If you’ve been searching for a great affiliate platform with tons of high-quality products that pay you out regularly then ShareASale might be one of the best programs for you.
They have some excellent merchants, some of which pay you high or even recurring commissions. However, ShareASale doesn’t suit all affiliates.
This article is a complete ShareASale review, where we’ll look at everything you need to know about the platform.
I’ve used ShareASale for over three years now and have earned as much as $6,980.13 in a single month. So I can personally vouch that there is a lot of money to be made with ShareASale.
Does that mean you will sign up and start earning those types of numbers straight away?
No, it still depends on your experience with affiliate marketing and your work ethic, just like any other performance-based marketing. However, if you stick with me throughout this article, I’ll be able to share some tips that have helped me succeed as a ShareASale affiliate.
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ShareASale is an excellent and trusted network that puts lots of effort into pleasing both the affiliate and the merchant.
It has a great variety of trusted brands that you can promote, ranging from physical products (clothing, furniture, etc.) to SaaS (software as a service), WordPress themes, etc.. Plus, it also gives affiliates valuable data and metrics to help you identify the most profitable affiliate programs. But I’ll talk about that in more detail soon in this article.
However, despite all this – finding a great affiliate program is not a golden ticket to success. And it’s not always about picking the most profitable affiliate program. You also need to choose a program that is best suited for your audience.
Keep reading my ShareASale review for my insights on the network, as well as my tips to help you succeed on the platform.
ShareASale is owned by Digital Window Ltd, which is a company owned by Awin, another big affiliate network player. They’ve been around since 2000 and have a great reputation in the affiliate industry. Therefore, you can assume that the company knows a thing or two about affiliate marketing.
ShareASale is an actual dinosaur in the affiliate marketing world, as it’s been around since the turn of the century. Twenty years ago I had only just figured out how to turn a computer on and had no idea what affiliate marketing even was. Yet, even at that time they had people signing up to their network every day to either list their products or to find affiliate offers to promote.
Man, I wish I knew about affiliate marketing back then, I would have jumped on it straight away! In my opinion, affiliate marketing is one of the best financial opportunities that exists at the moment.
Anyway, ShareASale is definitely one of the earliest companies in this industry. This means they have a proven track record. This is always an important thing to look for. You don’t want to spend your time working with crappy networks stop paying you, or they pay you incorrectly, or they disappear completely!
It happens… not cool!
Before we get into the meat of this ShareASale review, here are the TL;DR pros and cons of being a ShareASale affiliate.
- Massive selection of trusted merchants with lots of variety in the industry, product type, etc
- High potential to earn good money per sale with a lot of programs listed
- ShareASale shows you data like the average earnings per click (EPC), helping you find the best programs
- ShareASale has been in business for a long time, so you’ll be dealing with a trusted company
- While commission rates depend on the program, they are decent, often ranging from 10% to 40%
- It lets you deep link for all vendors, which will help your conversions
- Easy to join with reasonable requirements to get accepted (you do, at least, need a basic website)
- Basic but good affiliate link tracking
- Direct deposit, Payoneer, and check payment methods
- Easy to use platform with almost no learning curve
- Quite good support if you have issues
- Many merchants require approval before you can promote them
- Some affiliate links can cause slight issues in WordPress
- Analytics not in real time
- No PayPal as a payment method
ShareASale is a free platform for affiliates. You will not need to pay a fee to join, or pay any fees to use any of the features and tools. Once you’ve opened your account, been approved and have access, you can get to work straight away on making your first sale.
To open a ShareASale account successfully, you must go through a simple process and meet the following requirements:
- You must have a website using a top-level domain such as .com, .net, .org
- You must have a custom email address, i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org
- You must be able to provide accurate information about where you live, your age, etc
This isn’t a lot, and it’s pretty easy to get approved. They also don’t allow adult, illegal drugs, or any websites of that nature.
Here is the process you need to take to sign up.
1. Sign Up For a Publisher Account:
You can head on over to ShareASale and sign up for an affiliate account here. Then, choose a username and password.
2. Fill In Your Domain Name & Email
As mentioned, ShareASale only want serious publishers, so they want to see your website and the custom domain email. So, make sure to use a live site that looks good and has at least a few articles that are already published, else you will not be accepted into the program.
3. Provide Real Contact Details
Ensure to provide valid contact details. They might verify your deets to confirm they are real.
4. Set Your Payment Method & Accept The T&Cs
Finally, for the last step of the process you need to set your payment method. After all, once you make your first sale you’ll be keen to know how you get paid! (More on that coming up).
If you’re not sure what payment method you want to use yet then you can do this later. If you’re in the US or UK, direct deposit is probably the easiest option. Of course, that’s up to you, though.
