How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing? (2020 Stats)


Affiliate marketing commission rates vary, we all know that. We all want to get into affiliate marketing because it’s a lucrative business, but how much do people actually make there? How rare are “top earners” and can beginner affiliates even compete? Let’s take a look at cold stats to find out!

How much can you make in affiliate marketing in 2020? Or, rather, how much can you really make in the affiliate marketing business?

How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing? (2020)

On the one hand, we all see the famous “dot com moguls” and top affiliate marketers like Jeremy Schoemaker, John Chow, and others, who earn crazy money from their affiliate marketing business. We get so excited and inspired. On the other hand, we follow all the tips they teach us, we (seemingly) do the same, yet… We never even earn enough to be eligible for a payout. So, does does affiliate marketing really make money?

Why is that?

There are many reasons, and in this blog post, we will cover the actual affiliate marketing statistics, payouts, affiliate mistakes, and see what you can do to maximize your profit potential.

How much can you make from affiliate marketing? (2020 Update)

  • Top affiliates and influencers make over $100k a month from affiliate sales (influencers such as Pat Flynn, John Chow, Rae Hoffman, Mark Ling, Kristy McCubbin, and Shawn Collins).
  • Middle-class affiliates make anywhere between $1k to $10k a month.
  • New affiliates generally have ZERO affiliate earnings.

Anil Agarwal from Bloggers Passion made $200k in sales just from just one affiliate marketing product, see a screenshot of his earnings below. Yes, affiliates marketing profits can be this good.

How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing? (2020)

James Njenga from Freelancing Hackers made over $7876 last year through the Amazon Associates affiliate program, have a look at his inspirational screenshot.

How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing? (2020)

1 – How Are You Get Paid In Affiliate Marketing?

How much you earn directly correlates with how much you get paid. 

By that, I mean the percentage you earn from the affiliate sale. Are you promoting a $5 Amazon product and get a 2% commission, or do you promote a hosting server and get a fixed $220 commission per sale? You will need to sell so many more $5 products with a low affiliate percentage payout, compared to referring customers who will purchase just one hosting deal. Affiliate marketing commission rates aren’t equal across all affiliate networks, nor for the same products.

This also means you need to put significantly more effort and build a higher traffic website to reach the same amount of revenue. This brings us to our first affiliate marketing tip of the day:

Affiliate marketing tip: work smarter, not harder.

Read also:

2 – Is Affiliate Marketing Still Profitable?

To answer this question, we need to explore some cold facts. or watch the legendary Jeremy Schoemaker:

Undoubtedly, we have all seen infographics from 2010 where profits were insane, and internet moguls were wealthy. But that was 10 years ago. Since then, the affiliate marketing scene has changed, competition is like never before, and business models change rapidly. We have to look at 2020 stats to get a better picture.

3 – Affiliate Marketing Stats and Facts

Let’s start with 15 facts about affiliate marketing in 2020; you never knew before.

  • Affiliate marketing in the US has reached $6.8 billion in 2020 (Source: Statista)
How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing? (2020)
  • 15%–30% of companies’ sales come from referral programs or affiliate marketing plans.
How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing? (2020)
Source Sales Camp
  • 48% of affiliate marketers globally earn $20k a year (which is $1660 a month).
  • Only 3% of all affiliate marketers are making over $150k a year.
  • Only 34% percent of affiliate marketers are willing to invest in PPC to generate traffic and exposure. (Source: Affiliate Marketing Benchmark Report)
How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing? (2020)
  • Most affiliate marketers promote between 1 to 10 products only and only 7.53% of the affiliate marketers promote over 300 products (remember – work smarter, not harder).
  • 80% of all brands leverage affiliate marketing in order to generate leads. (Source: Mediakix)
  • 84% of bloggers use affiliate marketing to monetize their content. (Source: Rakuten Marketing)
  • The affiliate marketing industry is worth $12 billion (as of 2020).
  • The fashion and retail affiliate niche generates the highest revenue % globally. (Source: AM Navigator)
  • The US affiliate marketing spending is perceived to grow by 10.1% each year. (Source: Mediakix)
  • The interest in the search term “affiliate marketing” is consistently increasing for the past five years. (Source: Google Trends)
Google Trends search term "affiliate marketing"
Google Trends search term “affiliate marketing”
  • In most affiliate marketing programs, 10% of affiliates contribute 90% of sales (which is even less than the famous Pareto principle). (Source: AM Navigator)
  • 45% of bloggers prefer affiliate marketing because it doesn’t harm the UX on their website, unlike ads. (Source: VigLink)
How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing? (2020)
Image source: VigLink
  • Digital products usually offer 50% affiliate commissions because they can be replicated at zero expense. (Source: Neil Patel

What can we learn from these (apparently random) stats? And what does it tell us about our primary question – how much can you make from affiliate marketing in 2020?

