Affiliate Commission Rates in 2024 – [Ultimate] Guide With Examples

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By Tomislav

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What are Affiliate Commissions?

Affiliate commissions are earnings from promoting someone else’s product.

In affiliate marketing, you promote a product and, in return, receive a commission from the sales.

For instance, if you’re a fitness enthusiast with a blog, you could use this platform to promote fitness products.

In today’s world, where attention is highly valuable, affiliate marketing bridges the gap between content creators like you and companies aiming to reach audiences.

To earn these commissions, you would join an affiliate program offered by a company. When sales are made through your affiliate links, you earn a commission.

It’s important to understand the difference between an “affiliate program” and an “affiliate network.”

Affiliate programs are specific to a company’s product or product line. They are managed by the companies themselves.

On the other hand, affiliate networks act as intermediaries between affiliates and companies. They handle the management of affiliate programs and maintain the relationship between the affiliate and the company.

However, the company remains responsible for selling the products and managing fulfillment.

Do You Have to Pay to Become an Affiliate?

Typically, no.

Companies welcome affiliates as it allows them to save on marketing costs for sales generated through affiliates, since they only pay after a sale is made.

This arrangement is advantageous for the company.

Consider the resources needed for creating and promoting content.

A company could either maintain a full marketing and content team or, alternatively, outsource these tasks to third-party marketers and content creators for a commission.

It’s crucial to note that some affiliate programs may have specific joining requirements related to an affiliate’s audience size and reputation.

However, it’s rare for companies to charge a fee for joining their affiliate programs.

And importantly, you should be wary of any program that demands payment for joining, as it could be a scam.

When Do You Get Paid a Commission?

You earn a commission when you make a sale.

Each affiliate is provided with unique affiliate links, allowing companies to track where sales originate.

When a customer clicks on your link, a cookie is placed on their device, linking them to you. This means you’ll receive a commission for any purchases they make subsequently.

Cookies can last on a customer’s device for a set period or until they are manually deleted. This duration varies with each affiliate program, ranging from 24 hours to several months.

However, if the customer later uses someone else’s affiliate link and makes a purchase, you typically won’t get credit for that sale. There are rare exceptions where companies pay both affiliates.

Some companies also offer commissions for leads or sign-ups.

Given these variations, it’s crucial to thoroughly review the terms of each affiliate program you join.

What is the Highest Paying Affiliate Program?

This question is often asked, but it’s a bit misleading.

Yes, we all aim to earn the most from each sale, but it’s not that straightforward.

Typically, affiliate earnings are a percentage of the sale, and this can vary greatly.

For instance, promoting a $10,000 mastermind class with a 30% commission can be lucrative.

Sell a few, and you could make $6,000, which is significantly more than earning 100% commission on a hundred $10 products.

However, selling high-ticket items like these isn’t straightforward, especially for beginners.

It’s important to understand the different types of affiliate programs.

Some companies offer 100% commission, valuing customer acquisition over immediate profit.

They anticipate making more from future sales to the acquired customers.

Then, there are subscription-based products offering recurring commissions.

For example, if you promote a software with a monthly subscription, you earn a commission every month as long as the subscription is active.

This creates a steady income stream from a single sale.

Another aspect to consider is the difference in commission rates between physical and digital products.

Digital products often have higher commission rates.

This is because physical products involve production, storage, and distribution costs, whereas digital products, once created, can be replicated and distributed at a much lower cost.

Thus, companies can afford to offer higher commissions for digital products.

Amazon Associates Commission Rates

I decided to cover Amazon separately because Amazon is a behemoth that cannot be simply lumped into a category.

Amazon’s affiliate program is called Amazon Associates.

Here are standard commission rates for the Amazon Associates program:

Amazon Games20.00%
Luxury Beauty, Luxury Stores Beauty, Amazon Explore10.00%
Digital Music, Physical Music, Handmade, Digital Videos5.00%
Physical Books, Kitchen, Automotive4.50%
Amazon Fire Tablet Devices, Amazon Kindle Devices, Amazon Fashion Women’s, Men’s & Kids Private Label, Luxury Stores Fashion, Apparel, Amazon Cloud Cam Devices, Fire TV Edition Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV Devices, Amazon Echo Devices, Ring Devices, Watches, Jewelry, Luggage, Shoes, Handbags & Accessories4.00%
Toys, Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business & Industrial Supplies, Outdoors, Tools, Sports, Baby Products, Amazon Coins3.00%
PC, PC Components, DVD & Blu-Ray2.50%
Televisions, Digital Video Games2.00%
Amazon Fresh, Physical Video Games & Video Game Consoles, Grocery, Health & Personal Care1.00%
Gift Cards; Wireless Service Plans; Alcoholic Beverages; Digital Kindle Products purchased as a subscription; Food prepared and delivered from a restaurant; Amazon Appstore, Prime Now, or All Other Categories4.00%

The Amazon Associates program operates as follows.

When a customer visits Amazon through your affiliate link, you earn a percentage of any purchase they make within the next 24 hours.

