How Much Can You Earn in Affiliate Marketing in 2021?

Tips & Guides — 01 Dec 2020

Earnings in Affiliate Marketing

How Much Can You Earn in Affiliate Marketing in 2021?

How much money can you earn in affiliate marketing? Is affiliate marketing still profitable? How much time needs to pass before I start earning a decent income from affiliate programs? I am considering quitting my job and becoming an affiliate marketer, will I make enough? These questions and dozens of similar are shouting out from numerous forums. And you can always find newbies excited by the idea of passive income skeptically assessing this opportunity to earn.

So, the key question is, how much can you really earn in affiliate marketing in 2020? And in this article, we address the challenge of answering this question.

The affiliate marketing industry is growing steadily. Statista reported that spending on affiliate marketing only in the U.S. is expected to rise to $8.2 billion by 2022. Thus there is definitely a space to grow and earn. And we believe that even more then we see examples of super-affiliates publicly sharings their income reports and telling their success stories.

How Much Can You Earn in Affiliate Marketing in 2021?

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Examples of famous super-affiliates to get inspired:

  • Well-known affiliate marketer Pat Flynn grew his affiliate business from $8000 to $100.000 per month;
  • Tom from Onlinemediamasters went from $20k to $150k of annual income over two years;
  • Doug Cunnington made $70k in 2017 from just one niche website.

Isn’t it inspiring? But then, in reality, after some months spent with no earnings or just small ones, people become more impatient and skeptical. Some lose hope and give up; the others start looking for questions, ways how to earn more. Because yet they are far from the desired sums. So, what’s the real affiliate earning?

Recently STM forum conducted a poll where they asked about affiliates’ annual income. And you can see the results in the chart below:

How Much Can You Earn in Affiliate Marketing in 2021?

Broadly speaking, this chart must give you a vision that income in affiliate marketing can vary a lot. You can see there are plenty of bloggers and affiliate marketers out there who earn less than $20.000 ($1.600 per month). But then there are also those who make tons of money.

According to their monthly income, we can divide affiliates into:

  • Total beginners, who are only losing money at the moment;
  • Low-level affiliates, who earn up to $300/day;
  • Intermediate affiliates, who earn from $300/day up to $3,000/day;
  • High-level affiliates, who earn above $3,000/day;
  • Super affiliates or, as you can often find them being called, “gurus of affiliate marketing,” who make more than $10,000/day.

Success in affiliate marketing is about persistence and continuing nature. You can’t assume that your profit will always be the same if you once earned 300$ per day. In Affiliate marketing, there are plenty of cases when, after earning somewhat a very modest income for a long time, people skyrocketed overnight. It is all about choosing the right niche and the right strategy. And there are plenty of opposite cases when affiliate marketers went from high incomes to sod.

Affiliate commissions in different niches, just to name a few:

Not only do affiliate conditions vary in different niches, you won’t likely find similar conditions and peculiarities applied to affiliate programs within a specific niche Here are just a few of affiliate niches with examples of affiliate earning:

  • Software affiliate programs

Should you wonder about the most profitable affiliate programs, then look into the direction of software and web hosting providers. Here the commission may be up to 30% on each payment. And in the software niche, the check size is obviously big. But surely, there’s a flip side to that coin. Being one of the most attractive, it is also one of the most competitive. Probably not for a total beginner.

  • Travel affiliate programs

In the travel niche, most affiliates get their income from travel agencies, airlines, booking aggregators, reviews sites, and travel goods. For example, from the airport transfers you can earn around $7-10 on the transfer price or from 20 skip-a-line tickets to La Sagrada Família in Barcelona, you will earn around $70. The commission rate and total income depends on the niche you work in. For instance:

  •  Flight tickets: 1-3% commission on the total order value in JetRadar, KAYAK, Kiwi.com and other flight affiliate programs.
  • Accommodation: 3-12% commission on the total order value in Booking.com, Agoda, Hostelworld and other hotel affiliate programs.
  • Tours and activities: 3-7% commission on the total order value in GetYourGuide, Klook, Viator and other programs.
  • Car rentals: 4-15% commission on the total order value in DiscoverCars, RentalCars, AutoEurope and other car rental affiliate programs. You can join the major travel affiliate programs, such as Booking.com, GetYourGuide and over 60 others in the Travelpayouts affiliate network. 