And if you are in a country where the direct deposit option isn’t available, Payoneer should be, which is excellent as well.
Once you have selected your preferred payment method, double-check your application, review and accept the T&Cs, and submit.
Brands and Products
ShareASale is an excellent choice for many affiliates because they have such a massive variety of merchants that you can promote. The categories range from physical products like clothing and jewelry to software and web services.
I also particularly like ShareAsale for its niche diversity. There are products on this network that could be sold to people in a wide variety of niches.
In total, ShareASale partners with a whopping 15,200 merchants across all sectors. Of course, I can’t give you a complete list of them here in my ShareASale review as there’s just so many.
However, you can take a look at the ShareAsale categories as well as a selection of some of the merchants you can promote as an affiliate marketer on this page of the ShareAsale website.
I have picked out some notable brand names that you’ll likely recognize.
- Wp Engine
Overall though, the average merchant on ShareASale isn’t a huge enterprise business. There are some (like Reebok), but most are smaller companies. This is quite good for you and me because it generally means that we are offered much better commissions, some of which are pretty juicy..! Not only a crappy 2-4% per sale commission on low ticket product sales, like “you-know-who associates”!
I also wanted to give you a list of categories on ShareASale so you will know if they’ll have products your audience will like before you sign up:
- Home & Garden
- Domain Names
- Moving/Moving Supplies
- General web services
- Webmaster tools
- Auction Services
- Books & Media
- Real Estate
- Search Engine Submission
- Sports & Fitness
- Games & Toys
- Web Hosting
- Shopping Malls
Finding The Right Brands and Products
If you’re lucky enough to be in a niche where you have several choices of merchants you can promote – it may be worth testing different ones to see which converts best for your traffic.
Just because one merchant is offering higher commissions than the other doesn’t mean they will convert best with your audience.
Sometimes, a merchant that pays you less that another competitor on ShareAsale may have a much higher conversion rate. So in this case, you’d likely be better off to promote the lower paying product because you’re just gonna be able to sell a lot more of it.
This is why it’s always a good idea to run A/B tests on products. If you’re using a good link tracker that has a split test rotator you can then run traffic to multiple offers to see what one converts the best for you.
If you still need to get something like this setup then I recommend you check out my article on the best link tracking software tools here.
Also, despite ShareASale only allowing reputable merchants onto the platform, I still recommend doing a little research on all the brands you are thinking of working with. Doing so will allow you to recommend the products with the best reputation, and limit any potential issues you might have with the vendor.
Those who take affiliate marketing seriously aim to build a solid reputation for their own brand. This is a lot of work. You don’t want it tainted by promoting crappy merchants.
So, take a look at the merchants reviews, customer experiences, and anything else you can find to ensure that your audience will appreciate your recommendations. Ultimately, this will help your conversions, too, because your traffic will likely do some research of their own before purchasing too.
Bonus Tip: In most cases, the product owner does have the ability to increase your commissions. Often, the standard commission that is first offered is not fixed.
This gives you a great opportunity to significantly increase your income. Some merchants ShareASale has listed will want to see that you have at least made a few sales for them already. Others will be happy if you can prove that you are already generating a decent amount of targeted traffic.
So, you can contact the merchants (via the affiliate program manager) and negotiate higher commissions if you have a site that will generate a lot of targeted traffic and sales.
In some cases I have also managed to do this with websites that aren’t generating a huge amount of traffic, but my site was highly targeted to the niche.
Basically, it’s always worth asking. The worst thing that will happen is that the merchants say “no”.
Not the end of the world!
I have done this multiple times, and many vendors are often open to increasing your commission rate in exchange for some extra exposure.
Here are a few things you can offer a merchant in exchange for a commission bump:
- The top spot in a roundup review (make sure that you also genuinely think the product deserves the top spot. Don’t do this just for the commission)
- A site-wide banner on your blog (this could be in the sidebar or a horizontal banner that appears at the top of all your posts)
- Feature the product in a site-wide and/or homepage popup
- Feature the product in a fixed site-wide top bar (a.k.a ribbon)
- Rent your Facebook pixel to the vendor
- Offer to write detailed, hands-on product reviews
- Offer to run a special promo of their product to your social media following or email list
Often just offering 1-3 of these things can be enough to encourage the commission increase. I usually first offer two of the above. However, in most cases many merchants are interested in well researched product reviews. The most high-value reviews to offer is either a YouTube review, or a blog post review on your website.
I also let them know that I am open to suggestions if there’s something else that I might be able to do for them.
How To Get Free Product Samples From Merchants
Often, many of the merchants will send you a free product sample, or allow you to use their service to test it out. This way you can then create a detailed review of the product from personal experience.
