Every year we see brands enter and disrupt the affiliate marketing space with unique commission structures, creative offers, and exciting reward systems. A few of those sustain the growth and become inspiring examples. And there’s a lot to learn from such brands when starting an affiliate program.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of thirteen such successful affiliate marketing programs from leading companies. Learn their affiliate marketing strategies to replicate in your program.
Related read: Inspiring referral program examples
The 13 Inspiring Affiliate Marketing Program Examples
The Amazon Associates Program is a pioneer in affiliate marketing. It was introduced in 1996 and has become the largest affiliate network since then: Today, it has a market share of 44.68%, with over 90,777 companies currently using the program.
How did Amazon reach here? Their strategy is pretty simple yet fundamentally solid.
They invite bloggers, influencers, and content creators to earn a commission by promoting any of the millions of products sold on Amazon. And since pretty much everyone trusts the marketplace, affiliates can easily promote anything and get high conversions and commissions, making it easy for Amazon to recruit them organically.
Besides earning commissions, affiliates also benefit from various perks Amazon offers. For example, influencers can create and own a personalized influencer page on Amazon.
To boost sales and give a great affiliate experience, Amazon also provides different linking tools like SiteStripe to generate affiliate links directly from the Amazon website, OneLink to create links that work internationally, etc. Moreover, Amazon has a solid performance dashboard to track earnings, monthly summary, total clicks, etc.
Overall, Amazon follows all the affiliate marketing program best practices (except one – we discuss it under “Commission rate” below).
Key components of the Amazon associates program
- Commission rate: It differs according to product category, but it’s mostly between 1%-5%; the highest is for Amazon Games at 20%. Note: For SMBs, giving competitive commissions (10%-20%) is recommended to win with affiliate marketing. Amazon and other ecommerce giants can win despite the low commission rate because of their established brand value, and the high “affiliate link click to purchase” conversions that come with it.
- Cookie life: 24 hours
- Payment release cycle: 60 days after the end of the month
Amazon affiliate example
Wirecutter, a New York Times Company, has grown to be one of the biggest Amazon affiliate sites on the internet. They do product reviews and recommend the best products visitors can buy from Amazon.
Over 3.8 million merchants use Shopify to power their ecommerce businesses. How did these merchants come across Shopify? One relevant answer is “through the thousands of Shopify affiliates”.
Shopify invites relevant store developers, course creators, website owners, community admins, and social media influencers to join their affiliate program.
And it’s a pretty easy decision for potential affiliates to join them. Why? Because they offer a great commission, priority support for the affiliates’ stores, free Shopify exclusive content, lead magnets to boost sales, and, of course, a fantastic product worth recommending.
Key components of the Shopify affiliate program
- Commission Rate: 100% of the merchant’s monthly subscription fees on their first and second payments for the general plan, and $2000 for Shopify plus subscription.
- Cookie life: 30 days.
- Payment release cycle: 5 business days after the 15th & last working day of every month.
Shopify affiliate example
Site Builder Report is one of the featured Shopify affiliate partners. It’s a website that reviews and recommends website-building tools to its visitors. Shopify is their top recommended tool for anything related to building online stores.
Skillshare attracts some of the top personalities & educators to conduct e-learning classes on their platform, making them a marketable brand for their affiliates.
Who are their affiliates? They invite influencers with at least one established marketing channel to join the program. It could be a blog, a YouTube channel, an Instagram page, a TikTok account…anything.
And pretty much no one with the right audience would hesitate to join their program. Why? Because they offer an excellent commission rate, amazing cookie life, and constantly run offers for their affiliates’ customers.
Key components of the Skillshare affiliate program
- Commission rate: 40% commission, up to $67 for every new customer.
- Cookie life: 30 days.
- Payment release cycle: 30 days after the month they referred to a sale.
Skillshare affiliate example
Courselounge is an online course directory that nurtures an online community with resources and guides to help them find the best courses online. They are affiliated with Skillshare and have dedicated content pieces on Skillshare courses with free trial offers to attract sales.
Moosend is an email marketing platform with extensive email features, advanced marketing automation, and a champion user interface. They’re loved across the board, be it a small startup to fortune 500 companies.
One of the main reasons Moosend reaches a global audience is its flagship affiliate program. They have paid over $250,000 in commissions so far — that’s nearly $1 million in revenue by affiliates!
If you want to take inspiration from just one thing in their whole affiliate program design, it has to be the program landing page. They display exciting stats such as a 13%-15% trial to paid conversion rate and $2+ earning per click on the landing page to convert potential affiliates.
Their support system for the affiliates is also inspiring. Moosend offers dedicated account support where affiliates can clear their queries through live chat. They also get a dedicated resource library with banners, short video demos, screen captures, social posts, guides, pre-written emails, etc.
Key components of the Moosend affiliate program
- Commission Rate: 30% lifetime recurring
- Cookie life: 90 Days
- Payment release cycle: $25 threshold to claim the commissions. Payments are credited within 20 days of the coming month.
