Affiliate marketing is rapidly becoming an indispensable part of every successful digital marketing strategy.
What is affiliate marketing?
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing involves offering people rewards and incentives to refer customers to your site, whether it’s via their social media profile or offering a discount coupon in their YouTube video.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely already aware of the enormous impact affiliate marketing and E-commerce partnerships can have on your sales, so we won’t bore you by trying to convince you further.
You’re probably asking yourself which affiliate marketing software to choose when there are so many options available. That’s why we’ve created this roundup of our top 10 affiliate marketing software picks.
Whether you’re a small business owner looking to grow their organic reach through affiliates, or an established E-commerce brand seeking a better way to manage their relationships with marketers and influencers, we’ve got you covered.
What do I look for when I select the best affiliate marketing solution? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): I look for a well-designed, visually pleasing user interface that’s easy to understand at a glance. Ideally, I want to be able to customize my dashboard(s) to prioritize the information that’s most important to my business.
Being able to customize your affiliate dashboard to match your business’s branding is also a plus. Similarly, having customizable templates like registration forms and email sequences can help you automate your affiliate marketing processes and save you a lot of time.
- Usability: I look for affiliate marketing solutions that are feature-rich, yet intuitive and with a low learning-curve. There are a lot of options in this space, and some are far more complex than others.
If you’re hiring a marketing agency to take care of managing your affiliates, a more complex software solution might be perfect. However, if you’re planning on running your affiliate program yourself, pick one that’s easy to set up and figure out.
- Training and Support: I look for affiliate marketing software that offers plenty of customer support — and has customer testimonials to that effect — as well as detailed self-service support materials/a robust knowledge base. Even better if they offer training, individualized onboarding, and industry events and networking opportunities.
- Integrations: I look for tools that offer ready-made integrations with the E-commerce and marketing tools I already use or am thinking of using.
If they don’t already have integrations for the tools in my stack, I check whether they have an API and/or what their policy is on creating custom integrations.
- Value for $: I look for affiliate marketing software that has a clear pricing structure and try to anticipate any unexpected expenses as I compare my top choices.
This often translates into comparing the number of clicks and/or conversions permitted in each pricing tier, and what kinds of overages they charge after you’ve hit these limits. Don’t be afraid to ask whether they charge transaction fees, and whether the payment processor they use will charge additional transaction fees.
Also consider whether the price is justified by the functionality, and whether or not you actually need all the features in question.
- User Reviews: I always read the customer reviews. What are the pros and cons? What are the specific ways that reviewers think this software could be improved? What’s their customer service like? How do they measure up against similar software providers?
Affiliate Marketing Software Key Features
Here are a few of the key features that many affiliate marketing programs share:
- Referral Tracking Dashboard – A dashboard where the business/admin can track partner KPIs, commissions owed, and other affiliate metrics.
- Affiliate Dashboard – A dashboard where affiliate partners can view their performance and commissions.
- Affiliate Discovery Marketplace – A feature that allows brands and affiliates to find, compare, and vet potential partners.
- Custom Commission Models – A feature that allows businesses to create custom reward or payment structures for individual partners and/or affiliate marketing campaigns.
- Digital Brand Asset Management – A feature that enables brands to share creative assets with their affiliates for consistent branding and easy sharing.
- Communication Tools – Features like email automation that streamline communication between brands and their affiliates.
- Payment Processing – Built-in payment processing tools that facilitate payouts and payment automation.
- Data Analytics & Reporting – Features that enable one-click data analyses, data visualization, and report generation by applying various filters.
- Fraud Detection – Features that prevent affiliate fraud by flagging suspicious conversion rates, referring domains, and other shady tactics.
- Automation Tools – Features that allow brands to set up rules to automate sequences of events.
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Overviews Of The 10 Best Affiliate Marketing Platforms
Here’s a brief description of each of the top affiliate marketing software to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the user interface.
Everflow is a cloud-based platform that helps businesses to manage, track, and analyze partner marketing campaigns from a user-friendly central dashboard. The platform makes it easy to integrate all your favorite tools to build a powerful tech stack.
Everflow’s real-time analytics enables marketers to track metrics like revenue, clicks and conversions to identify their best performing (and worst performing) placements. Clicks and conversions can be tracked by affiliate, offer, date, country, city, channel, and more.
Marketers can also view overall conversion, revenue, payouts, and other campaign data. By monitoring performance trends, businesses can make strategic decisions to optimize their partner marketing efforts.
Everflow also offers a number of fraud protection measures and integrations to prevent affiliate fraud such as bad clicks.
Everflow’s API enables users to easily integrate with a wide variety of API partners and third-party tools to build powerful marketing tech stacks.
Everflow’s pricing starts from $750 per month.
Freshworks is a collection of software that includes Freshdesk, Freshservice, Freshsales, Freshcaller, Freshchat, Freshmarketer, and so on. You can customize your marketing approach by selecting the tools you need most, be it call tracking or sales.
The Freshworks line has everything you need without having to leave the ecosystem. They score well in the evaluation criteria for Features and Functionality simply because they offer everything with the ability to mix-and-match what you need.
