Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It: Will 2021 Be A Good Year for Affiliates?

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Affiliate marketing started in 1989. It has decades-worth of changes, both good and bad. Hence, we can’t really say that things now are the same as in the past. There are different techniques, tools, and even affiliate programs.

Now, the only question is: Is affiliate marketing worth it? If so, will 2021 be a good year for affiliate marketers?

For today’s article, we will try to answer the question. It will help those who are looking into starting out in the business niche. You can expect to know how profitable affiliate marketing is in 2021. Later on, we will also give some tips on how to earn more.

How Much Does an Affiliate Make?

On average, an affiliate marketer can make more or less than $60,000 per year. 

Affiliates do not have a fixed income. However, based on stats, we have something called the top and bottom 10%.

The top 10% are marketers who earn an average of $71,000 per year. Usually, it includes experts and veterans in the field, and this part is also where famous figures like Robby Blanchard, Pat Flynn, and Missy Ward belong. 

On the flip side, the bottom 10% gets around $37,000 on average per annum, where starters usually belong. It means that if you decide to start being an affiliate, you will be at the bottom 10%.

Note that it may take months before one can get out of the bottom 10%. Some can even take a year or so. 

It will depend on certain factors like:

Even if you’re on the high-end part of the above factors, it still can’t guarantee you a spot in the top 10. 

It’s because you still have to take uncontrolled aspects into account. For instance, it can include your market’s behavior. So you should also look out for market trends. 

The said factors will, instead, make an impact on how fast you can make progress. 

One issue that surrounds the field is the high expectations in terms of income. It’s important to keep in mind that this job is only for passive income. 

Hence, it’s not supposed to go in line with your day job salary. Moreover, being an affiliate does not mean easy money, and it requires less time, but it does not assure a continuous and stable income. This part is where most beginners get confused.

Is Affiliate Marketing Still Profitable?

Because of COVID-19 from 2020, many people are wondering if affiliate marketing is still profitable. For a quick answer, yes. Affiliate marketing is still profitable, and in fact, it’s far from going at a loss.

As of 2020, reports state that affiliate marketing is worth $16 billion. The Awin Report further finds that it can grow up to 10% more in 2021. Hence, it supports the field’s claim in terms of earning profit. 

In addition, people are more dependent on the net now more than ever. In 2020, over 80% of total buyers shopped in online stores instead of physical ones. Note that we’re talking about global stats here.

Thus, it’s evident that affiliates have higher chances of getting sales. What makes it better is it does not apply to only a few fields.

Here are some of the most profitable niches that you should look into:

1. Health & Lifestyle

Health and Lifestyle products reached $4 trillion in 2019. Because it became more needed in 2020 and 2021, it can reach up to $6 trillion up to 2025. If you’re looking for a long-term niche, then you should consider this field.

2. Technology

Technology includes both physical gadgets and digital apps. It also covers online marketing. Because of its wide coverage, its current worth is at $500 billion. This niche is also one of the most common online. 

3. Financing

The financing niche involves crypto, loaning services, and banking institutions. The last reported worth of personal finance fields is at $12 billion. However, it’s subject to grow up to $300 billion in 2025. 

4. Pet Care

The pet care niche is close to reaching $100 billion in 2021. Moreover, experts still expect to rise up to 9% in the coming years. This field covers all pet-related needs like food, accessories, and likes.

5. Beauty & Cosmetics

Beauty & Cosmetics is a timeless field. In 2020, it recorded a total sales worth of $483 billion, and it also grows annually by 4.75%. Hence, you can expect it to go a little over $716 billion by 2025.

If you want to assure you are targeting a huge market, you should try the niches above.  Experts recommend those to beginners who do not have a certain forte yet.

Affiliate Marketing Statistics in 2021

As of 2021, here are the global statistics that you should know:

  • About 80% of brands use affiliate marketing to promote their products.
  • The USA has a 39% share in the market. It makes them have the largest market share in the field.
  • On average, 65% of affiliates use blogging to generate traffic and leads.
  • Globally, 40% of marketers believe that affiliate marketing is an essential skill.
  • Mobile devices generate 50% of traffic.
  • More than 65% of affiliates use social media to promote.
  • In 2021, only 9% of affiliates earn $50,000 and more from their commissions.
  • ShareASale covers 55% of the market share in the industry.
  • From 2015 to 2020, the interest in the affiliate field grew up to 200%.
  • B2C products and services are the focus of 81.4% of marketers.

Why should you have an idea about the latest affiliate stats?

Unlike what you may think, the facts above are not just mere trivia. And you can use them to plan your affiliate journey, and they will also give you an idea of what to expect from the field.