Moosend Affiliate Example
Filip Konecny is a social media marketer who uses affiliate links to monetize his blog. He has a detailed Moosend review on his website, where he promotes his Moosend affiliate link.
eBay runs one of the oldest affiliate programs, “eBay Partner Network.”
It’s similar to Amazon’s associate program in many aspects. The main similarities are: Influencers and affiliate marketers create affiliate links to advertise products on the eBay platform to earn commissions. And because eBay is well-known and has a good reputation, affiliates get high conversions on the affiliate link clicks, making them stick to eBay despite the lower commission rate.
eBay also provides affiliates with a variety of tools. Some tools affiliates love:
- Smart Share, a Chrome plugin affiliates can use to easily find items and share links.
- Bookmarklet, a tool that provides a quick way to create affiliate links to any eBay page from any browser.
- Smart Links, a tool that helps convert any eBay link you add on your site to an affiliate link.
- Smart Placements, a script that affiliates place on their site to display eBay product banners (with an affiliate link, of course). The script automatically creates banners depending on what the web page is about and who the visitor is.
Apart from the eBay Partner Network, which is open to all affiliates, eBay also has a premier program for high-volume marketers. This is an invite-only program available for those who can drive substantial traffic to eBay.
eBay offers unique & exclusive benefits to its premier affiliates, including
- Exclusive content to drive higher traffic.
- Early access to new tools.
- A dedicated support team for fast issue resolution.
- Incentives & promotional offers for affiliates’ audience.
Key components of the eBay partner network
- Commission Rate: 1% – 5% (Depending on product category)
- Cookie life: 24 hours
- Payment release cycle: $10 threshold to claim the commissions. Payments are credited on the 10th of every month.
eBay affiliate example
Chris Loves Julia is a personal/home decor blog by Chris and Julia. They are an eBay partner and share eBay affiliate links wherever suitable throughout their articles.
HubSpot is one of the world’s biggest companies for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service software products. You may have come across their blog (their #1 lead generation source) if you have searched for pretty much anything related to marketing, sales, or customer service.
Besides generating leads through its unparalleled blog, Hubspot also runs an affiliate program to get traffic from any affiliate marketer (with the right audience) willing to work with them.
HubSpot is known for extending a large content inventory comprising demo videos, banners, copy examples, etc., all crafted to support affiliates to win at sales.
Key components of the Hubspot affiliate program
- Commission Rate: 15% recurring up to 1 year or 100% flat rate on the first month’s revenue
- Cookie life: 90 Days
- Payment release cycle: $10 threshold to claim the commissions.
Hubspot affiliate example
Stewart Gauld teaches how to build and run online businesses through his YouTube channel. Naturally, he recommends many online tools, one of which is the Hubspot CRM. And whenever he recommends Hubspot, he asks his viewers to sign up through his affiliate link.
HostGator is a leading WordPress hosting provider known for its affordability. One of the main reasons it’s well-known is because of its affiliate program.
HostGator hosts one of the most famous affiliate programs in the web hosting vertical — search for any query related to website hosting, and you’ll find mentions/recommendations of HostGator.
The program does well because HostGator is a good product, the commissions are competitive, the tiered commission structure motivates affiliates to funnel more signups to HostGator, and the cookie life is excellent.
Key components of the HostGator affiliate program
- Commission Rate: Graded commission scale on the basis of signups.
|Signups per month|
- Cookie life: 60 days
- Payment release cycle: 2 months + 10 days after the month-end.
HostGator affiliate example
Bloggers Passion is a blog about blogging. Founder Anil Agarwal has monetized it using multiple affiliate programs, one of which is HostGator.
NordVPN ticks all the boxes when it comes to building brand value and running effective marketing campaigns. For example, it nails influencer marketing: you might have seen your favorite YouTubers promoting it. The same’s the case with its affiliate program.
The NordVPN affiliate program is considered the most profitable in the VPN space, primarily because of two factors:
- NordVPN’s trusted brand name & promo materials ensure a high conversion rate.
- The high commission rates make promoting it an attractive proposition for affiliates.
The affiliate program is probably one of its top revenue drivers. Why do we think that? For one, pretty much all affiliate marketers in the VPN space recommend NordVPN — search for any VPN-related query, and you’ll find Nord. Also, they have double-downed on the affiliate program by publishing it on multiple affiliate networks. You can find it on Impact, FlexOffers, and CJ Affiliate, to name a few.
Key components of the NordVPN affiliate program
- Commission Rate: 40% New Sign-up + 30% renewal recurring is the basic commission they provide. However, they’ve created multiple packages to pay high commissions over a long period of time.
|1 Month offer||Commission Rate|
|6 Month offer||Commission Rate|
|1 Year offer||Commission Rate|
|2 Year offer||Commission Rate|
- Cookie life: 30 days
- Payment release cycle: $10 threshold to claim the commissions. The payment is made before the 20th of every month.
NordVPN affiliate example
Tom’s Guide is a NordVPN affiliate and promotes it as the best affordable VPN service across its articles.
Like Shopify, BigCommerce helps merchants create an online store. And like Shopify, it has an affiliate program that attracts relevant creators and influencers with great commissions, dedicated support, conversion-optimized marketing materials, and a 14-day free trial period.