Visit their Marketplace to find integrations like Mailchimp, Migrate, TeamViewer, Attachment Manager, Office 365, Paypal Invoices, Textline, Justcall for SMS, Slack, Google Analytics, Atlassian JIRA, and more.
The mobile application chugs a little bit, which is only a downfall if you do a lot of work on a smart device. The emailing function isn’t as flexible and robust as others on this list.Freshworks starts at $15/user/month and has a 21-day free trial of paid plans but also has a freemium version.
ProsExcellent list of first- and third-party integrations Easy to automate follow ups with potential leads Comprehensive visual representation of sales pipelineConsLimited choices for font in email templatesNo direct Office 365 integration
Post Affiliate Pro’s affiliate tracking software enables businesses to manage and automate multiple affiliate programs. Users can assign commissions, track partner performance, and issue payments in a single platform.
Businesses can also set up automated commission bonuses for specific sales milestones to reward and motivate their affiliates.
Post Affiliate Pro provides new clients with free website integration and setup and robust 24/7 support via chat and mail, as well as its knowledge base and forum. Streamlined real-time data reporting helps businesses to track affiliate partner performance, engagements, qualified leads, and conversion rates.
The platform has a range of advanced features that give users a high level of control over affiliate partnerships. These include campaign scheduling, automatic affiliate removal based on custom requirements (such as a minimum number of logins or sales), a forced matrix feature that controls how many sub-affiliates affiliate partners can use, a lifetime referrals manager, membership subscription manager, audit logs, and more.
Post Affiliate Pro integrates with over 200 tools including content management systems and payment gateways.
Post Affiliate Pro pricing starts from $97 per month. It also offers a free trial.
HubSpot is a leader in the digital marketing sphere and their own tool, HubSpot Marketing, boasts features like marketing automation with smart content, content creation tools with SEO strategy built-in, custom event triggers and reporting, website traffic analysis, and more.
With a low monthly cost and a freemium version available, HubSpot scored highly on the Value for Price category of the evaluation criteria. They don’t skimp on features, either.Integrations include Gmail, RollWorks ABM, Jira, briX, AdRoll, Twitter, Cradle, Dialpad, Zipwhip, Helpdesk Migration, Sakari SMS, Eventbrite, Automate.io, Mailchimp, LeadDyno, Instagram, Workplace by Facebook, GoToWebinar, and over 1000 more through Zapier.
Duplicate entries can become a problem, as HubSpot primarily uses email address the customer identifier.
Additionally, their drag-and-drop design functions can be a bit limiting.HubSpot Marketing starts at $50/month and has a freemium version.
Pros East to track the when/where of website leads, User-friendly email marketing campaigns, Excellent at organizing/filtering all contacts Cons No integration with Instagram inbox, Hubspot to Stripe Integration could be improved, Slightly expensive for SMEs
MailChimp, a familiar name in email marketing, boasts an all-in-one platform that also caters to audience insights, retargeting ads, A/B testing, 1-click automations, marketing CRM, behavioral targeting, advanced audience segmentation, pre-built content templates, and more.Completely free, MailChimp scores well on the Value for Cost on the evaluation criteria list.
Small businesses will benefit from their basic email marketing tools.Integrations APIANT, Accelo, Acuity Scheduling, AddThis for MailChimp, Advances RSS Email Automation, AgencyAnalytics, Airsquare, Attendstar, Attentive.ly, Automate.io, Autopilot, BEE Pro, Batchbook, Bloom Intelligence, HootSuite, and more.
Mailchimp’s Features and Functions list is rather smaller than most on this list, which dinged them in our evaluation. While they do have additional marketing capabilities, they are primarily an email marketing tool.
Mailchimp starts at $9.99/month and has a freemium version. Pros Great for segmented/targeted promotional emails, Drag-and-drop email marketing templates, Generous freemium plan Cons Lacks customization for some data fields, Minimal CRM integration options, Quite geared towards product sales
CAKE is a performance marketing software provider with modules for multichannel marketing, lead generation, and affiliate marketing.
CAKE allows marketers, publishers, and networks to manage, track, and optimize campaigns in real-time. The affiliate marketing module allows users to gain granular real-time insight into their campaign and partner performance, set up unique commission structures, and create custom alerts.
With CAKE, marketers can configure targeting parameters such as device, location, browser, and track traffic caps and redirects to gain detailed insight into each impression, click and conversion.
This ensures accurate revenue and payout attribution. Pixel whitelisting and custom alerts that flag abnormal behavior help marketers to minimize fraud risk, and CAKE’s stringent data security and privacy protocols ensure that customer data is safe.
CAKE provides dedicated implementation specialists and client success managers, as well as 24/7 technical support via phone and email.
CAKE integrates with a variety of popular marketing, analytics, and payments solutions.
CAKE pricing available on request.
Marketo Engage, a program by Adobe, promises to carry you from “acquisition to advocacy” in your marketing funnel strategy by employing features like attracting top-of-funnel traffic through inbound and outbound programs and convert leads with landing pages and progressive forms.
