HomeAffiliate Marketing13 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2024

    13 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2024


    Affiliate marketing is a lucrative industry with the industry being worth over $17 billion globally. Many people get sucked into the dream of earning millions of dollars by next week just from affiliate marketing alone, but is it really that simple? Well, according to the latest affiliate marketing stats, 81.2% of affiliate marketers make more than $20,000 annually, so while it is possible to earn good money, that’s only if you avoid the affiliate marketing mistakes I have outlined in this article.

    What Are Common Mistakes in Affiliate Marketing?

    • Promoting products that misalign with your audience
    • Promoting products in the wrong channels
    • Trying to sell to people
    • Focusing only on affiliate content
    • Going after competitive keywords
    • Signing up for too many affiliate programs
    • Having no product knowledge of what you’re selling
    • Prioritizing affiliate links over content quality
    • Not tracking & measuring results
    • Thinking you will make money instantly
    • Working with affiliate brands misaligned with your brand
    • Not implementing an SEO strategy
    • Not disclosing affiliate links

    Promoting Products That Misalign With Your Audience

    While there are many benefits of affiliate marketing, a huge mistake people still make is misaligning the products they are promoting to the audience they have built. For example, if your affiliate marketing niche was ‘headphones’ and you started promoting content such as TVs, it would be confusing and misleading to your audience.

    Even the slightest change in products can be perceived negatively by your audience. For example, if you focused mainly on consumer-level headphone reviews in your affiliate marketing strategy – adding industrial-grade headphones to the mix could confuse the audience.

    You might be thinking, they are both headphones, what’s the issue?

    Price. Your audience will have become accustomed to seeing affordable products promoted, add something that’s potentially 10x the price can be off-putting. Not only that, this promotion could fail on your end as a lower percentage of the audience would be interested.

    Be sure that the affiliate products you promote relate to your audience’s interests and also their consumer behavior patterns.

    Promoting Products In The Wrong Channels

    Promoting your affiliate products in the wrong channels is also a big mistake many affiliate marketers make. This could be posting where affiliate links are not allowed, the audience does not match, the engagement rates are low, or even where users can’t find the affiliate links. Every affiliate marketing niche will have different success rates on different channels.

    For example; you are promoting an affiliate product targeted at males over 50+ and you decide to promote primarily on TikTok. Given the majority of TikTok users are below 30, your efforts would be ineffective. Whereas choosing a promotional channel that fits into your demographic would have a higher success rate.

    There is no one-size-fits-all here, it all depends on the niche you are in, the products you promote, and the channels you have established an audience.

    Trying To Sell To People

    The majority of people dislike being sold to, this doesn’t just apply to affiliate marketing, but any form of marketing. Personally, if I come across an article that is pushing an affiliate product heavily, I will leave without even reading it.

    The majority of people searching for content are consumers who are in the ‘information gathering’ or ‘evaluating alternatives’ stage of a consumer purchasing decision. Such as; the best OLED TVs, best wireless headphones, and best washing machine… meaning that they want to gather more information and compare products before purchasing.

    Your job as an affiliate is to provide that information in a convincing way to encourage the reader to click your link and purchase – attributing the affiliate sale to you.

    If your content is packed full of banners, buttons, links, arrows, and all these elements pushing the reader to ‘buy now’ – they will go somewhere else. The same goes with the content you put out; if it contains no real information and is just telling the reader they should buy the product, it’s not benefiting them.

    Your content should include honest human overviews of the product, pricing information, benefits/downsides, and anything you think a consumer would like to read about a product before buying.

    Focusing Only On Affiliate Content

    This is an affiliate marketing mistake I see way too often. If you, like most affiliate marketers, have a blog/content website to promote your products, there needs to be a balance between evergreen, regular, and affiliate-focused content. Publishing 100% affiliate-focused content will not get you anywhere, in the beginning at least. To be clear, when I say affiliate-focused content, this is content that is built for affiliate links (like best product listicles, etc.).

    The reasons why you need other forms of content are for SEO purposes and audience building. To improve your search engine visibility, and authority, and target necessary keywords, producing other content alongside affiliate content is essential. That doesn’t mean you can’t add affiliate links within this supporting content, it should however be more subtle.

