Affiliate Referral Software – how to choose the right one for your business and put your referrals on autopilot? Can a simple “refer a friend” feature bring you enough new clients so you won’t need to spend your time and budget on other marketing channels?

Imagine having an army of dedicated supporters, all broadcasting your brand message, bringing in new customers, and boosting your revenue. No, this isn’t the plot of the next superhero blockbuster. It’s your business future with affiliate referral software.

So, buckle up!

Why You Need an Affiliate Referral Software?

You can see examples of referral marketing success everywhere. Referral programs are an excellent way to increase traffic and sales, for example, Dropbox (which we all know of) has grown in popularity thanks to the excellent referral program they set up.

Referral programs are popular because they rely on word-of-mouth marketing to help your company expand. It’s been proven that people are more likely to believe suggestions from friends, relatives, and influential people they follow, as opposed to standard generic ads.

By increasing brand awareness through “recommendations”, you can save money on advertising and increase customer loyalty.

Affiliate Referral Software - How to Benefit From Automated Referrals? - Affiliate referral software

On the other hand, the referral program can be complicated and time-consuming. Referral program software simplifies creating and managing referral marketing campaigns for your company or online store.

There are numerous moving pieces in referral programs, but employing the correct software can streamline the entire process.

Top 10 Affiliate Referral Software in 2023

Scaleo.ioOffers a fully-equipped, user-friendly platform for tracking and managing affiliates, conversions, and payouts. Also provides fraud detection features.
Post Affiliate ProA powerful affiliate management software that allows you to manage and track your affiliate network with precision. Offers multiple tracking methods and automated payouts.
ReferralCandyEnables eCommerce and other online businesses to set up and run customer referral programs. Also, it automates reward delivery.
Referral HeroProvides a complete, fully-customizable referral marketing solution with features like automated emails, fraud detection, and a dedicated customer success manager.
AmbassadorHelps streamline the process of enrolling, tracking, rewarding and managing your referring customers, affiliates, influencers, and partners.
RefersionA high-performance referral software that helps building a referral program in minutes, track where sales are coming from, and pay affiliates directly through the platform.
LeadDynoEasy-to-use affiliate software that allows you to easily create and manage an affiliate program for your business, track and pay affiliates.
TapMangoA comprehensive customer loyalty and marketing platform that allows businesses to run their own branded reward program.
InviteReferralsA powerful and yet simple to integrate referral software that helps to grow your business and acquire new customers through Referral Marketing.

Referral Program vs. Affiliate Program?

Many people are comparing affiliate vs referral. Are they the same? While some people use the term affiliate referral program, others call it strictly “referral program” or “affiliate program”, but both terms basically mean the same thing.

Typically speaking, a referral program rewards existing customers with gift cards, discounts, and commissions when they suggest a friend or family member make a purchase.

An affiliate program enables your customers or affiliate marketers to sign up for your program to collect an agreed-upon commission when someone makes a transaction using their unique tracking link.

But, referral program can target new customers as well.

The easiest way to tell the difference between a referral program and an affiliate program is to ask yourself, “What is the incentive?” If the reward is cash, the program is most certainly an affiliate program.

However, it should be noted that an affiliate program is not always the same as a referral scheme (e.g., when cash is the reward, your customers also become your affiliates).

This is frequently an overly simplistic technique of distinguishing between an affiliate program and a referral program. There are several more obvious distinctions:

Who is making the recommendations?

With affiliate programs, the person referring people to your company may never have been a customer of yours. They are merely seeking ways to monetize their efforts. This is frequently the case with bloggers. For example, a food blog may not have utilized expensive cooking items but is able to incorporate links to them and potentially receive a portion of the commission if a purchase is made.

A referral network will often target customers who already have a direct relationship with the company. They may have been customers in the past and are likely to be active customers at the time of participation. They will be given a one-of-a-kind code or link to utilize.

Relationship between new and referred customers

Because of the nature of their platform, affiliates frequently promote your product or service to people with whom they have no direct connection. These people, such as blog readers or those looking for new things to buy, are part of the organic traffic that goes through to their websites.

