Beginner Guides / Monetization

Is Affiliate Marketing Dead? (Here’s What We Really Think)

It's only 27 years old, but is affiliate marketing dead? Or can you still use it to make money with your blog? Let's find out.

By Candice Elliott Updated February 6, 2023

Is affiliate marketing dead? Our answer is no, and the data backs it up.

Affiliate marketing has been around for a while and shows no signs of slowing down. Countless brands use it as a marketing channel, and statistics show they invest more money in their affiliate programs than ever before.

In this article, I’ll show you all the data that proves affiliate marketing isn’t dying, but thriving. I’ll also answer common questions bloggers ask about affiliate marketing and how it works.

So keep reading if you want to see proof that affiliate marketing is not dead.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a rapidly growing form of performance marketing in which a business pays affiliates for each visitor or customer the affiliate partner sends them.

Buzzfeed is an excellent example of a successful affiliate marketer. You’ll see a lot of content on the site that looks like this:

A Buzzfeed page showing an example of what affiliate marketing is

When readers buy something through a link in one of those articles, Buzzfeed receives a cut, known as an affiliate commission.

You’ll notice the disclosure information too. That’s required for affiliate marketing content.

Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?

Affiliate marketing is not dead. In fact, it’s been steadily growing for at least the last twenty years.

According to Google Trends, interest in affiliate marketing is at an all time high. Retailers spent an estimated 8.2 billion dollars on affiliate marketing in 2022 because they know it works.

No matter how you look at it, affiliate marketing is alive and well.

Google trends data showing affiliate marketing is not dead

Statista revealed a $3 billion boost in affiliate marketing spending since 2017. They reported that companies spent an estimated $8.2 billion in 2022.
8 out of 10 brands run an affiliate marketing program (us included), while 15% of total digital advertising comes from affiliates.

So, maybe you’re a new blogger, or you already have a site with good traffic, and you’re looking for ways to monetize it.

Affiliate marketing is the best way to monetize content by recommending products to your target audience via blogging, product reviews, social media, YouTube channels, podcasts, and newsletters.

How Have Changes in Search Engine Algorithms Affected Affiliate Marketing?

Google updates and algorithm changes have effected every website on the internet, including affiliate marketing blogs. But it hasn’t all been negative.

Remember, for every site that loses rankings, another site gains rankings. If you have a proper content strategy, you can benefit from algorithm updates.

How Have Social Media Influencers Affected Affiliate Marketing?

In recent years, we’ve seen a surge of influencers getting into the affiliate marketing game.

None of our sites have seen a dip in affiliate commissions due to this influencer surge, and I couldn’t find any data to show influencers are hurting affiliate marketing.

If anything, the influx of influencers has contributed to the industry’s growth.

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?

Affiliate marketing is definitely worth it. Top marketers make millions of dollars each year from affiliate marketing.

You can read this thread about our founder Andrew Fiebert’s approach to building profitable affiliate sites.

Further Reading:

How Much Money Can You Make with Affiliate Marketing?

A lot.

So-called super-affiliates, affiliates who generate a large percentage of an affiliate program’s profits single-handed, make six figures a month, much of it passive income.

Those are the Pat Flynns and Rae Hoffmans of the world. Most of us are not going to make that kind of money.

When we look at the full scope of the affiliate marketer’s income scale, it looks something like this:

  • Total newbies: Losing money
  • Low-level: Up to $300 per day
  • Intermediate affiliates: $300 to $3,000
  • High-level affiliates: Over $3,000 per day
  • Super-affiliates: More than $10,000 per day

Even on the ladder’s second rung, you’re not doing too bad!

Sidenote: Making consistent money through affiliate networks doesn’t happen overnight. It can take a year of hard work to start breaking even.

But once you start making money, things can improve quickly.

Further Reading:

What Are The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing?

When you’re wondering if affiliate marketing is dead, you might think there’s no point in delving further if you have to ask the question. But affiliate marketing has its perks:

  • Low start-up costs: You won’t need a small business or a personal loan to enter the affiliate marketing industry. You can start a blog for about $100 a year.
  • Work from home: You don’t need a brick-and-mortar space to run an affiliate marketing blog. You can do everything that needs to be done from home or anywhere else with a reliable internet connection. That makes affiliate marketing ideal for stay-at-home parents or those with limited mobility.
  • It’s part-time: Starting and maintaining a blog isn’t super labor-intensive. It’s hard work in its own way, and the more time you can put into it in the beginning, the faster it will grow. But you can start an affiliate marketing business and grow it around other responsibilities like your regular job, hobbies, friends, and family.
  • You don’t have to be an expert: There is a ton to learn about creating a successful marketing strategy for your blog; best SEO practices, best tools, best plugins, best affiliate offers, and a ton more. But you can learn it all as you go; most of it is free.
  • Passive income: Passive income is money that doesn’t require your time to earn; affiliate commissions are a great example. You write an evergreen article on “10 Classic Pieces Every Woman Should Own” on your lifestyle blog and add your affiliate link to each piece. Each time a reader buys an item on the list using your link, you earn an affiliate commission, but you only have to write the blog once.

Further Reading:

How Can Businesses Adapt Their Affiliate Marketing Strategies to Stay Relevant and Successful?

Retailers should devote more time and resources to educating their affiliates about their products so they can be successful advocates.

Publishers need to do a better job of being marketers instead of just publishing content.

First, recommend products that are relevant and helpful to your audience.

Second, create better offers. Create better product displays, use images and comparison tables, and list the pros and cons of each product. The more information you can convey visually, the better.

TIP: You can use Lasso to create better affiliate offers fast. Create product Displays, Tables, and Lists in less than a minute.

Affiliate Marketing FAQs

Is Affiliate Marketing Still a Thing?

Yes, affiliate marketing is still a thing. In fact, it’s more of a thing than ever. These days YouTubers and influencers have joined bloggers in using affiliate marketing to monetize their content.

Is Affiliate Marketing the Future?

This is a question I get from time to time about the future of online advertising. One of the major benefits of affiliate marketing for retailers is they only pay for conversions. Clicks and impressions cost them nothing. In the face of an uncertain market, I’d say that yes, affiliate marketing is the future of online marketing.

Why Do People Think Affiliate Marketing is Dead?

People started thinking affiliate marketing was dying in April of 2020 when Amazon cut its affiliate commission rates. Plenty of bloggers saw this as a signal that the industry was failing.

However, Amazon was doing whatever it could to make more money, and the wider affiliate marketing industry has steadily grown since those commission rates were cut.

Long Live Affiliate Marketing – Final Thoughts

Is affiliate marketing dead? No, and the statistics prove it.

If you’re thinking of starting a niche site, affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money online and from home. But affiliate marketing is no longer a secret.

There’s a lot of competition in this industry. It’s really difficult to outrank other blogs and build a dedicated audience.

So, if you want to be a successful affiliate marketer, you’ll have to work harder, diversify, and above all, always create compelling content that provides value to your readers.

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