15 Major Reasons Why Affiliate Marketing is So Hard (Is It Difficult for Beginners?)

January 19, 2024

Some reasons why affiliate marketing is so hard are:

  1. The affiliate marketing industry is too saturated.
  2. Affiliate marketing offers lots of products and programs.
  3. It’s difficult to build an audience base in affiliate marketing.
  4. Building quality content is a must in affiliate marketing.
  5. Affiliate marketing has many local and international rules to follow.

These reasons are mainly because of the growth of the affiliate marketing industry globally. Digitalization pushed people to shop online rather than in-store. With data from PwC, the Performance Marketing Association’s 2022 Performance Marketing Study stated that the affiliate market experienced a 47% surge in worldwide spending from 2018 to 2021. This means that the industry will become more challenging as the 21st century progresses.

While affiliate marketing has its potential drawbacks, it also has significant benefits. Once affiliate marketers build their audience base, set up strategic marketing communications, and drive traffic, they can earn as much as $150,000 annually in passive income. Of course, achieving this yearly affiliate revenue stems from hard work and hours of learning and upskilling.

Some successful affiliate marketers highlighted in Antara Agarwal’s 2020 article on Outgrow include Missy Ward, Zac Johnson, and Shawn Collins. This shows that even if the affiliate marketing industry is difficult to penetrate because of market and competitor saturation, your chance of succeeding increases by knowing the 15 major reasons why affiliate marketing is so hard and creating countermeasures to streamline your affiliate marketing journey. Read on and discover what the hardest part of affiliate marketing is, how much money is needed to start your online business, and how potential affiliates can simplify the process.

15 Major Reasons Why Affiliate Marketing is So Hard

1. The Affiliate Marketing Industry is Too Saturated.

According to Emman Zahid’s article on OptinMonster, the affiliate marketing industry is worth more than $4 billion in 2024 compared to 2016. This market value is forecasted to hit $40 billion by 2030. This means that the affiliate market is getting more congested with big and small businesses, affiliate networks, existing affiliate marketers, and potential affiliates. In fact, Amazon Associates has over 900K affiliates, ClickBank with 100K active affiliates, and Awin with more than 270K affiliate partners. Because of this, creating a successful affiliate marketing business is physically and mentally demanding. You need to have ample foundational knowledge, solid marketing skills, and reliable resources.

Tackling this factor requires in-depth market and product research, guidance from successful affiliate marketers, and a supportive community of long-standing affiliate businesses. By expanding your knowledge and connections, you equip yourself with the necessary information and resources to choose the right niches, products, and programs.

2. Affiliate Marketing Offers Lots of Products and Programs.

For affiliate marketers, having a variety of affiliate products and programs to choose from is a good thing. However, this can confuse beginners in affiliate marketing. As mentioned in Forrester and Rakuten’s joint research in 2016, over 80% of businesses worldwide have an affiliate program. And according to Zippia, there are about 11,400 affiliate marketing programs in the U.S. alone. This boils down to millions of affiliate products available on the market.

Choosing high-quality, profitable affiliate programs and products is a critical factor in determining your affiliate marketing success. If you pick low-ticket and substandard products, you risk destroying your reputation and thwarting your potential income. Thus, it’s a must to check market movements, the latest trends, and buying behavior first before finalizing the products you’re going to promote. Doing so will help you build a sizable consumer base and lower your failure rate in affiliate marketing.

3. It’s Difficult To Build an Audience Base in Affiliate Marketing.

Starters in affiliate marketing find it difficult to create a solid audience base. This is mainly because of their lack of knowledge in content marketing and the high volume of competitors in the market. When you don’t post valuable content that captures your target audience’s interest, you will end up with zero potential customers. You must give value to your audience by developing content that is timely, reliable, and engaging. This also promotes trust and loyalty, essential for nurturing your target audience for a long time.

Affiliate marketers utilize social media platforms like Twitter and Pinterest to widen their audience reach. In fact, Statista’s latest data on the most popular social media platforms globally reveals that Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are the most used, with 1,051M to 2,958M monthly active users. However, it is also crucial to choose the right social media marketing strategy according to your target audience’s needs and wants. And, providing high-quality content is more valuable than just mindlessly posting on different social media channels.

