What is the Typical Affiliate Marketing Salary? (The TRUTH)

If affiliate marketers are famous for anything, it’s their reputation for flaunting large amounts of cash to show off their “affiliate marketing salary”.

The internet is full of 19 year old kids driving Lamborghini’s because of their awesome YouTube Channel or Instagram Page. Or maybe they cashed in big time with some cool affiliate marketing tactics on Facebook and Google. How ever they pulled it off, it seems they conquered the game of life fairly easily. The rest of us stare on as we ooze with envy.

Affiliate Marketing Salary

Some of us ask an important question. Is that ACTUALLY their real affiliate marketing salary? While there are legitimate cases of young kids becoming dirty internet rich, it’s really not that common.

Wait a minute did I say salary?

Let’s clear something up right away! You will never make a salary as an affiliate. Let’s define the word ‘Salary’.

salary definition

Googles definition of Salary greatly differs from the payment model of affiliate marketing.

The whole idea of affiliate marketing is to get paid when an action occurs like a sale or signup. There is no fixed amount of income that you’re guaranteed as an affiliate marketer.

If we are being honest, the average affiliate marketing salary would technically be ZERO since 99% of affiliates quit before they ever earn a single dollar.

Affiliate marketing is almost completely commission based which makes it one of the most unstable careers in existence. The good side is that you can earn vast amounts of cash in a very short period of time.

So let’s start by saying there really is no such thing as “affiliate marketing salary”. Let’s say on the 7th month you earn $20,000 in commissions as you find a winning campaign and optimize.

This campaign could continue to profit for another month or two but one thing is certain, there will be a day when your campaign no longer makes you profit.

When you see some of these super rich affiliate marketers, remember they likely made most of their wealth in a very short period of time.

This is not an affiliate marketing salary because they are technically now making nothing once the campaign dies.

So when an affiliate cashes in big, do they ball out and go on a shopping spree?

Do they take 20 of their best friends out to eat at a fancy restaurant? Yes, some affiliates do this frequently.

The point is that their lifestyle is not sustainable unless they are reinvesting their earnings to find new winning campaigns. A single winning campaign will never make you a long term sustainable affiliate marketing salary.

The only way you can make a real “affiliate marketing salary” is if you are working for someone as an affiliate manager or a media buyer for example. These are jobs, and they often pay a salary plus a bonus.

However, if you are an affiliate you are unemployed – but that’s not a bad thing!

There are some major strategic moves that you can implement to ensure you can keep a stead flow of commission coming your way which can bring close to what is often called a salary. Remember a salary is stable consistent income affiliate marketing can be unstable!

Affiliate Marketing Salary Tip #1 – Authority Niche Website

One way to ensure you are generating daily affiliate marketing revenue is to build yourself an authority niche website. Gadgets and eCommerce seem to be a very popular niche for an authority site. This niche allows you to focus on virtually unlimited sub-niches or ‘product categories’. You could focus completely on survival gear or beauty products. Review style pages work best with eCommerce style authority sites.

It’s as simple as buying a domain & hosting, installing WordPress and creating some blog posts.

This might not seem like much and can be tedious work. The big picture tells us that over a long period of time, these types of websites can make you over 4 figures daily and consistently. This is the closest thing to a “salary” as you will get since it is consistent income but you still are not employed, and you don’t get fixed payments.

The idea is to focus on search engine optimization and to provide valuable, quality content. A few posts each day over a few years adds up fast. Combined with Google AdSense, each post could be making you $1 a day depending on the search volume.

The reason most affiliates shy away from these types of websites is because it takes months and even years to start showing real profits. The average affiliate wants to get rich fast and expects to see a massive affiliate marketing salary in a short period of time.

Affiliate Marketing Salary Tip #2 – Never Stop Testing

Most affiliates that actually make it in the affiliate marketing industry end up spending their profits fast. This is the last thing you want to do if you’re trying to make a steady affiliate marketing salary. Always reinvest your profits to test other campaigns. Remember that each campaign has an expiration date and will ultimately be dead within months.

testing campaigns

Take a percentage and dedicate it to testing new campaigns. I think 20% of profits reinvested into testing should be plenty to keep fresh campaigns coming your way. However, starting too many campaigns at once can sometimes end in losing money. If you’re new at testing, it might be a good idea to start with one or two campaigns until you get comfortable with stats.

