How to Get Higher Affiliate Payout Rates

I commonly hear from affiliates the same thing: that they need better payouts and more importantly, why they aren’t getting a better payout. In this industry, affiliates have become damn smart and with that a little more demanding than say 12 years ago when I started in this industry. Let me tell you a little secret then that many affiliate networks don’t want you to know: despite all their complaining about how their margins are very little, most of them are not completely honest and they have a lot more room for payouts than they are telling you. With that in mind, and armed with some knowledge about what other networks are paying, plus the following tips, you can approach affiliate networks and increase your payouts.

Ask for Tiered Pricing.

Most of the newer software platforms such as Cake Marketing have the ability to price the leads or sales based on quantity made.  If your affiliate manager is not giving you the best price, then ask them what they can do for more leads per month IF you hit that goal. While this can be a little risky, it shows the affiliate manager that you are interested in being a partner, producing more, not just asking for more money.

Find where the Network is getting the offer.

If you haven’t figured out by now, many networks just get offers from other networks. While its great to use stuff like OfferVault (yes, a little plug here) to find better pricing, it doesn’t always mean that you can get a better price. If you can find where your current affiliate network is getting their offer from, you can often approach the other network with wanting to run the offer. Use HttpWatch for tracking the clicks and seeing where it goes it will show you ever jump from your click on an advertisement, to what network it is going to and then to the end advertiser. One of the great methods about this technique is that you can often approach networks, tell them that you are running “so many” leads for another network that they work with, and it’s more likely that you’ll be accepted into that network.

Tell your Affiliate Manager that you will rotate similar offers from another network into the mix (and do it!). If you haven’t learned already about rotating similar offers to find what works better, then you need to learn about this. It’s also a very, very effective method of making networks pay you more money, causing them to bid for your best traffic.  Also there is a factor where for whatever reason (well, there are actually lots of reason) sometimes offers don’t always consistently perform and rotating offers gives time for the other offer to refresh and perform better. Frankly, it’s also a good don’t put your eggs in one basket” method, for the just incase times when an affiliate network might have an issue about not paying.

Offer to test other offers.

Don’t be a one-hit wonder, ever. Ask your AMs what is doing well, and then tell them that you’ll start testing that offer if they raise the other one. If you are an emailer especially, this is a very particular and great strategy. Many AMs know what offers will work on your email list, but it makes sense that you want incentivize to try something new. Many times an AM will give in a little if you give a little back.

Ask for a Bonus from their Advertiser. This is similar to tiered pricing, but a slightly different method. I have found that many advertisers, when questioned about if they will bonus certain affiliates who hit goals will actually jump on the opportunity. Ask your AM to ask the advertising side of their business to see if they’ll give you a $2,500 AX gift card (tax free!) if you do so many leads in a month. One great thing about this  is that there is no way for the Affiliate Network to take it back from this.

Ask Networks about their ‘Discrepancy Account’.

Its called by many other networks other names, but it exists in almost every single ad network and is probably one of the biggest secrets that affiliates don’t know about and that Affiliate Networks don’t want you to know about. You know when they tell you that you are getting paid a certain amount per sale or lead? That is based on their numbers and almost half of the time, campaigns on their system will underreport compared to their advertisers. Instead of crediting it to their affiliates, many of the networks will keep that money. Ask your AM if there are any unreported leads and if they can give you a boost from that account.

Be Nice.

Seriously. Affiliate Managers would rather deal with a nice guy than a jerk. While there are a few people out there who might take the abuse, you’d be amazed how many networks and managers would rather turn off your account than deal with a total putz. Do things like add your AMs to Facebook, send them cards on their birthdays, and in general keep in touch. Don’t depend on conferences for the only time that you really engage the AMs! AMs spend their entire time in front of a computer, often only getting up once in a while to drink shitloads of diet-coke and then return for hours at a time.  Asking them about their life and offers will make you a friend and a business partner.


This guest post was written by Pace Lattin, who has been working in the Interactive Advertising Industry for almost 15 years, having been involved with founding Winstar Interactive (fka Cybereps) to creating the publication

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  1. Great tips here, Zac ! Testing an offer, if there's a pretty good ROI, I will do a search on OV, compare the offer or similar offers of different networks, then talk to my AM for a higher payout. Otherwise, I just tell them I'll push more traffic to other networks .
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  2. Affiliate Managers (AM's) are the same as all other people and should be treated as you yourself would like to be treated. I don't like or appreciate demanding, rude and in every other respect, obnoxious people and I'm pretty sure you don't either
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  3. Good tip on using HttpWatch…I wasn't aware of that sight and it will be useful to me. Thanks.


  4. What would be the best approach in seeking higher converting offers to test vs a higher payout?

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