On the other hand, referral program participants will share their link or referral code with their recognized network, such as friends and family, rather than market it on a specialized platform. This is how referral marketing is frequently associated with word-of-mouth marketing.

How is it distributed?

The common consensus is that referral systems require a little more work to spread. The participant is responsible for actively disseminating their code to their friends and family network. On the other hand, an affiliate will have to put in a lot of work in the beginning to create their platform, but once they have enough traffic, they will be able to rely on relatively passive commissions.

It is worth noting that the success rates of referral programs are significantly higher than those of affiliate programs. This is due to a far larger level of social proof and emotional marketing occurring spontaneously. People place far more trust in recommendations from friends and family than they do in information found online.

Participants’ incentives

Referral schemes frequently keep the benefits “internal” and provide free subscription extensions, discounts, or credits. Affiliates’ incentives are frequently one-sided, offering a commission-like cash reward to the recommending party.

That said, let’s take a look at the best referral marketing software for your small business website.

Choosing the Best Affiliate Referral Software for You

There’s no reason you shouldn’t have a functioning affiliate and referral network. You just need to know where to look to find the tools.

This list has a number of solutions that you can utilize depending on your budget and needs.

Use free trials to see which of them is the best fit for your brand.

Scaleo – SaaS Affiliate Referral Software

Scaleo is a revolutionary affiliate marketing software that can be used as an affiliate program or as a stand-alone platform for developing your own affiliate network.

Affiliate Referral Software - How to Benefit From Automated Referrals? - Affiliate referral software

It’s a widgetized white-label affiliate marketing solution that allows full UI customization to meet your business needs—from logo to color scheme. Eye-candy design with unparalleled functionality, a sophisticated backend with dozens of innovative features, including ultra-fast redirects, 10+ targeting options, bespoke notifications, and smart traffic redirection — you’ll love Scaleo. Easy connection with: 

  • Cookies-based Tracking with Google Tag Manager (GTM)
  • Shopify
  • Woocommerce
  • Tilda
  • Wix
  • Big Commerce
  • Magento
  • CS-Cart
  • OpenCart
  • Squarespace
  • and many others.

Choosing is like choosing a faithful sidekick in your journey of affiliate marketing. Scaleo offers a feature-rich platform that’s as user-friendly as it gets. Its powerful tracking and managing capabilities help keep an accurate eye on all your affiliates, conversions, and payouts.

But the it don’t end here.

Scaleo stands out with its proactive fraud detection features, making sure your affiliate program is as clean as a whistle. The built-in Anti-Fraud Logic technology that aids in eliminating and preventing fraudulent clicks and transactions in real-time. So, if you’re looking for a reliable, user-centric, and intelligent affiliate referral software, might just be your superhero’s cape in the dynamic world of affiliate marketing.

It’s not just a choice, it’s a strategic decision for smarter business growth.

affiliate management solution

Impact – Network Affiliate Referral Software

Impact is superb partnership management and affiliate software. The platform is more aimed at established firms. It’s utilized by brands like HostGator, Constant Contact, McAfee, Canva, and more.

This application promises to help you identify new partners to build your business and speed up the client acquisition process.

Affiliate Referral Software - How to Benefit From Automated Referrals? - Affiliate referral software

Instead of only depending on existing customers and website visits, you can seek out new collaborations with other businesses, media partners, and influencers-all from within the platform.

The dashboard will let you recruit, manage, and pay your new referrers. Plus, it provides precise stats so you can see which affiliates and partnerships are bringing in the most revenue.

ShareASale – Network Affiliate Referral Software

ShareASale is the world’s oldest affiliate network. In addition to providing access to thousands of affiliate items to advertise, they also provide a highly beneficial referral marketing automation option for business owners.

Major publishers such as Business Insider, Forbes, Buzzfeed, and others use ShareASale.

Affiliate Referral Software - How to Benefit From Automated Referrals? - Affiliate referral software

Please remember that we also use the ShareASale referral program for our software solutions like WPForms, OptinMonster, MonsterInsights, and SeedProd.

You can quickly set up a referral program for your own items and immediately gain access to a network of over 225,000 affiliates eager to promote them.

There’s an extensive affiliate dashboard and tracking tools to monitor performance, as well as built-in email marketing automation to remain in touch with your affiliates and keep them updated on sales and promotions.