Bear in mind that the competition in the travel niche is fierce but still lower than in e-commerce or dating.

  • E-Commerce affiliate programs

In eCommerce, you need to have a big audience to earn a decent income. Let’s take an example of Amazon, where you can earn from 4% to 8.5% commission on sales. But as all these are mainly B2C sales, where the check amount is comparatively low. But with a big audience and enough effort you can earn at least $1,000 with near 20-40 hours of monthly work.

  • Dating affiliate programs

In the Dating niche, affiliate commissions may look like this: up to $12 per lead, up to 5$ for referral commission, and up to $500 for the first order. If an affiliate program has a loyalty (bonus) program, your commission can increase after a certain amount of sign-ups.

  • Loans affiliate programs

Loans form a niche where companies are fiercely competing for clients, and you can earn a decent income from this affiliate niche as well. According to High Paying Affiliate Programs Loans affiliate programs, affiliate marketers can earn from $1 up to $5000 depending on loan size.

  • Fitness and Nutra affiliate programs

The topic of a healthy lifestyle has been one of the most-talked-about for quite a while. And it’s continuously growing. Promoting fitness and health products, you can earn up to 15-40% commission from every supplement sale.

How long does it take to make a steady income?

Getting to the point where you earn consistently from affiliate programs might take a while, so you probably should not quit your job from the very start. Usually, it takes from 6 months to several years to start making profits with affiliate marketing. More precise timing and your overall success depend on your ability to create quality content, optimize for SEO, drive traffic, and promote your affiliate products. Don’t forget about the active usage of social media and email marketing. You will not skyrocket overnight. But by being consistent in the promotion of affiliate products, having the right marketing strategy will bring you to your desired income.

Decide who you want to be in affiliate marketing

There are several ways you can earn in the affiliate business; you need to pick your side. You can become a publisher and promote products from different brands and advertisers, or you can create your affiliate network and build an all-round digital advertising business. You choose which way to go!

We suggest to look into both parties and the role affiliate marketing plays for their income.

Earning in affiliate marketing as a publisher

If you start from scratch and with no investments, your only option is to become a publisher and promote products. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? While it may sound so, it is not that easy in practice. Do not expect to post several links and see hundreds of people buying products via them. To achieve this, you first need to have and implement a well-thought-out marketing strategy.

Staring in affiliate marketing cannot do without two essential steps:

  1. Choose a niche
  2. Consider starting a blog or other platform where you will post relevant content

Choosing an affiliate niche

Choosing an affiliate niche is an essential step in predetermining your job satisfaction and approximate income level. 

Correspondingly, when choosing one, you should take into your personal preferences towards the possible product. If you already have a blog with a loyal audience, you can reverse the science and choose the vertical where your already existing content fits. You may choose a nice that is close to your professional background, your hobbies, or something you have a genius interest in.

How Much Can You Earn in Affiliate Marketing in 2021?

Further, check what the average affiliate commissions for products within the chosen vertical are. Be ready to find out different commissions, but also diverse conditions that affiliate programs apply. Knowing the average commissions will also help you understand the volume of effort and amount of content you need to produce for the desired profit. We have a short overview of affiliate commissions in the most popular verticals.

Creating a blog

As a publisher, you need an online platform where you will post affiliate links. Two common options for affiliates are either a blog or a youtube channel. Or both suppose you can handle it timewise. 

