Partnering with affiliates is one of the best ways to scale your business to the next level. Affiliates are content creators or bloggers who earn passive income by promoting your brand on their channels (blog posts, videos, social, newsletters, and more).

This channel helps you gain exposure among new, relevant audiences, warm leads, and new customers – at a lower cost than most other digital marketing channels like paid ads.

What is affiliate software?

Affiliate software (also called affiliate marketing software, affiliate management software, or affiliate tracking software) is a marketing tool used to start an affiliate program, then maintain, promote, and track it (so you’ll know if you’re reaching your goals).

The right tool makes it easy to communicate with your affiliates, automate manual tasks like reward fulfillment, and provide a great experience with a dedicated affiliate portal and reminder emails. It helps you automate, streamline, and centralize the end-to-end operations, so you can focus on building strong relationships and finding best-fit affiliates for your business. 

Some software can also help you find affiliate (affiliate networks), but there are some downsides to this approach that you can read about further down in this post. 

In short: With the help of affiliate marketing software, your program will be professional, efficient, and instantly more appealing. 

Looking to manage brand ambassadors instead of affiliates? Check out our list of the top brand ambassador software options.

What are the top 10 affiliate marketing software?

1. Referral Rock

Referral Rock is our software, and this review was written with as much of our unbiased opinion as possible.

Best for: Small and medium-sized businesses that want to build strong relationships with affiliates. It’s especially awesome for businesses that have multi-step sales processes and use a CRM (e.g. service-based or subscription companies). 

Referral Rock helps you manage, track, and pay affiliates efficiently, so you can generate more sales and grow your business.

It has the flexibility to manage all types of affiliate and partner programs, including influencer marketing programs (where you track influencers as affiliates) and customer referral programs. 

Plus, the robust, user-friendly platform automates every step of the affiliate marketing process, allowing both online and offline businesses to scale and measure the success of partnership programs and automate reward payouts with advanced fraud protection. Affiliates have a dedicated portal/dashboard, where they can see the status of their referrals and payouts. 

Affiliate marketing software - Referral Rock

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Fast and easy setup with top-rated onboarding services 
  • Integrates seamlessly with your CRM or ecommerce system
  • Advanced reward rules and automated payouts (cash, gift cards, and more)
  • Dedicated portal for affiliates to track referrals and rewards
  • Robust reporting to help you measure affiliate activity and program ROI
  • E-commerce businesses wanting a very simple affiliate program software will find a better fit elsewhere
  • You have to find your own affiliates (this is not an affiliate network) 

Top features:

  • Customize the affiliate experience: Once you determine the affiliates or other partners you want to enroll, you can easily create and personalize the program to your brand, including the types of rewards and reward structures you want (e.g. tiered, recurring, etc.). 
  • Focus on relationship-building: Go beyond the transaction with our relationship-focused software, which helps you build strong connections with affiliates through a dedicated member portal. 
  • Track and manage leads and affiliates: Track and capture every purchase made from each affiliate link or referral link, and quickly compensate each affiliate. Monitor campaigns and all key performance indicators, right on the platform’s admin dashboard.
  • Wealth of integrations: Referral Rock affiliate software seamlessly integrates with HubSpot, Salesforce, and plenty of other marketing and sales tools you’re already using. Referral Rock also offers a mobile app and API integration, and lets you automate workflows with Zapier. 
  • Exceptional support: Expert services to help onboard and tailor the program to your unique business needs.

Pricing: 

  • Professional: $175+/month (for businesses with sales reps and servicepeople)
  • Engage: $200+/month (for businesses with self-checkouts)
  • Enterprise plan also available

Free trial? Yes, 30-day free trial available. 

Capterra rating: 4.6 stars (82 reviews)

“We needed an easy-to-use affiliate management and payout software that integrated seamlessly with HubSpot. We’ve loved our experience so far and it’s been easy for our affiliates to use!” – Alex S., via Capterra 

Bottom line:

Referral Rock has a robust suite of affiliate management and tracking features, with expert services to guide you through every step of launching and managing your affiliate program. Referral Rock makes it easy for affiliates to track the status of their referrals, and you can set up automated email updates for ongoing program promotion. But don’t just take our word for it – our affiliate software has received stellar reviews across industries

 

2. LeadDyno

Best for: Ecommerce brands that want a simple solution for affiliate management. 

