Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It? The Definitive Guide
Many people are wondering whether being an affiliate marketer is still worth it.
With the rise of social media and other digital marketing techniques, there are now tons of different ways for companies to promote themselves and their own offers.
Many are now questioning whether affiliate marketing is becoming outdated.
However, the truth is that affiliate marketing is still a highly effective way to make money online.
In fact, it has only grown in popularity and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Undoubtedly, however, the strategies and methods of promotion have changed over the years. And if you don’t know how to ride the tide, you’ll be swallowed by the sea.
So is affiliate marketing still worth it?
Let this article add some clarity to that.
Here’s a rough outline of the key points in this article:
- Affiliate Marketing is still a great way to make money online, but adjustments on the part of the affiliate marketer are necessary if he wants to continue earning.
- There are tons of advantages to affiliate marketing, the best of which is that you can earn from promoting someone else’s programs without having to set up a business, create an app, or stock up on inventory yourself.
- There are also a handful of disadvantages to being an affiliate. You can spend a lot of money without anything to show for it if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- The best ways to have and maintain a successful affiliate marketing business include staying on top of trends, being on the lookout for new traffic sources, utilizing spy tools, getting out of your comfort zone, and trying new niches.
- Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?
- The Pros and Cons of Being an Affiliate
- Different Ways to Promote Offers as an Affiliate
- Tips to Succeed in Affiliate Marketing
- Frequently Asked Questions on Affiliate Marketing
Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?
One reason why affiliate marketing remains a viable option is that consumers continue to trust recommendations from individuals they know and respect.
By partnering with trusted influencers or bloggers, businesses can tap into their audience and gain valuable exposure for their products or services.
Furthermore, no matter how many ad blockers appear, ads will still be ever present in people’s lives — just in different formats. And whether or not people admit it, ads play a huge role in helping them make decisions in their everyday lives, so promotions from media buyers are still predominant.
But don’t take my word for it! Here are some stats that will convince you as to why affiliate marketing is still going strong:
- There are almost 10,000 affiliate networks, agencies, and related platforms and companies active at the moment. (source: Influencer Marketing Hub)
- Up to 30% of advertiser sales come from affiliate referrals (source: Uniqodo)
- The whole affiliate marketing industry is valued at $17 Billion (2023). (source: DemandSage)
The affiliate marketing industry is like a fluffy marshmallow that keeps getting bigger and bigger. Whether you are a newcomer or a veteran in the game, it’s hard to deny that this expanding business opportunity is becoming easier and more accessible to take advantage of than ever before.
Our current landscape showcases an increase in entrepreneurs and individuals taking the reigns on online collaborations, which feature memberships, courses, subscriptions, purchases, and even direct referrals. All these resources combine to form revenue streams that are as rewarding as they are irresistible!
The Pros and Cons of Being an Affiliate
You might have heard many people say that affiliate marketing is dead — this cannot be further from the truth. It is still flourishing!
However, it is true that the industry had seen a lot of changes over the past few years, even before the pandemic darkened our skies.
Several big players in the industry have closed down in recent years, and many traffic formats no longer perform as well as they used to.
But as they say, there’s always a rainbow after the rain. New ad formats and ad networks opened up, and many performance agencies opened their doors to the public.
See also: Ad Network Reviews
But is affiliate marketing worth it right now?
Let’s weigh out the pros and cons to evaluate if it is.
Pros of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing has been around since forever, but it has taken off like wildfire over the past few years. This is partly due to the fact that when a lot of people lost their jobs due to the pandemic, they turned to online work and businesses.
Here are the reasons why it is an appealing business to enter:
You can establish a successful affiliate marketing business without launching a company, product, or service.
A successful affiliate marketer only needs the internet to thrive. You can get started with selling products and promoting services without doing any of the hard work of running a business.
All you have to do is connect your audience to the right partners and start promoting their products or — as we call it — offers. With an affiliate program, you get rewarded for sending customers to other businesses that can provide what they need – no inventory required!
Affiliate marketing is a scalable business.
Another advantage of affiliate marketing is its scalability. Unlike traditional advertising methods, such as television or radio ads, affiliates can reach a global audience through their online channels. You can traverse markets in other countries even without leaving your own!
You can work from anywhere.
Becoming an affiliate offers a lot of great benefits — the biggest one being that you can work anytime, anywhere. No more rushing to the office; instead, all you need is a laptop and an internet connection! It couldn’t be simpler.
You can take advantage of being able to make your own schedule; you can check in on your campaigns and contact advertisers and affiliate managers from the comfort of your own home or from that exotic beach halfway across the world.
