Affiliate Marketing Products – Things to Consider

Affiliate Marketing Products – How to Choose

I’ve written before about the benefits of promoting affiliate marketing products, as opposed to selling products on your own through direct retail.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but there’s something nice about making money selling other people’s products.  You don’t have to maintain inventory.  You don’t have to ship.  You don’t have to worry about customer service.  You just persuade someone to buy, provide them with a link, and let them go on to the sales page to make their purchase.  If they buy, you’ll get your commission.

affiliate marketing productsYou can make money online using either method, and I’ve done my fair share of both.  In fact, I still have a single retail Website in addition to a number of sites devoted to affiliate marketing.  As I said, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.  For newbies or people who are on the fence about what they’re going to do, I strongly recommend going the affiliate marketing route, if only because there are fewer hassles and barriers to entry.  There are, however, a number of things that you need to consider when choosing a product to promote.

The first thing that usually comes to mind when choosing affiliate marketing products to promote is “how much does it pay?”  The amount of compensation for making a sale, be it a specific dollar amount or a certain percentage of the sales price, certainly needs to be part of the decision making process.   On the whole, most people would prefer to promote products that pay more money, and a product that offers $100 per sale is likely to be more enticing to prospective affiliate marketers than one that pays $2 per sale.  Similarly, a product that pays 75% commission would logically draw more interest than one that pays 8%.  The numbers themselves don’t always tell the whole story, however.


For many Clickbank products, commissions typically range from 33% to 75% and over the years, I’ve promoted a lot of products that pay 75% of the sales price.  The question you should ask when you see a percentage figure, however, is “75% of what?”  I’ve found that products that offer a high percentage of the sales price tend to have relatively low selling prices.  Products with higher prices, especially physical products, tend to pay a lower percentage of the sales price as a commission.

I’m currently promoting two different products on two different sites.  One of them pays 50% commission; the other pays 8%.  You might think that the one paying 50% will be the one I’d be most interested in selling, as it pays the highest percentage in commission. But what are the products?  How much is the selling price?  In this example, the product paying 50% is a product that sells for $200, so I’d make $100 per sale.  That’s not too shabby; if you can make a sale a day at $100, you’ve got a decent income.  What about the product paying a measly 8%?  That’s a physical product.  The price for that one is $233,000, meaning my commission for a single sale, even at 8%, would be $18,640.

Even those numbers don’t tell the whole story.  The super-expensive product is one of thousands offered by the company I’m promoting, and while I’d love to have someone buy that product through my affiliate link, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will.  Most of the products I’m promoting for that company sell for quite a bit less, though still enough to justify the time I spend promoting them.  The $200 product, on the other hand, is one that sells fairly well, meaning that it’s probably worth more of my time to promote than the more expensive product.

affiliate marketing cookiesAnother factor to consider when choosing affiliate marketing products is the duration of the cookie that your visitors will receive on their computer when they click your affiliate link.  Cookies?  No, not the dessert.  A cookie is piece of tracking code that is stored by your browser.   Cookies have different functions.  If you’ve ever told a Website to remember you so that you don’t have to log in every time you visit, that site has stored a cookie on your computer that tells the site not to request a login when you visit.  Similarly, vendors use cookies to keep track of affiliate links and cookies usually time out after a period of time.  Clickbank, for example, uses a 60 day cookie.  What this means is that when someone clicks on your affiliate link and goes to the vendor’s Website, the don’t have to make a purchase today in order for you to get credit for the sale.  You’ll get credit for the sale as long as the visitor makes a purchase any time within 60 days of clicking on your link.

Different companies and vendors have different policies regarding the expiration of cookies and it can make a huge difference in how much you can earn.  Ebay’s affiliate program used to be very popular, and they used a 7 day cookie for many years.  As long as someone who clicked on your link bought something within 7 days of clicking on it, you got credit for the sale, and thus, a commission.  In 2013, that cookie duration was abruptly reduced from 7 days to 24 hours.  Many affiliates reported as much as a 90% reduction in earnings as a result.  Part of this is due to the way people shop at eBay; they tend not to act immediately, and that’s particularly true if they item that interests them is an auction item that may not end for several days.

Amazon, on the other hand, has always used a 24 hour cookie, and most affiliates seem OK with it.  There’s lots to buy there and many shoppers buy things on impulse.  Someone may click on your Amazon affiliate link for a lawnmower, look at it on the Amazon site and decide not to buy it.  But they might, instead, opt to buy a DVD or a pair of shoes, and if they do it within 24 hours, you get credit for the sale.   I’ve done business with companies that had 24 hour cookies, 7 day cookies, 30 days, 45 days, 60 days and even with companies whose cookies never expire.

When you’re trying to find a product to promote, there are a lot of considerations that come into play, and it’s not always a simple matter of “which one pays the most?”   You need to consider the amount of the payout, the length of the cookie, and the likelihood that you’ll make a sale as part of the process of choosing a product to promote.  Sometimes, it’s obvious, but sometimes it requires a bit more research.

To learn more about how to properly choose affiliate products and build effective marketing Websites, you should consider joining a program like Wealthy Affiliate.   It’s free to sign up, and you’ll receive comprehensive training as well as free Web hosting.

When choosing affiliate marketing products, it pays to take your time and do some thorough research before making a decision.


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