  1. Making money from affiliate marketing is hard because everyone is doing it, and the competition is fierce.
  2. Most affiliate sales are run “invisibly” through coupons, deals, offers, review blog posts, and other sources where the author recommends the product instead of trying to flog it or use a display ad.
  3. Promoting digital and virtual products is profitable because there are no shipping or handling fees, and commissions are generally a lot higher. For example, at Scaleo we offer 30% lifetime commissions on all our plans, only because we are selling an affiliate marketing software and can afford to reward our affiliates more.
  4. Half of all affiliate marketers earn approximately $1660 a month, on average.

Affiliate marketing is an extremely lucrative niche, with billions of dollars in circulation, but not everyone makes it to the top.

Also check out our other popular articles:

The fierce competition resulted in many spam websites, spam emails, fake reviews, and fraud marketing schemes, all for the sake of ripping a piece from a very creamy cake we call “affiliate marketing revenue.”

Check out Scaleo’s Anti Fraud Logic and what does it do.

After trying out in an affiliate marketing business, many people give up simply because they cannot earn enough even to cover the costs of their websites.

How to make it to the top 3%?

That’s a million-dollar question, literally.

If you want to maximize your affiliate revenue, you have to study the market and the competition.

How to choose a profitable niche for affiliate marketing?

Before talking about how much do affiliate marketers make, it’s important to note that niche makes a big difference. Picking a topic just because you love it, isn’t a great idea. Imagine wasting so much time and energy, building an affiliate website on a topic that you like only to discover that there aren’t many valuable goods you can promote and sell.

If you love your niche – it’s great, but remember that it has to make money. That’s where you should begin, find a topic or a niche that is packed with useful products, so you will know you can make a profit there, even though it’s more convenient to write and work in a niche you like.

How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing? (2020)
Image source: VigLink

However, having an interest in your niche will make it easier for you to know your future audience, produce better content, and be more creative. This will help you market your website and your affiliate products, and you will see that when you make a significant increase in revenue.

Not all niches are equally profitable. According to Jeff Lenneythe most profitable affiliate marketing niches are:

  1. Health Niche (weight loss, quit smoking, yoga, muscle building, etc.)
  2. Dating Niche (dating advice, online dating apps, etc.)
  3. Making Money Online Niche (blogging, marketing, affiliate marketing, SMM, etc.)
  4. The ‘Learn to sing or play an instrument’ niche
  5. Learn to speak another language
  6. The Green Energy Niche (solar power, alternative energy, recycling)
  7. Spirituality and Alternative Beliefs (personal development, manifestation, astrology, tarot, etc.)
  8. The Survival Niche (home defense, grow your own food, and recently, coronavirus).

Read our post on how to find a profitable affiliate marketing niche.

This list doesn’t mean you cannot promote other products or dive into a different niche. It simply means that these are highly competitive niches, where payout per sale is generally higher

While you can make money through affiliate marketing in (probably) every niche, as we said earlier, it pays out to work smarter. Why not look into a niche that is already converting and selling well?

Choosing The Best Affiliate Network

According to the most recent statistics (2020), the most popular affiliate networks are:

  • ShareASale: This network has more than 2,500 CPA programs to choose from. Looking through ShareASale’s offers, you will definitely find a product in your niche to promote.
  • Commission Junction: CJ works with more than 3,000 brands, which you can promote and make money off. This is by far the largest pool of affiliate offers.
  • ClickBankClickBank is similar to ShareASale – getting started is simple, thanks to its consumer-focused UI and approach. Some ClickBank top earners make as much as 10K a month.
  • Amazon: It should come as no surprise that Amazon is always a safe bet for many affiliate e-shops. There are literally millions of products to promote, and you receive a commission from the customer’s entire purchase (not only the item you promoted). Check out our ultimate guide to affiliate marketing on Amazon.

Watch Nate O’Brien’s video on Top 10 Affiliate Marketing Programs For 2020:

In the chart below, you can also see, which affiliate marketing platforms are the most popular:

How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing? (2020)

As you can see, the network you choose to operate in can have a direct impact on your earnings. Bigger networks tend to have a wider variety of vendors you can promote, more organized payouts, and typically more flexibility. If you are just starting out, I recommend you join one of the top affiliate marketing networks. You will find them easy to use, therefore easy to get started with affiliate marketing in general, and a higher chance of closing a sale because the tracking system would be flawless.

Is affiliate marketing still profitable in 2020?