LeadDyno includes automated welcome emails, affiliate dashboards, and quick payment of commissions. With one-click sharing, your affiliates can easily share with their audiences. Affiliates can track their own progress in real-time on their personal dashboard.

leaddyno

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Lots of automation features
  • Customize your portal and affiliate payments
  • Not suitable if you aren’t an ecommerce brand

Top features:

  • Immediately track visitors, leads, and sales that come from affiliates with the user interface. Track affiliate marketing via links, coupon codes, or custom affiliate websites.
  • Custom affiliate portal, including mobile app access for affiliates, with shareable branded content and access to their sales and commissions.
  • Customize affiliate payments, including for multi-level marketing structures. Pay affiliates in bulk and set different commission tiers for different affiliates.

Pricing:$49-$749/month; enterprise plan also available

Free trial? Yes, 30-day free trial available. 

Capterra rating: 4.3 stars (126 reviews)

Bottom line:

LeadDyno is a simple affiliate software solution. It’s a good choice if you’re an ecommerce business that wants a simpler software. But it won’t work as well for SaaS or B2B businesses with multi-step sales processes.

 

3. UpPromote

Best for: Ecommerce businesses running on Shopify.

UpPromote is one of the top recommended affiliate apps on the Shopify App Store, with more than 60K users globally. This all-in-one solution allows you to build and manage your marketing campaign easily. UpPromote is suitable for all business sizes, and implements customization upon request for Enterprise customers.

 

uppromote

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Shopify expertise with a strong reputation
  • Free and paid plans available
  • Probably won’t work if you’re not a Shopify-based site
  • Can’t integrate a CRM 

Top features:

  • Easy setup and onboarding: Quick onboarding process and guideline systems and automated functions can help to save time, such as auto-generated affiliate links, quick coupons, and auto approval of affiliates and their leads.
  • Build and manage affiliate campaigns: Create unlimited affiliate programs with different commission offers. Track all referral orders and affiliate performance automatically.
  • Support to grow your affiliate team: Free listing on UpPromote Marketplace. Furthermore, the customer referral feature allows customers to refer your products without joining affiliate programs.

Pricing: $25-$200/ month 

Free trial? Yes

Capterra rating: 4.7 stars (76 reviews)

Bottom line:

Reviewers say UpPromote is a great tool for growth and sales. However, it’s also mentioned that the interface can be a bit complex. And it won’t be a good choice if you don’t run your business on Shopify. 

 

4. AffiliateWP

Best for: Ecommerce businesses running on WordPress and/or WooCommerce.

AffiliateWP is specifically designed for retailers with WordPress and WooCommerce sites, looking for a”plug and play” solution. It’s an advanced feature-packed WordPress plugin that seamlessly integrates with your WordPress or WooCommerce site, helping you track your affiliates and referrals with ease.

affiliatewp

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Strong expertise in the WordPress and WooCommerce space
  • Easy to set up and use (plugin)
  • Not suitable if you don’t have a WordPress or WooCommerce site

Top features:

  • Because it’s a plugin, downloading and activating AffiliateWP on your WordPress backend is all it takes to complete the setup process. 
  • Offers easy payment solutions via direct payouts to bank accounts or debit cards for your affiliates.
  • Provides a dedicated affiliate area for your affiliates to track their performance, view earnings, retrieve their referral URL, find creatives, and more.

Pricing:$149-$299/year

Free trial? No

Capterra rating: 4.6 stars (110 reviews)

Bottom line:

AffiliateWP boasts several detailed affiliate tracking and affiliate management features built especially for WordPress and WooCommerce. But if you’re using another ecommerce platform (like Shopify or BigCommerce), AffiliateWP isn’t the right option for you. 

 

5. TUNE

Best for: Medium-sized to large businesses with some experience managing affiliates.

TUNE was one of the first cloud-based SaaS platforms developed to support affiliate marketing early in 2009. Over the years, the software has developed into a full-fledged partner marketing solution, servicing the likes of Personal Capital, Groupon, Shopify, and Zillow, among many others. 

tune homepage image

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Lots of customization options
  • Plenty of data reporting features
  • Most experience in the affiliate space
  • Can be tough for beginners to figure out
  • Other affiliate software offers similar features at a lower price

Top features:

  • It can be integrated with any partner across any digital channel, whether that’s app, web, mobile, or desktop. This allows you to centralize all your marketing efforts. 
  • Extract more meaningful information from the data optimization functionality. Measure cross-channel applications with cookieless postback tracking, deep dive with real-time reporting, and more. 
  • Create your own functions using TUNE’s API. This two-way API gives you access to over 650 end-points.

Pricing: $599 – $1500/month; custom plans also available

Free trial? No

Capterra rating: 4.6 stars (63 reviews)

Bottom line:

TUNE is one of the most popular affiliate software choices, with a wealth of affiliate tracking and customization features to take advantage of. However, some reviewers say the learning curve is steep when you’re first starting out with TUNE, so things may be rough for beginners. Plus, plans are pricey, relative to the features offered. 