4. Building Quality Content is a Must in Affiliate Marketing.

Generating timely, original, and engaging content is key to getting more clicks to your affiliate link. But, maintaining this content generation schedule is mentally straining. This element in affiliate marketing is one of the most stressful since you need to produce high quality content constantly to entice your customers to take action. The blog posts and video blogs you publish determine how much affiliate revenue you earn monthly. If you post low-quality content, you risk losing professionals and established individuals within your audience base, resulting in fewer sales.

When crafting your content marketing strategy, always keep in mind your target audience, their demographics, and their buying behavior. As explained by Rebecca Riserbato in her 2021 article on HubSpot, consistent, high-quality content marketing leads to improved authority,  brand reach, search engine rankings, audience retention, and online conversions. Additionally, being a compliant affiliate marketer means following local and international content and program guidelines.

5. Affiliate Marketing Has Many Local and International Rules To Follow.

Successful affiliate marketers avoid legal repercussions by complying with local and international rules. Affiliates globally adhere to the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising or “Endorsement Guides”. This prevents online marketers from using deceptive and illegal means to drive consumers to purchase spammy products. Accordingly, each country has its own set of regulations to follow. For example, Australia has the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), the European Union has the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and Canada has the Competition Act.

It’s important to note that every affiliate partner or program has specific guidelines. And, your affiliate website should have proper disclosures. You must read and understand each one in detail to avoid future litigation. It also protects you from being tagged as a fraudster or scammer.

6. Affiliate Marketing Has Lots of Scammers and Fraudsters.

Based on Jonathan Marciano’s article on the CHEQ website, affiliate scams and fraud caused the affiliate marketing industry to lose about $1.4 billion in 2020. This situation is becoming more common in 2024, as many consumers are engaging in online shopping. Bot traffic, cookie stuffing, click spam, fake products, and Google ad hijacking are some of the most common affiliate marketing scams and fraud nowadays.

This factor makes it more challenging for potential affiliates to grow their affiliate revenue and succeed in affiliate marketing. The negative perception customers have toward affiliate businesses prevents them from trusting affiliate marketers completely. On the bright side, implementing the right marketing techniques can turn this situation around.

7. Affiliate Marketing Techniques and Strategies Get Copied and Replaced Quickly.

Due to the rise of technological advancements, affiliate marketers can easily copy and implement other successful online marketers’ strategies and techniques. They can use tracking tools and online software to reproduce the exact marketing strategy. While this is good for beginners, it creates the same selling style for existing entrepreneurs and makes their affiliate business common for potential customers. This event fuels affiliate marketers to develop new strategies, accelerating market movements and trends.

An effective way to keep up with the latest market shifts is by maximizing email marketing, influencer marketing, and online tools like Google Analytics. It allows you to create compelling yet unique marketing initiatives. Having practical methods for promoting your link or affiliate products is one way to combat the advancements of affiliate marketing.

8. Affiliate Market Movements and Trends are Fast-Paced.

Beginners in affiliate marketing will find it hard to keep up with the latest trends and market movements because of the speed of change in this industry. In fact, an article by Commission Factory revealed that third-party cookies will no longer be used by Google starting in 2024. This means that affiliates must be more creative in tracking their customers’ buying behavior and demographics.

Besides removing third-party cookies, other trends will change the face of affiliate marketing from 2024 onwards. Influencers will become more popular. However, this will drive affiliate programs and partners to become stricter.

9. Affiliate Partnerships Have Stricter Terms and Conditions.

New trends in the affiliate marketing industry mean businesses and affiliate programs need to adapt their affiliate terms and conditions. Some programs adjust their commission rates because of economic shifts, customer spending, and other related factors. The Amazon Associates affiliate program is a good example of this. They modified their commission rates in April of 2020. This caused potential affiliates to choose programs with higher commission rates.

Affiliate partnerships also revise their program rules and regulations according to industry developments or downfalls. This is one reason why affiliate marketers find it hard to keep a partnership for the long term besides the growing number of niches and sub-niches in the affiliate marketing industry.

10. Affiliate Marketing Niches are Getting Harder To Penetrate.

The 21st century introduced new affiliate products, programs, and markets in the affiliate marketing industry. However, this surge caused new niches and sub-niches to be formed. And when seasoned affiliates get a headstart on a specific niche, it makes it challenging for novice affiliates to penetrate the same market. This factor limits the potential niches a beginner affiliate can succeed at.

