The kind of affiliate marketing that we have gotten used to has the pay-per-sale model. And when I say pay, I am referring to the commission.
But did you know that there are other models by which you can get paid? One of these is called pay per click.
In this ultimate guide to pay per click affiliate programs, I will share everything I know about this particular model. By the end of this tutorial, I am hoping you can decide if you want to use the pay per click model (PPC), or the pay-per-sale model in your business.
What is PPC Affiliate Marketing?
As the term implies, you get paid if people click your affiliate link. No, they do not have to buy. All they need to do is to click on that link.
Here are some variations of the payment model:
- Pay per click
- Pay per lead
- Pay by impression
If you think about it, this model is not so different from advertising. So yes, PPC affiliate marketing is nothing more than advertising.
The way it works is a tad different from the usual pay per sale affiliate marketing (PPS). In PPS, the customer has to buy the products, and then you get a commission. Also, you get your very own affiliate link that you need to embed in your website, social media posts, YouTube videos and ads.
In PPC affiliate marketing, you do not need to make a sale. Also, you do not need a link. What happens in the backend is that you apply to the affiliate program, and then you get a code.
You embed that code in your website, and then the advertising network can now identify the clicks and leads coming from your site.
What does this mean? It means that you really do not get to choose the products that you can sell or advertise. At best, you can only choose the niche. In some cases, it is possible to be able to choose the product, and then also get an independent affiliate link, especially so if you are applying to a pay per lead model.
Is PPC Affiliate Marketing Common?
No, it is not common.
There was a time that it was common. Merchants loved to pay a small amount for advertising, and then they do not have to pay the affiliate marketer for the sale that came from those clicks.
So, what happened?
You see, where there is money, there is abuse.
What happened over the years is that many affiliate marketers created software programs, called bots, to generate traffic. These bots crawled the affiliate links and ads, and then clicked them.
So, the merchants paid a lot of money for these clicks. And when they found out that the clicks came from bots and not humans, the industry died a slow death.
Naturally, the merchants were more than just a little upset!! They paid for nothing. They got no benefit for these clicks. A lot of them shifted to the PPS model because a sale is legit and easily quantifiable. And as they shifted to the PPS model, they also put gatekeeping mechanisms in place—there is usually a 30-day cooling period before they issued the commission.
This does not mean that PPC affiliate marketing no longer exists. They still do, and I will share with you several products that you can try.
What I really want to be clear about is that PPC affiliate marketing today has taken a serious change. It is not easy to find these companies, and it is not easy to apply.
Also, new technologies were developed to combat false clicks. And if you use bots to click on the ads, your account will get banned and you will not get paid.
9 Top PPC Affiliate Marketing Programs
Here are some of the best PPC affiliate marketing programs that I recommend.
Ezoic has been my choice for PPC for a few years now, as they are basically a more advanced version of the ever popular Adsense (discussed below). They take similar ads to Adsense and mate them with an impressive AI that will test thousands or even millions of ad combinations on your site (depending on the number of ad placements). This will help you find the best (and highest earning) combinations. In my experience, I earn a much higher advertising rate from Ezoic than Adsense.
Some people didn’t like them because they didn’t offer video ads (which can be high earning), but at the time of writing Ezoic just released this feature in Beta.
The downside is that Ezoic usually requires around 10000 sessions month in order to join.
Below you can see one of my early stage Ezoic earning websites. This has only been on there for 3 months and it is already earning over $300 from just under 20000 web visits. This is pretty impressive stuff, in my opinion!
Ezoic also has excellent customer service. For example, they usually offer to set up your ad placements when you first sign up a site, saving you a lot of time.
Media.Net works like Adsense. It is an advertising platform for contextual ads. The ads used here are from the Yahoo! and Bing universe.
Once you join, you will get an ID, which is called the referral ID. You can promote this ID on your website and social media pages, and you can generate money if these ads are clicked. Upon sign up, you will get a 10% bonus from your ad revenue in the first three months.
Media.Net is one of the largest ad networks in the world, and its ads are currently supplied and displayed in over 500,000 websites across the world.
I like using Media.Net instead of Adsense if I have a website with lower traffic (and can’t get into Ezoic yet). The payouts are higher, although it can be slightly more complex to set up.
What you will love about Adzooma is that it pays via PayPal or wire transfer. The payout is issued twice a month, and there is no minimum requirement to get paid.
Adzooma offers many supporting resources to help you succeed in PPC affiliate marketing. It also has an automated process where you no longer need to be deeply involved in the advertising procedures. Just sign up for an account and get your code. Adzooma will take care of the rest.
With Adzooma, you can also take advantage of special deals and offers, especially so if you are an influencer with a huge following.
This is another good alternative to Adsense if you don’t have a lot of traffic on your website. They offer some good ad placement options, although their network is not as strong as Adsense and thus some of their ads might be lower quality (in my opinion anyway!).
This is also a referral program where you refer bloggers and affiliate marketers. You need to convince them to sign up and then advertise. If they sign up and they earn, you will get a commission of 10% from their earnings for 12 months.
While this may sound like it is PPS, it is still technically PPC because you are recruiting publishers. They do not have to buy a product. They just have to sign up and start advertising. The payment structure here is a type of PPC called pay per lead.
You will get 10% commission on the first year, provided that they made $1,500. If their earnings are lower than this, you will only earn 5%.
To be on the safe side, I would set your sights on 5% only. Publishers rarely really earn $1,500 per month on ads, except if they are really a big company.
