Amazon Associates is an amazing program for people looking to get started making money online, and develop a business that has sustainable, reliable payments each month.
Amazon has nearly every product under the sun so you never run out of offers to promote on your niche sites.
However, when it comes to commission structure, Amazon isn’t always giving you the highest commission rates in the industry.
Amazon recently implemented some changes that are going to affect how much money people are making from their sites.
Instead of providing a flat commission structure, like 8% for instance, they are changing the commission structure on the category level, so depending on the category that you’re promoting products out of, your commission structure could be capped at 4%, like electronics have been for years.
Starting March 1st, 2017, the new commission structure has been put into place, and many affiliates are finding out that their sites are no longer producing the income they once were.
Jon created a great post over at Authority Website Income that goes into detail about the changes, and the new commission structure for each category of products that you’ll want to check out by clicking here.
If you’re looking to increase the income on your affiliate sites that already have traffic coming into them, you’re going to want to look into other networks that provide higher commission levels, longer cookie durations, and open up even more opportunities for you to make money through promoting other products, services, and offers that may not be available on the Amazon platform.
We’re going to help you discover a few new affiliate networks that have developed a reputation for themselves by making payouts each month without issues, having a huge number of advertisers looking for you to promote their offers, and higher commission structures than what Amazon provides.
Two Types Of Commissions
When you’re venturing away from Amazon, you’re going to encounter some new terms that other affiliate networks use to identify how you’re going to get paid whenever someone takes your recommendation on an offer you’re promoting.
CPS, sometimes also referred to as PPS (Pay-Per-Sale) is generally a low risk and high profit strategy that’s employed by affiliate networks like Amazon. Whenever you get a visitor to take your recommendation and send them off to Amazon to make a purchase, you’re paid a commission for the sale.
Many marketers love the CPS / PPS model because it’s relatively low hassle, and makes it easy to generate an income with their site. Once they refer a sale and the sale is finalized, they get credited for the sale and can see how much money they’re making every day.
Advertisers love the model because it’s essentially free advertising and marketing for their products, services, or offers, and generates new customers for their business that they may not have obtained otherwise, if they didn’t have an open affiliate program.
Coincidentally, this is also why commissions are so much higher with CPS / PPS than other affiliate marketing models. Because the customers are essentially free to the advertiser, they’re fine with paying higher upfront commissions, knowing that they’re going to make more money off the customer on the backend.
Cost-Per-Action (or CPA) on the other hand, pays affiliates whenever a specific action is taken and doesn’t require a sale to be generated for you to receive credit and get paid for having one of your visitors perform the action.
Generally, CPA campaigns will typically pay for clicks, impressions, optins, signups, registrations, form submits, and other basic actions that help generate leads for the advertiser that they can follow up with and convert into paying customers.
Payout and commission percentages are typically lower with CPA campaigns, but they’re usually open to driving even more traffic to the offers than what is normally possible with a CPS / PPS campaign.
More people are willing to submit their information in exchange for a free offer than they are to purchase a product, in the case of a pay-per-sale campaign.
Other Terms You’ll Want To Understand
While using other networks, you’re going to encounter some terms that you’ll want to understand to ensure that you’re making educated decisions and aren’t going to confuse yourself when you start promoting offers from the advertiser you’ve applied for.
- Earnings Per Click: When you are looking at the estimated earnings per click (EPC), you’re getting an idea of how much money you can expect to earn for each click that you send to the advertiser. This is an estimated number, but gives you an idea for how much money you can make given the traffic levels you currently send to other advertisers from your site.
- Reversal Rates: You can relate this metric to Amazon’s refund rate. When a sale or commission is reversed it’s usually caused by the customer returning the product or providing false information for the offer that you’re promoting.
- Average Sales Amount: The average sales amount is available to help you determine what the average order price is that customers are paying whenever they complete an order through the advertiser you have sent them to. It helps you figure out how much money you’re going to make for each sale that’s generated.
- Average Commission: Many advertisers like to show you what other marketers are earning, as far as their commission structure goes, and takes into account the average sales amount multiplied by the advertiser’s commission rate.
So, let's get started...
ShareASale is one of the largest affiliate networks currently available, outside of Amazon, and they house more than 4,000 different advertisers looking to have you start generating sales. More than 1,000 of those advertisers are exclusive to ShareASale.
When it comes to providing information about the offers that you’re thinking of promoting, ShareASale offers quite a bit of information for you to dig through, to ensure that you’re going to be working with a legitimate advertiser.
