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Understanding the Types of Affiliates and Their Use Cases

Rewardful Team

Not all affiliates are created equal. It’s not just a case of the more, the merrier – if you really want to reap the benefits of affiliate marketing, you'll have to choose and manage your affiliates wisely. That, of course, starts by understanding all the types of affiliates out there.

In this article, we've laid that out for you. 

Here are 10 different affiliate types, their pros, cons, and ideal use cases. 

What Factors Determine the Affiliate Type to Choose

If you're new to affiliate management or have only had experience with a specific type of product, you might assume that all affiliates are more or less the same: influencers (big or small) that help you drive sales through their network. But affiliates come in all shapes and sizes.

There are more ways to succeed at affiliate marketing than by partnering up with high-value affiliates or social influencers. To find your match, here are the factors you need to consider:

Let’s explore the options to find your perfect fit.

10 Types of Affiliate Partners to Consider Working With

If you get a little creative, tons of people and businesses can be your affiliates. If you're looking for inspiration on who to work with, take your pick from the types below.

1. Micro-influencers

These affiliates have a smaller following but a highly engaged audience. They can have podcasts, radio shows, a blog, social media channels, or an online newsletter. While their reach isn't necessarily big, they’re often eager to work with truly great brands.

Ideal use case: ideal for businesses with a niche product or service and a need for targeted, authentic advertising.

2. Creators on content monetization platforms 

Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok – heck, even LinkedIn. Creators on these platforms plug your affiliate links into their content, which they tailor to their audience.

Ideal use case: there are countless use cases for this one! Every platform will likely have influencers and creators in your niche on there, so it’s just a matter of picking the right ones to work with.

3. Charities and non-profit organizations 

An often overlooked category is charities and non-profit organizations. Schools, local sports clubs, charitable organizations, and hospitals – they can all be affiliates if your product or service is fit for the people they work with or are trying to reach. If you can offer them a significant commission as a donation, and they can advertise your products, everybody wins.

Ideal use case: this is ideal for businesses with a strong social responsibility message and target audience.

4. Bloggers and publishers 

This category is much bigger than you might think. It includes online magazines, newspapers, independent blogs, news websites, and many, many more. From BuzzFeed to Forbes and from beauty blogs to tech blogs – you'll always find one that fits your audience. 

Ideal use case: since there are so many places out there, it works for almost every niche. 

5. Email marketers and newsletters 

Instead of blogs or social media, you can also focus on creators (inspo: James Clear) or organizations (inspo: Creative Mornings) who reach their audience through email. These affiliates can be great to work with because of their dedicated and nearly hand-picked audience, and they get to monetize their emails. 

Ideal use case: as long as the niche fits and the affiliate can offer real value on your product or service to their audience, it's a win.

6. Mobile apps

Why not partner up with mobile app creators? If your product or service is a great fit with specific ads, you can double the value that's being offered to app users.

Ideal use case: if you have a very mobile-friendly audience that loves using apps, consider reaching out to new and existing apps to work with.

7. Coupon and deals websites 

You might be hesitant to partner up with affiliates who offer discounts on your products and get a commission: it could feel like a double loss. But if you are already offering discounts through your website it can give you the sales boost you need, especially if your product is featured among the first within your niche category.

Ideal use case: high competition industries and existing discounting policies.

8. Brands in your niche (or in a niche that's relevant to yours) 

Why work with the competition? Sometimes, you can’t offer your audience exactly what they want, or see competitors who struggle with the same. By recommending each other's products from other brands, you all get a commission, and you're working on a great relationship with your customers. It doesn't need to be your exact niche, but it should be related.

Ideal use case: businesses looking to cross-promote products or services.

9. Podcast and video affiliates 

These affiliates use audio, video or a mix of the two to draw potential buyers to your product

Ideal use case: any company looking to improve brand recognition.

10. Ranking and review websites 

If you’re not working with ranking websites yet, you’re likely missing out. 95% of people check out reviews before buying anything, so ranking websites are the perfect place to drop affiliate links.

Ideal use case: if you're confident in how people feel about your business and products, go for it. Only do this if you truly offer high-quality products or services or have a need for unbiased reviews.

Find Your Perfect Affiliate Software

Rewardful is the place to go if you want to learn how to create, scale and manage your affiliate program. We've helped over 20,000 companies set up and grow their affiliate and referral programs… and we’ve got more tips ready for you, so stay tuned.

Find out how and where to find your ideal affiliates

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