Skimlinks is an interesting one as it offers several types of monetization. As well as pay per click, they also house regular affiliate pay per sale offers too. This means you have the potential to earn in mutiple ways. The great thing is you don’t have to sign up for each affiliate program individually with Skimlinks, you just get approved under the Skimlinks umbrella instead.
Your earnings will be slightly lower than if you apply for these programs directly yourself, but the process will be much simpler with Skimlinks.
Skimlinks also give you the opportunity to earn if you refer publishers as well. What do they do? They connect their publishers to more than 48,000 merchants around the world. Your main task is to look for publishers like bloggers who will put these ads on their sites.
Currently, Skimlinks has over 60,000 publishers. After signing up, you will get a referral ID, which you have to promote. Once publishers sign up, you get 35% of their advertising earnings for one year. What I like about Skimlinks is that they have a lot of banners and advertising materials that you can choose from.
In the marketing industry, Infolinks is considered as one of the best alternatives to Google AdSense. They offer a model similar to Skimlinks, in that they allow you to monetize your website in multiple ways from just signing up and implementing their service. In just a few clicks you can start earning from your content. This is great if you are a single blogger and don’t have the time to commit to doing this manually yourself.
Infolinks also adapts the adverts they show depending on the different visitors, helping to up your conversion rates and thus earnings.
You also have the option to refer publishers like bloggers and affiliate marketers to earn even more money! Your commission is 10% of the publisher’s revenue for 12 months.
Like other affiliate programs, this one gives you a referral ID, not a code. You do not have to do the advertising yourself. The great thing about this program is that it has a robust analytical system that tells you how you are performing.
Infolinks has a special offer: you can get 20% more revenue from your publisher sign-ups for the next six months provided that you use a set ad code within 24 hours of getting approved.
The minimum payout threshold is $50, and you can get paid via PayPal, eCheck, Payoneer, and others.
You may have already heard of AdSense. It is the advertising network of Google where you can register, and then you can post ads on your website.
Since it is made by Google, it is really easy to use. All you have to do is to embed a code on your site, and then Google will take care of putting the ads. The second option is to put the code on each specific page of your site.
What I like about this is that you get paid per impression, and you also get paid by clicks. I also love the fact that you can select what kind of products are advertised on your site according to the industry. So, if you in the beauty niche, you can specifically choose only beauty and fitness products to be advertised in your site.
Although Adsense is very easy to set up (even having auto placed ads), their payouts are on the lower end of the scale.
Like Google AdSense, Adblade allows you to advertise on your site, and you get paid per click. It has a great tracking system, and you will have access to real-time reporting about the impressions shown on your site, your click-through-rate, and much more.
Adblade has a minimum of $100 for payouts. The payment that is currently offered is only through PayPal. One thing that Adblade claims is that their ads are getting 3x more clicks than the usual ad formats.
This is the last in my recommendation for best PPC affiliate marketing programs. What you do here is to post content or ads on your blog, and then you earn money from them.
As always, your earnings will depend on the traffic you send. The more clicks you generate, the more money you earn.
With Outbrain, you can promote listings and do in-feed ads on your Facebook or Twitter pages. You can also use the search function for promoted listings, and or you can display recommended videos in your ads.
Outbrain is most popular for native ads. Have you ever been browsing a web page and seen posts at the bottom titles ‘sponsored content’. These are in fact native ads. They are designed to fit in with your website and make the reader think they are part of your related posts section.
2 Important Tips to Succeed in PPC Affiliate Marketing
Alright, so once you have selected one or two of these eight pay-per-click affiliate programs that I recommended, what is the next thing to do?
Here are my tips on how you can succeed:
sume that most readers of this article are solo bloggers. As such, there is no way that you can operate in a niche that requires a general newspaper or magazine type of website. What I am trying to say is that you cannot publish content like other big magazines, even if you have a really affordable content writer working for you.
To make PPC affiliate marketing work for you, choose a niche and focus on it for an extended time. Your goal is to build up a respected website and drive traffic of highly targeted people to your site. Be patient, this will take time! Using keyword tools to find low competition keywords in your niche is the best way to start this. Turn these keywords into high quality articles! And lots of them!
Once you have done this, you must advertise only products that are related to your niche. If your site is about entrepreneurship, it does not make sense advertising products like socks and clothing. You are better off advertising about software programs. Better still, use a program like Adsense that automatically selects the best adverts for your visitors based on their cookie history.
Position the Ads Well
The second most important step that many affiliate marketers seem to miss is that they do not position their ads well. The best ad positions are at the top of the blog post, the bottom of the post, and then on your sidebar.
Also, I strongly discourage you from filling your page with ads. Readers hate ads, and they will close the browser if your ad content irritates them. Three to four ads per page should be enough.
I know that you want to earn through advertising. But if people rage quit their browsers, this is going to have a really bad impact on how Google algorithms see your site. You will have a high bounce rate, and Google will no longer show your pages at the top of the search results.
Is PPC affiliate marketing worth it?
Yes, definitely. However, I have to set clear expectations here. While many people claim that you can make easy money with ads, the truth of the matter is that these earnings can be really negligible. A lot of people struggle to make a full time living out of it. Be realistic about your potential earnings.
Early on work out the strategy that you would like to follow along your affiliate marketing journey. Pay per sale affiliate marketing usually has larger payouts and can earn good money on even lower traffic websites. On the flip side, purely using PPC ad placements will require much more of traffic to earn the same amount. The benefit is that you are less restricted by the content you put on your website.
Pay per sale affiliates usually focus on ‘money pages’ with buyer intent keywords such as “Best X for Y”, whereas you can earn money on even informational posts with PPC.
Think about it carefully, and decide which route would best suite your business. Once you are along one path it can be tricky to switch to another!