Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It? Can You Still Make Money?

Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by andrewtk

is affiliate marketing worth it in white text on vivid orange background

Do you spend your days day-dreaming of a 10-hour work-week? 

Working, to the extent that you actually need to do any, from wherever you want.

All the while still raking it in through your expertly set-up passive income streams of course!

Hmm, it does sound pretty attractive.

But is it even possible? And if so, is it possible through affiliate marketing?

Is affiliate marketing worth it?

Let's dig in a little and find out! 

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?

Is affiliate marketing worth it. For me, it's a resounding YES!

But it is a lot of work. The ‘passive income' thing is a bit of a myth.

Sure you can work when you want.

Sure you can work from wherever you want.

But you definitely do have to work…and quite a bit too!

Get your niche selection right. Select great products where you have good knowledge of the market, put the graft in…

…and bingo! (hopefully), you could build yourself a very profitable affiliate business.

Affiliate Marketing Industry – Some Statistics

Now for a few affiliate marketing numbers that could just be a deciding factor in your decision making.

In 2022, affiliate marketing spend in the United States reached $8.2 billion, up from $5.4 billion in 2017 (source).

Image: Statista

The Global Affiliate Marketing Industry is now worth over $17 Billion (source).

Image: Influencer MarketingHub

Affiliate Marketing is now a firmly established leading driver of revenue for organisations (source).

Image: Pepperjam

Search interest in the topic “affiliate marketing” has grown by almost 25% since April 2018 (source).

And now, content sites and blogs account for close to 40% of all publisher commissions.

Can You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

Sure you can, and it will be all the more likely if you have a great work ethic.

Also a bit easier if you shape up well in a few other key areas, such as one or even two of these:

#1. You Have High-Level Knowledge in Your Niche

It's pretty obvious that if you go for a niche where you have some strong knowledge and/or skills, you're going to find things a little easier.

Not only do you already know what you're talking about, but you also know the problems and struggles people face within that niche.

You've been there yourself, you can relate…and you can easily figure out the type of content that will be useful to people.

Bottom line: You don't need to be an ‘expert', but any knowledge that puts you ahead of new entrants is going to stand you in good stead.  

This is not to say that you can't find massive success as an affiliate if you don't have much knowledge in any particular area.

It just means you'll be needing to put in a bit more research as you progress.

#2. You Use the Types Affiliate Products in Your Niche

If you're thinking about writing bullshit product reviews, I think your moment may have already passed.

Internet buyers, and Google, can sniff out a BS review a mille off.

Hands-on experience of the types of products or services that sell in you chosen niche is important, and becoming more so each year.

This doesn't mean you have to rush out and spend a fortune on new bits of kit to review. 

Just start with the stuff you already own, and give them all a full, deep-dive, user review.   

As a genuine user of a product or service, you will pick up on things that other reviewers won't have, and this is what will make your review trustworthy and unique.

#3. Your Niche Has High Earnings-per-Click

Earnings-per-Click (EPC) is one of the most important figures to look at as an affiliate.

EPC gives you the average amount that is currently being earned from clicks on affiliate links.

Here is the EPC equation:

EPC = Commission from a product sale / Number of clicks on referral link

The higher the EPC, the better.

When you find a product in your niche with a real high EPC, you can then start thinking about every which way you can possibly promote it.

#Bonus: You Already Have an Online Audience

This is a total luxury item.

Definitely do not be put off getting into affiliate marketing if you don't have an existing audience, because most people don't.

But if you do, I'm kind of wondering why you wouldn't jump in as an affiliate with both feet.

You might have an existing email list, or a social media following, or a website already pulling in traffic.

Whatever it is, if you have an existing following, it's going to be a big help in getting you to affiliate success quicker than you would otherwise.

Remember that we all have to start somewhere…

…so don't be put off before you've even started just because you don't have any of the things we've talked about above. 

How To Start A Successful Affiliate Marketing Business

Here are the three essentials that you'll need in order to start your own affiliate marketing business:

  • A well researched niche
  • Good quality affiliate products to sell
  • Somewhere that you will promote affiliate links

Spending time researching potential niches will pay you back many times over.

It can seem tedious when you're doing the research. And it can be very disappointing when you discover there is little potential in a niche you were really hoping to get in to.

But it's worth every minute of your time.

A niche with a good number of quality products and solid EPC's is going to really maximise your chances of success.

