Visual representation for 'What Are Affiliate Networks? Your Ultimate Guide in 2023,' offering insights into the dynamics of affiliate networks and their role in contemporary marketing strategies.
December 8, 2023

What Are Affiliate Networks? Your Ultimate Guide in 2023

Mosaic Blog

Are you ready to dive into the world of affiliate networks and unlock new revenue streams in 2023? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what are affiliate networks, how they work, their benefits for publishers and advertisers, and tips for success. Get ready to transform your online presence and boost your earnings!

Key Takeaways

  • Affiliate networks simplify the process of promoting products and earning commissions for both publishers and advertisers.
  • Joining an affiliate network can provide access to multiple brands, improved visibility, and a more efficient payment system.
  • Maximize success in affiliate marketing by selecting the right network, creating high quality content & building strong relationships with your audience & advertisers.

Understanding Affiliate Networks

Image for 'What Are Affiliate Networks? Your Ultimate Guide in 2023' post by Mosaic: A dedicated affiliate manager actively assists an affiliate marketer in joining an affiliate network, symbolizing the informative content within the guide.

Affiliate networks have become increasingly popular in recent years, as the affiliate network acts as intermediaries between publishers and advertisers. These networks consolidate the process of promoting products and earning commissions, aiding both parties in achieving their goals efficiently.

So, how exactly do affiliate networks work? We will further discuss their roles and key players.

The Role of Affiliate Networks

Affiliate networks create a platform where advertisers can list their products, and publishers can find suitable offers to promote. These networks handle tracking and payment services, making it easier for publishers to manage their affiliate commission payouts. Essentially, affiliate networks connect brands with affiliate marketers, who expand the brands’ reach and boost their recognition.

Establishing a hybrid affiliate network provides companies with multiple benefits, including:

  • Control and customization
  • Convenience of a third-party system
  • Industry connections
  • Experimentation with various site features offered by top affiliate networks.

Key Players in Affiliate Networks

The major players in affiliate networks include:

  • The seller (advertiser)
  • The affiliate (publisher)
  • The dedicated affiliate manager
  • The customer who makes the purchase

Affiliates play a crucial role in pushing products and connecting with potential customers, contributing to the overall affiliate marketing efforts.

CJ Affiliate, for example, offers a speedy approval process and doesn’t require upfront fees to join their network. However, as a top-tier affiliate platform, approval from each merchant is required before promoting their products. While this may be challenging, the potential earnings can be significant, making it a worthy endeavor for dedicated affiliates.

Advantages of Joining an Affiliate Network

Featured in Mosaic's 'What Are Affiliate Networks? Your Ultimate Guide in 2023' post, this image portrays an individual using a laptop to join an affiliate network, illustrating the practical steps and insights discussed in the comprehensive guide on affiliate networks for the year.

Joining a global affiliate network provides access to numerous brands, enhanced visibility, and a streamlined payment system. These networks act as a bridge between advertisers and publishers, streamlining the process of promoting products and services while helping you generate passive income. To maximize your earning potential, it’s essential to join affiliate networks that align with your niche and goals.

We will further discuss the benefits of joining an affiliate network for both publishers and advertisers.

For Publishers

Affiliate networks provide publishers with a straightforward method to monetize their content and introduce a variety of products and services for promotion. For example, as a publisher with AWIN, you’ll have access to a wide range of products and services to help you promote and monetize your content. Services like SKIMLINKS automatically add affiliate links from merchants, allowing publishers to focus on creating engaging content.

However, using automated services like SKIMLINKS may result in reduced control over the promoted products. Sovrn//Commerce, on the other hand, connects publishers with sponsored content opportunities and provides detailed performance metrics to boost conversions.

For Advertisers

Advertisers benefit from affiliate networks by:

  • Broadening their customer base
  • Promoting their brand through performance-based marketing
  • Reaching new markets and wider audiences
  • Increasing sales and revenue

Additionally, performance-based marketing strategies incentivize affiliates to drive high-quality traffic and generate results for the advertisers, making it a cost-effective and efficient marketing approach.

Subscribing to several affiliate platforms is an effective strategy to discover the available options and identify the best fit for your business. Some popular affiliate platforms include:

  • Amazon Associates
  • ShareASale
  • CJ Affiliate
  • Rakuten Advertising
  • ClickBank

Utilizing these social media accounts and their resources allows you to optimize your advertising budget and enjoy the benefits of heightened brand awareness and new customers.