You’ll find a number of customization options to assist you in creating your own referral and recruitment program.

ShareASale charges a $500 one-time setup fee as well as a transaction fee equal to 20% of the commission amount you pay affiliates.

Notable Case Studies of Affiliate Referral Software in Action

Enough theory, let’s jump into the real-world examples. No, not like The Matrix, but equally exciting.

  • Dropbox: Dropbox’s referral program gave extra storage space for both the referrer and referee. This simple but genius move skyrocketed their user base from 100,000 to 4 million in just 15 months! If that isn’t a rags-to-riches story, I don’t know what is.
  • Airbnb: Airbnb’s program rewards both parties with travel credits. Result? More bookings, more customers, and more people with wanderlust satisfied.
  • Uber: Uber’s “Give a ride, get a ride” program was a game-changer. Free rides for referrals led to exponential growth and a worldwide rideshare revolution.


Choosing the right affiliate referral software for your business isn’t easy. There is often a balance to be reached between referral programs and affiliate programs, and many businesses will discover that a combination of both will work well for them. If a direct decision needs to be made, it is typically based on the actual purchases made. It depends on how often the purchase is made and the cost of the item.

Referral marketing is a form of word-of-mouth advertising that encourages customers to refer their friends, family, or colleagues to a business. In exchange for their referral, the customer is usually offered a reward, such as a discount or a free product. Affiliate referral software is a tool that helps businesses automate the process of referral marketing.

Affiliate Referral Software - How to Benefit From Automated Referrals? - Affiliate referral software

Referral systems are successful when targeting purchases that are made both regularly and infrequently. A program such as Uber might be utilized regularly by the participants, and referral benefits can mount quickly. A referral program from an annual subscription will often work as well, especially with a suitable incentive supplied.

What is affiliate referral software?

Affiliate referral software is a type of program that helps businesses set up, manage, and track their own referral programs. It’s designed to incentivize customers, affiliates, or influencers who refer new customers to your business.

How can I benefit from automated referrals?

Automated referrals simplify the process of tracking and managing referrals. They allow businesses to generate more leads with minimal effort, track the success of the referral program, calculate and distribute rewards, and encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.

Can I integrate affiliate referral software with my existing website?

Yes, most affiliate referral software can easily integrate with your existing website. Many software providers also offer APIs for deeper integrations with your CRM, email marketing, and other systems.

How does the payment process work with affiliate referral software?

Once a referral leads to a purchase, the software will track this transaction. The commission that’s due to the affiliate will then be calculated based on the predetermined agreement (which could be a fixed amount or a percentage of the sale). Most software offers automated payouts, making it easier for you to reward your affiliates.

What features should I look for in affiliate referral software?

Look for features like easy integration, customizable referral incentives, performance tracking and reporting, automatic payment processing, fraud detection, and good customer support. The right software for you also depends on your business’s specific needs and goals.

How can I encourage more people to join my referral program?

Offering attractive incentives is a great way to motivate people to join your referral program. The incentives can be financial (like discounts or cash back) or non-financial (like access to exclusive content or products). It’s also important to make your program easy to join and share.

Is affiliate referral software suitable for all types of businesses?

While affiliate referral software can be beneficial for businesses of all sizes and across various industries, it’s especially useful for eCommerce and online businesses. However, the success of a referral program depends on the nature of your product or service, your target audience, and how effectively you manage and promote the program.

What are some popular affiliate referral software solutions?, ShareASale and CJ are the most popular outlets for starting your own referral program. Be sure to research the latest options, as the landscape may have changed since then.

Can I customize the referral rewards in the affiliate referral software?

Yes, most affiliate referral software allows you to customize the referral rewards. You can decide on the type of reward (e.g., discounts, cashback, points, etc.), the reward value, and the conditions under which the rewards are given.

Can I track the performance of my referral program with affiliate referral software?

Absolutely! Affiliate referral software often includes comprehensive analytics and reporting tools that allow you to track key metrics like the number of referrals, conversion rates, top-performing affiliates, and more. This data can help you fine-tune your referral program to maximize its effectiveness.

Last Updated on April 10, 2024


Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.