ShareASale Review: In-Depth
ShareASale is a fast, efficient, and accurate affiliate marketing network. This type of business strategy has been going strong and will continue beyond 2020. While there are other types of networks out there, this one has a reputation for transparent practices and policies. In affiliate marketing, integrity is crucial.
ShareASale serves affiliates and merchants. The latter can track their sales figures through the platform. Affiliates use ShareASale to find products to promote. They can find sellers to work with and begin earning commission for referrals and sales. This review breaks down the details and how to truly benefit from the service.
ShareASale Key Features
The company offers free sign-up and access to thousands of brands. It provides two marketing models for generating earnings: pay per lead and pay per sale.
- Audience segmentation/tags
- Clickstream attribution
- Custom link creation
- Multi-site accounts
- Seller/partner API
- Real-time tracking
- WordPress integration
ShareASale Review: Background Information
Brian Littleton founded the company in 2000. He built it on a firm foundation of advertising and marketing. Today, ShareASale is one of the largest affiliate networks in the United States. It works with over 700,000 affiliates, granting them access to 4,800 merchants. Partners range in size and niche, with a mix of big-name brands and smaller sellers.
- Recipient of the 2006 AFP Fair Practice Award and 2007 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award
- Acquired by Awin, a global affiliate network, in June 2017 to provide more international opportunities
- Privately held in Chicago, Illinois
Features in Detail
Not all platforms have the same transparency as ShareASale. Along with dedicated customer support and simplified pricing, the company offers great features. Here is a closer look at how to use the service and what to expect.
Intro to ShareASale
It’s easy to get started, as the application process is straightforward. The team reviews and approves people within a couple of days. Upon approval, individuals may provide their business email address and payment details.
Acceptable methods include:
- Credit card
- Direct deposit
Next, it’s time to look for a marketing partner. The site has a convenient search tool so clients can filter sellers by keyword or niche. They can also differentiate based on sales commission models.
Participating merchants can offer different marketing models:
- Pay Per Lead (CPL)
- Pay Per Sale (CPS)
Registration & Set-Up
The application and set-up process is quite simple. In just a few steps, individuals can be on their way to earning more passive income.
- Get approved
- Choose a merchant
- Access and share their referral links
- Optimize the website for ShareASale
Registration requires a username and password. Clients must also provide their country location. Then, they can add their primary affiliate website. The support team will review this site to make sure it’s live. Finally, they enter their contact details and payment info. A partner’s blog may not contain any adult content or links to such sites.
When that initial set-up is over, the administrative team will review and verify the information. After approval, clients can start looking for a merchant. When they find a good match, they can get those referral links and banners. They’ll copy the links and insert them into their site’s content.
ShareASale is popular among WordPress users, thanks to its seamless integration. To make the most of this opportunity, affiliates must optimize their websites.
- The most successful marketers rely on a reputable hosting service. This ensures they’re always using the latest version of WordPress.
- Opt for a simple yet descriptive domain name. Try to include a relevant keyword in the URL, so it’s clear what the page is about.
- Use a WP theme that’s fresh and represents the specific niche.
- Choose merchants that will resonate with readers and visitors. For instance, a fashion blog can provide links to makeup and clothing brands.
Finding the Right Merchants
After they sign up, clients need to find the perfect merchants to work with. The database includes 4,800 sellers, so there is an option for every niche and audience.
To get started, individuals log in to ShareASale’s affiliate portal. There, they can go to the Merchants tab. Here is where they’ll find the search filter.
There are several categories, so people can find just the right affiliate program:
- 7-day EPC
- 30-day EPC
- Sale Commission
- Lead Commission
- Hit/Click Commission
- Start Date
- Cookie Length
- Power Rank
- Joined Status
There is also an advanced filtering tool called ‘Modify Search.’ Clients can use this to sort by program type, features, metrics, and more. Some popular parameters include:
- EPC Greater Than
- Commission Rate Greater Than
- Two-tier Program
These tools allow anyone to find the program and commission they want.
Customers can apply to different programs at one time. Rather than signup over and over, they list the sites in order of preference and apply once.
No Shortage of Brands to Promote
Affiliate marketing is something that spans industries. So, it makes sense that ShareASale offers nearly 5,000 merchants to work with. Many influencers appreciate that there are smaller brands available, too. These are valuable partners that other big networks might overlook.
This is also good news for bloggers because small and medium businesses are open to more partnerships. They’ll pay good money to get in front of more consumers. Even though the platform focuses on SMBs, it does work with some large-scale companies. These include Namecheap, The Princeton Review, and Qatar Airways.
Again, the search function is a great resource for finding a suitable brand. Merchants span all kinds of industries, such as cars, apparel, weddings, tech, and dozens more. The efficiency of the search tool allows individuals to zero in on the perfect match.
