What’s the Average Affiliate Conversion Rate?

Expect about 1 in 500 visitors to buy from affiliate posts.

The average affiliate conversion rate is about 0.2%.

0.2% affiliate conversion rate

From a random post like “How to Play Tennis”, the conversion rate is basically 0%.

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More Detailed Answer

In the world of affiliate marketing, expectations often meet a hard-hitting reality.

Many newcomers think that affiliate conversion rates are as high as 10-20%. At least I thought.

Expectations are ususally high

By intuition, it would make sense that 1 in 5 visitors would buy something from an affiliate post.

The reality, however, is quite different.

Based on my experience of participating in over 50 affiliate programs and receiving thousands of commissions, the typical affiliate conversion rate is about 1%.

This means 1 in 100 affiliate link clicks make a purchase

1% of link clicks convert to paying customers

And this still assumes you:

  1. Participated in good affiliate programs.
  2. Wrote a post that targets people interested in the products you recommend.
  3. Your site works smoothly.

So we’re not talking about conversion rates of a typical blog post like “How to play tennis” (far lower conversion rates) but an optimized post such as “Best Shoes for Running”.

An example of a GQ affiliate post
GQ Best Running Shoes

Affiliate Link CTR

More bad news!

Although I just told you the affiliate conversion rate (CR) is about 1%, it’s usually way lower than that.

This is because we didn’t yet consider the click-through rate from your post to the affiliate link.

Here it’s easy to assume that everyone will click an affiliate link that visits an affiliate post.

But the reality is different, once again.

Based on my anecdotal experience, only 1 in 5 visitors actually click on your affiliate links in product reviews and roundup posts.

20% of blog visitors click affiliate links

Performing a quick calculation, (1/5) * (1/100), reveals that you effectively need around 1 in 500 visitors to make a single sale.

This figure might seem discouraging, but it paints a realistic picture of the affiliate marketing landscape.

It takes years to make a great income with affiliate marketing.

Now, let me show you why many sites have a much smaller conversion rate than 1 in 500.

Zero Conversion Rate

The majority of blog posts are informational and not centered around selling a product.

Tennis related blog post

If you casually place your affiliate links into a random blog post that has no buying intention behind it, your conversion rate will likely plummet to zero.

Consider an article about “Tennis Scoring System”.

Even with an impressive 100,000 visits, you won’t generate a single sale. 

The intention behind the search is to gain information rather than to make a purchase.

A blog post that could reach 1 in 500 visitors to make a purchase needs to be something like “Best Tennis Shoes” or such.

So if you just randomly write a blog post and throw in some affiliate links, expect to make no sales even with millions of visitors.

It’s Not All About CR

One thing to keep in mind is that the affiliate conversion rate is just one metric. 

But another key factor to affiliate success is the amount of conversion itself.

For example, I’ve participated in affiliate programs where I’ve made a commission as high as $1,800.

Comparing imaginary conversion rates

But then I’ve also seen commissions as low as $1 in other programs.

Yep, that’s a 2,000 times difference.

Example 1

T-shirt affiliate program $2 per sale

Let’s say you’re partnering with a t-shirt company and make a $2 commission for each shirt sold.

If we assume that 1 in 500 blog visitors make a purchase, your blog post should get 250,000 visitors to make $1,000/mo.

That’s more or less infeasible. No matter how hard you try, there’s no t-shirt post that could get you 250,000 visitors per month.

Example 2

Gold IRA affiliate program with up to $50,000 per sale

As the next example, let’s say you’re partnering with a Gold IRA company where you earn a portion of the invested amount as the commission.

In this type of affiliate program, you can easily earn $1,000 per customer (sometimes, a lot more).

If we again assume that 1 in 500 blog visitors make a purchase, your blog post only needs 500 visitors to make $1,000/month.

Now, Imagine how much easier it is to get 500 visitors to a blog post than 250,000.

Of course, a niche like Gold IRAs is super competitive. And getting to that 500 monthly visitors is a stretch hassle–especially because it’s in the YMYL niche. But it’s for sure easier than 250,000 visitors to a t-shirt post.

Wrapping Up

Affiliate marketing is a game of numbers and strategy. 🚀

Don’t fall into the trap of expecting 10-20% conversion rates.

Reality check: it’s closer to 1% for a well-targeted post and virtually 0% for random posts. 🎲

Also, only about 1 in 5 visitors click your affiliate links, leading to about 1 sale per 500 visitors. 😅

But don’t fall into despair.

If you find well-paying affiliate programs in your niche and work hard, you will eventually earn a decent income from your site.

Thanks for reading. Happy blogging!