or promote.

Affiliate Marketing Software

Affiliate tracking software is the cornerstone of success, and there are excellent and abysmal applications in the market. Reliable tracking, user-friendly dashboards, and robust reporting make for superior user experiences. Activity data—such as impressions, clicks, conversion rates, and sales—should be available. Applications that omit activity data and reporting make it difficult to track and evaluate performance. The Impact affiliate network serves as my benchmark for affiliate tracking software. I avoid programs that use FirstPromoter, Everflow, and a few others.

Deep Linking

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. Many affiliate tracking apps offer deep linking, but advertisers must enable it.

Program Management

Merchants that are committed to the growth of their affiliate sales will assign someone to the task. An affiliate manager can make or break a program, and I’m happy to leave or skip programs that employ the wrong person/agency to run things. Most affiliate managers who I deal with are pleasant and responsive. However, I do come across boneheads who have no clue what they’re doing.

Terms & Policies

A program’s terms and policies are worth reading because you want to ensure they align with your marketing ideas, goals, and activities. Also, you want to abide by the merchant’s rules to avoid disciplinary action. For instance, most merchants prohibit publishers from using specific keywords for search engine marketing (SEM) because affiliates may increase bid prices.

Free Trials & Plans

I like merchants that offer free trials and plans. They allow users to experience products and services without barriers. If the merchant’s goods are excellent, users will convert. My most profitable partners fall into this group.

Marketing Materials

Advertising materials can help increase brand awareness and conversion rates. Merchants should offer marketing materials that are useful, appealing, and proven through split testing. I’ve gotten excited about programs only to be disappointed by their marketing materials, creative assets, and banners.

Company Status

A company’s or person’s reputation is everything, and I focus on promoting companies that attract terrific customer reviews. For example, I’m comfortable marketing Wise because it has an “Excellent” rating on Trustpilot based on thousands of reviews. Secondly, marketplace dominance is something I consider because I want to promote winners, not losers. I want my audience to try and buy goods on the way up, not down. Case in point, that’s why I promote Shopify over its competitors, including BigCommerce, Wix, Squarespace, ClickFunnels, and so forth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are affiliate networks free to join?

Affiliate networks are free to join for publishers, but advertisers must pay to use. If a network demands a fee, run the other way.

How many networks should I join?

You should join as many networks as you require to access the merchants and items that you want to promote.

What affiliate network is the best?

The best affiliate network is the one that provides you with the merchants and programs to support your goals. My favorite networks are Impact, ShareASale, and CJ Affiliate.

What should I do if my application gets declined?

If your application gets declined to join a network or program, send an email for more information. Some advertisers are selective and have specific requirements for publishers to meet; for example, the publisher must have a United States home address.

Do affiliate networks have rules to follow?

Yes, they do. The rules are in the partnership agreement, terms and conditions, or terms of service. Advertisers also have terms and policies to follow; for instance, the affiliate cannot bid on trademarked terms. Failure to abide by network and advertiser rules can lead to immediate account suspension or termination.

Is ClickBank legit?

ClickBank is a legit company. However, it tends to attract get-rich-quick internet marketers and “fake gurus.” Secondly, affiliates are unlikely to find reputable companies on ClickBank. In the few dealings I’ve had with them, I’ve been disappointed.

What’s the best affiliate program?

There are many excellent affiliate programs that pay high commission rates. For example, TubeBuddy pays recurring commissions of up to 50 percent. However, the best affiliate program depends on your niche or category.

Is affiliate marketing a scam?

Affiliate marketing is not a scam. It’s a legit advertising model that compensates affiliates for sending traffic to websites. Merchants pay affiliates for sales and leads. However, some merchants intentionally defraud affiliates by not providing factual activity data or compensating marketers for their efforts.

How much can you make with affiliate marketing?

Affiliates can earn hundreds to thousands monthly, depending on how much traffic they send to advertisers. Some affiliates report making $10,000+ per month. However, it can take months or years to make a sizable income.

 

Chad Tennant

Chad is a digital marketer, consultant, and publisher. At Digital Fodder, he offers insights and strategies concerning online marketing, ecommerce, working online, YouTube, and more. At Partnercade, he helps companies grow their affiliate program revenues and partnerships. Connect or start a conversation with Chad on LinkedIn.

 
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