Roughly 88% of US affiliate programs fall under 20 ‘hot niches’, according to research into North America’s best affiliate programmes by AM Navigator.  

A total of 550 affiliate programs were compared across six US networks: ShareASale, Affiliate Window, Rakuten Affiliate Network, AvantLink, Link Connector and CJ Affiliate by Conversant.

Fashion led the way as the most prevalent sector for affiliate, taking an 18.7% share overall, but not far behind with 14.6% was sports and outdoors, while the health and beauty market came in third (11.1%).

According to AM Navigator founder Geno Prussakov, each program was compared on a ‘bouquet’ of thee KPI’s: earnings per click, conversion rate and comparative payout.

Prussakov adds that the study clarifies some of the confusion around the rankings of affiliate programs, and unique sets of measurements used by various companies in the industry.

“There are various ways to reflect an affiliate program’s comparative ‘bestness’. CJ by Conversant utilises a ‘5-bar scale’, ShareASale places their top advertisers into a ‘Top 100 PowerRank’, Affiliate Window scores merchants according to their ‘AWin Index’.

“In some instances, we enjoy a fairly clear understanding of the criteria that goes into making one affiliate program rank higher than another. In others we do not,” states Prussakov on the AM Navigator blog.

Drilling down further, the study also found that when isolating the top ten categories in the analysis, they are represented by 391 affiliate programs, or 71% of the total. In this view, travel takes 23.2%, in front of sports & outdoors (%18.1) and health & beauty (13.8%).