Taking into account all the statistics we have shown here and not only the affiliate marketing trends for 2021, but also the potential of the industry, it is safe to say that affiliate marketing is still profitable in 2020 and will continue to be profitable in 2021. As long as people will still be shopping online, (as they definitely will be), there will be more than enough affiliate offers to promote. This can also answer the corresponding pressing question “is affiliate marketing worth it?”. Of course, it does. If so many millions can be made in this industry, and you could see in this post how much affiliate marketers make, it should definitely be worth giving affiliate marketing a try and get your share of this lucrative pie.

How to maximize your affiliate earnings on a blog? 

How to maximize your affiliate earnings on a blog?

When incorporating affiliate links in your content, keep in mind social a few tips that will help you make more money with affiliate marketing, regardless of the niche you promote or the network you work with:

  • Only promote items you would have bought yourself.
  • Build trust with your readers. Don’t try to sell right away.
  • Be honest and personal. There is no replacement for your own voice, tone, and style.
  • Storytelling: Your readers need to hear the “story” behind the items you wear/buy/promote, not just see a bunch of hyperlinked keywords in the context.
  • Build a relationship with your audience; engage with them on social media or via email.
  • Make it clear to your readers that you live your dream life – they would want a piece of it too.
  • Focus on a micro-niche (we have a great blog post about it!)
  • Be open about how you earn money on your blog or on social media. Let your audience know what happens when they click on your affiliate link. If they trust you and want to support you, they’ll be pleased to buy through your affiliate links. Check for example Starbucks marketing strategy to learn from this case study.

How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing – FAQ

How long does it take to make money from affiliate marketing?

Generally speaking, you can start earning money the same day you got started, assuming you are doing everything right. The only delay is when it comes to payouts, some companies only roll out payments once a month or require the affiliate to meet a minimum threshold.

How much traffic do you need for affiliate marketing?

Generally speaking, if your campaign is extremely optimized and very well planned, you can make a lot of money even with very little traffic, because your conversion rate will be very high. Larger volumes of traffic are required for campaigns that have a low conversion rate or have a very small CPL or CPA (which means you only get a few cents per conversion).

How long does it take to be a successful affiliate marketer?

There is really no way of saying what is the ultimate time frame for becoming successful at anything, however, generally speaking it takes between 3 to 5 years to establish authority and become a recognizable brand in your industry.

Is affiliate marketing easy?

Yes and no. Affiliate marketing can seem to be very easy for those who have been in this business for years and may seem extremely daunting for new affiliates. Bear in mind, that if so many people around the world managed to do it, probably so can you.

Can you make money online with affiliate marketing?

Of course. Moreover, this is one of the most popular ways to make money online in 2021. Affiliate marketing is increasingly growing and you can see this multi-billion dollar industry as a perfect opportunity and get in and get your cut. The best part is, you can make money with affiliate marketing even while you sleep.

Does affiliate marketing work?

Beyond asking “does affiliate marketing works”, because it does, the main question you should ask is, “Will affiliate marketing work for ME?” The simple truth is that affiliate marketing will only function with individuals with specific characteristics and abilities. Of course, anyone can have success with affiliate marketing and make money out of it, but the chances of success really rely on your personality and skill.
Think about the following points and how they relate to you to decide whether or not you are likely to be effective with affiliate marketing.

Is affiliate marketing dead?

No. affiliate marketing is not dead. Affiliate marketing has began in 1989 and has been growing steadily ever since. Affiliate marketing is simply changing, and that is good news. It’s getting better and bigger.

Is affiliate marketing worth it?

Despite a dubious reputation for those who aren’t in the know, affiliate marketing is a completely legit, legal and profitable way to make money. Yes, affiliate marketing is worth it. The vast majority of the world’s population has access to the internet, and online purchases in all categories are steadily growing. Affiliate marketers can reach levels of performance ranging from fair to unbelievable with the right skills and attitude. Why shouldn’t you take part in it as well?

Affiliate marketing average income in India?

Average affiliate marketing income in India varies. It’s important to remember, that many affiliate are companies and not individuals, the the revenue splits. They also have lot of money to invest in paid ads. On average – companies are earning ₹4300000/day and top individual are earning ₹100000/day. Affiliate Marketing Salaries in India are reported to be at least ₹11,064 / mo.

Conclusion – How Much Can You Make in Affiliate Marketing in 2020?

how much you can make

If you are planning to start affiliate marketing in the near future, be sure to bookmark this page, as we will frequently update it with new statistics and data, as it comes.

The affiliate marketing industry is expanding consistently. Many people ask themselves, is affiliate marketing worth it? According to Statista, spending in affiliate marketing in the U.S. alone is expected to hit the to $8.2 billion benchmarks in 2022. There is definitely enough room for everyone to make money, but you have to study the market and know what you are doing. Is affiliate marketing profitable in 2020? Yes. Is affiliate marketing (going to be) profitable in 2021? Of course. Good luck!

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affiliate tracking
Elizabeth Sramek
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.
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