It would be best if you did not solely base the choice of a platform on whether you feel comfortable in front of the camera or not. Keep in mind some fundamental differences between blogging and vlogging. Among the most important are: 

  • The blog is your property, while a youtube not. You can’t sell a youtube channel should you wish;
  • Blogging is more SEO complicated;
  • Blogging will cause extra costs on the domain, hosting, development, while Youtube is free;
  • You can edit text and add new affiliate links over time. You can’t edit published videos.

You can check tips on how to promote affiliate content here.

I've launched a blog. Does it mean I am all set to go?

Of course not. You can’t just set up a blog and post an affiliate link there. Well, you can, but you won’t receive anything from that. We hope you understand that.

Growth your blog audience

The strength of affiliate marketing was always about unobtrusiveness. Users shouldn’t understand that it is an advertisement. The placement should be of a maximum native character. To achieve this, you need to produce content regularly to grow a loyal audience that may further take an interest in advertised products. 

In digital marketing terms, you need traffic first. The majority of ad networks will ask you about the traffic volume once you apply to join them. Hence, keep in mind that traffic first, sales second. 

Do not neglect email list growing, it would help to widen your presence in different channels of promotion. Free webinars  and different tutorials are a great tool to grow an email list.

And don't forget about SEO

You won’t have much traffic if your website is poorly SEO-optimized. Ensure that you research your niche-specific keywords, and use them in the right places, create competitive content for top search positions. If you don’t think that is enough, look for SEO tools to optimize your blog.

How Much Can You Earn in Affiliate Marketing in 2021?

Join ad networks and affiliate programs

Once you have a blog with stable traffic, you can start applying for affiliate programs. Consider both affiliate networks ( Amazon, Clickbank, Rakuten, Commissions Junctions etc. ) where you will find plenty of programs and products to promote. But also research a stand-alone partner program. Check websites of products you would like to promote, whether they have information about the affiliate program. Not all businesses join affiliate networks; some create programs of their own and recruit publishers to join. 

Today you can also ease the process of finding partners with the help of marketplaces that bring together various media partners (affiliates) and advertisers, such as Affise Reach.

What are the perspectives of professional growth in affiliate marketing?

How Much Can You Earn in Affiliate Marketing in 2021?

Obviously, your first personal KPI is the size of your monthly check proportionally to the amount of effort and time you put into the work. As any affiliate marketer, your goal is to make a passive income in perspective.

Second, once you are a skillful affiliate looking for new growth points, you may think of launching an affiliate network. 

Check how one can start an affiliate network from scratch.

Earning in affiliate marketing as a vendor

Suppose you have a product of your own. In that case, you will probably agree that as a product owner, you want to concentrate on developing the quality of your product or direct product delivery. You want somebody else to take care of the promotion, and you want them to do it well. Whether a vendor has in-house marketing or not, adding an affiliate program into your marketing strategy is a great asset. One can significantly increase sales with affiliate help.

Interesting fact, being a vendor from the start, Amazon was the first to increase its profits by introducing Amazon affiliate program.

How can one do it?

In this context, vendors have two options: join an affiliate network and create a partner program there or create a partner program of their own on a SaaS partner marketing platform. You can compare two options here.

Once an advertiser signs up, he can create a program. Advertisers usually start with a partner program description, its rules, and policies, marketing collateral. Once it is all set, they begin recruiting affiliates to join their program. 

Take advantage of Affise database to find high-performing affiliates

The benefit of running a partner program is that you have access to all ad campaign data. You can control the performance of all your partners and see what performs better. 

Interested in growing your business with a partner program? Then try Affise!

Take advantage of a free 30-day trial to see
how easy ad campaign management can be!

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Yulia is a Content Marketer with a love to a great story and an eye to small details. Carrying a voice and delivering an accurate message - that’s what Yulia believes content marketing is for. Looking for thorough research and long-reads? You came to the right person. Her goal is to produce content that educates and entertains, and most importantly, has an impact. Challenges and something that is yet to be explored are her main motivators.

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