10 Best & Popular Affiliate Marketing Networks of 2020

Affiliate Marketing Networks

Affiliate Marketing is a process of spreading product creation and product marketing across different parties.  It occurs in such a way that each party receives a share of the revenue according to their contribution.

So basically, you earn if you promote and make a sale. Its basis is revenue sharing. If you have a product that you wish to sell more, you can offer promoters a financial incentive to promote your product through an affiliate program.

In case you have no product and want to make money, then you can promote a product that you feel has value and in turn earn an income from it as an affiliate marketer.

Given below is the list of top 10 affiliate marketing networks that you would wanna check out if you want to become an affiliate marketer:

ShareASale

It is one of the most popular affiliate networks out there. Whereas Amazon Associates is focused entirely on Amazon products, ShareASale houses affiliate programs for 4,500+ merchants, both big and small.

Started in 2000, ShareASale had a popular service for marketers to launch an affiliate program for their products or services. Presently, it makes it easier for bloggers & Affiliate marketers to new Affiliate programs & joins them.

Marketers who plan to launch an affiliate program, can join them & use their Welcome Kit & training webinars to educate themselves. From one spot – the ShareASale dashboard – you can sign up to all these merchants, generate links, and view your statistics.

Note, you’ll need to individually apply to merchants and be approved by each merchant, which is a pretty standard approach for an affiliate network like this. Overall, ShareASale is a great option for both digital and physical products.

For example, on the digital side, you’ll find plenty of WordPress themes and plugin shops, hosting providers, etc. And on the physical side, you’ll find plenty of big and small merchants. For example, there’s Warby Parker (sunglasses), Sun Basket, Wayfair, Reebok, NFL Shop, plus thousands of other small and large businesses.

What you need to know about ShareASale:

  • Niche/product types: It offers a little bit of everything, be it physical or digital products.
  • Average commission rate: This depends on the specific merchant you sign up with or are in business with.
  • Cookie duration: This again, depends on the specific merchant you sign up with.
  • Minimum payout: $50

ShareASale pros and cons

Pros:

  • There are thousands of merchants available for both physical and digital products, including lots of well-known merchants
  • Trustworthy – They’ve been around for many years and work with lots of big brands
  • Lots of exclusive merchants. Over 1,000 of the merchants at ShareASale only work with ShareASale
  • It has a bookmarklet which has proven to make it easy to generate custom affiliate links

Cons:

  • Even though the dashboard design has gotten a lot better, it is a little clunky.

CJ Affiliate (Formerly Commission Junction)

Formerly known by the lengthier name of Commission Junction –CJ is another affiliate network that brings together thousands of different merchants under one roof (a lot like ShareASale).

Along with ShareASale, CJ is one of the biggest affiliate networks out there, which means that you’ll be able to connect with thousands of both big and small merchants. Currently, the exact number is 2,696 different merchants.

Some of the big digital and physical companies using CJ are:

  • Lowes
  • Overstock
  • Office Depot
  • Priceline
  • GoPro
  • IHG (Hotels)
  • Grammarly

You’ll find lots of smaller merchants, as well.

Like ShareASale, you’ll individually apply to these merchants from the CJ dashboard. It is only then, you’ll be able to generate links and view statistics.

What you need to know about CJ:

  • Niche/product types: CJ covers a range of niches and both physical and digital products.
  • Average commission rate: This too depends on the specific merchant you sign up with.
  • Cookie duration: Again, it depends on the specific merchant you sign up with.
  • Minimum payout: $50 for direct deposit or $100 for a cheque.

CJ Affiliate pros and cons

Pros:

  • Huge range of big and small merchants to choose from
  • It has a nice back-end dashboard to help you manage your affiliate marketing efforts
  • Also, it has a deep link generator bookmarklet that makes it easy to generate links

Cons:

  • when you’re just getting started, you’ll find the dashboard to be a little complicated

ClickBank

Another affiliate network out there that has a lot of digital products is ClickBank, though it offers physical products as well. Whereas platforms like ShareASale and Awin have a lot of big, nationally known merchants, ClickBank is more on the “smaller” end of merchants.

For example, there are a lot of merchants who are selling eBooks, online courses, or membership sites. Even though these merchants might not have the name recognition of a national or international brand, they can produce great offers if they fit your niche.

There’s also a downside, though – some of the ClickBank products just aren’t very high-quality products. And while ClickBank has gotten better with its review process to filter out the bad merchants, you’ll still want to be careful about which merchants you choose to promote.

What you need to know about ClickBank

  • Niche/product types: Although ClickBank leans towards digital products, you can still hope to find some physical products as well (and ClickBank makes it easy to filter between the two).
  • Average commission rate: This rate depends on the specific merchant you sign up with, and this is usually pretty high. You’ll find both percentage and flat-rate commissions.
  • Cookie duration: It usually is 60 days but also depends on the specific merchant you sign up with, but usually ~60 days.
  • Minimum payout: $10

ClickBank pros and cons

Pros:

  • There are lots of smaller niche offers that you won’t be able to find at other affiliate platforms
  • Pretty high commissions for most merchants
  •  easy to get paid as it is just a $10 min payout
  • Offers weekly payments

Cons:

  • ClickBank’s generous refund policy means you might lose commissions after the fact
  • You have to wade through some low-quality products

Awin (Formerly Affiliate Window)

A shorter rebrand of the original Affiliate Window, Awin is another popular affiliate network. It gives you access to over 13,000 different merchants.

