ChooZing Affiliate Networks
Zlata Thoughts Vol. 7
May greetings, friendZ and fam! Did you catch any Met Gala looks? Are we all in love with Pete Davidson? Who’s better than Blake Lively? Can I keep making Kendall eyebrow memes?
While you ponder those very important questions, I’ll get serious for a sec and dive into another I got earlier this month: What’s the best affiliate network to start with? Ready? Lessgo.
Affiliate Network Reviews: ProZ and ConZ
Today, I’m turning the spotlight to the affiliate networks themselves. I’ve audited brands on most of the major platforms: ShareASale, Rakuten, CJ, Impact, AWIN, and PepperJam. They all have their pros and cons, but generally offer the same “win-win” scenario that is affiliate marketing. Two that I like the most are ShareASale and Rakuten, so I thought I’d give you my take. For the record, I also really like Impact, but I’m trying to keep these short(er) and sweet(ish)!
Once upon a time, ShareASale was a giant among giants. ShareASale, Commission Junction, LinkShare and ClickBank were basically the only big networks out there. Today, the landscape is a little different, but ShareASale still remains a leading brand in the space. Cool, but wtf does that matter? This history has given it a generally good reputation. Here’s my breakdown:
ShareASale features every kind of product you can imagine, both physical and digital
Network of thousands of exclusive merchants
Trustworthy payouts, lots of partners
Sign-up and approval are faster and easier than many other networks
ShareASale allows you to dissect every transaction, making it simple to void out any sales you don’t think were qualified leads
Low start-up and upkeep costs
The dashboard design is ancient and clunky
Recruiting and prospecting tools are not as sophisticated as others, creating more work and time spent for someone like yours truly
Why Choose ShareASale
A brand should use ShareASale if they’re new to affiliate marketing and dipping their toe in the water. Because the sign-up fee is low and the ongoing cost is manageable, the small investment offers virtually no risk. Whether you’re a brand who only wants Skimlinks, or you want to grow with a wide variety of merchants, ShareASale is a solid first step. With thousands of programs, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. If you're looking for big-name power though, keep reading.
Rakuten was formerly LinkShare, so it also has some history in the space too. It pulls big-name power, including Walmart, Best Buy and Macy’s. Let’s see how it stacks up.
Long history in affiliate space (formerly LinkShare)
Has the backing of a billion-dollar parent company
Good customer support
Sign-up is easy, but there’s a catch (see the ConZ)
Good tools for reporting and prospecting
Although sign-up is easy, it has to be done with an integration support person, which costs $$$
Much pricier when compared to ShareASale and some other networks
Rakuten takes a percentage of every sale and in some cases, there are additional fees depending on the level of membership you have
Best for players making a minimum of $1 million annually—naturally creating a somewhat high threshold for entry because of budget
Why Choose Rakuten
Rakuten has fewer merchants (just around 1,000), but in some cases, better ones. This can put your brand at an advantage and position it as “part of the club” if you will. Again, this all depends on your specific goals, but if you’re looking for star power, Rakuten is gonna be your jam.
So that’s how ShareASale and Rakuten compare. Some clear advantages with both, but it’s gonna come down to your own sitch. It also bears repeating: I do feel all good feels about Impact and would also consider them for big volume brands. I might feature Impact in a post soon—stay tuned! What should I cover next?
Just for SmileZ
That was a lot. Let’s end it on a lighter note. Some of my faves from the week for your reading pleasure.
That’s all for today! Byeeeeeee