Setting Up Affiliate Links
Once they have the perfect partner, clients can start creating affiliate links. The interface makes this super easy. At the top of the dashboard, there is a links tab. Users click this and go to ‘Get a Link/Banner.’ From here, they can review the content options and choose the most suitable one.
- Bookmarklet: This allows users to grab links while they’re surfing the Web
- Custom Link: Platform-specific builder for short links
- Make-A-Page: Good for creating product galleries
- Product Showcase: Crafts banners for partner products
It’s easy to see that this goes beyond the boring in-text link. All that’s left to do is select a preferred option and copy the HTML code.
Proper payment is one of the biggest worries for influencers. Fortunately, this company has a solid reputation for reliable pay and timeframes.
ShareASale affiliates receive their earnings on the 20th of each month. The amount goes directly into the person’s bank account. For international clients, Payoneer and checks are also available.
The type of payment depends on the commission format the person signed up for with the merchant. There are two options: pay per lead and pay per sale.
If the partner fails to pay up, or the payment terms change, the sale may be void. In that case, ShareASale recovers the commission sale cost as long as the advertiser already credited the account.
Last but not least, the network offers seller and affiliate reporting. The dashboard provides a general overview of each link’s performance. The numbers show up in real-time, making it easier to see clicks at the moment.
Customized reports are also available. The Clickstream feature allows customers to view the steps each visitor took to find a specific link. It’s a great way to streamline the marketing funnel.
ShareASale Plans & Pricing
The pricing structure is a bit different. Individuals must pay a one-time access fee of $550. They don’t pay this until they get approved and fully register. ShareASale requires everyone to keep a minimum deposit of $100 at all times. So, the upfront payment is $650. As for recurring fees, there are only two, as described below.
20% Transaction Fee
Affiliates pay this fee only when they gain a sale or lead. The price varies depending on their merchant’s payout rate. Keep in mind that they can choose between CPL and CPS. So, different partners may earn different incomes for similar work. ShareASale will take 20% of the commission.
- Depend on the advertiser’s agreed commission rate
- Only occurs after a sale/lead
- Similar fees as other networks
- It slows down affiliate earnings
- The rate is at the mercy of the client, not the influencer
$35 Monthly Minimum
The second recurring fee is at $35 monthly minimum. If a partner doesn’t generate at least $35 within a month, clients have to pay this out of pocket. The company charges the difference for accounts that do make at least this amount. According to the website, this is a “grace period.” Also, new merchants get a longer grace period because they’re just starting.
- Fairly easy to meet this threshold
- Grace period for new partners
- Takes effect 30 days after activation
- It’s another hoop to jump through to get paid
- Some say this amount is too much
Recurring Fees Comparison Table
The fees are straightforward, and the company is honest about them. Anyone can find this information on the website, whether they sign up or not.
|Transaction Fee||Monthly Minimum|
|Price||20% of the payout rate||$35|
|Grace Period?||Yes, it only occurs when there’s a sale||Yes, no fees for the first 30 days|
Terms & Conditions
To find out about the service’s refund policy, visitors must go to Awin’s website. The terms and conditions outline invoicing and payment procedures. In some cases, individuals may get sign-up deposit refunds with their first commission payment. The company will pay commissions related to each sale or lead, as well as any bonuses in the agreement. The policy isn’t clear about when this is applicable.
Below are some ways that customers can get in touch with the support team.
Team members are available over the phone Monday through Friday. Regular business hours are 9 AM to 5:30 PM Central Time. The phone number is 312-321-0487. International customers will have to reach out in another way.
The company’s website does not have an online chat feature. At the bottom of the homepage, there are widgets to its social media channels. The business has accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. All these profiles are active and up to date. People might find it convenient to reach out in this way.
The company website features a blog that has resources and tips. These guides can help advertisers and publishers. The affiliate content includes new marketing opportunities and blogging tips. Merchants can find information and tutorials on all kinds of topics.
Quality of Service
The business has 3 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot. The rating is based on 7 reviews, so it’s not the most reliable. Most of the complaints focus on issues related to earning income. There are lots of disgruntled reviewers who found growth to be slow. More positive feedback emphasizes the even playing field between advertisers and publishers. The company is in the Better Business Bureau’s database, but it’s not accredited. It has an A+ rating but no reviews.
Now it’s time to see which type of person or group would benefit most from this system. Check out different customer types below to see who it’s best for.
The majority of the service’s merchants are small brands. This demographic is a good fit because there are so many affiliates available. A lesser-known business may have trouble getting the word out about its products. Belonging to a large network is just what they need.
Small and mid-sized companies are a natural fit for ShareASale. A decent-sized brand may have more knowledge of their target audience. Yet, it might still struggle with contacting those people. A company like this one is a powerful way to bring in new prospects without breaking the bank.
