ShareASale ® Affiliate Network – Full Review

  • Approximate Price:

 $550 one-time network access fee

+ $100 minimum deposit

+ %20 additional network fee on every affiliate commission (For every $1 that goes to your affiliates, you need to pay another $0.20 to the network).

ShareASale is a super popular and trustworthy affiliate network founded by Brian Littleton. This company has been in business for 15 years. ShareASale website is extremely useful if you are a merchant selling products online and looking to boost your sales and reach. On the other hand, since ShareASale is an affiliate network you can also sign up as an affiliate. This opens up a window of opportunity to entrepreneurs and marketers who are looking to make profit online by marketing different products and services via various channels such as websites and blogs.

This brings us to the question of what is an affiliate network? ShareASale in an affiliate network, which brings merchants and affiliates together and provides mutual profit opportunities. Merchants offer products up for sale and affiliates do their best to sell those products and earn commissions from each sale. This comes down to more sales and essentially free marketing for merchants and commission opportunities for affiliates who are often people active on social media, bloggers and website owners who do not have products of their own to sell.



So How Does it Work?


1. Merchants

ShareASale is a platform for retailers to come and build their affiliate programs on. When you visit the ShareASale website, you are going to notice two large buttons for login and/or signup actions. One is for merchants and the other one is for affiliates. Click on the blue “merchant login” or “I want to be one of these merchants” button if you are looking to become one of the merchants offering their products on their website.

When you sign up as a merchant, you unlock the access to the network of potential affiliates worldwide. These affiliates are ones who will form your sales force and you only pay them when it works out and sales start rolling in. This presents a good opportunity for retailers to make additional revenue. Once the affiliate program is up and running via ShareASale network, there is not much to do other than follow the statistics and track sales.

Here is the list of features available to merchants:

Real-time tracking. All of the tracking and statistics on the site are in real-time. This means that you know when each sale happens at the exact moment the customer makes a purchase. You can also follow commissions that are generated as well as traffic data in real-time so that you can immediately see clicks on banners or links and where the traffic is coming from.

Segmentation. There is an option to use tags in order to group and organize affiliates in various ways. This allows you to track trends of specific groups of affiliates more precisely and deliver higher quality targeted content. You can also setup commissions to be rule-based and to feature certain criteria and strain of actions to be taken in order for affiliate to earn a commission. Segmentation also allows you to create custom newsletters based on tags, make private coupons for each group, and send out bonuses to most successful groups of affiliates.

Clickstream attribution technology. This technology allows you in-depth tracking and setup of custom rules for earning a commission in order to inspire specific behavior. So for example, you can setup your program to award the commission exclusively to the affiliate who was the first one to bring the customer to your site even in case the same customer later on uses a different affiliate link/coupon code to visit your site and make a purchase.

Merchant API. This will be used by more advanced merchants. It allows for automated reporting data retrieval, updates, void/edit transactions actions and more. API is used for deeper integration and automating some actions such as showing a different banner themes depending on the season or auto voiding transactions on ShareASale which are not eligible for affiliate commission.

Welcome kit. Newly signed up merchants get access to step by step checklist and instructions on building their affiliate program.

Training webinars. Online training sessions in form of webinars are available to merchants who want to learn the basics, how to navigate the merchant interface as well as how to deal with advanced topics.

Programs diagnostics. This is a neat feature as it allows you to get professional help from the ShareASale client services team. They will go through your program using a 10 point check focusing on the most important parameters and performance metrics.

More Features:

  • All payments towards your affiliates will go through ShareASale and they write and process all the checks free of charge. This is very convenient as keeping track of all payable commissions affiliates earn can take a lot of time.

  • ShareASale pre-screens all affiliates that join their site which increases overall security of your program.
  • As a merchant, you do not need to resolve different issues affiliates might be facing as there is an affiliate help desk available at any time with no cost to merchants.
  • There are different integrated services available to merchants that can assist you in crafting your strategy and making sure that you are using best practices. Services include implementation and structuring of recruiting campaigns, creation of different banners used for promotion which can be seasonal, access to affiliate tools such as videos, widgets, data feeds and help with affiliate communication.
  • ShareASale serves all text links, graphic banners, and buttons for you. As a merchant you are allowed to upload the products data at no additional charge. If you prefer, you can allow affiliates to download your data feed via ShareASale FTP server; this brings a nominal charge of $1 per affiliate you approve.



2. Affiliates

ShareASale is a good platform to join if you are looking to get involved in marketing different affiliate programs to earn additional income. Affiliates are usually people with great social skills, lots of followers on social media and strong online presence. Affiliates usually have their own blogs and savvy marketing skills which they use for their marketing efforts. To gain access to reputable affiliate programs, one of the easiest ways is to join affiliate networks such as ShareASale.

ShareASale features more than 3,900+ affiliate programs in 40 different categories so chances of finding suitable products which interest you or fit your blog’s theme are considerable. The fact that merchants need to pay a significant amount of money to get featured on ShareASale hints at how serious they all are about their affiliate programs.

You can register as an affiliate for free and you need to go through all the steps in the process as well as provide a valid tax-id, which may be your social security number in case of individuals.

At this point, you can start browsing available merchants to check out their products and available commissions. Your goal is to place merchant banners on your site or within non-spam emails to generate traffic and potential sales. Affiliates get paid per each sale, lead or click they generate depending on the affiliate program conditions they chose to be a part of. Payouts are made once affiliate account balance is $50 or more. Only statistics provided by ShareASale are valid for determining earnings. An interesting detail is that all pages where you promote ShareASale links or banners needs to be written in English. If you are outside of USA, you can get paid via direct deposit payment option where available. As an affiliate you need to be aware that ShareASale has a very strict policy on SPAM and it simply means that you cannot spam in any way or your account will be terminated. This prevents cheating and false marketing based on tricking people to click links or using spam to make gain in sales.