ShareASale back in 2017, was actually acquired by awin although the two are still run as separate entities and have different merchants. While it has a whooping 13,000+ merchants, you’ll also find a lot of options for both physical and digital products at Awin.

Some of the notable big names are:

  • Etsy
  • AliExpress
  • HP
  • XE (money transfer)
  • StubHub
  • Under Armour
  • Gymshark

You’ll also find lots of smaller merchants across a range of niches.

Awin was founded in Germany, so you’ll find a little bit more of a European tilt to the merchant list, though there are also plenty of US/global companies.

Like ShareASale and CJ, you’ll need to individually apply to merchants within the network, after which you can generate your links and start tracking statistics.

What you need to know about Awin

  • Niche/product types: You’ll find both physical and digital products for almost every niche.
  • Average commission rate: This too depends on the specific merchant you sign up with.
  • Cookie duration: Again, it depends on the specific merchant you sign up with.
  • Minimum payout: $20

Awin pros and cons

Pros:

  • Lots of merchants to choose from
  • Dedicated WordPress plugin to help you import products
  • Low minimum payout (only $20)

Cons:

  • $5 sign up fee (it’s refunded if you’re approved, but you’ll lose it if you’re not approved

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates

Do you want to promote physical products on your website? Then, Amazon associates are a good option. With Amazon Associates, you can earn a commission on pretty much anything sold at Amazon.com.

What makes this program even more valuable is that you earn a commission on everything new that someone you refer purchases, even if it’s not the product you linked to.

For example, if you link to a $5 toothbrush but that person ends up buying a $500 TV, you still get the commission (as long as it’s within the cookie duration, of course. Also, the product can’t have already been in that person’s cart).

In the past, Amazon Associates paid you a commission rate based on how much revenue/sales you drove. However, Amazon has moved to a flat-rate commission structure since 2017, where you’re paid a flat percentage based on the category that each product is in:

While some high-volume affiliates didn’t like the change, this shift makes Amazon Associates even more attractive for smaller sites as you no longer need to worry about hitting a certain amount of sales volume to earn a higher commission.

What you need to know about Amazon Associates

  • Niche/product types: Anything sold on Amazon’s website (including products from third-party vendors).
  • Average commission rate: It, unlike others, ranges from 1% to 10% depending on the category.
  • Cookie duration: Cookies last for 24 hours. However, if you have people directly add a product to their carts, you’ll get a 90-day cookie but only for the specific product that’s in their carts.
  • Minimum payout: $10 for Amazon gift card or direct deposit.

Amazon Associates pros and cons

Pros:

  • Massive selection of products
  • Universal cookie option allows you to get credit for everything you buy within the cookie duration
  • Amazon is the biggest name in eCommerce
  • Very low payout threshold – only $10

Cons:

  • The universal cookie only lasts for 24 hours
  • Some categories –have very low commissions (1%) like video games
  • You need to register for each country individually

Rakuten Marketing (Formerly LinkShare)

Rakuten has become a popular name and is a popular affiliate network that includes a lot of big merchants.

Notable merchants are:

  • Walmart
  • Best Buy
  • Macy’s
  • Papa Johns

They also have some smaller merchants, though their network isn’t as large as ShareASale, CJ, or Awin (it’s “only” around 1,000 merchants).

So if you want access to a huge variety of merchants, you might be better off with one of the other networks. But Rakuten is a good option for getting access to the big guns, and they also have some nice features like mastering the ability to rotate ads too without the need for an external solution.

What you need to know about Rakuten Marketing

  • Niche/product types: You can find offers in most niches.
  • Average commission rate: This too depends on the specific merchant you sign up with.
  • Cookie duration: Again, it depends on the specific merchant you sign up with.
  • Minimum payout: $50

Rakuten Marketing pros and cons

Pros:

  • Provides access to big-name merchants like Walmart and Best Buy
  • A trusted name (Rakuten is a billion-dollar company)
  • Nice-to-have features like easy ad rotation

Cons:

  • The back-end dashboard looks a little dated in my opinion
  • Not as big a selection as the other affiliate networks in this list

Avangate Affiliate Network

It is an affiliate network that’s focused on digital goods and software, rather than physical products.

For example, it provides you access to popular software merchants like:

  • Bitdefender
  • Kaspersky
  • Hide My Ass (the VPN)
  • Awario (read our Awario review)

In total, Avangate Affiliate Network gives you access to 22,000+ pieces of software, so if your site promotes a lot of digital products, you’ll definitely want to join this one.

Note: Avangate acquired 2Checkout back in 2017, so you’ll see some confusion between the names. The original Avangate tool was merged into 2Checkout, while Avangate Affiliate Network is the affiliate platform that you’ll want to join.

