In an interview I’ve given for the Search Engine Journal (SEJ) — which went live earlier this morning, and may be read in its entirety here — I was asked one of the questions that new affiliates frequently ask themselves (and others too). The question was: “Which niches are more profitable when it comes to make money being an affiliate?”
As soon as the question was asked I immediately thought of (a) my What is the Best Affiliate Program? post, and (b) how widely-spread this misconception is — one that some niches are significantly more profitable for affiliates than others. Not too long ago, addressing a similar question in an interview to Website Magazine I said:
Some affiliates have been lead into thinking that there are “hot” products/niches in affiliate marketing (i.e. those that pay most money), but the real money is being made not on dietary supplements, or hosting. You want to (a) look at what is hot on the market at any given period of time, and monetize on those trend(s), but what is even more important: (b) establish yourself as a key player in the niche of your passion (be it music, shoes, Valentine’s Day, or anything else).
In my interview to SEJ, I expanded my answer adding a word about the importance of choosing your partners carefully, and also illustrating the importance of an all-encompassing approach to affiliate marketing analytics. Here’s that illustration:
… “profitable niches” should never be measured by the commission levels that are being paid by advertiser/merchant. Always look at the broader picture. Remember to look at such metrics as conversion, average order value, reversal rate, cookie life. For example, hosting companies have historically had high commission payouts (anywhere from $50 to $150 a sale, with select ones paying as much as $300-400/sale). Sounds attractive, doesn’t? Well, hold your horses before you spend all of your money on those paid search ads, or advertising on other types of properties! Hosting affiliate programs are also known to have some of the highest reversal rates in affiliate marketing history. While many affiliate networks will not disclose this piece of information to you, it is not unusual for a hosting company to reverse between 50% and 80% of all affiliate transactions… [more here]
Conversely, if you are selling a lower priced product/service through an affiliate program that pays a lower affiliate commission, but has a beautiful conversion ratio, and low reversal rate (some merchants even offer a “no affiliate reversals” policy), that will be your “profitable niche”.
Just yesterday I was looking through the stats of an affiliate program that sells a limited number of products based around one idea (in the health/fitness vertical), and because of (a) the publicity they’ve been getting lately, and (b) the highly targeted traffic they are receiving from carefully screened affiliates, here are the stats that program is now showing:
Pretty impressive, isn’t it? With their 15% commission and that 0% reversal rate, this would the type of program to partner with!
Stop dreaming of “profitable niches”! There is no good get-rich-quick recipe, just as there is no safe get-slim-fast method. Look for decent (ethical and caring) and well-converting merchants based on reputable affiliate marketing platforms, and when you find the one you want to try out, take it one step at a time. Don’t rush, learn from the mistakes, replicate what works, and cut off what doesn’t, and your success will eventually become predictable, and logical.
11 thoughts on “Most Profitable Affiliate Marketing Niches”
great stuff Geno ! what is the network interface from ? seems like a great network to join if they provide so much data.
Thanks, Razvan. The screenshot is from ShareASale. However, the conversion data is not seen on the affiliate sides of things (it’s available only for merchants themselves). Good thing is that SaS does provide affiliates with the info on reversals (very important to know!)
indeed, I suspected it was SaS, but I did not recognize all the info.
thanks a lot for all the great info !
Geno, how right you are – so many just chase the dollar and not look for the right product and the right fit. I recently posted an article about how best to identify niches. Would love your thoughts on that one!
I have become disillusioned with “info” products and started my first “physical” product affiliate about a year ago resulting in pretty low returns but I battle on. I now need more products in a similar vein to promote but finding even one is pretty elusive.
I am not looking for a quick buck as I know it doesn’t exist but the question posed in your article has so much resonance. Where is the product that has a very long cookie life, good commission, nil returns, low competition, relevant domain name available…………………
Ok I’ll stop now as I realise that I am at the back of a very long queue looking for the same thing.
Russ, addressing these point-by-point:
1) “Very long cookie life” is not really needed. Most affiliate-referred orders occur within the first 24 hours, anyway.
2) “Good commissions” are an interesting one. Would you rather get higher commissions? Or have higher conversion rate? [Not arguing any of the sides here; just a food for thought]
3) “Nil returns”: there are affiliate programs that offer “no reversals” policies (maybe I should compile a list of some of these) + on some networks (e.g.: ShareASale) you can actually see data like “reversal rate” before joining a program
4) “Low competition”: there still are plenty of unsaturated (or not-overly-saturated) niches
5) “Relevant domain name available”: same reply as for #4 (as, after all, domain name is secondary; it’s the content that the domain hosts that’s primary).
I cannot agree about not needing a long cookie life, in certain markets it probably runs true but my main product is in the home and decorating market and much of the traffic is just looking, will sometimes order samples and hopefully come back at a later stage to buy.
The program manager has issued examples of 400+ day cookies. So I live in hope.
On commissions yes a good point conversion over a higher rate anyday, after all 5% of something is always better than 75% of nothing.
Hello Geno Prussakov,
I am all new to affiliate marketing and I have taken the time to do my research to find out how does an affiliate find a NICH product to market online as an affiliate marketer? and also how and what are the criteria of Nich product?. Reading your article has given me a whole new thought process on this topic I thank you for your time taken to explain to us what this Word NICH in product marketing. I would be thank full if I could get your email I really would like to read more of your article and books on internet marketing.
Victor, my email address may be accessed via the “Questions? Email me” link in the right-hand sidebar (top part) of this blog. Most of my publications (besides the 1,000+ articles/posts posted in this blog), including books and articles, are listed on this page.
Geno, very cautious article. I like it. I havent even started in affiliate marketing, just doing my research and homework. Would you please recommend some good readings. And for a person who is a dummy in the computer/software world, do you have easy steps to start in affiliate marketing?