Year after year, affiliate marketing continues to expand its foothold in the digital marketing space. While the market expands, the best affiliate software continues to improve. Both major networks and private platforms are vying for positions to help brands of all shapes and sizes to scale an affiliate program.
Whether you are in eCommerce, SaaS, Consumer Finance, or something else, you could likely benefit from partnering with affiliates. One of the first steps in setting up an affiliate channel is deciding on the best affiliate software for your brand and niche.
This guide to the best affiliate software will help you narrow in on which platform or network is right for you. Here is the list of Grovia’s suggested networks that we think are worth a demo.
- Best Affiliate Software for Ecommerce Businesses: Refersion
- Best for SMB: Shareasale
- Best for Growth and Scale: Impact
- Best for WordPress sites: EasyAffiliate
- Best for Mobile: TUNE
- Best Global Platform: Partnerize
- Best for Enterprise SaaS Companies: PartnerStack
- Best for Small/Medium SaaS Companies: Kiflo
- Best for Sports & Outdoor Brands: Avantlink
Before we get into the specifics of each network and its main features, let’s talk about what it means to be the best affiliate software and what determines our ranking.
What is affiliate software?
Affiliate software will automatically track links between affiliates and the advertisers they are promoting. The additional features of the software will vary including messaging capabilities, referral management, tracking capabilities, tax info collection, and commission payments.
What determines our ranking of best affiliate software?
The short answer: Grovia’s first-hand experience with each affiliate software solution. We have dozens of existing clients and we are consistently working on a dozen different solutions. We know which solutions make our life easy and which make our job tougher.
The first deciding factor is usability. We love to work in an environment that is easy to use and intuitive.
The capabilities of the tracking features are also a big factor. We prefer affiliate software that is flexible with the client’s needs. For example, CJ.com has only one way of commissioning affiliates: the last click. This is the main reason they did not make this list of major players. On the other hand, Shareasale allows the last click but also has options for the first click, leap-frog technology, and vanity code tracking.
Price and product value also come into play. We will let you know about those in the article.
The last factor is the ease and extent of messaging to affiliates. Early communication with partners is clutch, so you want the messaging capability to be flexible.
What is the best affiliate software?
Refersion – Best Affiliate Software for Ecommerce Businesses.
When it comes to bang-for-buck, Refersion takes the cake. When launching a basic affiliate or influencer program, Refersion has all of the essentials.
While they may not have all of the bells and whistles you’ll get with more advanced platforms, ease-of-use is Refersion’s biggest strength. Whether you are a small eCommerce business or a large enterprise testing out the affiliate channel, Refersion is a great place to start.
Unlike other platforms, Refersion quickly integrates with most major shopping carts. If you are in a hurry to launch an affiliate program, look no further.
Some of the major features you are going to like with this solution:
- Simple and intuitive to use
- Clean dashboards for affiliate managers and partners
- Easy to accept or decline conversions
- Quick set up discount and vanity code tracking
- Simple conversion trigger email setup
- Easy form fill implementation for affiliate sign up page
Shareasale – Best Affiliate Software for SMB.
For businesses looking for a great network solution at an affordable price, Shareasale is our go-to pick. ShareASale is one of the oldest and most popular affiliate networks around but still holds up in terms of tracking solutions and flexibility.
ShareASale has over 40 categories of niche/verticals, making it easy to find partners that are a fit on the platform. for merchants to choose from. It’s also an excellent option for promoting both physical and digital products. No matter your niche or industry, you’ll undoubtedly find affiliates to promote your product.
One of the greatest features of ShareASale is the affordability and ease of integration. $550 is the integration fee, which includes everything you need to get your program running within 2 weeks. If you need help launching an affiliate program, Grovia has a solution that will help your program hit the ground running.
Impact – Best Affiliate Software for Growth and Scale.
If you are ready to take your affiliate program to the next level, Impact is an excellent choice.
Impact is often considered the best all-around affiliate management platform available. Once you open the can-of-worms that is affiliate marketing, you’ll find that there is a lot more to it, and Impact has thought of it all.
From partner recruitment, to contract management, invoicing, fraud prevention, and even multi-touch attribution, Impact’s suite of tools covers almost everything you might need to build a successful program. While their price is quite a bit higher than some basic options, it is well worth the extra investment.
Easy Affiliate – Best Affiliate Software for WordPress.