- Earnings per click
- Reversal rates
- Average sales amounts
- Average commissions paid
ShareASale has quite a few different advantages over other affiliate networks.
However, they also have clunky reporting tools that can be hard to navigate.
Their affiliate dashboard seems like it was built in 2000, and it’s hard to work your way around it. Once you get familiar with their dashboard, though, using it starts to become more intuitive.
Outside of Amazon Associates, CommissionJunction (or CJ Affiliate) is the largest affiliate network currently available. If you’ve been an affiliate marketer for any length of time, you’ve probably already heard about them.
Nearly every major retailer that sells products online has an affiliate program through the CJ Affiliate platform, which means you’re going to have a hard time not finding products, services, or offers that you can promote on your website.
One of the biggest benefits of working with CJ Affiliate is that their advertisers have full media teams devoted to creating different ads in various sizes so you can find the perfect ad to fit in with the layout and design of your website.
Advertisers on CJ Affiliate also tend to offer substantially longer cookie durations, so you can be paid for sales that are made within 30 to 60 days after the visitor has clicked on the link from your website.
Finding offers to promote through CJ Affiliate is also easy and straightforward. You can compare advertisers against each other using a bunch of different metrics, and then apply to be given the opportunity to promote them.
Once your application has been approved, you can find the code to place the links or banner ads on your site and be running multiple different offers in a few short hours.
Here’s some of the advantages of CJ Affiliate.
There are a few disadvantages of CJ Affiliate when comparing them to other affiliate networks, though.
One of the oldest affiliate networks we’ve featured, Rakuten Linkshare is smaller than CJ Affiliate and ShareASale but are still a major player for affiliates looking for new opportunities to earn from their affiliate based websites.
Rakuten Linkshare offers a couple different features that separate them from the rest of the pack.
They give you the ability to rotate through multiple different ads and formats to keep your website fresh and keep your visitors from becoming banner blind.
They also offer more versatile deep linking, so you can link directly to products or services that you’re wanting to promote.
CJ Affiliate, for instance, don’t always allow you to directly link to products you’re promoting, which means you need to link to the advertiser’s homepage and direct your visitors to the product you’re promoting.
Rakuten Linkshare has a few advantages over other networks.
However, they also have a couple disadvantages.
Two Other Notable Affiliate Networks
ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, and Rakuten Linkshare aren’t the only options you have available when you’re wanting to diversify away from the Amazon Associates program, or look for new offers, products, and services to promote on your affiliate based websites.
Avangate is currently known for their software and mobile related app availability, providing one of the largest marketplaces for affiliates to promote apps and software. They have everything available from games, utilities, PC tools, antivirus and anti-malware software, photo and video editors, currency trading software, and more.
If you are able to promote mobile apps and software through your site, you can expect to earn substantially higher commissions through Avangate than you’ll find through some physical product based affiliate networks.
Most of the products through Avangate also have free trials, so you can get paid without your visitor actually being forced to make a payment or purchase the product. Getting to try the offer before they actually make a purchase dramatically increases your chances of making a commission.
One downside to Avangate is that a significant number of advertisers on their network do not provide creative and ad media for you to use to promote their services, which means you’ll need to create the ads and banners that you’re using yourself.
They pay via PayPal on a monthly basis and do not currently have a minimum payment threshold that you’ll need to meet before you can receive a payment.
Clickbank is currently one of the biggest and most popular affiliate networks when you want to promote digital products.
Their marketplace is huge and growing everyday, giving you a massive amount of options when you’re looking for new offers to promote.
You will want to make sure that you do your research before promoting products on Clickbank, though. The ease of listing a product on their marketplace means that there is also a significant amount of low-quality products that have high refund rates.
If you promote low quality products through Clickbank’s marketplace, you can rest assured that you will upset your visitors and earn a reputation for pushing junk to your subscribers. That’s a recipe for disaster when you’re trying to build a legitimate business and continue making money.
Even though Amazon Associates is one of the best ways for beginners to get started, and experienced marketers to build a stable income from their affiliate based websites, there are other options available that could lead to increased commissions and revenue from the existing traffic you already have coming into your site.
The options that we’ve listed here are all worth your time, and spending a few hours digging through each one to find new offers could prove to be very lucrative to you if you already have a profitable Amazon website or are looking for offers that aren’t currently available through Amazon.