    In terms of audience building; if you produced 100% affiliate content that focused on, let’s say ‘best products’, once the users click the affiliate link, convert, and purchase, they are gone. By building out other content that readers can resonate with, you can potentially build up an email list or start to gain ‘brand recognition’. This is 10x more powerful in the long run, rather than relying on 100% organic.

    There’s no magic formula, but I would stay somewhere between 60-70% affiliate content and 30% regular/evergreen content. This could be different depending on your focus.

    Going After Competitive Keywords

    This mistake applies more to affiliate marketing for beginners and sites that are not as ‘authoritative’ as the likes of Forbes, Business Insider, Yahoo, etc. Unfortunately, many of the larger authority sites, like the ones mentioned, are in the affiliate marketing game too. And because of their many years of building authority, Google will rank their affiliate articles in the top 5 results within seconds of publishing.

    If you lack the authority in your affiliate marketing niche – you will never be able to compete with sites like this. You will spend hours building out articles only to find out they never rank, anywhere.

    To start with, you will need to identify low-competition keywords where you have a chance of ranking higher in the SERPs. You can do this using keyword tools such as Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush, or the old-fashioned way of using keyword planner and manual search. Usually, you can target variations of high-competition keywords, for example;

    Keyword: Best TVs 2024

    You can see the top 4 results here are high-authority sites, and as you go further down the SERPs, there are many other authoritative sites, making this a highly competitive keyword.

    Keyword: Best tv brands for longevity

    For these results, the competition is slightly lower. While the sites still have good authority, you have more of a chance of competing – emphasizing the point of not going after competitive keywords.

    Once you start establishing your (E-A-T) within the niche you target, Google will start to rank you higher. However, the main factor involved here is external links pointing to your website (backlinks) which will show Google your site is a trusted resource. Once this starts happening, your rankings will increase; then you can start targetting more competitive keywords.

    Signing Up For Too Many Affiliate Programs

    There’s a caveat to this mistake; if you are excellent at managing, tracking, implementing, and maximizing the effectiveness of your affiliate programs, then join as many as you need to. If you are starting as a beginner or have trouble keeping up with affiliate programs, you should limit the number you sign up to. Especially as some programs will kick you out if you are inactive. This applies to individual affiliate programs or affiliate networks/marketplaces.

    Again, there is no magic number, I recommend joining around 5 affiliate programs and 1-2 networks/marketplaces in the beginning. This will allow you to learn the ropes and focus on tracking, measuring, and improving.

    Having No Product Knowledge Of What You’re Selling

    For me, this is the worst mistake affiliates make. Think about it from this angle, would you let someone fix your car if they have never trained in mechanics or would you trust someone flying a plane who never had any training? So why would someone trust your content if you know nothing about the product? Ok, a bit extreme, but the point I am making is that ‘trust’ is important in most things in life, especially in affiliate marketing.

    Consumers can tell when content is genuine and when the writer doesn’t know anything about the product/niche. This deters them from your site and will probably put a warning sign against your brand name, meaning they won’t come back to your site again.

    It’s not just about the consumer though, from the affiliate marketers’ or content creators’ POV, not knowing the product makes it 10x more difficult to create the content. It involves more research, more learning, and understanding, and the majority of the time will lead to poor quality content. The creator will struggle to think of ideas and will not be able to connect with the reader in any way.

    If I were to write an affiliate article on the best Apple phones, it would take me no time at all, because I have owned every Apple phone from its release and know it inside out. But if I were to write about the best Android phones, it would take me 3x longer. Then if I went further and covered the best Bluetooth speakers for Android phones, it would take me 10 longer. The more knowledge gaps that exist, the harder it is to create content, and the lower the quality of content.

    Finally, if you choose a product to be an affiliate of because of the money, and you still want to create content even though you do not know, you will get bored. Give it 2-3 months of creating content about something you have no interest in, you will start to get bored, slow down in production, and eventually give up. This lack of enthusiasm will also reflect in the output of your content.

    If you’re only focused on making money and promoting affiliate links – your content quality will suffer – and it will be visible to the majority of your audience. The higher the quality of content you create, the more impact it will have on the audience, and the more likely they are to take action and convert. If you are focusing on high-ticket affiliate marketing, content quality is imperative.

    This links in with the affiliate marketing mistake I mentioned before about not having product knowledge – which is an example of prioritizing affiliate links over content quality. Other examples include spamming affiliate links into every section of text possible, creating videos only pushing people to click a link, or sending emails with 1 sentence telling people to purchase something.