Affiliate Marketing Salary Tip #3 – Don’t Forget To Scale

One of the biggest ways to increase your affiliate marketing salary is to use some of your profits to scale your campaign. If you’re making $100 each day and your ad spend is $100, it might be a good idea to increase your budget. Some affiliates are comfortable when they reach 100% ROI on a $100 ad spend. Since this campaign has an expiration date, the smart thing to do would be to reinvest as much as possible to increase your daily ad spend. How much profit would you make at $200 ad spend each day? What would $500 ad spend each day look like for profit?

scale your campaign

One thing to remember is to never scale too fast. Large increases in your ad spend can cause you to lose money in the following days until the traffic network adjusts it’s delivery for your increased budget. On some traffic networks like Facebook ads, increasing your budget too fast can cause a red flag on your ad account. Never scale your budget more than 20-50% each day.

Affiliate Marketing Salary Tip #4 – Affiliate Marketing Communities

Affiliate marketing communities keep you in the loop with the ever changing methods and strategies that come along with affiliate marketing. Each day old methods die and new methods are born. If you do not keep up with the industry, your affiliate marketing revenue will eventually hit zero. Go to Facebook and look for Affiliate Marketing Groups. This is a great way to start.

broke empty pockets

So if you haven’t noticed, I haven’t actually given you a real number on how big affiliate marketing salaries can become. Don’t worry, I was saving the best for last.

How Big Can Affiliate Marketing Salaries Become?

The real answer is that the sky is the limit but it will never be considered a SALARY!!

In one year I have seen affiliates earn 10 million dollars but the year before that they earned less than 1 million. The year after that was over 2 million. So as you can see there really are a lot of ups and downs.

I can assure you that the best plan is to take whatever money you earn as an affiliate, and use it to scale campaigns as fast you can and don’t waste your money on stupid Lamborghinis.

Put your money back into scaling, testing more traffic and finding new campaigns!

People flash their lambos like its some symbol of success, but in reality it’s just a $2000 monthly lease payment, overly priced oil changes and insurance, and a liability that’s a complete waste of money.

I’d rather spend my 2K each month on outsourcing, automation, and systems that allow me to build more campaigns efficiently.

Don’t fall for the “Lambo Gurus”, it’s a sure sign they aren’t really in the trenches.

To get consistent monthly income just look at your data, make decisions on your data, and re-invest your money back into your business.

affiliate marketing salary

This is a snapshot of Q4 last year for one CPA affiliate network I ran affiliate campaigns on.
Q4 is a highly aggressive time of year with lots of competition but I was still able to get some decent numbers.

I don’t show this to brag for 2 reasons.

First of all this is actually PEANUTS compared to what big affiliates are earning on this same network, and secondly it is not all profit. I had to buy traffic to get these numbers.

This is to show you that the potential to make money fast is real, but it is not an “affiliate marketing salary”.

I don’t have time or money to waste on flashy cars, and mansions, I just want to bank as much money as possible from this affiliate game before another campaign dries up.

At the same time I need to find new campaigns to scale, and stay ahead of the curve!

So let’s be clear, unless you work for someone else, you are not going to make a salary from affiliate marketing.

The key is to manage your expectations. If you want to get rich quick and fast you must go outside of your comfort zone. You could lose money, and you will make mistakes. It is how you persevere through these challenges that will ultimately determine how much money you make.

Authority sites, testing, scaling with real traffic sources and learning new things is the key to a consistent affiliate marketing “salary”.

The Guru Effect

Most of the advertisements you see for affiliate marketing training involve ads where someone is showing off money, luxury cars and houses to pitch you a “method”. They promise that you can earn as much as they did in a fast period of time by using their method or “system” that no one else has discovered.

Almost every single time these programs are scams and never deliver on their promises.

The reality of affiliate marketing is that there really is no magic system.

The concept for you is the same concept for me.

I build a website, I put affiliate links on that website, I drive traffic to that website, I analyze my data to improve, then I scale. If it’s not making money then I don’t scale, I just try something else.

This is what I do, and this is what the $10,000,000 a month affiliates do.

As you manage more and more campaigns, you need to outsource certain tasks, use automation to optimize campaigns, and build systems to work more efficiently.

Joey Babineau

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