A blog, a YouTube channel, an Instagram account, a TikTok account, these are all places you can look at promoting your affiliate links.

How To Choose Your Affiliate Niche

I know a lot of people find it tedious, but I actually love researching affiliate niches.

So many niches, so little time!

Very basically, these are three key areas to consider when looking for a niche with great potential:

#1. Your knowledge of the niche –  We spoke about this earlier. It's great if you have existing knowledge, but if you don't, go for a niche you are interested in learning about. 

#2. Number and size of the competition – A crowded niche with too many big players, could make it very hard to win traffic. But too little competition with no big players, may indicate there is not enough interest.

#3. Enough quality products/services – Be certain that there are enough high-quality products and services within the niche.   

Some affiliate marketing training courses teach you how to properly screen a new niche, but not all of them.

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

There are some massive plus-points in setting up an affiliate business.

And of course there are a few things about affiliate marketing that are a little but rubbish.

Let's take a look at the pros and cons:


#1. No need to launch your own product or service

Some people love coming up with new products ideas, and then developing and launching it into the market.

But to me, that's my idea of hell.

That's because I'm not an inventor, I'm a marketer.

I like people and all their crazy quirks. Which means I enjoy figuring out target markets, and what makes people buy stuff etc.

I also like creating content.

In short, you can create an affiliate business without it taking months before you can get to market. 

#2. Logistics is not your job

Product supplies, shipping, warehousing, packaging, deliveries, returns, complaints.

Does that lot sound like your idea of fun, fun, fun?

No, not mine either!

Affiliates don't need to worry their pretty little heads about any of that stuff.

Simply somebody else's job.

#3. Low start-up costs

Probably the most expensive way to get set-up as an affiliate marketer is to build your own website as you affiliate platform.

And that's hardly break-the-bank type stuff.

You'll need to buy a domain name and pay for your site hosting.

You'll most likely need to pay for a WordPress theme.

Email marketing software is not essential from day-one, but it is definitely advisable.

And that's it. Probably all-in at somewhere under $200.

#4. Time-convenient, location-convenient

You can run your affiliate marketing business from wherever you want, whenever you want.

As long as you have an internet connection, and a device that you find useable, you're good to go. 

#5. Affiliate marketing is scalable

This is a massive draw for many new affiliates.

The scalability of affiliate marketing is almost endless.

And it's scalable across almost every aspect of the business.

You can scale the products or services you promote. And you can scale them either vertically, or horizontally, or both.

New campaigns, new products, new channels and platforms, new niches.

Once you've cracked how to affiliate market effectively, it's unlikely you will find a more easily scalable business model. 


#1. You're building someone else's business

No matter how much money they're making, affiliate marketers are always making even more money for someone else.

No product owner is going to pay their affiliate more than they make for themselves.

#2. Product development is out of your hands

Few things are more frustrating as an affiliate than when you have a great product earning you great commissions…

…only for the product owner to go and change some key element that blows-up all you sales.

It happens, and it is infuriating.

The product owner might change the price, alter the terms, tinker with some product spec., none of this is in your control.

#3. Competing against huge brands

The New York Times are at it.

Forbes are at it.

TechRadar are at it.

These massive brands are all affiliate marketing.

It can be seriously disheartening when you see an absolute garbage article, by a huge brand, dominating the number one spot of Google, simply because it's a big brand.

#4. It can be difficult to build trust

Unfortunately there have been way too many unscrupulous affiliates in the past, who only wanted to relieve people of their money.

Because of this the affiliate industry comes with a level of mis-trust.

A lot of online buyers now worry that anyone with an affiliate disclaimer on their site must be trying to scam them.

All you can do is turn out high-quality, genuine, helpful content and hope that the mis-trust melts away. 

Is Affiliate Marketing Right For You?

Can you live without any product control?

Would you be able to stomach living in the knowledge that you are making more for the product owners than you're making for yourself?

Can you live with the relentless fickleness of the search engines?

Are you willing to put the time in? Because affiliate marketing does require a decent amount of time.

If you've answered a resounding yes, yes, yes and yes, well then, affiliate marketing could just be right for you, and you for it!

Wrapping It Up!

Oh okay, well, that bit directly above was the wrap-up.

What more is there to say? Is affiliate marketing worth it? I think it is, very much!..

…good luck!

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