Now, this isn’t to say working as an affiliate is a total breeze; there’s still lots of work involved, but at least it won’t involve hitting rush hour traffic every morning or being required to stay in the same city for years.
It’s very easy to enter.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make extra cash, regardless of your experience level. You don’t need to be an internet mogul with a website or an internet sensation with millions of followers; something as simple as a rudimentary social media account could help you start raking in the moolah. Or if you’re too shy to show your face, you can even just buy traffic (more on that later).
And Amazon’s affiliate marketing program isn’t the only game in town — you can also grab some earnings from affiliate networks and make money in various ways like mobile subscriptions, leads, app downloads, and more!
More and more businesses are utilizing affiliate programs.
With affiliate programs, businesses can easily capitalize on the power of influencers to get their brand and services in front of potential customers. It’s also arguably the best way for affiliates to make money; you get to support a brand that you believe in while earning from it at the same time.
And with more businesses opening their own affiliate program, you’ll have no shortage of offers to promote.
You can choose to focus on any niche.
As an affiliate marketer, you have a choice — do you want to promote something that is close to your heart, or do you want to venture into a potential goldmine of niches you never even knew existed? Sounds intriguing, I know!
Regardless of which route you take, all that matters is your strategy and optimization tactics. You can find immense success by leveraging both your skillset and technology to stick with an industry or move across multiple verticals.
The possibilities are limitless if you make the right choices!
Cons of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing has all the hallmarks of a great business venture. Of course, like any business venture, there are risks involved with affiliate marketing.
It’s insanely competitive.
One risk is that the market can become oversaturated with competition, making it more difficult for new affiliates to break into the industry.
Right now, everyone wants to be an influencer. Everyone wants to be the next social media sensation. Everyone wants to work online so they can travel the world.
It’s a richly rewarding path for some entrepreneurs, but it’s a minefield for others.
The truth is that it is intensely competitive, so if you’re embarking on the journey of affiliate marketing, it’s essential to understand that you’ll need strong strategies in place to make the most of your efforts.
You don’t have to be a genius or a master marketer right out of the gate, but you do need to have some interesting ideas, a unique approach, and use every opportunity wisely if you want to succeed.
It is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Let’s get real — affiliate marketing is no walk in the park. People who tell you that this is the ultimate get-rich-quick online venture or that you’ll make thousands of dollars of passive income your first month (oh, those Youtubers) are feeding you a big fat fib.
Knowing how to succeed with affiliate marketing really does require some work — tons of high-quality content if you want to promote using a website and several months’ worth of effort if you want to generate any traction.
And if you’re buying traffic, expect to spend a hefty sum — we’re talking several thousand dollars — just for testing offers and campaigns. Bust out your wallet, folks!
All I’m saying is that success doesn’t come easy — so don’t believe the hype next time someone tells you it’s a piece of cake!
You can easily lose money if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you opt to create a niche website to try and promote your offer, then it’s likely going to take some investment in both time and money. If you decide to start buying traffic to drive more eyeballs toward your offer, that’s another cost on top of everything else.
But without proper optimization techniques in place, those initiatives can cost you dearly in the long run.
Many affiliate marketers eagerly start, only to turn back to their 9-to-5 after losing their hard-earned money from a few unoptimized and improperly set up campaigns.
So don’t quit your job yet! Learn the ropes, improve your campaigns, and when you’re consistently hitting your monthly goals, that’s when you can let go of being part of the corporate world.
By staying up-to-date on trends and continuously improving your skills and strategies, you can become the successful affiliate marketer that you’ve always coveted.
Different Ways to Promote Offers as an Affiliate
There are several ways by which you can promote your offers as an affiliate. Let’s talk about the three best ones:
As an Influencer
Although promoting an affiliate program by being an influencer sounds like a daunting task, it can often be much simpler than one might imagine. In some cases, affiliates don’t even need millions of followers — just a few hundred or thousand and a bit of determination to get started in the right direction.
All it takes is creating interesting content and getting followers’ attention through various platforms to begin making affiliate sales. The key is to find the right kind of products that are relevant to your niche and also appeal to your engaged audience.
As an influencer, you need to have an account on any of the most popular social networks today, the biggest of which are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok. Having an established following is not necessary at the onset — you can grow these through paid promotions from Facebook Ads (formerly Meta Ads) and Tiktok Ads.
In order to be successful, it’s important to promote the product in an effective way without coming off as too sales-y. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Tell stories that resonate with your followers and include visuals — whether it’s a video, photo, or GIF — that resonates with what you’re trying to say. Everyone responds to stories, so be sure to craft narratives that are emotionally impactful.