Interestingly, it’s not limited to the product they initially clicked on.

A 24-hour cookie tracks the customer’s purchases during this period, ensuring you get credit for any Amazon purchase they make.

However, this only applies if the customer doesn’t clear their cookies or click another affiliate link after yours, which would nullify your referral.

My reservations about this program include the short 24-hour cookie duration and the strict domain-wide penalties for minor infractions.

Another point to note is that Amazon doesn’t accept new websites for their program.

Your site must be well-established with substantial content.

Despite these challenges, the vast range of products and Amazon’s trustworthiness make their affiliate program popular among marketers globally.

If you opt for Amazon Associates, it’s critical to be meticulous in adhering to their guidelines.

Affiliate Commissions for Physical Products

Amazon isn’t the only option for affiliate commissions on physical goods.

In fact, affiliate marketing is incredibly widespread.

Most likely, many of your favorite brands have their own affiliate programs.

Think about it – from clothes to electronics, gardening supplies to tools, there’s likely an affiliate program for every category you can imagine.

Moreover, there are specific affiliate networks that specialize in physical product affiliate programs.

What is a Good Affiliate Commission Rate for Physical Products?

Let’s be real, affiliate commissions for physical products are typically lower than digital ones.

Also, commission rates vary across industries.

Take the health industry, for example. It’s not rare to find commission rates for health supplements ranging between 30-50%.

Often, smaller companies offer these high commissions as a marketing strategy, hoping to boost sales through increased marketer promotions.

However, these products can be overpriced and gimmicky, promising unrealistic health benefits.

You’re likely familiar with these types of products, perhaps even having bought some yourself.

It’s a common experience, so don’t be too hard on yourself – many fall for it, and companies capitalize on this behavior.

Now, let’s explore various industries to understand the commission rates they typically offer.

Affiliate Commission Rates for Electronics and Related Industries

I initially expected higher commission rates in electronics and related sectors.

In this field, a 10% rate is considered high and such offers are not common.

They typically come from smaller companies more flexible with their resources.

On average, commissions in electronics range from 2-4%.

Big names like Samsung offer 2-4% rates.

Microsoft provides 2% for their Surface and Accessories, and Xbox Consoles and Accessories.

Corsair, a major computer parts manufacturer, has rates of 1-1.8%.

Their competitor, Razer, offers 3% on peripherals and 10% for their Respawn products (a mental performance booster drink).

Alienware stands out with 6% commissions.

Meanwhile, Nvidia offers a modest 2%.

The electronics industry seems to lag in leveraging affiliate marketing compared to other sectors.

Affiliate Commission Rates for Books

Affiliate commissions for books are modest, yet often comparable or higher than those in electronics.

Particularly, audiobooks and digital books tend to offer higher rates.

Amazon, a major player, has lower commission rates, offering 4.5% for physical books.

In comparison, Barnes and Noble only provide 2% rates, trailing behind Amazon.

However, smaller digital book services offer more attractive rates. For instance, gives 8% commissions and a 45-day cookie duration.

If your focus is on children’s books, Bookroo’s 10% commission rate is notable, along with their 90-day cookie lifespan.

AudiobooksNow stands out with 10% commissions on a vast selection of over 80,000 audiobooks, coupled with a 30-day cookie policy.

On a different note, Audible uniquely offers flat fees instead of percentages, with:

  • $10.00 for Audible Gold Digital Membership
  • $5.00 for Audible Free Trial Digital Membership
  • $0.50 for any Audible Audiobook

Affiliate Commission Rates for Outdoor Gear

The outdoor gear industry is a massive market, born from the myriad of sports, activities, and hobbies related to the great outdoors.

Not surprisingly, affiliate marketing plays a significant role in this sector.

The industry’s commission rates are in line with those in other sectors dealing with physical products.

These rates aren’t extraordinary, but they can reach up to 12% or slightly more.

For instance, Backcountry, a renowned retail shop, offers a 4%-12% commission rate and a 30-day cookie policy.

Bass Pro Shops, known for more than just fishing gear, has slightly more modest rates, ranging from 0.8% to 5.6% per sale, accompanied by a 14-day cookie policy.

Orvis mirrors Bass Pro Shops with a 5% rate and a 14-day cookie policy.

Meanwhile, Camping World, a leader in the RV industry, provides 1.6% per sale with a 10-day cookie policy.

Affiliate Commission Rates for Fitness Gear

The health and fitness industry is enormous, with a high demand for fitness gear.

While you might think you need to be fully outfitted in fitness gear at the gym, that’s not our focus here.

Instead, let’s look at how fitness brands and retailers are engaging in affiliate marketing, offering commissions ranging from 2-10%.

For instance, Fitbit provides a modest 3% commission on its products.

In contrast, Life Fitness offers a more respectable 8% rate, coupled with a fair 30-day cookie policy.

Similarly, Horizon Fitness matches this with an identical 8% rate and 30-day cookie policy, marking its significance in the industry.