    The way I see it, content quality should come first. You should be creating value for the audience and providing them with a great experience – then promoting an affiliate product, naturally if possible, or in a reasonable manner (a short segment of a video or inserted after a product mention within the text).

    Not Tracking & Measuring Results

    If are new to marketing, tracking and measuring results are imperative to success. If you work in marketing and don’t do this, then you should be concerned. Tracking your performance is essential, not only for affiliate marketing, but for content marketing in general, whether it’s through social media, YouTube, a blog, or a podcast. By understanding how the audience perceives and interacts with your content, you can tailor that content to perform better in the future.

    There are 2 different ways you can go about this – either use the built-in analytics of affiliate platforms (which will be basic) or use social media analytics, Google Analytics, or your custom solution that looks at data for your website. The metrics you track will differ depending on your goals, but some key metrics to consider would be CTR (clickthrough rate), products purchased, revenue, and keyword position metrics.

    How often you look at these reports is up to you, however, I would recommend at the very least to look monthly. The information you learn can help with the placement of affiliate links for better CTRs and which products to promote based on your top sales, for example.

    Thinking You Will Make Money Instantly

    A common affiliate marketing mistake often made by beginners is thinking that revenue will come instantly – or even within 6 months. A caveat here is if you already have a large, engaged audience and decide to start affiliate marketing – then you would likely earn revenue instantly. But this point applies to beginners who don’t have an audience already.

    Affiliate marketing takes time with planning, effort, failure, and learning before any money is made (serious money). Likely, you won’t make any affiliate revenue for 6-12 months, it could be longer depending on your niche. That’s because it takes time to build an audience (and to implement SEO if your channel is a blog) and to establish trust.

    The only way around this is to lower your expectations in the beginning, don’t get too excited when you make one sale, and don’t give up.

    Working With Affiliate Brands Misaligned With Your Brand

    Audiences follow and trust brands because they can relate. One huge part of this trust comes down to what the brand believes in and stands for – which has become increasingly important over the past 5 years. For example, it could be for political stances, environmental issues, or cultural values. The moment your brand becomes an affiliate for a product that goes against what it stands for – you risk losing trust with your audience, damage that will more than likely never be recovered.

    When considering affiliate products, be sure to do your research into what the brand stands for, and how their values align with yours, and search for any red flags that could potentially crop up – if you can find something, your audience definitely can. Although it might seem like an opportunity to earn extra revenue – it’s not worth damaging your reputation and potentially losing revenue from other areas.

    Not Implementing An SEO Strategy

    This affiliate marketing mistake mainly applies to those who run blogs or websites. In 2024, most people who do affiliate marketing through these mediums are aware of what SEO is and I would like to think that most do follow some SEO practices. However, the mistake here is not having an SEO strategy that focuses on every aspect of optimizing one’s website and content.

    It’s great that the majority of people add keywords, fill out ALT text, add correct headings, and do all the basics, but unfortunately, that’s not enough. If you want to grow your organic traffic, your SEO strategy needs to include in-depth keyword research, technical SEO, obtaining backlinks, building up your E-A-T, and much more. It’s a lot of work, but if you do this correctly, it will pay off eventually.

    If you’re not confident in your abilities or don’t have time to do this, you’re not alone. In fact, 45.3% of affiliate marketers say getting traffic is their biggest challenge. Consider using a freelancing marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork to hire someone for the challenging parts, and you take care of the basics.

    Unfortunately, this is one of many affiliate marketing mistakes that I still see to this day. It is a legal requirement that comes from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and has to be visible on every page where you have affiliate links present. There are also rules for social media (which might differ per platform) where you have to mark content as ‘sponsored’ for affiliate links.

    You can use Termly to create an affiliate disclaimer template and then paste it on your site. I have mine in the sidebar which saves having to re-paste it into every post.

    Chad Wyatt
    Chad Wyatt
    Chad Wyatt (MBA) is a professional in the digital marketing industry, specializing in content marketing, SEO, and strategic marketing initiatives. With a track record as a 6-figure marketing entrepreneur, Chad brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and has been recognized by renowned media outlets such as CNN, Business Insider, Yahoo, MSN, Capital One, and AOL, where he has been featured for his industry insights and success stories.


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