- Be authentic. The goal is to relate to your audience and make sure you are as authentic as you can be. Always speak in a genuine voice that ensures your audience knows you’re not just selling them something for the sake of a sale. This will show them you have their best interests at heart. Don’t shy away from showcasing your personality in each post — this is what will set you apart and engage your followers.
- Give your opinion on the product or service and explain why you’ve chosen to partner with this brand instead of others. Don’t make the product or offer sound too good to be true, or else your audience will immediately see through your intentions. Highlight the unique features of the brand you are promoting, but you don’t have to do it in one go. Try to provide valuable content around the product or offer that has relevance to your target audience.
- Be creative and engaging. Want to make sure you’re turning heads when promoting affiliate offers and products? Creativity is key — think outside the box and come up with unique ways to present your content.
- Plan your content around the customer journey. It’s important to build a relationship with your audience by providing content for every step of their journey. From introducing them to a new product to helping them make an informed decision, keeping customers engaged can help you stand out from the rest.
- Be strategic with how often you post your promotional content. Posting too much can create banner blindness among your followers, while going too long between posts may lead people to forget why they should take action.
With the right formula, you can easily become a successful influencer marketing your preferred affiliate marketing program!
As a Website Publisher
If you want to start affiliate marketing without having to parade around in front of the camera, becoming a website publisher is an excellent option. As a publisher, you can use your own website as a platform to promote products, services, or even events and make a commission in return.
Website publishing involves creating content and increasing traffic to market the affiliate products or offers you are promoting. Creating engaging and informative articles, videos, podcasts, or blog posts will help garner interest in your website. You can also use targeted ads or social media posts to help draw even more attention.
But before you jump ahead, it’s wise to prepare yourself for the journey. Starting off on the right foot means understanding and equipping yourself with effective strategies that will ensure success down the line.
Writing effective content is just one of the steps in getting tangible returns from affiliate offers. Here are my top tips on how to start — and what to look out for:
- Choose the right niche: Pick a niche that you are passionate about and has high demand in the market.
- Build a strong brand: Create a strong brand identity for your website with a memorable domain name, logo, and color scheme.
- Create engaging content: Create valuable and engaging content that resonates with your audience. Use different formats such as blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.
- Optimize your website for search engines: Research and use keywords strategically throughout your website to improve its visibility on search engines.
- Build an email list: Offer freebies such as eBooks or courses in exchange for email addresses to build an email list of potential customers. The money is on the mailing list!
- Be transparent: Disclose that you are promoting affiliate products and be transparent about any compensation received from them.
- Use social media wisely: Leverage social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to drive traffic to your website and promote affiliate products.
- Test and track results: Continuously test different strategies and track results using analytics tools to optimize performance. Keep a close eye on your traffic, affiliate link clicks, click-through rates, and conversion rates so you can adjust your strategies accordingly.
- Promote a combination of short-term and long-term offers. Bear in mind that evergreen affiliate topics will always remain valuable pieces of content — so don’t forget to take advantage! A few good niches with evergreen potential are weight loss, insurance, loans, antivirus/VPN, and cryptocurrency.
- Most importantly, be authentic. Don’t create content solely for the purpose of promoting an affiliate offer — make sure it offers value but provides clickable content as well.
The downside to being a website publisher is that it takes a lot of time and a whole lot of effort to build a website with quality content and with enough traffic.
Is there an easier alternative? Yes, there is.
As a Media Buyer
For those looking for a fast way to make money in the affiliate marketing world, media buying could be just what you need. No complicated website content or social media interaction needed — all it takes is some cash, and you’re good to go!
However, one thing I would like to stress is that it isn’t easy or inexpensive. Sure, it’s easier and quicker than other methods, but don’t let that fool you. It’s a breakneck endeavor and requires more than just some pocket money to get you going.
You need to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing to get the results you want. So if this sounds like something you want to do, remember that it may take a few extra steps and some planning ahead before jumping into the deep end.
Lightning-fast results are possible, but remember that this will involve careful driving within complex systems, so some knowledge behind the wheel is recommended!
If you’d like to test media buying out, we have a handful of articles and guides that can help you out:
- CPA Marketing: A Step-By-Step Guide
- Affiliate Marketing Without a Website
- Media Buying Strategy: The Beginner’s Guide
Tips to Succeed in Affiliate Marketing
Now is the perfect time to take advantage of this age-old method for making money online. If you’re ready to get started with affiliate marketing success, listen up!
Here are some key tips to help you reach your goals.
Join Forums and Read Blogs on Affiliate Marketing
If you want to succeed in affiliate marketing, you’ll need the right resources and support.
Joining a few forums, such as affLIFT and STM Forum, is a great way to stay updated with new ad formats, advertising networks, affiliate networks, tools, and more. You can even establish a helpful network of fellow affiliates.
