There are numerous affiliate networks out there, and when one is shopping around for the best fit, many factors come into play. Having worked in affiliate marketing for longer than many affiliate networks have been around, we put together the below table – for you to compare the main North American affiliate networks side-by-side.
We compared the more traditional networks, and have not included any of the sub-affiliate ones (or so-called “CPA networks” here (read about the differences in this blog post of mine | and see the CPA ones here).
Comparison of Top American Affiliate Networks
Without further ado, we bring you our brief side-by-side comparison of how much a merchant should expect to spend on launching (and running) an affiliate program on the top North American affiliate networks, and how much they should be prepared to spend to maintain the program. The data was last updated on 03/04/2019 with the green check-mark (✓)indicating the networks that collaborated with us verifying their data in our table.
*Setup Fee – frequently called “Network Access Fee” or “Signup Fee” – is the one-time fee charged by the network to get your affiliate program set up on the affiliate network. With some of the above-listed networks the setup fee includes such things as assistance with tracking integration, technical and automatic configuration of daily datafeed updates (AvantLink is known for that), additional exposure for newly-launched programs, and account management interface training.
**Transaction Fee – sometimes also called a “Network Override” – is a recurring fee incurred by the advertiser on every commissionable transaction. Some networks tie it to affiliate payouts, while others – to the total revenue of valid affiliate-referred transactions.
***Monthly Minimum – the minimum amount that you must pay in network fees to avoid being charged the difference. Most networks are open to waiving the monthly minimums during the first month(s) giving your affiliate program a time to ramp up.
Our list of affiliate networks follows an alphabetical order, and is not meant to rank, but only compare whatever affiliate network information we were able to obtain. Experience shows that it is not unusual for the pricing to change; so, it is always best to check for the most up-to-date information with the respective affiliate network(s) directly. The above comparison, however, should give you a good preliminary idea of what to expect to spend on an affiliate network.
5 Ways to Lower Affiliate Network Fees
Nearly every one of the above-listed affiliate networks is open to negotiated/lower terms. There, actually, are numerous ways for brands to save money on affiliate network fees. Below you may find just a few approaches which we have seen work for our clients in the past.
Go Through an Agency
If you are open to having an agency build and grow your affiliate program, do take into account that you can sometimes get really attractive network discounts through them too. Depending on the affiliate network, AM Navigator clients enjoy either waived setup fees, or eliminated renewal fees, or lower transaction fees and monthly requirements, or all of these and more. It isn’t unusual for such savings to amount to thousands of dollars.
Commit to Network Exclusivity
As affiliate networks compete with one another, brands can come out as winners. Most networks are open to giving you (substantial) discounts on their pricing when the brand agrees to run their affiliate program exclusively on one network – even if only for a set time period (of 12 or 24 months, for example).
We have seen cases where large(r) escrow deposits help advertisers secure lower network fees too. Just make sure that your contract is worded in a way that the network refunds the unused part of the deposit, should you part ways.
Pay by Bank Transfer
Most affiliate networks would accept credit card payments, allowing you to fund your account using the plastic. However, since credit card payment processing fees can eat up as much as 3% of the total amount paid, many networks are happier with real cash. Inquire about setting up an alternative funding method (be it an ACH transfer or a bank wire) in exchange for a price break on their fees.
Agree to High(er) Monthly Minimums
When an advertiser commits to higher-than-default monthly minimums (thereby guaranteeing monthly income to network), there is a clear benefit to the network, and it can influence your other fees too. We have seen this work wonders in network/platform migrations of established affiliate programs – especially when combined with all (or even some) of the above-listed tactics for lowering your fees.]]>