Affiliates, sub-affiliates, and super-affiliates are the three main types of affiliates.
And yes, there is a difference.
To break the meaning of “affiliate” down further, it’s important to understand that there’s a difference between being an “affiliate” and using “affiliate marketing.”
I wish I knew a year ago that there are different types of affiliates.
Can An Individual Be An Affiliate?
Yes, an “affiliate” is an individual. They’re a person like you and I. There’s no degree or special qualifications needed.
On the other hand, “Affiliate marketing” is the business model that the affiliate uses.
And when you put the two together, the individual becomes an affiliate marketer.
Before an individual becomes an affiliate marketer, it’s safe to say that most people don’t have any previous experience with affiliate marketing or marketers.
Most were individuals seeking a career change or wanting to earn an extra income.
Simply put, they were frustrated or wanted to improve their current situation.
Since there are different types of affiliates – in terms of affiliate terms, this article will be based on the affiliates who are actively involved with affiliate marketing research – and affiliate programs only.
Moreover, affiliates use an affiliate income generating model that involves performance based marketing relationships, which is the business model called “affiliate marketing.”
Above all, it’s important to understand how each affiliate is different and what they have in common.
What Are The 3 Main Types Of Affiliates?
As I mentioned earlier there are three most common affiliates in the affiliate marketing world.
An affiliate is an independent affiliate marketer who decides to promote other people’s, businesses’, or organizations’ products.
Most people start affiliate marketing as an average affiliate. I say average because, there are different levels of affiliates.
These types of affiliates are paid on a performance-based model, which is the affiliate marketing business model.
Furthermore, when an affiliate becomes an affiliate marketer, their earnings aren’t just a way to earn extra income.
The income that an affiliate earns is also passive income.
Furthermore, an affiliate is a brand’s sales force. They join affiliate programs, grab their affiliate links, and start content marketing.
They spend their own money and their own time promoting other people’s, businesses’, or organizations’ products and services.
With that in mind, at least 80% of brands have an affiliate marketing program.
In fact, at least 40% of marketers claim that affiliate marketing is an excellent skill to have because of the flexibility, skills, and new opportunities that comes with it.
In fact, affiliate marketing has helped me learn how to do many new skills that I previously didn’t have.
The bottom line is that an affiliate is where most new marketers will start, and you’ll understand why as you continue reading this article.
Their a valuable piece of an older advertising model – for most brands, such as marketing in a newspaper.
Marketing in a newspaper will help a business reach a certain group of local people.
However, it may not reach as many as it would if the business were to implement digital marketing, which is a form of marketing that allows the business to have a presence online.
Therefore, affiliates are valuable to businesses.
A sub-affiliate is an affiliate who is already an affiliate marketer.
Instead of this type of successful affiliate marketer focusing on new customers.
They are involved in attracting current affiliates.
Or they can do both! Attract new customers and recruit new affiliates.
However, for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on a sub- affiliates that attracts only current affiliates.
Therefore, a sub-affiliate earns commissions for referring other affiliates.
Most affiliate programs or affiliate networks call this a second-tier affiliate.
The terms “two-tier” and “sub-affiliates” are used interchangeably.
The way a sub-affiliate works is that they will apply all or most of their focus driving traffic to a partner’s or their own affiliate’s site.
They do this for the purpose of inviting other affiliates to: programs, products, or services for the brands that they are partnering with.
In a two tier affiliate revenue sharing program, sometimes both affiliates will get compensated.
It just depends on how the affiliate partner is set up.
In many cases, the first affiliate earns additional commissions when their sub-affiliate earns commissions.
Usually, you’ll see this model in many home based business programs.
Plus it can be seen in related affiliate marketplaces.
To become a sub-affiliate, typically, you’ll have some previous experience as an affiliate.
It helps to have a good deal of knowledge when it comes to recruiting other affiliates but, it is not a requirement.
Therefore, beginners don’t usually start here unless they are promoting a home based business program.
A “super affiliate” is an affiliate capable of generating a substantial amount of traffic and sales.
They have a high level of professional and psychological maturity.
Furthermore, a “super affiliate” is a small percentage of people (affiliates).
However, with the right affiliate manager, it’s predicted that a new or average affiliate can grow into a super affiliate.
Besides, super affiliates are usually involved in affiliate marketing full-time.
They have years of experience from testing, experimenting, and they have learned what and what not to do.
The reason, they are called super affiliates is they make at least five-figure incomes on a consistent monthly basis.
In some cases, they make $10,000 per day or at least $350 or a few hundred dollars more per day.
The point is that most super affiliates earn at least $100,000 or more per year.
Simply put, super affiliates aren’t easily wooed. They’re more focused, motivated, and proactive.
They aren’t scared to fail, test, or experiment.
Therefore, they can generate up to 80% of the affiliate marketing campaign’s traffic, leads, and sales.
So, there’s no need to stress yourself out if you it takes you years to earn a six figure income.
I hope it doesn’t take that long but, just in case, you can rest a little more easy.
You see the math. Most affiliates are just affiliates and nothing is wrong with that.
How Many Affiliates, Sub-Affiliates, and Super Affiliates are there?
