biggest affiliate networks

What Is The Biggest Affiliate Network?

For those invested in affiliate marketing, many affiliate networks exist to connect to. (To give you an idea: wecantrack integrates with over 350 affiliate networks.) But who is the biggest out there?

To answer this question, we analyzed as much relevant data as we could find. Different approaches to the answer exist, which is why this article presents a diverse set of rankings and factors to get a clearer view of the market shares of some of the biggest affiliate networks.

Table of Contents

What Is An Affiliate Network?

An affiliate network is a platform that connects advertisers and affiliate marketers. It functions as the middle ground where retailers and entrepreneurs looking for people to advertise their stuff can find affiliates with the right following.

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Success in an affiliate network goes beyond its size, encompassing trust, transparency, and timely payouts. It's about fostering a community where affiliates and advertisers thrive together, empowered by cutting-edge technology and a commitment to excellence.

Sirio Kรผpper

Co-Founder @ wecantrack

Source: wecantrack

Biggest Affiliate Networks Based On Links

Looking at the share each network represents of the total number of publisher links worldwide, Awin is the biggest affiliate network, with over 30% of its links being to its network.*ย 

This is the top of the biggest affiliate networks based on their share of links:

Affiliate Network Market Share
ย 
  1. Awin (30.4%)
  2. CJ Affiliate (15.8%)
  3. Rakuten (7.4%)
  4. Tradetracker (4.0%)
  5. Impact (4.0%)
  6. Tradedoubler (4.0%)
  7. PartnerAds (3.7%)
  8. Admitad (2.3%)
  9. Rewardstyle (2.0%)
  10. Adtraction (1.7%)

It is furthermore interesting to note that this top ten together makes up for 75% of the total market.ย 

* This number is based on a 2021 research by Publisher Discovery. It needs to be noted that it regards browser based links to โ€œtraditionalโ€ affiliate activities. This means that in-app or social media affiliate activity was not taken into account.ย 

Biggest Affiliate Networks Based On Active Publisher Sites

A different picture emerges when looking at the percentage of active publisher sites. Based on the same data of the 2021 Publisher Discovery report, this would make for the following ten most extensive affiliate networks:

  1. CJ Affiliate (15.7%)
  2. Awin (10.2%)
  3. Rakuten (5.0%)
  4. Tradedoubler (4.3%)
  5. Impact (3.8%)
  6. Pepperjam (2.8%)
  7. Daisycon (2.5%)
  8. Tradetracker (2.0%)
  9. Accesstrade (1.9%)
  10. Rentracks (1.2%)
Affiliate Network Market Share

This approach would make CJ Affiliate the biggest affiliate network, with Awin taking a solid second place (partly due to their acquisition of Share A Sale, which boosted their market share in this category from 5.4% to their current 10.2%).

What About Amazon?

The observant readers have probably been wondering about the absence of one of the prominent affiliate networks in those rankings: Amazon.ย 

According to research conducted by Datanyze, the ranking would look more like this when this behemoth is included:

  1. Amazon Associates (48,13%)
  2. Rakuten Affiliate Network (7,69%)
  3. CJ Affiliate (7,68%)
  4. ShareASale (6,55%)
  5. Awin (5.88%)

Since the Amazon Associate commission cuts in July 2020, many affiliates have switched to or added different affiliate networks. This leads to another interesting statistic: the number of affiliate networks an average publisher utilizes. .

How Many Different Networks Do Publishers Use?

Another interesting statistic can be found in the 2016 Forrester report. According to this report, based on 142 major publishers, only 6% of publishers work with just one affiliate network. Most work with 3 networks, with one-fifth of the publishers working with 5 or more networks:

Number of Networks Used

The recent Amazon Associates commission cuts have likely made affiliates more cautious than ever about investing in different networks and spreading their revenues instead of heavily depending on one network.

What Is The Biggest Affiliate Network, And Will the Winner Take All?

The data from Datanyze suggests that Amazon Associates still dominates the market and is โ€“ by the sheer volume of participating domains โ€“ the biggest affiliate network. However, with the recent commission cuts in the Amazon network, publishers have flocked to different networks.

All the rankings have made clear that the market is dominated by a handful of affiliate networks, with Awin and CJ Affiliate vying for supremacy in the wake of Amazon Associates. The recent acquisitions by Awin have boosted their market share in all the rankings presented above.ย 

However, as the last statistic made clear, affiliates rarely choose just one network to rely on for their income. This suggests that whichever network wins the ongoing race to the top, the biggest affiliate network will always have competitors. It is very likely that the recent commission cuts at the Amazon Associates network have made affiliates more cautious than ever not to put all their eggs in one basket.ย 

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