If your online business is built on WordPress, and you…
- Want to maintain total control of your affiliate program
- Want to avoid third-party fees
- Don’t want to deal with coding and complications
Then Easy Affiliate is your best bet, hands down. This simple, affordable but powerful affiliate program plugin is endorsed by top WordPress resource WPBeginner. And it was built by the MemberPress team, so it integrates beautifully with any MemberPress or WooCommerce site.
Also, unlike with the big affiliate networks, there’s no setup fee or deposit. Here is a few other Easy Affiliate features WordPress users will appreciate:
- Affiliate dashboard
- Real-time reports (including a new MonsterInsights integration)
- Built-in fraud detection
- Seamless integration with top ecommerce, email marketing, form builder, and payment gateway solutions
- One-click affiliate payouts
- Totally self-hosted, so there are zero transaction fees
- Creative control through banners and links feature
- Robust commissions tracking
Simple setup lets you get your program up and running fast.
TUNE – Best Affiliate Software for Mobile
TUNE has broken down the silos between two traditionally disparate ecosystems, partner marketing, and mobile user acquisition.
At its core, TUNE’s affiliate management tools are flexible enough to support some of the more complex affiliate program setups. Where they truly flourish, however, is mobile-focused partner marketing. If your digital presence spans web, mobile web, and app, TUNE is a no-brainer.
TUNE integrates with every mobile attribution allowing brands to track affiliate traffic and conversions across any medium. Recently acquired, this company is releasing new features at lightning speed and they are certainly one to consider regardless of your vertical.
Partnerize – Best Affiliate Software Global Platform
Partnerize qualifies as one of the top overall affiliate management solutions, but when it comes to the best platform for international brands, Partnerize takes the cake.
If you sell products globally, you will want to recruit affiliates that promote your brand around the world. Partnerize natively provides a massive directory of international publishers and automates partner payouts in over 60 currencies across 214 countries.
PartnerStack – Best Affiliate Software for Enterprise SaaS Companies
PartnerStack has taken the SaaS partnerships space by storm.
With behemoth clients like Unbounce, Freshworks, and Gorgias, they seem to be the go-to partner management platforms for medium-to-enterprise SaaS companies. Not only does Parterstack enable your traditional link-based affiliate tracking, but they also allow partners to submit leads and referrals directly through their affiliate dashboard.
With this functionality and other features purpose-built for channel partnerships, you can truly manage any type of partner through Partnerstack.
Kiflo – Best Affiliate Software for Small/Medium SaaS Companies
For SaaS companies that don’t have the budget for something like Partnerstack, Kiflo is an excellent alternative.
Kiflo provides similar functionalities at nearly a quarter of the price. The platform is easy to use and set up. Much like Partnerstack, Kiflo provides link-tracking and direct lead submissions. With simple integration, affiliate commissions and payments are automated. Tax compliance is more manual.
If you are a SaaS SMB trying to grow your affiliate program along with your other partner programs, Kiflo could be the solution for you.
Avantlink – Best Affiliate Software for Sports & Outdoor Brands
If you run a sports or outdoors brand, you need to meet the team at Avantlink. Based out of Utah, Avantlink’s entire team has a passion for the outdoors and it shows in their networks.
The publisher development team at Avantlink has carefully curated a community of content creators and affiliates specifically to their niche. Even further, their technology keeps up well with the industry giants and even offers one of the more advanced attribution analytics systems available.
What is an affiliate and how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is the process of influencers (affiliates) recommending a product or service to a consumer. The affiliate does not own the product but instead has a unique tracking link to the brand’s website. If the consumer buys the product, the affiliate earns a commission. This relationship requires three parties: the affiliate, the brand (merchant), and a tracking platform.
What is the best affiliate software?
This directly depends on your needs as an advertiser. But based on personal experience, price, and vertical, here is our list of the best:
- Ecommerce Businesses: Refersion
- SMB: Shareasale
- Growth and Scale: Impact
- Mobile: TUNE
- Global Platform: Partnerize
- Enterprise SaaS Companies: PartnerStack
- Small/Medium SaaS Companies: Kiflo
- Sports & Outdoor Brands: Avantlink
Wrap it up
It is a common misconception that using an affiliate network alone will be enough to successfully grow your affiliate program. This is rarely the case.
I hope this guide was useful for you to learn more about which affiliate software tracking solution you should go with.
Regardless of the affiliate software you decide on, you are going to need the tools and resources to recruit affiliates. Once you are ready to start recruiting affiliates, reach out to Grovia and we’ll help you get the most out of your affiliate program.