It seems like more and more folks are doing affiliate marketing. It is the latest craze in recent years. So, if you’ve been wondering what the best affiliate programs for beginners in 2021 are, you’ve come to the perfect place. Please read my article, how affiliate marketing works here.

The dramatic rise in affiliate marketing could not go unnoticed. Statista research shows that the affiliate marketing spend will reach 8.2 billion US dollars by 2022, up from the 5.4 billion recorded in 2017. Today, affiliate marketing works just as well as email marketing—furthermore, it’s more successful than both social commerce and display advertising. In essence, affiliate marketing is the newest driver of e-commerce transactions.

The Science Behind Affiliate Marketing Programs

Merchants go about many different ways using this tool, but most of them will provide affiliate partners with a unique tracking code. Then, they share that code with their clients and customers. Then, every time someone uses the code to make a purchase, the affiliate partner gets a reward.

Earn Passive Income Online with Affiliate Programs

The great thing about affiliate marketing programs is that it is the simplest online business model to earn extra money. This method is both cost-effective and profitable. However, affiliate marketing does come with particular challenges. To overcome these obstacles, you will have to be determined and choose the best affiliate strategy for you. Fortunately, I’ve got your back. So bear with me, and I will let you know about beginners’ best affiliate marketing programs.

Affiliate Marketing Will Give You Precious Freedom

Affiliate marketers are independent promotors of products from a specific niche. When you’re promoting on behalf of vendors, you have the absolute freedom to create your online presence. For fans of independence in business, the chance for you to optimize the marketing process all alone sounds excellent. Right?

Statistic trend of affiliate marketing


Common Commission Systems For Affiliate Programs

Purchase-based commission structures: You get paid every time someone uses your code to purchase on the trader’s website.

Traffic-based commission structures: You get a commission based on the number of people they refer to the merchant’s website. A nice thing about this system is that you get paid for visits, not only purchases.

Customer acquisition-based commission structures: You get paid when your promotion helps the trader make a sale or sign a new client.

One of the most popular affiliate programs online is the Amazon affiliate program. “Amazon Associates” follows a commission-based structure. It works very simple; website owners and bloggers sign up to become Amazon Associate and advertise products on their site via links. Then, whenever a customer or a visitor clicks on the link and buys the product on Amazon, the affiliate partner earns a commission. The great thing about Amazon Associates is that it’s completely free to sign up.

Benefits of Joining an Affiliate Marketing Program

Affiliate programs give out both opportunities and challenges, but it is also a business that allows an excellent, smooth start and can lead to a pretty lucrative business model. These are some of the most valuable benefits you can reap if you decide to join an affiliate program:

  • It’s a billion-dollar industry that just keeps on prospering. So if you got about this smartly, you could get a pretty lovely share also.
  • It’s a low-cost business and a relatively easy industry to join. There are no barriers to entry to the party. It all comes down to your decision about the particular niche or products relevant to your market.
  • You don’t need to be a marketing expert. However, since practice makes perfect, you can learn along the way.
  • There are almost no investment costs. As a freelancer, you can work from home. So there is not much to worry about when it comes to additional expenses.
  • You will broaden your audience. Make yourself noticed within influential business circles at no cost whatsoever.
  • Becoming an affiliate partner will give you the chance to scale your business with ease by growing your customer base and boosting revenue.
  • You get a passive income. To become an affiliate partner, you don’t have to quit your day job. However, it can undoubtedly be a pretty lucrative side hustle. Who would not want to earn money while they sleep?

How Can You Find The Perfect Affiliate Program For Beginners?

When it comes to affiliate marketing programs for beginners, there are a few important stats to consider. First of all, ask yourself, does the program offer products in my niche? Then, if you can answer what question with yes, here are a few more important stats to consider:

  • Number of merchants on the platform: Generally speaking, the more merchants, the better
  • Commission: Of course, the commission percentage is an important fact, but promote high-quality products only. Commonly, the commissions for software and digital products are the highest at the moment.
  • Cookie Duration: This determines basically how long a sale will be tracked toon your affiliate link. The industry standard can be anywhere between 30-90 days. Try to aim for a cookie duration of 60 days or more.
  • Conversion Rate: It is hard to know this in advance, but some affiliate networks convert better than others. It is all about testing and optimizing here, but keep an eye on that!