Alternatively, choosing trendy and profitable niches is a great way to boost your success rate. Education, Pets, Technology, Gardening, and Travel are some of the best niches, according to Authority Hacker. While picking these markets can help you build a solid foundation and better revenue potential, targeted online campaigns are another thing.

11. Driving High-Value Traffic to Your Affiliate Website Requires Complex Online Campaigns.

Every affiliate marketer wants to acquire high-value customers. By doing so, you increase your conversion rate, sales, and revenue. But, achieving this requires strategic and sophisticated online campaigns that drive customers to make a purchase. Coming up with such techniques entails years of experience or the best tools for copying other marketers’ tactics. As per Awin, the average conversion rate for affiliate marketing is around 0.5% to 1%. This means that you must develop solid marketing communications to entice your target audience.

12. Affiliate Market Audiences are More Knowledgeable.

Consumers are more knowledgeable because of evolutions in buying behavior, market shifts, and economic movements. These factors have pushed consumers globally to learn the business models they are buying from and find great deals. It also enabled them to do more research before purchasing specific products. Thus, affiliate marketers are challenged to look for clever approaches that give more value to their target customers.

Launching relevant and enticing online campaigns promotes trust and loyalty among your customers. The more value they get from the information or content you produce, the more they’ll continue buying from you and sharing your products through word of mouth.

13. It’s Challenging To Maintain the Same Quality of Engagement in Affiliate Marketing.

You need to post quality content consistently to keep engaging your audience base. When customers see that the information from your affiliate website is not helpful or interesting enough, they’ll start consuming content from other affiliate marketers. This leads to lost customers. As stated in a recent study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, factors like tone, word count, analytical thinking, and sincerity make or break how consumers feel about your content.

This is why affiliate marketers must tackle the ongoing task of developing engaging content. It’s advisable to watch the latest news and look for the newest trends to create content that stands out from your competitors. Combining these insights with your marketing strategy will significantly boost your reputation.

14. Affiliate Marketing Needs a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy.

Your online reach depends on how detailed and comprehensive your marketing strategy is. It’s rare to see marketers with simple marketing communications succeeding in expanding their online presence. While expert affiliates can achieve this, beginners will have difficulty doing the same. This becomes a problem in the long term as you continuously create different marketing strategies. In-depth plans require time and effort to make. This takes away from the time you spend promoting your affiliate products.

Employing marketing strategies like SEO, paid ads, and retargeting can help you bolster your affiliate marketing journey. These methods include tools and software that simplify launching, managing, modifying, and tracking your campaigns. You can expect positive results by running these technologies and action plans consistently.

15. Affiliate Marketing Requires Consistency and Persistence.

No one succeeds in affiliate marketing without consistent input and a persistent mindset. This industry requires consistently creating engaging content, marketing different products, and attracting your target audience. You also need persistence to continue with your online business even if you experience drawbacks. And, not all affiliate marketers can give this dedication to their business. This is a common reason why affiliate marketing is so hard. You don’t just need time, money, and effort. Every affiliate must also be mentally prepared for the ups and downs of the affiliate marketing industry.

What is the Hardest Part of Affiliate Marketing?

Market and competitor saturation is the hardest part of affiliate marketing. This is also a common reason why affiliate marketers fail. Potential and existing online marketers struggle with this factor because the industry keeps growing yearly. The more competition the industry has, the lesser their income will be. Moreover, customers will be confused about what affiliate products and programs to choose from due to their high availability. That’s why it is essential to learn all the aspects of affiliate marketing.

Is Affiliate Marketing Difficult for Beginners?

Yes, affiliate marketing is difficult for beginners. However, affiliate marketing is not hard to learn, given you have the resources needed to know how the industry works, what keeps buyers motivated, and what online marketing strategies to implement. If you don’t know what niches, programs, and products to pick, you’ll end up quitting before even trying. In fact, regulatory compliance, product selection, audience engagement, and market movements are the biggest challenges that new affiliate marketers face. Thus, you can utilize YouTube videos, blogs, and online tools to do in-depth research into the affiliate marketing business model.

A common question you often hear is “Is affiliate marketing easy or hard?” While some factors make affiliate marketing difficult for beginners, there are simple steps that can make an affiliate marketer’s journey easier.

How Can You Make Affiliate Marketing Easy?

