Can Affiliate Marketing Be Profitable?

by Shawn Collins on April 2, 2015


Q: with an average CTR of 1.5% and a good conversion rate being around 2% I need to drive insane traffic to a site for it to be profitabel, or so it seems. Obviously, “insane” traffic is the goal, but realistically speaking, how hard is to make affiliate marketing a profitable venture. I read that 39.9% of affiliate marketers profit less than $5,000/year. It certainly depends on the person, but I would still like to know some honest and realistic figures that are hype-free. Thanks!

Shawn CollinsA: I am not sure of the source of the 39.9% figure, but in the AffStat 2014 survey that we conducted and published last year, the closest data point we had was that 46% of affiliate marketers made less than $20,000 the previous year. That data was compiled from surveys with over 1,800 affiliates.

That said, it’s certainly very common for many affiliates to make little to no money from their efforts, due to a variety of factors, including a lack of time invested, or a site that really doesn’t provide value.

Some factors that will play a role in your success or failure include…

  • your topic or niche
  • the network or technology used to track and report, and likelihood you will receive earned commission (I have a bias against in-house tracking)
  • products or services being promoted, as conversions and commissions vary greatly
  • target audience, which could dictate the amount of disposable income
  • the average order value (AOV) of the products or services you are promoting
  • the competition and level of saturation in the marketplace
  • the destination of your traffic: homepage vs. deep links
  • the creative being used
  • the support and resources from the affiliate program, which could be intelligence on best sellers

Hopefully that helps you get some clarity on your question.

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