The number of affiliates and sub-affiliates isn’t known.
There’s no way to determine an accurate answer because the numbers for affiliates and sub-affiliates aren’t officially tracked.
What I can tell you is that Amazon has over 900,000 affiliates, and they’re not the only affiliate marketing program out there.
As a matter of fact, there are thousands of affiliate programs and ad networks.
As far as affiliate marketing networks go, ShareASale is another large affiliate marketing network, with over 700,00 affiliate relationships (actual affiliates).
Followed by Awin, which has at least 241,000 affiliates. And Clickbank, which has 100,000 or more affiliates.
Having mentioned the above networks – they’re all still accepting new affiliates every day.
In conclusion, there are a lot of affiliates but, that doesn’t mean there are too many.
Firstly, there are numerous affiliate network.
Secondly, there are different types of affiliate marketing and advertising opportunities. You know, the companies that you can join specifically for website display ads.
In addition to that, there are at least, 11,400 or more different affiliate advertisements and programs.
Lastly, this doesn’t even include all the private or direct affiliate programs.
Plus, there are so many other ways affiliates earn income.
Therefore, there is no way to determine how many affiliates or sub-affiliates are out there.
On the other hand, for super affiliates, numbers are more determinable.
The percentage of them is lower. I assume they are easier to track.
According to research, a super affiliate means they are making at least $100k to $150k per year, which makes up about 7.94% of them. With about 3.78% making well over $150k per year.
Overall, what most super affiliates won’t tell you is that they failed , tested, experimented and kept going.
So, they have years of hands of experience that they learned from.
Are There Too Many Affiliates In This World?
No, I don’t think so! It really depends on how you look at the situation.
An affiliate can do all types of affiliate marketing: full-time, part-time, or as a side hustle.
Asking if there are too many affiliates in this world is almost like asking if there are too many jobs in this world.
Do we have too many jobs in this world?
I’ll answer that for you below.
Or maybe a better question would be, “Do we have too many employees in this world?”
According to research, it doesn’t seem like we have enough jobs.
One of the differences between being an employee and a related affiliate marketer is that an employee shows up to someone else’s business, and works.
While an affiliate marketer is the business and works for themselves.
So, essentially, you would be making a job for yourself as an affiliate marketer.
As a result, one opportunity is developed by a company, while the other is self-developed.
To further support my educated guess that there aren’t too many affiliates. I did a little digging.
In 2012, there was an article written by (ILO).
The report was titled ‘Global Employment Trends 2012.” It stated that the world faced an urgent challenge in creating 600 million new productive jobs for the world.
They also say in that report that the world is backlogged globally, with 200 million people unemployed.
Furthermore, according to the World Bank they wrote an article in 2018 stating that job creation is a challenge globally.
As a matter of fact, they go on to say that there are at least 200 million people worldwide who are unemployed.
With at least 2 billion women who are neither employed nor unemployed.
Ironically, the 200 million unemployed people are in the same situation the world faced in 2012.
And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2023, at least 1.4 million people were actively seeking employment but were unsuccessful at receiving it.
Thankfully, according to that same report, only 5.7 million people are currently unemployed in the U.S.
So, with all that said, it appears that the world has too many employees and not enough jobs.
On the other hand, with affiliate marketing, unlike a regular job, affiliates are a self-motivated workforce.
You see, affiliate marketing is similar to a job.
It’s just a job that you can make for yourself, whether it’s a side hustle, part-time or fulltime.
When making your own job, there are no limits.
In fact, there was a poll recently done about 70% of Americans prefer to be self-employed, and affiliate marketing, is one idea that you can take into consideration.
And to further support my educated guess, that there are not too many affiliates, consider the following.
Knowing that at least 84% of brands have affiliate programs, and that at least 86% of those affiliates maintain a stable and rising income, there’s still room for opportunity.
Since Covid-19, at least 65% of CFOs have plans to increase their investments in their affiliate marketing programs.
It’s clear that affiliate marketing is expanding and here to stay.
In fact, since an affiliate promotes programs that they choose, and drops programs that they no longer want to work with, I do not believe that there is too many affiliates.
Furthermore, an affiliate has the ability to choose which programs to promote more or less aggressively. Or they don’t have to promote a company at all.
There’s no strings attached.
And, yes, an affiliate can join and promote as many programs as you’d like because this is how affiliate marketing works.
For the most part, unless you’re doing something unethical, affiliate marketers aren’t fired or banned, nor do they experience job loss.
Now, that doesn’t mean their own affiliate marketing income is never affected because some involved affiliate marketers and programs have been known to shut down.
All this means for the affiliate is that if one program isn’t working out, they can jump ship and join another.
In any case, the point is that, yes, there are a lot of affiliate marketers, but not enough for you to not consider it.
Based on the presented facts, it seems to me that there are way more affiliate marketing program opportunities than employment options for those who are unemployed.
Therefore, I do not think there are too many affiliates.
Affiliate marketing is not as easy as showing up to work because it does require effort, motivation, and self-discipline but new products and services are always being developed.
Overall, by 2024, the affiliate marketing industry is predicted to generate $15.7 billion this has continued to raise for the last several years.