The best affiliate program for beginners

The Best Marketing Affiliate Programs for beginners

Below I listed the top ten best affiliate programs for beginners that you can join to make some extra money. You will learn what they are about and their biggest pros and cons, so you can make the best decision for yourself.


Digistore 24 is a top-rated affiliate program for beginners, especially in Europe. It is an excellent program for products like coaching, digital products, software, and much more. Your average commission rate will depend on the particular merchant, as well as cookie duration. The minimum payout is $50.


  • 6000+ merchants to choose from
  • Easy sign-up process and intuitive dashboard
  • No need to apply to promote products
  • Low minimum payout ($50)


  • The choice of merchants and products in some niches is rather limited

eBay Partner Network

eBay affiliate network would be perfect if it were not for most sales auction models. Also, eBay Partner Network has a short cookie lifetime. You earn money by promoting eBay listings. eBay, of course, allows you to choose from an enormous selection of products. The auction approach is obviously a downside, although there are still plenty of permanent listings to pick from.

On eBay, you will mostly find physical products, but you can earn some money on digital products as well.

Your commission will depend on the product category. However, you can earn from 50 to 70 percent of eBay revenue. Keep in mind that you will make a percentage of eBay’s commission, not the total purchase price.

The cookie duration is 24 hours, although you can still earn some money if the auction lasts up to ten days. The minimum payout is $10


  • A well-spring of products to choose from
  • It’s possible to sell used products
  • It has a low payout threshold (only $10)


  • The short cookie lifetime (only 24 hours)


ClickBank is an affiliate program that sells primarily digital goods, so their commission for affiliate partners is quite generous (40 percent). This commission is calculated as a percentage of the offer owner’s revenue. In addition, this program does payouts twice a month, which is not the case with many other programs.

Unlike ShareASale and Awin, ClickBank is full of smaller merchants selling eBooks, membership sites, online courses, etc. If some of those fit your niche nicely, you could find excellent offers for yourself. One of the greatest benefits is that you don’t need to apply to promote products here. Very good if you are just starting with affiliate marketing and maybe don’t have a huge sales history.

However, there is a downside to this network. ClickBank is trying very hard to filter out the bad quality merchants, but they still have some work to do. Hence, you should be careful when choosing merchants if you opt for this affiliate network.

The average commission rate depends on the particular merchant, but it typically gets pretty high. The cookie duration is usually 60 days. The minimum payout is $10


  • Many smaller niche merchants that you cannot find on other networks
  • Relatively high commissions for most merchants
  • It’s easy to get paid with a $10 minimum payout
  • Weekly payments


  • Their refund policy might lead to losing commissions
  • There are low-quality products, so caution is a must

Amazon Associates

With around 12 million offers out there, Amazon Associates is one of the most powerful marketing affiliate programs out there. It has a downside, though – only one day cookie lifetime. Furthermore, this network has recently cut down its commission rates by 50%.

However, Amazon Associates is an excellent choice if you wish to promote physical products. It’s possible to earn on pretty much any product sold at Additionally, you will earn a commission on every new product someone you refer buys. Moreover, you get paid even if your link does not lead to that specific product.

Amazon Associates now works with a flat-rate commission. That means you earn a flat percentage based on the products’ category, which works well for smaller websites.

The average commission rate goes from one to ten percent, depending on the category. Cookie duration is 24 hours, and the minimum payout only $10 for an Amazon gift card or direct deposit.


  • A vast selection of products
  • A universal cookie that allows you to get a commission for every purchase during the cookie duration
  • It has a low payout of only $10


  • Short cookie lifetime (only 24 hours)
  • There are categories with meager commissions, as low as one percent
  • Amazon sometimes cuts commissions

Rakuten Marketing

This affiliate network includes many big merchants, such as:

  • Best Buy
  • Walmart
  • Macy’s
  • Papa Johns

If you want access to notable names, this is the network for you. However, if you wish to choose from a vast variety of merchants, perhaps one of the networks mentioned above would work better in your favor. The average commission rate depends on the particular merchant, and the same goes for cookie duration. The minimum payout is $50.


  • Access to big-shot, popular merchants
  • Trustworthiness
  • Easy ad rotation


  • A smaller selection of merchants.


