Advantages and Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing
January 12, 2023

When starting on something, it’s best to see the advantages and disadvantages. That’s true for everything, especially affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is, after all, a competitive business.

Is affiliate marketing for everyone? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of it? That’s what this article is here for. 

What is Affiliate Marketing and How it Works

For those who don’t know, affiliate marketing hires someone to promote a business’s products and services. When the person hired, known as an affiliate marketer, promotes said product or service, they get rewarded via commissions.

Affiliate marketing is a partnership between the affiliate marketer and the business or client; said marketer is trying to promote and sell. The business pays the marketer a commission based on the number of sales.

Affiliate marketers use a unique link on their websites for monitoring traffic toward the client’s website. The marketer receives a commission if a consumer buys something from the affiliate’s link.

Affiliate marketing is a lucrative business. 84% of publishers and 80% of brands use this practice. Approximately 15% of the digital marketing industry’s revenue is from affiliate marketing. 16% of e-commerce sales are via affiliate marketing, with its markets being in Canada and the United States.

Revenue and profits have increased by around 10% annually in the past five years. According to Statista, sales in affiliate marketing reached $4.8 billion in 2016. That number is expected to increase to over $8.2 billion by the end of 2022.


Now that affiliate marketing has been defined and explained, it’s time to discuss the many advantages of this practice.

Advantage One: It’s Easy and Free to Start

Unlike most businesses, starting a business in affiliate marketing is easy and free. It all depends on the affiliate marketer’s decisions, though.

For starters, it’s best to have an affiliate website to market the client’s products, but a website isn’t always necessary to start affiliate marketing.

All anyone has to do is focus on one niche and join any affiliate program that specializes in said niche. It’s that simple!

Advantage Two: No Marketing Expertise

When joining most marketing positions, companies expect that person to have some marketing knowledge. That’s not the case with affiliate marketing. Affiliate programs don’t need anyone to have any marketing expertise to join.

Affiliate marketing lets marketers gradually learn about marketing as they work, practice, and test various techniques. There are many methods and strategies for affiliate marketing, and the marketer can use any that feel relevant to their marketing niche and needs.

Advantage Three: Flexibility and Convenience

Affiliate marketers don’t have to stick to one affiliate product. They can run many campaigns on different websites to promote the affiliate link.

It can take a lot of work to sell one product. That’s why many affiliate marketers move onto another one that’s easier to sell and has more profit. If one affiliate program isn’t working out, moving on to another is okay. This practice lowers the risk factor while amplifying the probability of growth and profitability.

In affiliate marketing, marketers can work on their own schedules whenever they want. That way, if something comes up, they can rearrange their schedule to accommodate whatever is in the way. They can even go on vacation whenever they want!

The best thing about affiliate marketing is that it offers independence. Marketers can work from anywhere at any time; all they need are electricity and internet access.

Affiliate marketers don’t have to follow any chain of command or an organization’s rules and regulations and don’t have to deliver reports.

Advantage Four: Not Much Customer Service

Most businesses will have to deal with customer service. Building and maintaining consumer relationships is difficult, and it’s a lot of work! Thankfully, that’s not the case for affiliate marketing.

In affiliate marketing, the marketer mainly focuses on sales and commissions. They can end consumer relationships at any time. However, it’s best to answer any questions a visitor might ask under a post.

Advantage Five: Passive Income

In most businesses, the employees only make money when they’re on the job. Affiliate marketing doesn’t have that problem. In fact, it’s the exact opposite!

If an affiliate marketer excels at running campaigns and promoting products, they earn a great benefit based on their performance. All it takes is hard work, persistence, and practice.

In affiliate marketing, marketers can make their income even when asleep or on vacation! Imagine waking up one morning and learning how much money’s been made overnight via the affiliate link. That’s amazing!

The best part about this is that affiliate marketers have sole proprietorship over their profit. That means they don’t have to share with anyone else; they get to keep the money to themselves!


Affiliate marketing has many advantages, but there are also disadvantages marketers should keep in mind.

Disadvantage One: No Control

If someone started their own business, they’d completely control what happens. That’s not the case with affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketers don’t own any affiliate marketing program; they’re just a part of it. That means they depend on a retail business and have to follow their regulations.

They also have to wait for the client to adjust new rates and make changes. There’s not much the affiliate marketer can do other than communicate with the client.

There’s also not much control over competition. It’s easy and free to start affiliate marketing, but that means anyone can start and win the market share. Professional programs offer some stiff competition, which can impact the business of anyone starting out.

Disadvantage Two: No Consumer Base

Once a visitor goes to a client’s website via an affiliate marketer’s link, it becomes a referral program. Next time, that visitor may visit the client’s store without the affiliate link. That’s how many affiliate programs work.

Building and maintaining relationships with consumers is challenging, and the lack of a consumer base doesn’t help matters. Affiliate marketers can’t establish databases of loyal consumers or make them repeat ones. The only things they can do are attract new ones and refer them to the client.

Some SaaS programs will provide marketers with recurring licenses that earn commissions if a consumer stays with the company, but those programs are limited. For example, thanks to lifetime cookies that NutriProfits program gives, affiliates earn even on the repetitive sales of customers. 

Disadvantage Three: Unguaranteed Income

It’s terrific to make a passive income while sleeping or on vacation, but that income isn’t always guaranteed. In fact, it becomes a double-edged sword based on performance.

Most jobs have guaranteed incomes, but affiliate marketing doesn’t have that benefit. If a marketer’s performance decreases, it can offer benefits without any income. That’s the trouble with affiliate programs.

That’s why affiliate marketers must work consistently to maximize their growth and profitability if they want any income. Even with that in consideration, marketers still might not know how much they’ll make every month.

Disadvantage Four: Not Suitable for Everyone

Working on a flexible schedule with a passive income may sound ideal, but it’s not for everyone. That’s what affiliate marketing is for a lot of people.

For starters, affiliate marketers primarily work in solitude without talking to anyone or moving anywhere for unlimited hours. Imagine how lonely and unhealthy that can be for the average person.

That much solitude and lack of movement can worsen mental health issues for some people. One way to ease this problem is by renting out a co-working space and working with other affiliate marketers.

Affiliate marketing can also fall under spam marketing since some marketers do that. Those that follow any shadow technique can limit their growth chances and jeopardize their reputations. Affiliate programs will also end deals with those that take part in spam marketing or any shadow techniques.


When starting something, it’s best to see its advantages and disadvantages. That’s true for everything, especially affiliate marketing. Is affiliate marketing a good choice for you? Well, that depends. Affiliate marketing has many advantages, but it also has some disadvantages you might want to consider.

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