Marketo is relatively easy to use for an Adobe program and it has a lot of documentation to help you get started. Once set up, there is a huge range of tools and features for a fairly mid-range price.Other than the obvious integration with the Adobe suite of programs, Marketo Engage connects with apps like SalesLogix, ACT!, Pipedrive, MailChimp, Zoho CRM, Teamgate, WordPress, Magento, TextPattern, and many more.
The user interface looks a bit dull and dated, which makes it an outlier in most Adobe software. Thus, they lost a few points in the UX category of the evaluation criteria.
Marketo starts at $895/month and has a free demo. Pros:Great multichannel integration, Professional-looking emails,landing pages, forms, and campaigns, Valuable smart campaigns and smart lists Cons: Does not sync with Salesforce
Pardot, B2B marketing automation by Salesforce, offers a marketing automation solution supporting the needs of B2B organizations with features like streamlined lead management, email marketing, robust ROI reporting, AI tools, and more. It’s a great tool for automating a lot of your inbound marketing efforts with automated workflows, autoresponders, etc.Integration with Salesforce can be hugely helpful. If you are already in the Salesforce universe, Pardot will be an intuitive and welcome addition to your strategy.
Salesforce has a ton of partners and integration options, like Mailchimp, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Adobe Sign, Amazon Connect CTI, Zoom, Quickbooks, task-based specialty apps, and many more.
Though they’ve promised to fix this by Winter 2020, there is no drag-and-drop editor available. Therefore, code must be used in most cases, detracting from their Usability marks per the evaluation criteria.
Salesforce Pardot starts at $1,250/month and has a free demo. Pros:Competitively priced, Great integration with CRMs, Forms are very easy to create and manage Cons: B2B Analytics sold separately,
Large groups of contacts can be hard to manage,Reporting layouts aren’t customizable
Called BPM’online until recently, Creatio is a marketing CRM tool that sports intelligent business process management, sales and service integrated on one platform, sales automation software, low-code functionality, professional consulting services, workflow automation, and more.
The interface, reporting tools, and flexibility of integrations/add-ons are all stand-out features for Creatio. Despite having so much to pick from, they are relatively easy to pick-up and learn.
Integrations can be found in their Marketplace and include Process First, Make It TSI, Agovo, Amdocs, Evoqia, Meritus, Onmiline, Technology Advisors, Softline, ITS, Navicon, Orange Process, and many more.The pricing system is a bit misleading, as the base price doesn’t count for additional services like certain levels of technical and customer support.
They lost some marks of Value for Cost because of the lack of transparency.Creatio starts at $25/user/month and has a 14-day free trial.
Pros User-Friendly Dashboards and KPIs, Easy-to-use productivity tools for sales agents, Highly marketing intelligent analytics tools Cons Not enough out-of-the-box detailed reporting, More integrations with 3rd parties welcomed No telephony integration
Stemming from tools used for the AppSumo newsletter, Sumo is a set of free automation tools that—the company claims—grew them to over a million subscribers. Features focus on collecting names and emails with the likes of pop-ups, banners, landing pages, and more.
SumoMe is free to use, making them a standout in the Value for Cost category of the evaluation criteria list. If you need more features or scalability, you can purchase additional tools.
Integrations include ActiveCampaign, Aweber, BriteVerify, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, Drip, Emma, Feedblitz, GetResponse, HubSpot, iContact, InboxFirst, Infusionsoft, Klaviyo, Mad Mimi, MailChimp, and more.More notification options would be welcome, like being pinged in real-time when you receive a new contact or subscriber through the software.
SumoMe is free to use.ProsPowerful all-in-one suite of appsEasy, excellent email list building Audience can easily highlight-to-Tweet your content ConsSumo’s pop-up/slider gets in the way of certain pages Not as much of a focus on trending keywords Requires end-user to have the latest OS/browser software installed
The 10 Best Affiliate Marketing Platforms Summary
|From $750 per month||Visit Website|
21 Days Free Trial
|From $15/user/month||Visit Website|
|From $97 per month||Visit Website|
|From $45/month/account||Visit Website|
|From $895/month||Visit Website|
|From $1,250/month||Visit Website|
14 days free trial
|From $25/user/month||Visit Website|
Free to use
Need expert help selecting the right Advertising & Affiliate Software?
We’ve joined up with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the right software. Crozdesk’s Advertising & Affiliate Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions with unbiased recommendations to help you identify the solutions that best suit your business’s needs. Through our partnership you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.
It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:
Here’s a few more that didn’t make the top list.
- TUNE – TUNE is a platform for managing marketing partnerships across mobile and web.
- TitanAFFILIATE – TitanAFFILIATE is a mobile-first affiliate marketing automation solution.
- Kartra – Kartra offers an all-in-one suite of E-commerce tools including Kartra Affiliate Management.
- Voluum – Voluum is an affiliate tracking tool with robust automation and ad optimization features.
- CJ Affiliate – CJ is an affiliate marketing platform where brands and affiliates can discover one another and build partnerships.
- LeadDyno – LeadDyno is an affiliate tracking solution that integrates with many top e-commerce platforms, payment processors, CRMs, and email platforms.
What do you think about this list?
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Related Read: 26 Types Of Marketing Software And What They Do
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