Lifeline Fitness stands out with above-average 10% commissions and the same 30-day cookie policy, making it an attractive option for affiliate marketers.

Affiliate Commissions for Digital Products

It’s clear that affiliate commissions for digital products generally far exceed those for physical products.

Consider the appeal of recurring billing commissions: these can reward an affiliate for the duration of a customer’s subscription.

Imagine earning a 30% commission on a $30 monthly subscription. Over a year, this could amount to more than $100 per customer.

The reason behind these high commissions? Digital products have high profit margins due to their infinite reproducibility and easy distribution.

This allows companies to offer higher commission rates, making them particularly attractive to affiliate marketers.

Commission rates in this field vary widely, typically ranging from 2% to 70-80%, and sometimes even higher.

What is a Good Affiliate Commission Rate for Digital Products?

In the realm of digital products, a 20-30% commission rate is generally decent.

Rates between 30-50% are good to very good.

Anything above 50% is excellent.

However, beware of diminishing returns with very high rates.

When companies offer commissions equal to or higher than their own earnings from a sale, the product’s value-to-cost ratio often suffers.

Typically, these products are overpriced, making them harder to sell.

Remember, consumers usually avoid overpaying.

Notably, major digital companies tend to offer lower commission rates.

For instance, Microsoft’s affiliate program offers:

  • 7% for Xbox Games (1st and 3rd party)
  • $10.00 flat for Office 365 Annual Subscriptions
  • $5.00 flat for Office 365 Monthly Subscriptions
  • 7% for Movies and TV
  • 2% for Apps and In-App Purchases

Apple’s affiliate program is similar to Amazon’s, with 24-hour cookie duration, limiting commission eligibility to sales within that timeframe.

Apple offers the following commission scheme and cookie duration:

ServiceDevice SupportCommission RateCookie Window
Apple MusiciOS, iPadOS, macOS, Android, WindowsOne-time payment on Membership30 days
Apple News+iOS, iPadOS, macOSOne-time payment on Membership30 days
Apple Fitness+iOS, iPadOS, macOSOne-time payment on Membership30 days
Apple TV+iOS, iPadOS, macOS, Android, WindowsOne-time payment on Membership30 days
TV & MoviesiOS, iPadOS, macOS, Android, Windows7% commission on sales revenue30 days
MLS Season PassiOS, iPadOS, macOS, Android, WindowsOne-time payment on annual or monthly subscription30 days
Apple PodcastsiOS, iPadOS, macOSOne-time payment on Membership30 days
Apple BooksiOS, iPadOS, macOS7% commission on sales revenue30 days

The real focus should be on smaller companies offering niche software solutions like web-hosting, email autoresponders, and various SAAS products.

These companies might be smaller compared to giants like Microsoft and Apple, but they’re still reputable and successful.

To illustrate, let’s consider some specific examples.

Affiliate Commissions for Web Hosting Services

Did you know there are over 1.5 billion websites today, with around 200 million active ones?

And every single one needs hosting.

It’s a massive industry, projected to reach $216 billion by 2025.

Web-hosting companies, with their large marketing budgets, heavily invest in affiliate marketing.

Why not tap into this opportunity?

For instance, consider WPX Hosting, a company I personally use and recommend.

WPX offers $100 per verified referral with a 60-day cookie duration and if those referrals are Annual customers, the affiliate receives the commission 35 days later

A2 Hosting offers a $55 commission per sale, along with a 90-day cookie policy.

And it gets better. They have bonus tiers:

  • 1-10 sales/month: $55 per sale.
  • 11-15 sales/month: $75 per sale.
  • 16-20 sales/month: $100 per sale.
  • 21+ sales/month: $125 per sale.

Then there’s Bluehost, known for paying at least 70% per qualified sale, up to $100.

Hostgator, another big name, offers similar commissions.

You might wonder, how can they afford such commissions?

The answer is customer loyalty. Once someone chooses a web host, they rarely switch.

This longevity makes the high affiliate payouts feasible for these companies.

Affiliate Commissions for Email Autoresponders

Email marketing is a cornerstone of digital marketing.

The objective? To collect customer emails for direct communication.

Email autoresponders play a crucial role here. They simplify sending mass emails, turning what could be a tedious task into a simple click.

Companies and individuals dealing with large volumes of emails often opt for these services, understanding their value in efficiency and scalability.

Take AWeber, for instance, my preferred choice. It offers recurring commissions of 30% for 1-9 new accounts, 40% for 10 or more, and 50% for 50 or more in a 12-month period.

Recurring commissions mean earning a percentage from each subscription for as long as it’s active. Like web hosting, users rarely switch autoresponders, potentially leading to long-term earnings from a single referral.

Another notable name is GetResponse, offering a $100 one-off commission or a 33% recurring monthly commission.

Mailigen, yet another option, provides a $50 commission per sale and $2 for every free trial sign-up, with a 120-day cookie duration.

These services exemplify the lucrative world of digital product affiliate marketing. The range of products is vast, each offering unique commission structures.