What you need to know about Avangate Affiliate Network

  • Niche/product types: Avangate Affiliate Network focuses on digital goods and software products. No need to sign up to browse.
  • Average commission rate: Depends on the specific merchant you sign up with, but Avangate advertises up to an 85% commission rate and Avangate Affiliate Network’s digital products. These products usually have a higher commission rate than the physical products you’ll find at other networks.
  • Cookie duration: Although it depends on the specific merchant you sign up with, Avangate Affiliate Network lets merchants set their cookie length anywhere between 30 to 180 days, so you’re guaranteed at least 30 days at a minimum.
  • Minimum payout: $100

Avangate Affiliate Network pros and cons

Pros:

  • You can opt to be paid via PayPal
  • Lots of unique software products to choose from
  • Most merchants offer pretty high commissions. It’s not uncommon to see 50%+ commissions

Cons:

  • The $100 minimum payout is higher than most other affiliate networks

Peerfly

A new and rapidly growing affiliate network is peerfly that gets you to access to 3,300+ merchants. The selection isn’t as big as something like Awin or FlexOffers, but 3,000+ merchants mean that you can still probably find something that fits your needs.

Peerfly has both smaller merchants – like Loot Crate – as well as big names like Target, Uber, Agoda, and more. Besides, they also have a nice-looking backend dashboard which makes it easier in case you want to keep a check on your earnings.

What you need to know about Peerfly

  • Niche/product types: Peerfly, while offering a range of physical products, has a surficial range of digital products.
  • Average commission rate: Depends on the specific merchant you sign up with.
  • Cookie duration: It totally depends on the specific merchant you sign up with.
  • Minimum payout: $50

Peerfly pros and cons

Pros:

  • Well-designed dashboard
  • Has a good mix of big and small merchants
  • Weekly payments if you hit $5,000 earnings per week
  • The unique “Cash Flow” feature allows you to get faster payments (for a small fee, though)

Cons:

  • The application process takes ~3 days

Walmart Affiliates

If you’re a seller of physical products, Amazon Associates is definitely the biggest name in the affiliate game. And yeah – there’s a reason for that. Amazon is reputedly the holder of almost 50% of the US eCommerce market.

Compared to that, Walmart has just 3.7% of the online retail market (eBay, which you’ll see next, is actually in second place at 6.6%).

However, when Amazon Associates switched from its old commission structure to its new category-based approach, the Walmart affiliate program became a little more attractive because it offers higher commissions than Amazon in some categories.

For example, Walmart will give you a 4% commission on toys, while Amazon only gives 3%. Additionally, Walmart’s tracking cookie lasts for three days, whereas Amazon’s only lasts for one day (24 hours).

In the end, this is something you really just need to test if you sell a lot of physical products. If you’re already using Amazon, and Walmart offers higher commissions in your category, see if switching to the Walmart affiliate program moves the needle on your revenue (in either direction).

What you need to know about Walmart Affiliates

  • Niche/product types: Anything that can be sold on Walmart’s website (which includes some third-party vendors)
  • Average commission rate: It, unlike others’, ranges from 1% to 18%. Most categories are 4% or 1%.
  • Cookie duration: Cookies last for three days.

Walmart Affiliates pros and cons

Pros:

  • Huge product selection
  • Higher commissions than Amazon in some categories
  • A well-known trusted brand
  • Longer cookie than Amazon

Cons:

  • $50 minimum payout, which is higher than Amazon
  • While the product selection is bigger than almost every other store, it still doesn’t come close to Amazon

eBay Partner Network

As the name suggests, eBay Partner Network is eBay’s own affiliate network. With it, you can earn a commission for promoting eBay listings.

Yes – anything that’s listed on eBay, which is obviously going to give you access to a huge selection.

The only downside is that many of eBay’s products are transient due to the auction approach (though you can also find plenty of permanent listings).

What you need to know about the eBay Partner Network

  • Niche/product types: Mostly physical products, though you can sell anything on eBay so you’ll find digital products as well.
  • Average commission rate: You’ll earn anywhere from 50%-70% of eBay’s revenue, although The exact commission depends on the product category.
  • Note: This is not the total purchase price of the product – you’re earning a percentage of eBay’s own commission.
  • Cookie duration: It’s 24 hours, but you can still earn a commission even if the auction takes up to 10 days to end (it depends upon the person who placed a bid within the first 24 hours).
  • Minimum payout: $10

eBay Partner Network pros and cons

Pros:

  • It has a huge variety of products because you can promote anything and everything on eBay
  • Can sell used products, which is unique
  • Low payout – just $10

Cons:

  • The cookie only lasts for 24 hours

Which affiliate network should you use?

Here’s the great thing about affiliate platforms and networks – you don’t have to choose just one!

So this is kind of a trick question…

Rather than choosing a single network, sign up for all the ones that interest you so that you can find the best advertisers and payouts.

Really, the only reasons to limit the number of platforms that you use are:

  • Convenience – You probably don’t want to log in to 10 different dashboards on a regular basis. Well, that definitely would be tedious
  • Minimum payouts – If you spread your traffic too thin, it might be hard to regularly hit each platform’s minimum payout.
  • Other than that, have at it and find some awesome offers to promote to your site’s visitors!

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