Thinking of starting an affiliate program? One of the first steps is figuring out the right types of affiliates for your business. Some types of affiliates work well for only select businesses, while others are more adaptable and can work with a wide variety of partners. 

The best way to find the right affiliates for your company is to educate yourself on the different types of affiliates out there. This will assist you in determining which affiliate partners will benefit your organization the most. 

Read on to learn more about the various types of affiliates out there and how they can help you grow your online business. 

What is an affiliate?

An affiliate is a content creator who promotes your company’s products through their blog, website, podcasts, social media accounts, or other online platforms. In exchange for advertising your company’s offerings, affiliates receive commissions for bringing traffic and sales to your business. 

An affiliate marketer will often give an overview of the product’s features on their online platform, and then they’ll place an affiliate link in their content that will lead to your website. When someone clicks on the affiliate link and buys a product, the affiliate earns a commission. This incentive is comparable to the commission earned by a salesperson. The main difference is that affiliates are independent – they are not employed by the businesses whose items they promote.

Choosing the right types of affiliates

There are many affiliate types out there, and often the right types for each business will depend on the industry and business goals. It is best to diversify and choose several types of affiliates. Your brand’s reach can be expanded by partnering with several affiliate types – concentrating on more than one affiliate type helps increase brand exposure. If you limit yourself to just one type of affiliate, you risk alienating potential customers who never visit that specific kind of website.

Some tips that should help you find affiliates include: 

  • They should have an audience similar to yours and that would be interested in what you have to offer
  • They should have high levels of audience engagement (which shows their audience trusts them)
  • They should be someone you can communicate and work with directly, without having to go through a middleman
  • They should consistently create quality content
  • They should always act ethically (you want affiliates who reflect well on your company)

Popular types of affiliates

So, what are the different types of affiliates you can choose from? Here are 10 types you can choose from (and one type to avoid). 

1. The comparison site affiliate

The purpose of shopping comparison websites is to, well, compare. Warwick Economics found that 85% of online shoppers used comparison websites to obtain the best price before deciding on a product or vendor. 

Comparison site affiliates create sites that compare offerings from various vendors and evaluate them based on pricing and quality. This ensures that customers get the best product for their needs at a reasonable price. The right comparison sites can bring in a lot of traffic, because people want to look at different products side by side.

You can find many affiliate links on popular shopping comparison sites like (owned by eBay), TheWirecutter, and GearPatrol. You will benefit from honest evaluations of your product alongside those of others, but these affiliates may also include links to your competitors’ products on their sites.

You can use a brand mention tool to find comparison site affiliates. 

comparison site affiliate

2. The review site affiliate

Review site affiliates review individual products and place affiliate links to those products in their content. In addition to driving sales, a review site affiliate can boost your brand’s credibility and visibility. If you choose this type of affiliate, you’ll get a page focused on reviewing a product of yours, written by someone who has built up an audience of trusted followers

Look for review site affiliates with keyword-rich URLs, information that is easy to read without too many distractions like pop-ups or widgets, and well-researched reviews geared towards readers’ needs. And keep in mind – you’ll need to send these types of affiliates free products for an honest review. After all, they can’t review what they haven’t tried. This affiliate type works well with all business types, as long as you find a review site in your niche. 

You can use a brand mention tool to find review site affiliates – or, manually search for the keyword [your niche] + “reviews,” then look for dedicated review sites in the results.

review site affiliate

3. The blogger affiliate

Bloggers can be considered a subset of content creators; however, many blogs focus on specific niches. These might be anything from evaluations of consumer products, to advice on parenting or budgeting, to a person’s favorite pastime. Even if the posts aren’t explicitly about your product, they’ll always find a way to work in a link or mention of it where it’s relevant, which will help boost your engagement. They may also choose to write a detailed evaluation of your product, but unlike review affiliates, their site isn’t primarily dedicated to reviews.

Bloggers may choose to utilize affiliate banners or embed affiliate links throughout their posts to generate revenue. Keep in mind, though, that not all blogs are created equal. To reach your target market, you need to find bloggers who write about topics related to your products. 

You can use a brand mention tool to find blog affiliates – or, manually search for the keyword [your niche] + “blog.”

blogger affiliate


4. The content site affiliate

“Content sites” is a blanket term that includes news sites and other content sites with a lot of content published daily and with many writers. In other words, it’s any website that publishes large quantities of content for the consumption of others. User-generated content sites, like discussion forums, fit this description because they consist entirely of user-made posts. A great example is Buzzfeed, which uses affiliate links and places a disclaimer that these links have been included in the content.  

Keep in mind, though, that it could be more challenging for smaller businesses to use content affiliates because of the larger commissions they may require. They’re usually a better fit for larger brands.