Avangate Affiliate Network focuses on digital products and software, such as:

  • Kaspersky
  • Awario
  • Hide My Ass

In total, you can get access to over 22.000 software goods without even needing to sign up. The commission rate depends on the merchant your choose. However, it can get up to 85 percent. Cookie length is usually between 30 and 180 days, with a minimum of at least 30 days. The minimum payout is $100.


  • It’s possible to get paid via PayPal
  • Many merchants offer very high commissions, sometimes over 50 percent
  • Access to many unique pieces of software


It has a much higher payout threshold than most other affiliate networks ($100).


FlexOffers is one of the popular ones, and that is no wonder. It offers more than 12 thousand merchants, adding more every day, so there are always fresh ones for picking. You can find offers from big and small brands at FlexOffers, such as Skechers, Macy’s, Lenovo, etc. You don’t need to sign up to see what is available.

An excellent feature about FlexOffers is that you get an account manager to help you navigate the best offers to make the most of them. The average commission rate depends on the specific merchant you choose, as well as cookie duration. The minimum payout is $50 in the USA and $100 outside the US.


  • A vast selection of 12.000+ merchants to choose from
  • User-friendly dashboard
  • You get a dedicated affiliate manager


  • For affiliate partners outside the US, the only way to get paid is via PayPal.


  • Good landing page
  • Large course selection
  • High commissions between 10 and 45 percent on any eligible purchases your users make within 30 days of clicking a qualified link
  • Bonuses for strong performance
  • Deep linking is allowed
  • Access to product merchandiser field (updated daily)


  • 30-day cookie duration


Coursera Affiliate Program has more than 4000 courses and specializations programs to promote, using their custom banners and text links or your format. In addition, coursera allows earning up to 45 percent commission on eligible purchases your users make on the network. You can track the traffic with easy-to-integrate Linkshare tracking links.


  • Good landing page
  • Large course selection
  • High commissions between 10 and 45 percent on any eligible purchases your users make within 30 days of clicking a qualified link
  • Bonuses for strong performance
  • Deep linking is allowed
  • Access to product merchandiser field (updated daily)


  • 30-day cookie duration
  • No recurring commission

CJ Affiliate

Formerly known as Commission Junction, this one is the go-to program to get offers from various vendors partnered with CJ Affiliate. CJ Affiliate praises on their 400-day cookie lifetime, which many other programs don’t. It is an affiliate network that brings together thousands of different merchants and allows you to connect with thousands of traders. 2.696 of them, to be exact.

There are many big and small companies using CJ Affiliate, such as:

  • Lowes
  • Overstock
  • Office Depot
  • Priceline
  • GoPro
  • IHG (Hotels)

All you have to do is apply to the merchants from the dashboard to generate links and inspect the statistics. The average commission rate depends on the merchant, and cookie duration works the same way. The minimum payout is $50 for direct deposit or $100 for a check.


  • The pool of big and small merchants to choose from is vast.
  • A user-friendly dashboard will help you immensely.
  • Deep-link generator bookmarklet makes it simple to generate links.


  • It can take some time to learn and get used to the CJ dashboard.


Shareasale proudly houses affiliate programs for over 4.500 merchants, big and small. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular affiliate networks in cyberspace, and similar to CJ Affiliate, it enables singing up to all of the merchants from the ShareASale dashboard. You can also generate links and view statistics there.

To sign up with merchants, you will have to apply and get approval from each of them individually. That is a pretty standard affiliate marketing procedure, however.

Generally, ShareASale is an excellent option for digital and physical products. For example, you can find many WordPress theme and plugin shops, hosting providers, Sun Basket, NFL Shop, Reebok, and thousands of other businesses of various scales.

Your average commission rate will depend on the individual merchant you choose. When it comes to cookie duration, it also depends on the merchant. The minimum payout is $50.


  • There are thousands of big and small merchants of physical and digital products for picking
  • A good reputation and trustworthiness
  • Many exclusive merchants that only work with ShareASale
  • Bookmarklet helps quickly generate custom affiliate links.


The dashboard looks a bit outdated, but there has been some improvement there lately.


That is is from today’s post. Feel free to share your thought in the comments!



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