 

6. Post Affiliate Pro

Best for: Medium-sized to larger businesses in the ecommerce and digital services categories.

Post Affiliate Pro is an established affiliate software, having been around since 2004. The platform allows you to manage multiple affiliate programs, track and measure affiliate marketing performance, assign commissions, and issue payouts on a single platform. 

post affiliate pro

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Integrates with all the popular CMS and ecommerce platforms
  • Very customizable
  • Often difficult to figure out how to use
  • Tracking and engagement tools aren’t always reliable

Top features:

  • An intuitive dashboard makes it easy to work with the platform. 
  • Offers integration with over 200 CMS and payment gateways including 2Checkout, Authorize.net, PayPal, Stripe, Wix, and WordPress.
  • Exceptionally rated customer service available 24/7, all year long.

Pricing: $129-$649/month

Free trial? Yes

Capterra rating: 4.6 stars (605 reviews)

Bottom line:

Post Affiliate Pro has lots of integrations, so there’s a good chance it will fit well with your existing marketing mix. It also offers lots of flexibility in design, promotional options, and affiliate compensation. But some reviewers have said it can be confusing and shaky, and support also gets mixed reviews. 

 

7. Affise

Best for: Larger businesses in the gaming, travel, and tech industries.

Affise offers two distinct affiliate management solutions: Affise Performance for performance marketing and Affise Reach to recruit new influencers and partners for your affiliate program. The ecosystem is designed to reduce marketing efforts while driving revenue.

Affise also ensures transparency and reliability on user data with its  ePrivacyseal and SOC 2 Type II certification.

Affise affiliate software

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Commitment to security and privacy
  • Advanced tracking
  • Robust data reporting
  • Can be buggy

Top features:

  • Create customized data overviews using advanced filtering and visualization options to streamline your marketing efforts. 
  • Save time and money with automated anti-fraud tools and easy integration with your existing tech stack using Affise’s API.
  • Advanced tracking technology:  track C2S (client-to-server), S2S (server-to-server), promo codes (coupons), clicks, impressions, conversions, various types of attributions, and more.

Pricing: $500-$1500+/month; custom and commission-based plans also available

Free trial? No

Capterra rating: 4.6 stars (84 reviews)

Bottom line:

Reviewers say Affise is easy to use, but it can be pricey and several commenters have reported errors and bugs that affect the experience. If you’re looking to build other types of partnerships (beyond just affiliate partnerships), you’ll likely want to choose another software. 

 

8. Circlewise

Best for: Businesses okay with forfeiting control to an affiliate network, but that want flexibility to scale their spending.

Circlewise has experience in developing more than 200 partner programs in over 10 European countries to date. According to its website, the company has tracked over 600 million events and boasts over 10,000 publishers to choose from. Circlewise also offers unique add-ons not available elsewhere in its partnership hub.

circlewise

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Reporting features beyond what networks typically offer
  • Operates like an affiliate network
  • Not transparent about pricing (likely expensive)

Top features:

  • Customizable platform enables users to match the software to the brand colors and design.
  • Self-service dashboard offers the ability to create, edit, and pause offers at any time supporting the ability to instantly adapt to market requirements. 
  • Get accurate performance analysis reports that track activities across all affiliate channels in use.

Pricing: Not listed. 

Free trial? No

Capterra rating: 4.8 stars (49 reviews)

Bottom line:

Circlewise operates as a marketplace – very similar to an affiliate network. It’s easy to find affiliates using the platform. However, the platform owns these affiliates (your business doesn’t have full control). Plus, affiliates can easily compare your program to competitors’ programs, so it can be hard to recruit and engage with affiliates. We have heard that you can scale your spend up or down with every month, though, so that’s intriguing. 

 

9. Scaleo

Best for: Medium-sized to large businesses in the ecommerce, finance, crypto, and gaming spaces. There’s also an affiliate network product for agencies or marketplaces. 

Scaleo offers a simple and easy affiliate management solution to track, analyze, and optimize your affiliate business. The solution can be applied effectively for affiliate networks as well as advertisers and media buyers. Scaleo’s usability is enhanced by its AI-based back-end and interface.

scaleo

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Most AI-optimized software on this list
  • Anti-fraud features
  • Easy to use
  • Based on their website, we aren’t quite sure how the AI comes into play

Top features:

  • Availability of real-time data and instant reporting backed by over 30 different data breakdowns and over 50 data points. 
  • Inbuilt Anti-Fraud Logic eliminates fraudulent traffic from affiliate campaigns.
  • Fully customizable white-label affiliate software solution.