You can use a brand mention tool to find content site affiliates. 

buzzfeed affiliate

5. The social media affiliate (influencer affiliate)

Influencer affiliates are probably the most popular types of affiliates out of the ones we’ve listed. They talk about, and post images of, your products on social media. And during their promotions, they’ll put the affiliate link in their content, bio, or both. 

While some social media affiliates have a large following, these affiliates don’t need a huge following to be effective. Ensure that the social media affiliate you choose has a reasonable following that would be interested in your product, that your products would be a good fit for their page, and that their followers interact with their content regularly. 

Search for social media affiliates by looking for creators who have tagged you, or who have used brand or industry hashtags.

pura vida jess

6. The video creator affiliate

Video creator affiliates talk about your products in their video content. Video is an excellent way to showcase your product or service, and many consumers look for video reviews of various items they want to purchase. This can be a good way to boost sales – SaaS businesses, B2B marketplaces, and e-commerce platforms can all benefit from video creator marketplaces as a showcase of their products.

These affiliates may dedicate an entire video to reviewing your product. Or, they may highlight you as a sponsor in the middle of a different video, and plug their affiliate link. 

Video creator affiliates can work with personalized landing pages, affiliate links, or coupon codes depending on your brand’s preference. Be prepared to offer these affiliates a discount – they usually offer discount codes tied to their affiliate links to encourage viewers to click the link and buy. 

To find these affiliates, search for relevant terms on video sites. 

video creator affiliate

7. The podcaster affiliate

Affiliate ads are prevalent in podcasts. So, podcasts are fantastic for connecting with people who could be interested in your offerings. Ads are typically read aloud by the host at the beginning of the podcast or at some point during the episode. These are beneficial for any brand, provided the podcaster has a sizable and relevant listener base.

They, like video creators, will likely ask for a promotional code to present to their followers (this is even more important given the audio format). In the podcast’s description, they’ll post a promo code and an affiliate link.

Use your knowledge of niche and industry podcasts to find these affiliates.

8. The customer-affiliate

Who better to market your product than a customer, since they already know and love products? If they are already promoting your offerings for free, then chances are they’ll be willing to amp up their marketing efforts for a commission, and become your customer-affiliate. 

However, not all customers will suffice, as they must be content creators to be reliable affiliates. They must have a website, social media account, or blog where they routinely post.

To find these affiliates, contact top customers who create and post content regularly. 

stuffed dragon influencer affiliate code

9. The email marketing affiliate

Email marketing affiliates place affiliate links in their email marketing newsletters and other relevant emails. They may be newsletter affiliates, or they may be using email to promote their other content (say, coupon websites, blogs, news websites, or niche vertical content). 

With email marketing, you can reach a highly targeted audience deeply interested in your offerings. However, ensure the affiliates aren’t spamming or acting unethically, as many spammers use email marketing. 

Reach out to email marketers you already subscribe to, and who market to an audience similar to yours.

10. The niche expert affiliate

A niche expert affiliate is an expert in the field your brand occupies. People are more inclined to buy through their affiliate links since their recommendations hold authority. If they recommend your products, their recommendation will be especially trusted and people will be more likely to purchase through their affiliate links. However, if these experts aren’t already your customers, it can be challenging to recruit them because their commission rates for their marketing efforts may be higher.

You can find a niche expert affiliate using a brand mention tool (and your industry knowledge).

affiliate blog dentist

Type to avoid: The network affiliate

Network affiliates are registered on existing affiliate networks. The network’s affiliate database is available to any brand that uses it. You can find affiliates to partner with through the network. But using a network has many more drawbacks than benefits. 

Why you shouldn’t use network affiliates

Some of the reasons why you shouldn’t use network affiliates include the following:

  • Networks take a percentage of your affiliate program revenue (up to 30% of sales produced via affiliate links).
  • If you can’t pay high commissions to your affiliates, you’ll have a harder time competing with other businesses on a network.
  • Because networks act as a middleman in affiliate partnerships, you do not have complete control over your interactions with affiliates.
  • You will not have complete access to the network affiliates’ data (the network owns their data).
  • Once you join the network, you’re limited to using affiliates that are already owned by the network.
Although you’ll have to do your own research to find affiliates, affiliate software allows you more autonomy over your affiliate marketing program than a network.

Referral Rock affiliate software gives you full control of your program and affiliate relationships.

Now you understand the various types of affiliates

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it can serve as a jumping-off point for your exploration of the many different types of affiliate programs available. Some of these affiliates appeal to specific demographics. Others have access to a wider demographic you can’t reach with your current digital marketing methods. Choosing the right affiliates will be easy if you know your target audience. Having multiple avenues open to you is crucial for expanding your market share and customer base. Now that you have this list, try out different affiliate types to see which ones yield the best results for your company.