Affiliates also get direct access to high-converting landing pages, exclusive affiliate promotions, and other resources on their dashboard.
In 2021 alone, BigCommerce paid over $1.5 million in commissions. That’s at least $9 million in revenue through the affiliate channel!
Key components of the BigCommerce affiliate program
- Commission Rate: 200% on Customers’ first-month payment and/or $1500 per enterprise customer
- Cookie life: 90 Days
- Payment release cycle: Daily, weekly or monthly. Depending on affiliates’ preferences and agreement with BigCommerce
BigCommerce affiliate example
IWD Agency is an ecommerce development agency that writes blog reviews & creates YouTube explainer videos around ecommerce. They promote BigCommerce relevantly throughout their content and ask viewers/readers to get BigCommerce through their referral link.
Kajabi enables course creators with a platform to host and sell their courses.
Where most affiliate programs stop at offering commissions and resources, Kajabi goes the extra mile to build an ecosystem for affiliates to become business partners and grow with them.
Kajabi has conceptualized a reward system called Partner Tiers. It provides unique perks and rewards as affiliates proceed through different tiers. For example, Kajabi affiliates can win a car by bringing them 50 sign-ups.
In addition, they also own one of the most active partner communities on the internet. They organize webinars, offer marketing material, help articles, a content bank, and more to its community members.
To regularly engage affiliates, Kajabi organizes various campaigns for its affiliates. Each campaign comes with its landing page carefully crafted to convert visitors, which indirectly means affiliates get high conversions/more commission.
Key components of the Kajabi affiliate program
- Commission rate: 30% of lifetime revenue.
- Cookie life: 30 Days.
- Payment release cycle: 25th of every month and yearly if the customer is on the yearly plan.
Kajabi affiliate example
Graham Cochrane teaches his viewers to sell digital products and courses. He hosts his own courses on Kajabi and recommends his viewers to do the same. Of course, he is a Kajabi affiliate and asks viewers to use his affiliate link if they want to sign up with Kajabi.
Much like Amazon and eBay, Walmart runs an affiliate program that allows affiliate marketers to promote one of the most extensive product inventories on the planet. Walmart sells 160 million+ products online and offline — and these are not just any products but everyday essentials that need very little advertising to sell.
Walmart uses its three-day cookie period to have an edge over Amazon and eBay in winning affiliates. Another thing Walmart has going is a unique SDK tool that adds a ‘Buy Now’ button next to any Walmart product bloggers list on their website. The buy now button takes visitors directly to the checkout page.
Besides, affiliates get banners and other marketing materials…the usual.
Key components of the Walmart affiliate program
- Commission Rate: up to 4%
- Cookie life: 3 days
- Payment release cycle: 60 days after the end of the month
Walmart affiliate example
The Dog People is a popular blog amongst dog owners. It is affiliated with many relevant ecommerce companies, including Walmart. If a product they are recommending is available on Walmart, they add a CTA with their Walmart affiliate link there.
ModCloth is a women’s clothing brand and an inspiring ecommerce business example.
Among the many things they do right, one is that Modcloth runs an affiliate program for fashion bloggers and influencers. The unique nature of their designs and availability in a full range of sizes spikes interest and demand in the market.
They connect with affiliates using the company newsletter and offer marketing assets and unique discount coupons. Affiliates use a combination of banner ads or affiliate links in blogs to make sales.
ModCloth also runs an affiliate program for their affiliate program. They give $10 in commission to affiliates who invite their blogger friends to become ModCloth affiliates.
Key components of the ModCloth affiliate program
- Commission Rate: Starts at 6% and goes up according to performance and sales.
- Cookie life: 45 days
Modcloth affiliate example
Classical Trendsetter is a lifestyle YouTube channel. She is an advocate of ModCloth and actively features its products in her videos with an affiliate link for users who want to buy the product.
13. Gwynnie Bee
Gwynnie Bee runs a subscription-based clothing rental service. Buyers can order the trendiest clothes from their website, and when they get bored of them, they can replace them.
The unique concept has attracted buyers and affiliates in the fashion industry, who are always searching for unique ideas in fashion to engage their audience.
Affiliates love the brand as they get a generous cookie period and earn a flat commission of up to 75$ per lead, which is better than most programs in the segment.
Key components of the Gwynnie Bee affiliate program
- Commission Rate: $75 per referral
- Cookie life: 30 days
Gwynnie Bee affiliate example
Sometimes Glam is a fashion-related YouTube channel by Crystal Lee. She promotes Gwynnie Bee’s subscription model by reviewing their products on her social media platforms and attaching an affiliate link in the description.
Inspired? Build Your Affiliate Program!
The above-listed affiliate marketing programs are some of the most well-executed ones.
- Sign up with the ones you found the most interesting.
- Notice how they go about everything — from their affiliate program landing page to emails and SMS they send to their affiliates.
- Copy what you like when you create your affiliate program.
Want to build an affiliate program for your Shopify store? Try Social Snowball FREE!