For a better view of this topic, here are the tasks where you can use the said stats:

1. Planning out marketing techniques

Stats about the most profitable marketing apps, tools, and programs can help you plan out your techniques. Based on them, you won’t have to go through a lot of trial and error.

2. Finding out the current competition level

It can be hard to keep up with the tight competition. Hence, it’s better to avoid it if you’re a beginner. To find out which programs belong here, you can just view the latest stats.

3. Getting an idea about top programs

If you want to apply for the most profitable program, you can also view stats. In this way, you won’t have to go through deep research, which can take a lot of time.

4. Knowing the most profitable platform for marketing

Analytics can also help those who are thinking about what platform they should use for marketing. These can tell if social media sites, video content, or blogs gather the most traffic and sales.

5. Deducing field status in the long run

Of course, an overall view of 2021 stats will let you know about affiliate marketing’s status. From the details above, we can say that the field will be profitable up to 2025.

As long as you keep up with the stats, it will be easy for you to have the right tactics for marketing.

Note that the stats can change anytime. Hence, it’s best to view them from time to time.

Should You Be An Affiliate in 2021? 

If you’re mainly looking at profit, then you should be an affiliate in 2021.  Everyone can be an affiliate. The question, though, is, should be one? 

Good news: if you’re looking for a good passive income, you need to consider it. 

Most especially, this side job will help you if:

  • You’re looking for an easy passive income

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest to start for passive income. If you have a day job and want another income source, you should start being an affiliate. Not only is it easy, but you also don’t need to go through long processes.

  • You want to enhance your skills in marketing

You should also start out in the field if you want to improve your marketing skills. It will be more effective than taking a course, and it’s because you can experience firsthand the tasks of a marketer. It will also be a way to have experience in the field.

Being an affiliate is the key if you have a business and want to have an affiliate program. It will allow you to make solutions that will be beneficial for both your business and the affiliate. 

In addition, you will be able to see the programs of your close competitors. Hence, you can expect to have a higher competitive advantage.

If you find yourself in the ones above, you can make the most out of the field. What’s better is you won’t have to worry about losing money. You can start to begin an affiliate even without capital. As long as you have time, you can start building your brand as an affiliate.

Most Profitable Affiliate Marketing Programs in 2021

There are a lot of programs online. However, because of the very long list, it can be hard to look into each. Fortunately, you don’t have to look further. 

This section provided a list of some of the most profitable affiliate marketing programs in 2021.

1. Hostinger Affiliate Program

Hostinger is a web hosting service. Here, you can market WordPress Hosting, VPS, and Cloud.

They offer a 60% commission rate for their affiliates. Moreover, signing up for the program is easy and free, and you will also get a personal affiliate manager once you get accepted.

The cookie life of 90 days is also long. The brand allows payouts once you reach $100, and you will get paid every 15th of the month through PayPal.

The only con for this program is they don’t count renewals, and it means that you will only get paid for first-time referrals.

2. SEMRush

SEMRush is a brand offering tools for SEO, PPC, research, and more. Basically, you will promote marketing-related products here.

The commission rate comes up to 40%. They also offer bonuses. For instance, you will get $200 for the first sale and $10 when one activates a free trial. Application is also free.

The program’s cookie life is 120 days, and it’s a relatively long period, so you won’t have to be worried about wasted referrals.

For payouts, they allow $50 for PayPal withdrawals. The issue is when you cash out through wire transfer, and if so, they will require a minimum of $1,000.

3. Amazon Associates

Amazon is one of the biggest shopping platforms. It assures vast choices for product promotions. You can market almost any item. For instance, you can choose from electronics, fashion, lifestyle, and more.

Commission rates will depend on the product type, and they will range from 1% to 10%. It’s not much, but you have more products to promote. Hence, it will be easier for you to earn commissions.

For the cookie life, it can be from 24 hours to 90 days. This time, it will depend on the market’s actions towards your affiliate link. Unfortunately, Amazon Associates don’t support PayPal payouts, and it is its only con.

4. Fiverr Affiliates

For Fiverr, you will be endorsing services. It’s like Amazon, but instead of products, you have to look into sellers. This platform also assures vast choices to the market. Mostly, however, you will work with digital services like web design, graphics, and likes.

Here, the rate comes up to 10% on average. It will still vary on what kind of gig you promoted.  The cookie life, on the other hand, lasts for 30 days. Fiverr is generous to its affiliates. There is no recurring payment, but they offer a lot of bonuses.

5. InvoiceNinja

With InvoiceNinja, you will be promoting a digital app. From the name, the tool is for invoices. You will get the most results if you market it to businesses. What makes it good is it can fit any business size. Hence, opportunities are still the same.

The commission rate is currently at 50%. It is subject to recurring payments if the user continues their subscription.