To make affiliate marketing easy, you need to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of the processes, legalities, marketing strategies, benefits, and potential drawbacks of this online business model. Some affiliate marketers use paid ads (like Google Ads) and social media marketing efforts to boost their reach and engagement. You can also join coaching sessions or the best affiliate marketing courses like Wealthy Affiliate by Kyle Loudoun or Invincible Marketer by Aaron Chen. Another great way to jump-start your affiliate marketing journey is by applying to popular and established affiliate platforms like ShareASale and CJ Affiliate.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing the Easy Way

To start affiliate marketing the easy way, consider extensively researching the business model, the industry, and the market. It’s also crucial to know the affiliate marketing pros and cons before starting your online business. Then, choose specific niches with high-quality products. You should also select an affiliate program with competitive rates and reasonable terms and conditions.

Next, develop relevant content that clearly and cleverly promotes your affiliate offers. This lets you attract your target market and ensure consistent affiliate sales. Moreover, monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of your engagement, conversions, and revenue allows you to craft online marketing initiatives that are timely and strategic. This last step also shows you how much money you can potentially earn monthly and annually.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of online business where marketers promote a specific business’s products or services by using an affiliate link. This individual, called an affiliate marketer, earns a commission for every approved sale or purchase forwarded to the business/company through an affiliate partnership or program. ClickBank, Amazon Associates, and Shopify are some examples of these affiliate marketing programs. They help affiliates earn more and succeed in the industry.

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?

Yes, affiliate marketing is worth it because you can earn around $1K-$10K monthly in passive income. You can even scale this to over $12,500 with the right products and content marketing strategy. Influencer Marketing Hub’s latest statistics also revealed that the affiliate marketing industry’s investments experienced an uptrend of 15.38% in 2024 compared to 2022. So, as the 21st century progresses, affiliate marketers can expect a higher affiliate income due to an increase in potential affiliate commissions.

Affiliate Marketing Related Articles

  • 10 Reasons Affiliate Marketing Does Not Work - Affiliate market saturation, low-performing niches, and overflowing affiliate products are some reasons affiliate marketing does not work. This article focuses on why this business model is not easy, its success rate, and how to make it work for potential affiliates.
  • Is Affiliate Marketing Dead? - No, affiliate marketing is not dead. But, this online business model got more competitive and saturated than 5-10 years ago. It’s a $17 billion industry with only a 1% success rate. This article also features 3 interesting things that affiliate marketing experts don’t want you to know.
  • Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It in 2024? - Yes, affiliate marketing is worth in 2024. As per Statista’s research, the industry’s spending has grown to $5.7B from 2012 to 2022. This article also discusses the future and profitability of affiliate marketing. Plus, the top 7 free tools an affiliate marketer must have.
  • Why Affiliate Marketers Fail? 16 Unforgiving Mistakes To Avoid - Affiliate marketers fail because of mistakes like choosing numerous niches, selecting low-yielding programs, or jumping from one affiliate product to the next. This article also features the biggest problem in this business model and ways to succeed in affiliate marketing.

Local Lead Generation is an Easier Online Business Than Affiliate Marketing

Even though affiliate marketing is hard, you can still succeed if you have ample knowledge of the business model’s foundational concepts, legal rules, and best practices. Putting in the time and effort to research and understand key factors that affect this industry makes your journey easier. Kirsty McCubbin, Jeremy Shoemaker, and Pat Flynn are just some of the many individuals who have built a successful affiliate marketing business.

Affiliate marketing can offer you $10,000 to $150,000 annually in passive income. However, achieving this feat requires substantial experience and numerous challenges. In fact, affiliate marketers fail because they give up easily, don’t know how to continue, or lack the knowledge to diversify their affiliate revenue. Because of this, many online entrepreneurs look for a more stable, profitable, and scalable business model.

Local lead generation is way easier than affiliate marketing. You don't have to worry about market saturation, consistent content generation, product selection, and continuous market engagement. With this business model, you have a localized setting where you specify the services you sell and build websites. And since your audience is ready to buy, you don't need to create content continuously. All you need is for the microsites to rank organically on Google. Once they're ranked, they stay ranked. You then generate thousands of leads to sell to local business owners.

If you want to make $52,000 monthly like me, the local lead gen business model is for you.

Follow Me
Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}