Pricing: There’s separate pricing for Affiliate Network ($500-$1200) vs. Affiliate Management ($1400-$2400)

Free trial? Yes, a 14-day free trial is available 

Capterra rating: 4.8 stars (31 reviews)

Bottom line:

While the product is robust, the pricing is confusing (and expensive) — it seems best suited for partner marketing and for businesses that want to build their own dashboards. 

 

10. Tapfiliate

Best for: Ecommerce and SaaS brands looking for simple affiliate tracking.

Tapfiliate’s cloud-based affiliate tracking software enables you to create, track, and optimize your own affiliate programs. Create a program quickly, then sit back and watch as your affiliates promote you. The software also allows you to customize the reward structure for your affiliates.

tapfiliate

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Easy to set up
  • Wealth of integrations
  • Plenty of customization features, especially with rewards structures
  • Inexpensive
  • Customer support may be limited

Top features:

  • Onboard affiliates with a custom, personal dashboard, and give them promotional materials including professional-looking links and codes, branded affiliate pages, banners, and social media post templates.
  • Integrate with Shopify, Woocommerce, WordPress and more.
  • Flexible rewards, including percentage commission, fixed cash, one-off, recurring, and lifetime commissions. Set performance-based bonuses or create reward tiers to motivate affiliates.

Pricing: $89-$149/month; custom enterprise plan also available

Free trial? Yes, a 14-day free trial is available 

Capterra rating: 4.5 stars (65 reviews)

Bottom line:

Tapfiliate appears to offer a good suite of customization and affiliate tracking features. We couldn’t find much in the way of customer support, though, besides the portal of self-service docs. Some reviewers also note that you can’t pay affiliates from the platform, so that’s another drawback.

 

11. PartnerStack

Best for: Enterprise-level companies in the B2B and SaaS spaces (that are okay with forfeiting control to an affiliate network)

PartnerStack offers a platform built to handle every part of managing and affilates, with automated onboarding, tracking, goal-setting, and more. Plus, affiliates get paid automatically through their Stripe or PayPal accounts.

partnerstack

Advantages Disadvantages
  • White-label solution
  • Wealth of integrations
  • Not transparent about pricing (likely expensive)
  • Functions like an affiliate network

Top features:

  • Connect PartnerStack to your CRM and other tools with a wealth of integrations
  • Find qualified agencies and affiliates via the PartnerStack Marketplace
  • Payment processing is handled directly through PartnerStack, and affiliates can get paid through Stripe or PayPal, so you don’t need to worry about compliance and manual payouts

Pricing: Not listed

Free trial? No

Capterra rating: 4.8 stars (88 reviews)

Bottom line:

PartnerStack mainly focuses on serving B2B and SaaS customers; if you’re B2C, it may not work well for you. Also, the platform is run as an affiliate network, meaning that PartnerStack owns your affiliates. This also means affiliates can compare your program with competing programs at a glance, making it more difficult to recruit and build strong relationships with affiliates.

Affiliate software FAQ

Wondering about the role of affiliate software in affiliate management? Curious why software is a better choice than an affiliate network? Read on! 

What does affiliate software do?

This type of marketing software allows you to:

  • Run an affiliate marketing program that’s fully owned by your business, without paying additional fees to an existing affiliate network.
  • Take advantage of a tracking solution that logs all affiliate sales and commissions for you, giving you 360-degree visibility. Plus, as you own all your affiliate data, you are equipped to make informed decisions.
  • Automatically award affiliate commissions when your affiliate partners earn them, keeping them happy.
  • Easily communicate with and build strong relationships with your affiliates.
  • Set up portals for affiliate training and asset distribution.

Why shouldn’t you use an existing network to manage affiliates?

You may be wondering whether you should choose one of the affiliate software programs above, or whether you should outsource your program to an existing affiliate network instead.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at having to choose between using an existing network and building your own affiliate program with software.

With all the work involved in affiliate management, an existing affiliate network may seem attractive, because the network finds affiliates for you and handles all parts of the affiliate management process. 

