How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing?

Written by: Muninder

Updated: April, 24, 2023

It is estimated that 80% of affiliates make between $0 to $80k a year. This is just an estimation from Authority Hacker.

Just an estimation because there is no straightforward answer or an easy formula to calculate an answer to this question.

You can definitely make money with affiliate marketing, but how much you earn depends on the following factors :

  1. the quantity and quality of traffic you generate
  2. the program you join,
  3. the product or service you are promoting, and
  4. most importantly the effort and time you invest in the scheme. 

Depending on these factors, some affiliate marketers make six figures a month, while others barely earn enough to scrape by. 

So how much does the average affiliate make?

Can affiliate marketing make you rich?

How soon can you start raking in profits?

In this post, I will answer all questions with not-so-straightforward answers. On top of that, there are some tips for affiliates just starting out.

How Much Do Average Affiliates Make?

There are a lot of variables involved when it comes to affiliate income. 

In general, though, affiliates can expect to make anywhere between 5% and 25% of the price of the product they sell. 

This means that if you sell a product worth $29.99, you can expect to make up to $7 from that sale. 

PayScale puts the average base salary for an affiliate marketer at $54,404, with low-tier marketers making around $40k and top-tier earning $75,000 annually. 

Glassdoor, on the other hand, estimates that the average base salary for an affiliate marketer is $55,718 or $77,352 including bonus and additional pay. 

This is for salaried employees, though. What about freelancers? 

According to a 2022 survey by Influencer Marketing Hub, 7.94% of affiliates make between $100 and $150k a month, whereas the majority (or 57.55%) earn less than $10,000 a month. 

Authority Hacker splits up affiliate marketers into four separate categories:

  • Beginner: $0 to $1,000 a month
  • Intermediate: $1000 to $10,000 a month
  • Advanced: 10k to $100k a month
  • Super Affiliate: $100k+ a month

According to their estimations, most affiliates (80%) fall in the middle, making from $0 to $80k a year. 15% are lucky enough to earn more than $80,000 a year, but only 1% are earning over $1 million annually. 

From my personal experience, the average affiliate makes between $25,000 and $50k a year. Of course, as mentioned above, affiliate income depends on so many variables, it’s impossible to predict an actual figure with any accuracy. 

Keeping these estimations aside let’s check some REAL numbers.

How much are real-life affiliates making? 

Here are a few examples from affiliates’ income reports.

There you go, the stats and estimation part of the article is done. Now its time for some TIPS.

How much can you make from affiliate marketing can depend mostly on the niche you choose. For instance, if you are good with finance-related content, given you are successful with generating traffic, you could probably make more compared to a lifestyle blogger.

As Shopify notes “Affiliate programs can be as high value as those running the affiliate program make it”. 

Affiliate commission in different niches 

Here are a couple of the most lucrative niches that I am aware of:

  • Mattress and sleep accessories: Mattress companies pay some of the highest affiliate commissions out there, ranging from $150 to $300 a sale. 
  • Web hosting: This is another profitable niche that can help you earn between $50 and $500 per referral. On top of that, web hosting companies’ affiliate programs usually offer a recurring commission which means you will get paid as long as the customer you referred keeps the subscription alive. 
  • Online dating apps: Most reputable online dating apps like eHarmony, and Match offer affiliate marketing schemes that can get you a commission of up to $120 per subscription. 
  • Travel: Companies in the travel industry can offer affiliate commissions as high as 50% per booking. 
  • Personal finance: You can also get a great deal with banks and online investment platforms. Here commissions can go as high as $250 or even $500 per lead. 
  • Online Gambling: Based on my experience with the niche, each commercial page visitor on gambling blogs is worth around $7-$9 in the long run. With revenue share models, casinos, crypto gambling, sports betting, and esports betting are the most lucrative industries for affiliate marketers.

To find a high-paying niche, all you have to do is type: “{ top brand in the niche } affiliate program”. If you are looking at website builder as a niche, type Wix affiliate program or Shopify affiliate program, you can how big the commissions or revenue share is in the niche. Take an aggregate of the top 10 brands in that niche to get a good estimation.

Keep in mind that the more lucrative the niche is the more competitive it will be. 

Affiliate Programs Conversion Rates In Different Niches

You should also look at conversion rates. Often a niche will have a high conversion rate, but offer lower payouts or vice versa. With the former, you will be making less, but you’ll start to see a profit faster.  

