Is Affiliate Marketing Still Profitable In 2021?

Is affiliate marketing still profitable in 2021? What I understand more about this question is whether it is still worth my time and effort. Can I still make money?

In that case, yes, it is. At least in my opinion. An opinion that is informed by several reasons.

First, customers use the internet to find information and products. And this doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.

As long as this continues, I don’t see why publishers will leave money on the table. Businesses will continue to put together affiliate programs. And affiliate marketers sought.

I see the affiliate marketing industry as the stock market. There will be lulls along the way. But in the long run, growth always happens.

FUN FACT: The affiliate marketing industry revenue is larger than the GDP of many countries

A few statistics first

Statistics are a good indicator of the journey the affiliate marketing industry has come. And which direction it might head.

A reliable source for such is Statista.

> 80% of brands use affiliate marketing
> 52% growth over the last five years
> Expected 10% year on year growth
> 16% of all online orders are via affiliate marketing
> Affiliate marketing industry revenue is bigger than the GDP of many countries

This might be very brief. However, at a birds-eye view, it’s clearly is a popular channel of product distribution. And has experienced tremendous growth.

So if you are not convinced it’s here to stay, I don’t know what will.

affiliate marketing still profitable - Google Trends

Google Trends supports the same argument. I’ve checked the interest in the top over the last ten years. As you can see, it’s been rising.

Google gives a disclaimer for the last point as having incomplete data.

What’s leading to these doubts?

is affiliate marketing still profitable - doubts

The affiliate marketing game might have become tougher. But this does not mean it is dead.

Google has made continual updates to its search algorithm. It has become smarter. Unlike the past, it now takes longer for new blogs to rank well in the SERPs.

Before you gain the search engine’s trust, you can always utilize other sources of traffic like social media.

But despite this, there are still affiliate marketers profiting every day. You have to take a long-term approach and within no time, with the right tactics, profit as well.

People had it easy back then. You could game the system with keyword stuffing and achieve overnight success.

But Google realized that this leads to a very poor user experience. They tweaked the search engine to be smarter.

Now for you to sell online with affiliate marketing, you have to dwell more on the quality of content.

Users became smarter too. They quickly realize blogs and persons that are just out to earn a commission by misleading them.

Still, there are no guarantees

The fact that I believe it is still a viable business does not mean it is for everyone.

Lots of people get sucked in by compelling sales copies they come across online. These people then end up miserable. The promises made do not materialize.

They now need someone to blame, which is naturally human.

You could have experienced the same, losing your hard-earned money in the process. Sorry for being fed on the wrong information.

The outcome is that you are now more informed and wary of scams.

Ignore anyone who promises overnight riches with the push of a button.

It takes commitment. And not everyone is up for that kind of challenge. It takes time to see the coins rolling.

And there’s entirely no guarantee they will. That’s the epic aspect most people out to sell you something do not disclose!

So what do you advise I do?

is affiliate marketing still profitable - advice

You could be in immediate need of money. In that case, it’s better to take part in surveys or freelance at Upwork, Fiverr, etc.

You have three options you can take.

  • Avoid it completely

It does not mean you are a coward. You possess the ability to be objective in assessing the pay-reward puzzle.

Just because everyone is going in that direction does not mean you do the same.

  • Half ass it in the hope that something will give

A lot of people do this and for the wrong reasons. You want to test if it is possible, which is not a good approach. 

A little success might spur you on. But most of the time, you will hardly reach that point.

A past New York Times research revealed as much as 95% of blogs get abandoned! I want to believe this is the population that did not have long-term goals with affiliate marketing.

  • Jump in with both feet

I strongly recommend this approach as it will force you from your comfort zone.

You will organize and plan as you learn new skills.

It will make you withstand challenges that will crop up along the way.

However, I advise you to insure yourself. Do not quit your job first. Use your free time to build an online business over time.

It might not be possible with everyone’s work schedule. If you have savings to take care of bills as you set up, the better.

How fast you’ll achieve your goals will depend on how efficiently you learn and implement.

It will be a crazy ride, but the outcomes will justify the efforts.

And if you don’t make the grade the first time, it will make your resolve harder. Try again.

My final recommendation

is affiliate marketing still profitable - matrix

I recommend that you take a hard look. Determine whether you have it in you to run a blogging business for a long time.

It can stretch into several years.

For a minute, put aside the push of missing out and look internally.

Social media and the internet at large have a way of reminding us every waking minute that we are missing out.

Weigh the benefits versus the costs. And cost here is not necessarily monetary. It’s time and effort. You’ll arrive at a clear answer of whether it’s profitable to pursue it.

Once you arrive at a decision, take action immediately.

If you decide to pursue affiliate marketing, you’ll need access to a reliable, step-by-step plan of action.

The good news is that you do not have to come up with one on your own.

Some people have been at it long enough to know the ins and outs and what works best. My recommendation is the ten lessons of the FREE Online Entrepreneur Certification by Wealthy Affiliate.

Before you commit any money for a membership, you can get a taste of what it involves and decide if it’s worth pursuing further.

7 thoughts on “Is Affiliate Marketing Still Profitable In 2021?”

  1. Your third piece of advice is a top nugget for anyone interested in affiliate marketing or blogging as a whole. Affiliate marketing is not dead but alive as ever. In fact, things are getting better by the day, but much more competitive. You can not stay in halfway and expect success, you must plunge into the deep. That is the only way out 

  2. I really like your view on affiliate marketing and it also gives me hope that this industry is not dead yet. However, I think the reasons why people fail miserably in this field is they think they’ll make full time income with it in just few weeks or months. Affiliate marketing is a long term business just like what you’ve mentioned and if we think we’ll see results right away we’ll probably get very disappointed soon.

    Traffic is also playing an important role and with many competition in the internet marketing these days, it’s important to make your content valuable in order to gain your audience’s trust. Overall, thank you for providing a very detailed info and hope to see  more post from your blog! 


  3. hi Kip, thanks for your interesting article about on line marketing. you say it takes time to see any returns. In your opinion what length of time would it take to generate a good income. Say $50,000 a year or more. Also what hours would you expect a “newbie” to have to work to make it a success. Thanks for an informative article. I look forward to seeing more in the future.


  4. I recently took the third option: jumping  in with both feet! I’m not one to half ass anything – especially when it is something as meaningful and important as creating my own profitable content in affiliate marketing. I’m done avoiding the thought of being my own boss, done with avoiding the idea of being entrepreneurial, and I’m not in this field to be “just good enough”. I’m in it to succeed! Since I’m not working a job now, I have the time (and the necessity!) to work at this with all I’ve got.

    I’m working out how I will provide value to my audience, and as I do this and then work on organic engagement, I’m confident the profit will follow, Godwilling! 


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