But we suggest you create your own affiliate network with affiliate management software, because using an existing network can have several disadvantages:

  • Existing networks don’t support the building of strong relationships between affiliates and your company. Instead, they manage affiliates for many companies at once – and it works to their advantage when affiliates divide their time between brands. So, an affiliate network won’t be invested in helping your brand build close relationships with affiliates.
  • Existing networks don’t have an incentive to engage affiliates and motivate them to make more sales for your company. Rather, they earn more money when affiliates make sales for multiple companies. In this scenario, you become just one of several competitors trying to stay afloat within the same network.
  • Recruiting quality affiliates can be costly. Often, the top affiliates in a network will go to the companies that can afford to pay the highest commissions. After all, networks are an affiliate’s market, not a brand’s market. This can hinder your efforts in building your brand and creating a large, loyal customer base, especially if you’re a small business or startup.
  • You won’t be able to communicate with affiliates, as the networks own all communications with affiliates. Again, this points to a pitfall as far as relationships go. You won’t have the benefit of leveraging relationships to create new sales opportunities or build additional avenues of growth.
  • You won’t own affiliate data. Since the network owns all affiliate data, you won’t be able to make the most informed decisions on how to manage your affiliate program.
  • You’ll end up paying extra fees to the network – often up to 30% of affiliate sales. That’s in addition to the commissions you pay affiliates. You can completely eliminate this cost when you create an affiliate program exclusively for your business.

Ultimately, it’s better to build and manage your own affiliate network – making use of affiliate software – rather than going with existing affiliate networks. Affiliate software lets you communicate smoothly and nurture close relationships with your affiliates. It also streamlines the entire program from start to finish, including automation, affiliate tracking, and rewards. 

Review affiliate management platforms carefully. Some of them, like Partnerize and Circlewise, function too similarly to affiliate networks. Your business will likely need to sacrifice control of your data and relationships if you choose a network-like platform.

How do I choose the best affiliate management software?

We’ve established that affiliate software is the best choice for running your affiliate marketing program, but how can you determine which provider is the best fit for your needs? Consider the following:

  • Does the software integrate well with your CRM and other software in your existing tech stack?
  • Does the software let you fully customize your affiliate program, including your commission structure, branding, portal, and how you communicate with affiliates?
  • What metrics does the software track, to give you a detailed view of how the program performs?
  • Does the software include automated engagement tools to help keep affiliates motivated?
  • What other tasks does the affiliate software automate?
  • How user-friendly is the software? Can you set up a program in days, without the need for complicated coding?
  • Is there extensive customer support available?

How do I build strong relationships with affiliates?

Affiliate software can do the tracking for you and automate many aspects of affiliate program management. Which means choosing the best affiliate software is fundamental to creating a great program.

But building strong relationships with affiliates is another key to affiliate management and a key part of successful marketing strategies – and that takes human connection and effort.

Follow these tips for supporting your affiliates and nurturing healthy connections.

  • Have affiliates sign an affiliate marketing agreement that details their responsibilities, commission rate, and terms of participation. 
    • This lays out exactly what to expect and protects your brand from fraud as well as potential legal complications.
  • Thoroughly train new affiliates on how best to promote your brand.
    • Provide language and messaging guides that encourage ideal customers to convert
    • Showcase what sets your brand apart from competitors
    • Discuss your brand’s unique value
    • Clarify what your affiliates can and can’t say about your brand
  • Set up regular group sessions – or one-on-ones – with your affiliates to check in and build relationships.
    • Hold regular affiliate webinars or set up an exclusive online community to update affiliates, answer questions, provide additional training, and build a strong sense of community among your affiliates.
  • Make sure affiliates always have a way to reach you with questions/concerns, whether that’s via email, phone, or a feedback form.
    • You want to be open and available to your affiliates. While you don’t have to be on call 24/7, tell them how quickly you will respond so affiliates have clear expectations. 
  • Give affiliates easy access to brand assets and promotional materials in an easy-to-find location inside your affiliate dashboard or portal.
    • If your affiliates find the overall experience easy, they’re more likely to follow through with promotions.
  • Think beyond just offering discounts for affiliates to share. Focus on supporting affiliates to create quality content that speaks to your customer’s needs.
  • Set and track sales goals for your affiliate program, including conversion rate goals. You want to know how well affiliates are doing and what you can do to improve affiliate performance.
  • Segment your affiliates.
    • Know which affiliates are top-performing and could be rewarded with extra perks.
    • Identify the ones who aren’t performing as you expect and could benefit from extra training.
  • Show affiliates they are valued, so they are motivated to stay active in your program.
    • They’re partners who are bringing value to your company. So, make sure they feel appreciated in return.

Streamline affiliate management to scale your business

Affiliate software is fast becoming a necessity for online businesses serious about scaling. Software can help you take much of the guesswork out of affiliate management and make planning, reporting, and affiliate tracking seamless.

To set the right foundation, you’ll need to select the right affiliate marketing platform before you start your program. Referral Rock is a great option because it’s flexible, connects seamlessly to your existing tools, handles multiple incentive structures (e.g. tiered, recurring), and gives you advanced reporting on affiliate activity and ROI.

Check out this real-life case study, or learn more about how to run an affiliate program with Referral Rock!