However, if funds are an issue and the subscription fees are too high for you, you can still gain helpful advice by reading blogs like the Mobidea Academy. The Academy tons of quality information and insider tips on how to navigate the affiliate marketing landscape successfully.
Aside from the basic tips, look for Case Studies and Follow-Alongs (in forums), so you’ll be able to see actual results. You’ll also learn how the affiliates running the ads worked their way to make the campaign profitable, what challenges they encountered, and how they managed to resolve them (if they did).
Competitive Intelligence is Key
Successful affiliate marketing means doing your research on the competition. Spy tools can be a great resource and can help point toward innovative tactics, but it’s important to avoid simply copying. Use what you find as inspiration to come up with new ideas that your competitors haven’t thought of yet.
Too many affiliate marketers are following the same strategies, leading audiences to become bored and desensitized. Why not mix things up and make your strategies unique?
Stand out from the crowd by using creative approaches that set you apart from the competition and connect with your audience on a more personal level. Get curious, get innovative, and most importantly — get ahead!
Learn the Best Niches per Event or Season
Before jumping headfirst into any promotions, it is important to remember that each season, month, or event carries with it its own unique offers. In other words, make sure you get up to speed on which offer will be best for each time of the year!
This might sound intimidating, but pay attention – this is the first year since the pandemic when everything should return to its normal pacing and trends from pre-pandemic times. Refresh your knowledge on what offers were successful a few years before the pandemic and use that as a guide.
Test Out a Variety of Ad Formats
Sure, tapping into social media platforms can be great — but don’t let other attractive (and often more traditional) advertising forms slip behind. We have native, display, pop, push, domain redirects, video ads, and more.
Although we did say that you should try various formats, it doesn’t mean you should become a Jack-of-All-Trades. Choose among those you’ve tested and master one — this is the best way to succeed in media buying.
Promote to Eager Online Spenders
One key tip if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing is making sure you know how to reach out to the tech-savvy Gen Z demographic. They have money to spend and an ever-evolving appetite for online products. However, they can easily identify fraud-looking ads, so be smart when marketing to them.
Promote like you would promote your own business if it were a neighbor looking in! Be passionate about the affiliate product or offer, provide value and information, and make sure any deals are actually worth their time.
If you focus on building relationships with Gen Z instead of tricking them into clicking the purchase button, you’ll have a better shot at long-term success as an affiliate marketer.
Join a Beginner-Friendly Affiliate Network
If you’re looking to get in on the lucrative affiliate marketing action, then you’ve got to start by joining some beginner-friendly networks. Joining an established and reputable affiliate network can make all the difference in your success.
One of the best options out there is Mobidea — it’s been around for a while and has a great variety of offer verticals, so you have plenty to choose from! Plus, it’s a reliable partner that won’t leave you high and dry. You’ll find a lot of training materials at Mobidea Academy. To top it off, you can easily reach out to your affiliate manager if you have questions.
Read this guide if you want to learn more about choosing CPA offers in Mobidea.
Frequently Asked Questions on Affiliate Marketing
Can you truly earn money with affiliate marketing?
Absolutely! I can confirm that affiliate marketing is a legitimate way to make money online. The truth is it’s not always easy money — like any other profession; it requires hard work, dedication, and the right knowledge.
To really make an impact in this field, you need to learn how to leverage technology, engage potential customers, and develop solid relationships with partners.
How much can you realistically make with affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money if you put in the effort to get it right. The amount of money you can make with affiliate marketing depends largely on the effort and strategy you invest in it.
Factors such as the niche you’re targeting, the customer’s lifetime value, the ad formats you use, the creatives you prepare, and where your traffic comes from will all play a role in how much you make.
My experience has shown that if everything is done correctly, income can range anywhere from several hundred dollars per month to tens of thousands per month. Super affiliates earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a month!
Is it hard to be an affiliate marketer?
There’s a lot of trial and error involved in this business, so the answer is yes and no. Testing multiple offers, creating ads and landing pages, managing affiliate marketing spend, and optimizing campaigns are daunting tasks.
But you will be able to get used to it, and it’ll become easier over time, especially if you use the right technology (trackers, optimizers, spy tools, LP builders, and more).
Is affiliate marketing good for beginners?
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to get your feet wet in the online business world. For starters, you don’t have to create your own product and you don’t have to deal with any customer service stuff.
All you need is a product or service to promote and an audience ready to buy it.
Plus, most affiliate programs are free to join and set up, so there’s literally no entry barrier—anyone with an internet connection can get started. With a little bit of learning and hard work on your part, you could quickly find yourself in the black!