How to add affiliate adverts to your blog from ShareASale

There are two levels of affiliate memberships: Full and Limited. Upon joining, the limited level is assigned which means that you can earn commissions only from pay per lead and pay per sales programs. When a first check is sent to you (minimum of $50), you become a full member and gain access to pay-per-click programs as well. To be a full member you also need to have a top-level domain.

When you login on the site, you get access to affiliate panel where all the tools and useful links are available to you. You can search for merchants, view merchants with data feeds, view coupons and deals database, check invitations and settings. You are provided with clear stats and to do lists which help you in your marketing efforts.

To make the most out of an affiliate program, suggestion is to only promote products you personally feel good about and think would fit your audience. So if you have a fashion blog, it is great idea to promote clothing and other fashion products. This way you maximize your chances of successful sales as most of your blog visitors will be people interested in fashion.



Plans and Pricing

ShareASale is free for affiliates to join but merchants need to pay to be featured on the site. There is an up-front pricing structure in place for merchants in form of a one time network access fee. Merchants also need to provide a minimum of $100 in deposit which guarantees commission payments to affiliates eligible. Remaining deposit is refundable in case of merchant closing the account.

One-time network access fee is priced at $550 so you need a total of $650 to get started on ShareASale as a merchant.

There are some recurring fees with ShareASale. They are transaction fees and monthly minimum fees. A transaction fee is charged each time affiliate sale or lead happens. These fees are based on what you setup in your program as a payout rate. Now, this is important for smaller companies: there is a monthly minimum fee which is charged in case your account does not generate a minimum of $25 in fees towards ShareASale. There is a grace period when you first sign up.

ShareASale takes 20% transaction fee based on the chosen commission. So if an affiliate earns $5 commission you are charged $1 transaction fee by ShareASale. In case your account does not generate a minimum of $25 in fees to ShareASale, there is a charge for the difference. The minimum is set at zero for first 60 days. From 60-120 days there is a $10 monthly minimum. After 120+ days from activation the monthly minimum is set at $25. This means that you do have time to grow your affiliate program.

Benefit here for affiliates is that only merchants who take their affiliate programs seriously are involved on the site. If merchant has just signed up but does not do much to make his affiliate program successful, in the long run it will result in fees and different costs. This usually ends with merchants closing their accounts.



How to Get Started?

Get started by signing up as a merchant or affiliate.

If you are a merchant, after going through the full setup process and paying the fees you will be ready to start offering your affiliate program on the network. Add all the information about your products, upload materials and setup commissions, structures and rules. Follow the available check lists to make sure you are maximizing the affiliate program potential.

As an affiliate, upon signing up and going through the screening process you will be ready to get involved in various affiliate programs. Browse the available merchants, their products and commission offers. Choose products which you think you can sell. Get the banners, links and other materials which will aid you in crafting your marketing campaign. Post the links on your website to send traffic to the merchant product pages. All sales, leads and clicks will be register by ShareASale and be available in stats. You will be able to track your sales in real time. Well executed affiliate marketing efforts can generate sales for years to come, for example in case of quality content and strategically placed links on your site. Over time, this can turn into a viable business and income source for you.




The Benefits for Merchants

Thousands of affiliates – extremely useful if you are a merchant selling products online and looking to boost your sales and reach
No advanced technical requirements
Online training programs
All payments towards your affiliates will go through ShareASale and they write and process all the checks free of charge.
Company has good reputation
ShareASale pre-screens all affiliates that join their site which increases overall security of your program



Down-Sides for Merchants

High Initial fee for merchants – payment of $550  + minimum of $100 in deposit (for future payments towards your affiliates and ShareASale fees)
Additional Fees to the network are not fixed – Like most of the affiliate networks, and unlike affiliate software, ShareASale takes additional fee based on each commission – They will charge you with another 20% transaction fee. Thus, for example, if you offer your affiliates %30 of the each sale, you eventually pay %36.
Monthly minimum fee paid in case of not enough sales. The minimum is set at zero for first 60 days. From 60-120 days there is a $10 monthly minimum. After 120+ days from activation the monthly minimum is set at $25.




Frequently Asked Questions

Merchant related:

“How much does it cost to join ShareASale as a merchant?”

A minimum of $650 is needed to cover all the setup fees and initial deposit.

“Are there any additional fees I need to pay?”

There are transaction fees and monthly minimum fees.

“I am not tech savvy, are there any training options available?”

Yes, you can attend online webinars to get help and learn the basics.

“Who tracks the sales and provides stats?”

ShareASale provides real time tracking of all stats and data including sales.


Affiliate related:

“How do affiliates get paid?”

Payments are made via check or direct deposit where available.

“How long does it take to receive a payment?”

Checks sent via mail arrive within 1 week in USA and from 1-4 weeks if sent internationally.

“Can I use Payoneer?”

Yes, you can use Payonner to receive payments via direct deposit option.

“What is the payout minimum?”

A minimum balance of $50 is needed for payment to be sent to the affiliate.



About The Company

ShareASale is a privately owned USA corporation from Chicago, Illinois and they are present more than 15 years on the market.





Interview with the Brian Littleton – CEO and Founder of ShareASale:



The Bottom Line

ShareASale is a great platform for affiliates and Merchants to join. Merchants who are set on starting an affiliate program and have funds available to invest can potentially make a lot of profit in the long run from joining this busy network and can save time on processing payments and other administration tasks as everything is handled by ShareASale. This network comes highly recommended and it has good reputation.