Big-name brands are welcome on the platform, but there aren’t too many of them. Some of the larger corporations include Qatar Airways and Weebly. These types of businesses can be more discerning. They might prefer to contact influencers directly rather than find them in a network.
An independent influencer or freelance blogger should check out this provider. It’s a hub of activity and resources, both for beginners and seasoned experts. With some luck, they can strike a deal with a bigger brand and maximize their earnings.
ShareASale Pros & Cons
This company indeed has better reviews and ratings than many competitors. Yet, it isn’t the best option for everyone. Those who want to work with larger brands shouldn’t waste their time here. Also, international customers may have trouble securing payment. Another common issue is the notifications. Some affiliates have had trouble with merchants closing their programs without any notice.
On the plus side are the in-depth reporting and custom deep linking. Registration is simple, and there are countless advertisers to work with.
- Audience segmentation and tracking
- Better reputation than most platforms
- Custom link building
- Easy set-up
- Merchant search filters
- Number and variety of programs
- Real-time, custom reporting
- Best suited to American and Canadian clients
- Higher payment threshold than others
- The interface is clunky and messy
This business has its fair share of competitors. Check out the alternatives below to see if there’s a better match.
1. Avangate: A Gateway for Digital Software Companies
Avangate has a network of over 4,000 advertisers. It also has more than 50,000 partners in 180 countries. Its three primary products are 2Sell, 2Subscribe, and 2Monetize. Sign-up is free, and each package offers a wealth of features. This includes A/B testing, fraud protection, APIs, and shopping cart integration.
2. ClickBank: A Popular Publisher Marketplace
This global retailer and marketplace works with over 100,000 partners. Individuals go there to find top-performing products to promote. Brands can take advantage of the ClickBank platform, which makes 30,000 daily sales. It has a distinct tracking system and can pay commissions as high as 90%.
3. Commission Junction: Marketing, Ads, & More
CJ calls itself the most established affiliate program. It has been in this business for 20 years and works with major brands. A few examples are Lowe’s, Priceline, and J. Crew. The platform features cookieless tracking while still providing in-depth reports.
4. Refersion: Good Reputation, Simple Interface
Refersion also has a huge marketplace of advertisers. It sets influencers up for success with tools and dozens of integrations. A few examples include Shopify, Stripe, and custom data reports. Also, clients can set unique commission rates.
5. LosPollos: Small-Time Success
LosPollos is a smaller program based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Its network includes over 50,000 publishers and 1,000 advertisers. What makes it unique are the weekly payouts. There is also the Robopollo traffic optimization algorithm and smart link tools.
6. Rakuten Affiliate Network: Quick Solutions & Industry Insights
Rakuten is perhaps the most well-known option here. Its strongest feature is the rotating banner tool. Some other perks are mobile app tracking and auto-conversions. Publishers can work with tons of high-profile brands like Lilly Pulitzer and JetBlue. They can create curated product showcases to share right in the app.
ShareASale & Alternatives Comparison
Check out this side-by-side comparison of all seven programs. See each option’s area of focus, upfront costs, and standard features. There might be one that seems more appealing, depending on one’s niche.
20% of sale
35¢ per sale
|# of Merchants||4,800||4,000+||4,000||3,000||5,000||1,000+||1,000+|
|Marketing Model||CPL, CPS||CPL, CPS||CPA||EPC||CPS||CPL, CPS|
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does ShareASale Work?
It is an affiliate marketing network, so it brings in advertisers and influencers. Individuals can partner with a specific brand and promote their products on a blog, site, Facebook, or other social media.
There are over 4,800 vendors to work with, so it’s possible for anyone. The merchants can either pay per lead or per sale. An activation fee of $650 is required for affiliates. After that, they can start earning commissions. ShareASale takes 20% of that income.
Is ShareASale Free?
No, not for vendors. They must pay $650 upon signing up. The costs will cover the creation of their merchant account. As for influencers, they can sign up for the service for free. How much they earn will depend on which program and advertiser they choose.
Is ShareASale Safe?
Yes. The company has received several awards in the past for its safe and transparent practices. Unlike other businesses,
ShareASale is upfront about the costs involved. Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone will be successful with it. Influencers should take the time to find a suitable merchant and agreeable terms.
Do You Need A Website for ShareASale?
Yes, if someone wants to be an affiliate, they need a live website. It could be a blog or a WordPress page. The vendor has strict policies against adult content.
Partners can’t link or share to any such sites on their blogs or social media, like Facebook.
Promote & Earn More With Great Tools & Vendors
With two decades of experience and several industry awards, ShareASale is a safe bet. The big burden for influencers will be forking over the money for the activation fee. Once they get over that hump, they have access to various tools and resources.
The user dashboard looks old-fashioned, but it applies modern technology. Real-time reporting, multi-site accounts, and custom links are just a few examples. It’s worth checking out since sign-up is free.