Therefore, opportunities are still open for you and many others.
Some Of The Most Common Types Of Affiliates
Whether the affiliate is a related affiliate or an otherwise unattached affiliate, these are examples of different types of affiliates.
It’s also important to understand that most affiliates combine several marketing efforts.
Content Publishing Affiliates
The most common affiliate is a content publisher or blogger. Many bloggers enjoy using content publishing.
As a content publisher affiliate, you write reviews, how-tos, gossip, sports, lifestyles, niche content, and so on.
By doing this, you can generate traffic and potential customers for your website for free. But you’ll need to learn search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is also known as “organic traffic.” It’s where you write a blog post and do your best to get it ranked in search engines.
“If you enjoy writing, then content publishing could be for you.”
With over 15 ways to monetize your affiliate website, I’m sure you can establish your presence online and your target audience.
A couple of ways a blog is monetized is by placing affiliate links throughout its posts.
Or you can use banner ads, and those are just a couple of ways bloggers make money online.
A great example of the continued success of a content publisher is Forbes.com, and then you have many personal finance blogs, mom blogs about their own businesses or family life, book blogs, and so on.
On the other hand, you have content publishers who enjoy creating videos, using social media marketing, and a number of other ways to get their content out there.
Instead of driving traffic from a blog, they choose the social media and video streaming route.
Everyone loves discounts. Coupon websites are anticipated to increase further.
To satisfy customer demand, there are affiliate sites that put together a collection of coupons and discounts so that their website visitors can enjoy their brand savings.
Lowest price, holiday coupons, deals of the day, deals of the week, or deals of the month are all options for organizing coupon sites. I think you get the idea.
An example of a coupon website is Groupon.
Data Feed Affiliates
The advertiser, also known as the merchant, produces a data feed.
The purpose of the data feed is to make sure the affiliates always have up-to-date and current pricing for the products.
It’s almost like having an e-commerce store at your fingertips.
There are two types of data feeds. You have news feeds, and you have product feeds. Most affiliates work with product feeds.
The affiliate uses the data feed to help advertise the company’s products or services more successfully.
The affiliate network establishes the format in which you receive your data feed. In many cases, the feeds are monitored and updated simultaneously.
Furthermore, the merchants data fee includes the product, the images, links, pricing, and more.
The best example of a product feed is Amazon’s product feed.
Unlike other affiliate networks, Amazon has its own structure, so if it’s something you’ll need to master.
Since the majority of the world knowns and trust Amazon most affiliates usually starts with them.
Comparison Shopping Affiliates
A comparison shopping affiliate is exactly what it sounds like.
It’s an affiliate who compares products or services by creating content and checking prices or features.
They add value to their target audience by simplifying the product search and comparing the process for all users.
Usually, this affiliate writes a lot of reviews hoping to help save their website visitors time and money.
Email marketing affiliates
This individual usually has an email list with a target audience. And for this to work you will need an affiliate marketing autoresponder.
The email affiliate can be a blogger, YouTuber, social media marketer, or influencer.
They will send out important updates, offers, discounts, and so on.
Email affiliates are usually sending out a product offer, whether it be a home based business opportunity or the newest anime Custome.
Email affiliates can use a blog, landing page, YouTube, or social media.
On the other hand, you have email affiliates that are promoting the email marketing service itself.
Paid search affiliates
A paid search affiliate can use Google Adwords, Bing, or solo ads to drive paid traffic to their affiliate landing page or affiliate website.
Not all paid search affiliates have a website. Instead they use squeeze pages (landing page).
Most affiliates use landing pages to promote their products or services.
A paid search affiliate is using a marketing method called paid per click affiliate marketing, most of them keep track of their clicks with software.
Paid search affiliates are also promoting products and offers, but, instead of doing it the free and slow way.
They use their money to generate traffic, which is a skill to learn as well.
You must know how to find the right buyer keywords, and its best to know how to test and track your results.
Either way, you can always start with a small budget, place your ads and see if it makes sense for you.
This method is usually not recommended unless you have the budget to blow, and the patience to learn the skills.
Loyalty Marketing Affiliates
Loyalty marketing affiliates are also known as “incentive affiliates.”
With this type of affiliate, they promote cash-back, rebate offers, donations, scholarship funds, and more, almost like Kroger’s rewards program.
The idea behind this type of affiliate is to facilitate the desired end user action by offering an incentive.
Unfortunately, these programs are few and far between because most affiliate programs and managers do not know what they are or how to operate them.
But no worries; Zoho is doing its best and trying to spread the word about performance centric marketing, which is similar to loyalty marketing.
The bottom line here is there are many types of affiliates. The list above helped you learn about 5 of them.
Wrap It Up
Regardless of what affiliate you decide to become, or not become, I hope you found this post valuable.
As you learned in this post, we have affiliates, sub-affiliates, and super-affiliates.
With all the types of affiliates in mind, each individual chooses to the type of affiliate marketing channel they will use.
The whole idea is to promote other people’s products or services to encourage consumers to click through your affiliate link and buy from your partners’ websites.
Of course, the products and services that you promote should be helpful to your target audience.