While some merchants will even let you know that this is a possibility in their T&C’s, many will not mention it unless you ask.
However, in most cases they will only send out free samples to affiliates with an established audience.
Again, it’s a case of, ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’.
If you have an audience, then often you will get, if you ask… And the worst that can happen is they say, ‘no’, so it’s not a big deal, and it’s always worth reaching out to find out!
Here’s a few things to include in your pitch:
- Show them your website, or landing page
- Tell them you have an established, targeted audience
- Tell them about any sales that you you might have made fro them or for a competitor
- Tell them your traffic sources
- Tell them about your experience with affiliate marketing
- Tell them you think your audience will love their product, and you want to feature it prominently
- Tell them you’d like to create a hands-on review for your audience, and ask for a product sample
Wait for them to review your pitch and get back to you. Simples!
Affiliate Program Ease Of Use
Overall, ShareASale is straightforward to use. However, certain parts of the website look slightly outdated – but this won’t affect your use of the website or success with the platform.
It’s easy to find your way around. I also like that you can dee your balance of commissions earned as soon as you login to your dashboard.
As the ShareASale dashboard is simple, you shouldn’t have any issues finding a good merchant to with, creating affiliate links, and tracking your stats.
The only place where it does harm the ease of use a little is the help center. It looks like it’s about twenty years old. But I’ll talk you through that in a little more detail later.
Finding Affiliate Programs
ShareASale also provides you with search functions like filters to help you find good merchants to do business with. And of course, you can sort for products to promote by category too.
As an example, you can search for an affiliate program in the web services category that have an avg. EPC of $2.
Some other affiliate networks don’t give you this data, let alone these filters for your searches. So it’s a helpful feature to have, as it makes finding the best programs to review before you promote them much easier.
ShareAsale also have their own ranking system they call ‘Power Rank’. All the products are rated based on how well they convert (similar to ClickBank’s ‘gravity’ metric).
Brands that convert well have a power rank of less than 1,000, 1 being the absolute best that a brand can be ranked. So you can search for merchants that have a Power Rank of less than 1,000, for example, and review the list that ShareASale brings back.
As I mentioned earlier, many of the programs will want to approve you manually, however, some will auto-approve you. So, if you’re just getting started then you can also add ‘auto-approved brands’ to your search parameters too.
Creating Affiliate Links
If you have good experience with affiliate marketing then you will know how important it is to be able to use affiliate links that connect your visitors directly to the product.
The really good vendors on ShareAsale will provide you with a selection of affiliate links to different products, as well as any special offers they are running. However, some merchants only provide you with a limited amount of affiliate links, and in some cases, only an affiliate link to their homepage.
Fortunately, ShareASale comes with a tool that quickly lets you create affiliate links for any page you like on the merchant websites, a.k.a deep links.
For example, if you’re promoting a specific product, you can create an affiliate link specifically for that product in your ShareASale account. You can then send your traffic straight to that product with your new affiliate link instead of having to send them to the homepage, and then rely on the customer to search for the product themselves on the merchants website.
Research shows that deep links can improve conversions by 63 to 99%. So it’s essential as an affiliate marketer to use them if you want to get the most out of your traffic.
Bonus Tip: Make sure that the content message of your web pages, and where you are sending your visitors match. Deep links will help you improve conversions, but you will lose sales if there is a disconnect between your page and the page on the merchants website.
It’s super-easy to deep-link on ShareAsale. Here’s a quick video below to show you how to do it in your ShareASale account.
Most of the merchants on ShareASale provide you with promotional assets for you to use such as banners, Ads, images, text links, and sometimes promo codes and special offer links.
However, the assets they provide depend on the merchant. If you find that the promotional assets are limited for a product you want to promote then you can always reach out directly to the programs affiliate manager.
One thing I like about the ShareASale network is that they allow the product owner to attach your affiliate link to images and banners. This makes it quicker for affiliates to grab the assets and embed them directly into their websites.
However, if you have a WordPress site and you choose to display the images and banners by using the embed code, then it is important to know that sometimes the tracking can be off.
This happened to me with one of my promotions.
Once I switched the images and banners for a .jpg file and manually attached my affiliate link, my ShareASale account began registering a lot more clicks. Although this way is a lot more time-consuming, it is absolutely worth doing if your account is not registering your clicks properly.
Reporting and Analytics
ShareASale’s reporting and analytics are also quite impressive. You can see exactly which of your affiliate links convert the best, where your traffic comes from, etc., allowing you to make the best decisions as an affiliate marketer.
On the downside though, the stats are not in real time. There’s a lag time of a few hours. Still, the info you can get from the analytics area is pretty decent.
I’ve used many affiliate programs, and it can be so annoying if the reporting sucks. If you can’t tell where the sales come from, you can’t put more of your efforts into what’s working, which harms your overall growth.