According to Shopify, this is what the average conversion and commission rates look like for the top niches.

Ideally, the niche you choose will be a balance between 3 aspects: competition, the size of the target audience, and your ability to create relevant and engaging content. 

The next step is to find the right affiliate marketing program to join

How to choose the right affiliate program

Finding an affiliate program may be easier said than done. There are a lot of choices out there from programs offered by merchants directly to affiliate networks. 

If you don’t know how to get started, you can find a list of products and brands to work with on affiliate marketplaces like FlexOffers, ShareASale, and AvantLink

If you’ve already come across some great products that you are interested in promoting, you can check whether the company has an affiliate program or contact them directly to work out a deal. 

Note that affiliate programs from the same company offer different rates for different products. For example, Amazon offers 10% for luxury items and beauty, but only 1% for games and game consoles. 

How to increase your affiliate income?

Finally here are some tips on how you can maximize your earnings from affiliate marketing.

  • Focus on conversion rate optimization by making small tweaks on your site, such as including comparison tables, making your CTA stand out, and incorporating high-quality images. 
  • Negotiate for better rates. Big brands like Walmart and eBay may not budge on the commission rates, but there is room for negotiation with smaller brands so use it. 
  • Don’t be scared to experiment: There is no secret formula to being a successful affiliate and just because one strategy works for one campaign doesn’t mean it will work on another. Try out new things and take risks — it’s the only way to make it. 
  • Carefully choose the products you want to promote: You should be careful when you launch new campaigns too. Make sure that any new products you include have some connection to the niche you are operating in and the audience you are targeting. If you want to introduce products that don’t fit your chosen niche, it might be better to launch another site and promote them there. 
  • Mix and match content channels: You have several options here, but the preferred methods are social media and blogs. These two are also the popular ways to earn an affiliate commission used by 67.32% and 64.48% of affiliate marketers, respectively. That said, there is no reason why you can’t combine content channels and promote products both on your site and social media account. 
  • Create quality content that is unique, engaging, and relevant. If it’s not, then readers are not likely to make a purchase through your site. 


Who is the most successful affiliate marketer?

Since a lot of marketers don’t share their financials with the public, it can be hard to estimate who is the most successful one. 

Jason Stone, also known as the “millionaire mentor” is one of the more successful examples — he reportedly made $7m in 18 months from affiliate sales. Pat Flynn, the founder of Smart Passive Investing, made more than $125,000 from his affiliate business in just one month.  

How fast can you make money with affiliate marketing?

How fast you start seeing a profit from affiliate marketing depends on many factors so it’s very hard to predict an actual timeframe. Some bloggers were able to make a sale within the first 24 hours of joining an affiliate program, while for some it took months or even a year of building their brand and pushing content. 

The average, though, according to the experiences of marketers, is around 2-3 months. 

Even if you don’t make money in the first few months, you need to be persistent and patient. Too often, affiliates start off with a lot of enthusiasm only to give up a few months in and move on to another scheme. 

If you’re feeling frustrated that you’re not making as much or as fast as you expected to, just remember that you’re not alone. Based on a report by Linktree, 59% of content creators who have been in the business for a year still have not monetized, while only 6% have earned more than $10k. 

Can affiliate marketing make you rich?

Yes, you can earn a full-time income and more with affiliate marketing, provided you are willing to work on it. As mentioned before, this is a not get-rich-quick scheme that will make you a millionaire overnight. 

You need to invest time and effort in establishing your site as an authority in a certain niche and building trust with your audience. Even after you start earning an affiliate commission, you will need to keep an eye on ranking metrics, update your content and be on the lookout for new opportunities. You can let your blog generate affiliate income without doing any of these things, although you probably won’t earn a lot or get paid as often. 

Is affiliate marketing a good side hustle?

Yes, affiliate marketing is a great way to supplement your income, especially if you already have a blog or social media followers. There are little to no startup costs, but it takes a lot of discipline and dedication to build an audience that trusts your recommendations and makes purchases based on your recommendations. 

Does it cost money to start affiliate marketing?

It depends.If you already have a website that is ranking well or a strong social media presence, you could probably start earning affiliate commissions right away with no costs whatsoever. If not, you can expect to spend a little on establishing your blog.


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