Top Affiliate Networks (2023)

Updated: November 20, 2023

Working with affiliate networks is one of the most effective ways to increase brand awareness for your products and services, and up your conversions. Not only is affiliate marketing becoming a prime advertising concept, but marketers are taking advantage of the quick wins that affiliate networks guarantee.

With the complex nature of affiliate marketing, and the various platforms and networks that can be found within the market, you want to partner with only the top affiliate marketing networks out there to grow your business quickly.

Several advertisers and merchants are jumping on the affiliate marketing wagon, so you may be wanting to find more opportunities in this field too.

This guide will help you understand the economics of affiliate networks, what makes them better than standalone platforms, and which networks you should work with to maximize your ROI.

What is an affiliate network?

An affiliate network is an established platform that connects publishers, aka the affiliate marketers or advertisers, with brands. These publishers can be any kind of content creator, from bloggers to social media influencers who are willing to promote your product and services on their channels.

The affiliate network will usually offer reporting features and a database of members, serving as the ‘middleman’, so that both parties offering programs can connect and find the most suitable publisher or brand to work with.

In essence, an affiliate network helps web and app publishers to monetize their inventory by providing a variety of options, as well as all of the necessary tools for running campaigns, such as tracking links and creatives.

For advertisers, affiliate network services and benefits include payment processing, ad tracking technology, ad campaign reporting tools, as well as access to a vast database of publishers.

Some publishers, known as ‘affiliates’ or ‘media buyers’ will create or buy traffic using advertising specifically to promote campaigns from a network, rather than just to monetize existing inventory.

There are also two characteristics that describe the concept of affiliate marketing that translate into a network, namely the types of offers and commissions. The most popular types are game offers, casino offers, app offers, dating offers and nutra offers. The most in-demand commission types are mobile CPA and CPI.

How do affiliate platforms work?

Think of affiliate platforms as a marketplace for affiliates and marketers who sign up to the site, agreeing to its terms and conditions. Brands can then partner with suitable advertisers, and publishers can choose sites or brands they want to promote.

Once the two parties agree to collaborate, the publisher receives a custom link that monitors how many users follow this link or make a purchase from their site or advert. They are then paid a commission for each click that results in a sale.

Affiliate networks allow publishers to find affiliate programs and have an overview of affiliate commission payouts, while facilitating the process of partnering with influencers and affiliates for brands.

Now, you may be asking yourself what the difference is between affiliate networks and programs, as these terms are being mentioned in similar contexts. An affiliate program is usually a single brand, with which creators can get discovered on an affiliate network. The affiliate network is therefore a database made up of several programs to choose from and join.

By signing up to an affiliate platform, publishers can access available products and begin making sales right the next minute. However, they are usually only in direct contact with the network and not with the sellers, giving networks the core purpose of streamlining and monitoring the process of the collaboration.

Why should you join an affiliate marketing network?

Before signing up to an affiliate network, you may want to know more about why affiliate marketing can be of advantage and important to the growth of your business. So, let’s talk numbers.

Recent trends show that affiliate marketing spending is expected to reach $8.2 billion by 2022, which would be up from 5.4 billion that was recorded in 2017. Moreover, 81% of advertisers and 84% of publishers have turned to affiliate marketing, driving the industry towards this evolving strategy, only to increase even further in the upcoming years.

With advertisers using affiliate networks as a serious marketing tool, over 80% of them are investing more than 10% of their budgets in affiliate platforms. And when looking into different industries, retail had the highest share of affiliate revenue of 44% in 2021, with telecommunication and media accounting for 25% in global affiliate income.

Top Affiliate Networks

What does this mean for marketers and influencers alike? More and better opportunities to secure sticky income online. But let’s dive into more concrete benefits of joining an affiliate network.

What are the benefits of working with an affiliate network?

Apart from several industries now turning to affiliate marketing and spending rates increasing rapidly by the year, there are many key benefits within the concept that can help grow your business.

The main advantage of joining an affiliate network is that it is already an established platform, so you don’t have to go on a hunt for influencers and get them to promote your mobile app. When you sign up to a network, you can locate the most suitable advertisers in the database, making it easier to collaborate with them.

Networks also only admit legitimate affiliates that need to pass certain criteria to join the platform. Therefore, you are less likely to partner with inactive publishers or those with low conversion rates.

In order to increase the chances of partnering with a suitable affiliate network, another benefit is that these platforms usually already have an existing reputation, meaning that you can research and read reviews surrounding the companies. This will make sure you find a network that aligns with the objectives of your business, ensuring long term success and steady revenue.

A final and important benefit of joining an affiliate network is that the platform will handle payments for you as well as provide insight into traffic and performance data through its many analytics and reporting tools. So, you can track your progress and adjust your campaign accordingly.

Top affiliate networks to partner with

When choosing the best affiliate network for your business, make sure to see the commission rates the platforms offer are at least around 5% of each sale. Moreover, the platform you choose to sign up to should connect you with affiliates that target the same audience as you do, or at least operate in the same field as your products and services.

Notice the approval requirements as well, as many credible networks have criteria for you to join their network, such as having an established website or a certain amount of traffic. So, make sure to carefully read through their terms and conditions before you sign up.

Keeping these points in mind, choosing to work with an affiliate network can be very beneficial to your mobile app, if you are looking to reach a wider audience and increase visibility for your services.

This list of the top affiliate networks focuses on the companies that significantly work with mobile and app related traffic and offers, be it as specialist mobile affiliate networks or as a general affiliate platform, with a sea of mobile-friendly affiliate programs.

The list of top affiliate networks

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