Let’s look at how you can get paid with ShareASale.
ShareASale has three payment methods:
- Direct deposit
The only risk with a check is that it could get lost in the post. This isn’t a huge risk, but I always prefer to receive my payments via direct deposit whenever possible. Besides, you’re also gonna have to wait longer to receive the check, and also make a trip to the bank to deposit it.
I know a lot of you who are reading this ShareASale review will want to know when and how you will get paid.
ShareASale’s system pays affiliates on the 20th of every month. I then find that the money turns up in my account usually about 2-3 days after this, so don’t worry if your payments don’t also hit your bank account on the 20th. This is normal.
However, if the 20th is on a US holiday or a weekend, the payments are delayed until the next business day.
The payment threshold on ShareASale is $50. If we compare this to many private affiliate programs where the threshold is $100, ShareASale does pretty well. Besides, if you’re serious enough to have a website and a custom domain, you hopefully won’t find it too hard to earn $50.
Affiliate Marketing Support
The ShareASale support team is very knowledgeable and offers quite good support for affiliates. Personally, I have always managed to get my issues resolved. However, it can sometimes take a couple of days for their support to reply. Unfortunately, they’re only available via email.
Besides the support team, they also have a help center with a dinosaur-like, horrible-looking outdated design. You could use this thing in a history lesson in a couple of years to show school kids what the internet first looked like… Yep, it’s that outdated. However, it does work.
Despite the outdated design of the support center, it does have some helpful info docs that affiliates can refer to that may solve your question. In this case you will then not need to contact support at all and wait for a reply.
But support is one area where there is room for improvement on ShareASale, especially the email response time.
Finally, I wanted to look at some alternatives that you may also want to check out too. After all, you can work with as many networks as you like! Let’s take a look.
FlexOffers is an extensive affiliate marketing network with 12,000+ affiliate programs that you can sell.
They range from digital products to automotive and consumer electronics, so you’re likely to find something that’s suited for your audience.
I was also very impressed by FlexOffers’ tools to help you find affiliate programs. Similar to ShareASale, you can select filters and get lots of data for choosing the right website.
The one thing I don’t really like about FlexOffers is the design of some of the website. It almost looks like the standard WordPress design.
That being said, it’s a great network for affiliate marketing.
ClickBank is one of the most popular affiliate networks on the internet too. Unlike ShareASale, it’s mainly known for digital products. So, if you’re looking to promote educational courses or something similar, Clickbank might be the better choice for you.
Because most (but not all) of the products are digital, the commission rates are higher, usually around 50 to 75%. I would say though, that while there are a number of good products on this network, there are also merchants that aren’t as trusted as those that you will find on ShareASale. So make sure to research anything you promote first.
I created a guide on how to make money with the ClickBank network, which you can check out here.
Impact is also a popular affiliate network. Compared to ShareASale, and some of the other alternatives, it’s more of a big brand network. Some of the brands you can promote include Adidas, Airbnb, Lenovo, and HBSC – so there are some huge names here.
However, keep in mind that because of this, the commissions will, in most cases, be smaller. Still, you will benefit from the trust that these companies have, which should help your conversions a little.
Commission Junction (CJ Affiliate) is also one of the best affiliate networks out there. On their network, their affiliates generate a whopping $1.2 billion in affiliate commissions per year. That shows just how massive this network is.
So it’s no surprise that some of the biggest publishers in the world, like CNN or Buzzfeed, use this affiliate marketing network. I also like CommissionJunction because they offer a lot of specialized guidance for their affiliates, which increases your chances of success.
As you have seen from my ShareASale review, this network is great for both beginners and those who are more experienced in affiliate marketing.
ShareASale is a reputable company with an excellent network that is free to join for affiliates. It doesn’t matter if you use websites to promote your affiliate links, or if social media and YouTube are more your thing. There’s something here for everyone.
Not only does ShareASale offer a huge variety of affiliate programs and brands, but it also offers an easy-to-use platform with:
- Tons of products in a wide variety of niches
- Filters and data to help you find the best programs
- Deep linking to help you get the best possible conversions
- Detailed reporting to help you double down on what’s working
All in all, I think ShareASale provides its users with everything a good affiliate network should have.
If you would like to join up as an affiliate, you can head over to the ShareASale website using the button below and follow the instructions I laid out earlier. Just make sure you have a live website and a custom domain email first.
Steve West has been an online entrepreneur since 2013. He specializes in SEO and affiliate marketing. Besides running his online business, he likes hiking, keeping fit and eating cookies (which is why he needs to keep fit!)
Please be aware that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases, at no extra cost to you. However, this does not impact our comparisons and reviews. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.