How Affiliate Networks Operate

The image depicts a person using a laptop to selectively choose programs and products from an affiliate network. Illustrating key aspects of affiliate marketing, it aligns with the insights shared in 'What Are Affiliate Networks? Your Ultimate Guide in 2023.

Affiliate networks function by:

  • Equipping publishers with the necessary tools to choose appropriate programs and products
  • Creating custom tracking links
  • Allowing publishers to earn commissions from sales or leads generated.

We will further examine each of these aspects and their contribution to the overall operation of affiliate networks.

Selecting Programs and Products

Enhancing Mosaic's 'What Are Affiliate Networks? Your Ultimate Guide in 2023' post, this visual provides insight into the workings of affiliate networks. It visually represents the key concepts discussed in the guide, emphasizing the intricate relationships within affiliate marketing for the current year.

When choosing programs and products from affiliate networks, publishers typically consider their audience’s interests and the commission rates offered. Aligning affiliate products with the target audience is crucial for maximizing profitability and achieving high conversion rates. For example, HostAdvice selects advertisers with a great track record for successful partnerships, while Databox focuses on student refinancing and personal loans niche.

Commission rates similarly play a pivotal role in the selection of programs and products. Some networks, like Amazon Associates, Cloudways, and Influencer Marketing Hub, offer great commission rates. Balancing audience interests and lucrative commission rates is essential for selecting the right products and programs.

Generating and Tracking Affiliate Links

Affiliate marketing networks, also known as affiliate networks, provide publishers with unique tracking links that help monitor sales and leads generated from their promotions. These links are generated through server-to-server tracking or by using affiliate dashboards to create custom URLs.

To add tracking links to a publisher’s content, a Link Builder tool or tracking URL generator is used to create the link, which is then inserted into the desired spot in the content and properly integrated into the HTML code. Testing the link and monitoring its performance with analytics tools like Google Analytics ensures that the tracking link is functioning correctly.

Earning Commissions and Receiving Payments

Publishers earn commissions based on the sales or leads they generate, which are paid through the affiliate network. To organize affiliate commission payouts, different types of affiliate payments exist, such as:

For example, subscribing to a network like AWIN entails a $5 application fee, which is credited back to your account after approval. When you reach the first payment threshold, the initial deposit is refunded, ensuring that you only pay for the results generated through your affiliate marketing efforts.

Popular Affiliate Networks to Consider

Featured in Mosaic's 'What Are Affiliate Networks? Your Ultimate Guide in 2023' post, this visual captures a person using a laptop to compare popular affiliate networks, offering a practical illustration aligned with the guide's insights.

If considering to join an affiliate network, popular options like:

  • ShareASale
  • Awin
  • CJ Affiliate
  • Rakuten Advertising

might be worth looking into. Each of these networks offers different features, commission rates, and product categories, catering to various needs and preferences.

We will further examine each of these popular networks.


ShareASale is a well-established network with a wide range of programs and competitive commission rates, making it an attractive option for many publishers. However, some users may find its interface challenging to navigate. ShareASale’s commission rates vary depending on the program, ranging from 1% to as high as 150% for high-ticket affiliate program products.

If you’re looking for an affiliate network with a simple and fast sign-up process, ShareASale could be the one for you. With its diverse range of programs and attractive commission rates, it’s definitely worth considering.


Awin is a global network boasting over 11,000 affiliate programs, giving you access to a vast selection of advertisers. To join Awin as a publisher, you’ll need to sign up with either your website or social media handles and make a small $5 deposit, which will be refunded after you reach the first payment threshold. One downside is that you have to apply to each program individually on Awin.

Notable merchants on Awin include:

With its global reach and diverse selection of advertisers, Awin can be a great choice for publishers looking to expand their affiliate marketing horizons.

CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate is one of the leading affiliate networks, offering a fast approval process and no fees to join. Connecting publishers with a large number of global brands, CJ Affiliate is an attractive option for those looking to collaborate with big-name brands.

In addition to its impressive market share, CJ Affiliate provides advanced affiliates and developers with an open developer portal and API access, making it a versatile platform for experienced marketers. If you’re looking for a top-notch network with a wealth of resources, CJ Affiliate is a solid choice.

Rakuten Advertising

Rakuten Advertising is a reputable network known for its innovative tools and partnerships with well-known brands. However, it may require a more established site for approval, which could be a drawback for some publishers.