The disadvantage of this program is the cookie life. It will depend on the browser’s active session, and thus, it can be hard to keep track of.

You can have more than one program. In fact, you can have as many as you want. For starters, though, it’s best to start with one. Gradually apply for more once you see progress in your marketing skills. Doing so will help you avoid overloaded tasks, and it will also prevent you from being overwhelmed.

How to Choose the Right Affiliate Marketing Program

Your affiliate program will affect a lot of things in your journey. It is where you can get commissions, promotional materials, and more. At the same time, the benefits that you will get will also depend on the merchant. 

Hence, you can’t just pick a famous one to apply for, and you need to take a close look at the whole program.

To help you, here are some factors that you should take into account to land on the right program:

1. Niche

First, you need to take a look at the niche. It refers to the field of the program. Do they focus on technology? Do they offer physical products? Is the brand all about digital services?

Setting profit aside, choose a field that you like. Better yet, pick a niche that you have a lot of knowledge about. Doing so will make promotions easier for you. 

You can apply for a program that offers general fields like Amazon. It’s a good choice if you want a large base. On the flip side, sticking to a single niche can help build a consistent audience base. It will depend on your preference.

2. Overall Offers

Most importantly, you should view the overall offers of a brand. Initially, you need to know their commission rates. Is it on the low, mid, or high side? The average rate ranges from 5% to 30%. To see if you will earn from it, consider the products at the price you will market.

Another thing that you should consider is the payout. A high minimum payout is not ideal, and it can be challenging for you to get your earnings if so. You should also look at how often they release payouts. Other factors include cookie life and bonuses.

3. Terms & Conditions

There are some cases wherein a program’s terms and conditions put the affiliate at a disadvantage. Hence, make it a habit to read the merchant’s agreements. It may be long, but it will prevent you from choosing a faulty program.

4. Competition

As a beginner, it can be hard to keep up if you enter a program with high competition. Thus, it’s best if you choose a relatively smaller program to join. It will help you earn more. At the same time, it will be easier for you to gather an audience base for your posts.

Note that you should take all the factors into account. You can’t just look at the offered commission, and doing so can lead to more cons than pros. 

In addition, it’s crucial to know if your goals are in line with the program. It will help you know if their offers will benefit you. 

Tips on How to Be Profitable in Affiliate Marketing

Even if affiliate marketing is profitable, it doesn’t mean that you will get thousands, and your earnings will still depend on your performance.

Because of it, you need to focus on how to be an efficient affiliate. Here are some tips on how to keep your brand profitable:

  • Invest in marketing tools

Using tools is not necessary. However, investing in marketing apps can help improve your progress, and it will also widen your choices in terms of techniques. For instance, you can use email marketing tools, SMS responders, funnels, and more, and it will be more effective than using blogs alone.

Of course, you don’t have to find expensive ones, and you just need apps that can do the job. On a side note, make sure that your investments won’t be bigger than your earnings.

  • Be socially present

If you’re only using a blogging site, it can be hard for you to build a name. Hence, you should consider being present in most, if not all, sites. You can sign up for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and all of these are free.

You can also make video content on Youtube and TikTok, and these apps will guarantee a larger market base.

  • Improve credibility

For people to buy the products you’re promoting, they need to trust you. To make it possible, you should build your credibility. You have to portray your image as an expert. When buyers can rest assured that you know what you’re talking about, there’s a higher chance for them to buy your affiliate products.

One way to do this task is to be present in forums and discussions. For starters, you should try out Quora and Reddit, and these apps will let you share your knowledge. 

  • Use a content-rich approach

When marketing a product or a service, you need to focus on content. You can’t just say that this item is good, and people should buy it.

Instead, go deeper when talking about one’s pros, cons, and what one should expect. Make it a priority to share info rather than directly reaching for sales. Not only will it not work, but the market may start seeing you as spam.

Keep in mind that in affiliate marketing, you are appealing to the market. Hence, you shouldn’t focus on pleasing your program, and your techniques should focus on your niche’s customers. Once you start to master this fact, being an affiliate will be a piece of cake.


For a quick answer, affiliate marketing is still profitable, and you can still earn a lot in the field. More so, 2021 will be a fruitful year.

The industry is currently worth $16 billion as per the latest stats, and experts also say that it will be higher in 2021.

Of course, note that the profit you’ll make will still vary, and it will depend on many factors. These include your program and techniques, and the number of marketing platforms will also affect your income.

For a disclaimer, affiliate marketing is not a replacement for your day job. Hence, even if it’s profitable, you shouldn’t expect constant and large income from it.

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling, photography, and blogging. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of blogging. Discover how to turn your passions and pastimes into an online business.

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