4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing the Best Affiliate Programs for You
This article lays out the most important features every blogger should look out for when signing up to an affiliate program. Keep an eye out for our free PDF table, comparing the features of notable affiliate marketing programs at the end of the article.
Before jumping into the heart of the action, let’s start by laying out the context. First off, what are Affiliate Programs? They are collaborative programs that allow bloggers, influencers, or websites to generate income by marketing a company’s products through their content. Affiliate programs are easy to join. They allow bloggers to promote products they believe in while generating a commission. As a result, they have become quite a popular monetization solution. Affiliate programs have become quite popular as they are easy to adopt, and allow bloggers to promote products they believe in, and as a result, generate a commission. As a blogger trying to choose the right affiliate program, you’ll find yourself faced with countless options to pick from.
This can get quite confusing especially when you don’t even know where to start looking, which is why we drew up a list of 4 critical questions to help you identify the perfect fit for your blog and brand:
1. What products will I market on my blog?
Every affiliate program gives you access to a certain catalogue of goods; these can vary from books to software, to makeup. As you’ll be recommending these products to your audience, it’s important to consider how they align with your blog’s positioning. For instance, a Food Blogger might recommend Jamie Oliver’s newest cookbook, a subscription to Blue Apron, or even a KitchenAid mixer. The idea is to join a program that allows you to market items that enrich your content and help introduce your readers to relevant products and services they can benefit from.
2. How much commission will I earn off of every sale?
An affiliate commission is the revenue a blogger earns when their reader buys a product from the merchant company. Each affiliate program offers varying commission rates that depend on three factors: the commission’s percentage rate, which part of the reader’s checkout cart this rate applies to, and the cookie period (which we will be tackling in question 3). For instance, some programs will give you a 10% commission on the exact product you marketed on your blog. However, others offer a 6% commission on your reader’s full checkout cart, even if it contains items you have not recommended. But there’s a catch, some affiliate programs require you to have the originally marketed product in your cart, while others do not. This is why, we recommend keeping both variables in mind when making a final decision, as a “high percentage commission rate” does not always result in a “high payout.”
However, time is another factor that must be taken into consideration when looking at your commission rate. This brings us to question number three:
3. What “cookie period” am I being served?
By definition, a “browser cookie” follows a user’s online trail of breadcrumbs; so it has the ability to track how this user landed on a website, amongst other things. This is important for affiliate programs because a “browser cookie” links back a reader’s purchase to the affiliate marketer the sale originated from. But what is a “cookie period”? It’s the period of time during which a reader’s purchase can still be connected to a blogger. For instance, a cookie period set at 25-days means that if your reader makes the purchase in 25 days or less, after clicking your affiliate link, you get a commission. So just like a larger cookie makes for a happier person, a longer cookie period makes for better chances of revenue.
4. How can I display the affiliate link on my site or blog?
There are two possible formats for displaying the products you showcase on your site. The first and most common is affiliate links, which are hyperlinked excerpts of text or visuals that are part of your post. When readers click on an affiliate link, they are redirected to the marketed product, or service, or even to a piece of content (a handy feature that can help a blogger seem less commercial). The second format is ad banners, which can appear in your site’s header, sidebar, or any vacant ad space available. When choosing an affiliate linking format, it’s important to take into account how it will affect your visitor’s reading experience. Hyperlinked elements help you take on a more subtle approach, while ad banners stand out more but might be offputting to some visitors.
Needless to say, picking the right affiliate program for your blog will help you better connect with your audience, whereas choosing the wrong one will limit your ability to monetize your content. So before deciding which affiliate program to join, remember to always ask yourself:
- What products will I market on my blog?
- How much commission will I earn off of every sale?
- What “cookie period” am I being served?
- How can I display the affiliate link on my site or blog?
Full Disclosure: While we run our own affiliate program, this blog post was not written with the purpose of promoting it. With this article, we hope to empower all bloggers in making the right decision. In favor of full transparency, we have included Bookwitty along with other brands in the Comparative PDF Table, which lists the key features of some of the major affiliate programs, like Amazon, iTunes, Abebooks, eBay, and Etsy Studio. Click here to download this free table now.