Offering tools like the Affiliate Conversion Journey for brands and Audience Engine for publishers, Rakuten Advertising stands out as a network with a focus on innovation and cutting-edge solutions. If you’re looking for an affiliate network that pushes the boundaries of affiliate marketing, Rakuten Advertising might be the one for you.

Tips for Success in Affiliate Marketing Networks

Featured in Mosaic's 'What Are Affiliate Networks? Your Ultimate Guide in 2023' post, it depicts a person using a laptop to carefully select the ideal affiliate network. Illustrating the practical aspect of the guide, the image showcases the thoughtful decision-making process for effective affiliate marketing strategies.

To optimize your success in affiliate marketing, selecting the right network, producing high-quality content, and fostering strong relationships with both advertisers and your audience is paramount. By focusing on these key areas, you can ensure long-term success in the world of affiliate marketing.

We will further delve into these tips.

Selecting the Right Affiliate Marketing Network

Choosing an affiliate network that resonates with your audience’s interests and offers favorable commission rates and payment options is important. Researching networks with the best commission rates, like Amazon Associates, Cloudways, and Influencer Marketing Hub, can help you make an informed decision.

Additionally, consider the following factors when deciding on an affiliate network:

  • Fees and contracts
  • Reputation
  • Quality of affiliates
  • Technological features
  • Tracking capabilities

By selecting the right network, you’ll set the foundation for a successful affiliate marketing journey.

Creating High-Quality Content

Producing valuable and engaging content is vital for success in affiliate marketing. Focus on providing information that resonates with your audience and naturally incorporates affiliate promotions. Use visuals to support your points and ensure your content is optimized for search engines and formatted for easy readability.

High-quality content not only attracts high-quality affiliates but also increases brand awareness, builds trust and credibility, and engages the audience. By prioritizing content creation, you can maximize your affiliate marketing efforts and enjoy long-term success.

Building Strong Relationships

Forging strong relationships with advertisers and your audience is key to building trust and credibility in affiliate marketing. Examples of successful affiliate marketers who prioritize strong relationships include HostAdvice and 10Web, who tailor their content to their audience’s interests and needs.

Establishing trust and credibility with your audience helps create a loyal following, increasing your chances of success in affiliate marketing. By focusing on nurturing relationships, you can create a more successful affiliate marketing program and enjoy lasting benefits.


In conclusion, understanding affiliate networks and their roles in connecting publishers and advertisers is crucial for success in 2023. By selecting the right network, creating high-quality content, and building strong relationships, you can unlock new revenue streams and maximize your affiliate marketing efforts. So, why wait any longer? Dive into the world of affiliate networks and start reaping the rewards today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What do affiliate networks do?

Affiliate networks connect companies and entrepreneurs, allowing affiliates to promote and sell products or services of a company in exchange for a commission on each sale. Through these networks, advertisers can establish their affiliate programs while affiliates can search the network for programs to promote, often receiving a commission or finder’s fee.

How do affiliate networks make money?

Affiliate networks make money by partnering with merchants to provide online marketing services in exchange for commissions from sales and conversions generated through the affiliate’s efforts. Affiliates search for and promote products they enjoy, earning a piece of the profit from each sale made.

How do I get an affiliate network?

To start an affiliate network from scratch, you’ll need to find the best available advertisers, choose the right affiliate software solution, secure your network from fraud, attract trusted affiliates, create an appealing reward system, and track performance and results.

What is the difference between a network and an affiliate?

Affiliate marketing is an online sales model with affiliates promoting products for a commission, while network marketing is a company strategy focused on direct sales by a network of distributors.

What is the role of an affiliate network?

An affiliate network serves as a connection point between advertisers and publishers, providing tools for tracking and payments while ensuring smooth transactions.


Mosaic is the spawn of today’s leading affiliate management agency, Advertise Purple. With over a decade of successfully delivering strategic direction for e-commerce brands, AdPurp’s Executive team realized the need for a tech-forward, DIY approach toward affiliate program management. Mosaic was created with this need in mind, leveraging the learnings, successes, and directives that are required for finding growth in today’s performance marketing world.

Since its launch, the Mosaic technology has served over 800 e-commerce brands, generating $130M in revenue from over 65k affiliate partners, quickly becoming today’s leading affiliate CRM. Although performance is the goal of Mosaic technology, our CRM provides a host of planning tools and instruction, enabling users to recruit, optimize, and deploy advanced performance marketing initiatives with relative ease.

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