Can You Really Make Money With Affiliate Marketing in 2021?


For a long time now, affiliate marketing has been widely considered as being a great source of passive income. The concept of affiliate marketing can be applied to almost any industry, as individuals can choose to become an affiliate in industries such as gambling and earn a healthy sum of commission by promoting different online casinos.

However, with so many individuals operating in the affiliate marketing space, how likely is it for newcomers to make a proper living off of affiliate marketing in 2021? If aspiring affiliate marketers follow all the required traditional steps, such as having a consistent blog, user-friendly platform, and so on, will they definitely make a successful career for themselves?

We’ll seek to answer the above questions by assessing the following areas:

  1. A couple of affiliate marketing success stories
  2. Whether affiliate marketing is still profitable in 2021
  3. How to make money from affiliate marketing today

Before diving in, we’ll first discuss a few success stories from well-known affiliate marketers, one of who operates in online gambling, and whether it’s still possible to reach the same heights as these popular industry figures.

Affiliate Marketing Success Stories

Before embarking upon the journey that is affiliate marketing, it is quite normal to seek out stories from established and successful affiliate marketers, and use this as a source of inspiration and motivation in your own professional endeavours.

And whilst this is a positive approach, expectations need to be kept at a realistic level. This is because most of these successful figures have earned their high status in the industry by dedicating years of their lives to building their respective businesses. Therefore, individuals need to be aware that it is not simply a matter of creating a blog, promoting any set of online casinos, travel destinations, or makeup brands and consequently, making money overnight.

Moreover, a lot of the most well-known affiliate marketers consist of those who got their foot in the door early on and have since become the go-to sources of information in their chosen niches. Here are a select few of those individuals.

Patt Flynn
When it comes to affiliate marketers, Pat Flynn is as great as they come. Flynn, who got started in affiliate marketing in 2008 after being let go from his architecture job, now has a net worth of over $2 million, whilst 80% of his income is derived from affiliate marketing.

The founder of the now-famous ‘Smart Passive Income’ blog, initially began blogging for the sole purpose of organising notes for an upcoming architecture exam. After some time, the blog began receiving more and more visitors whilst also beginning to rank high on Google. The positive feedback he began to receive allowed him to explore the possibility of pursuing a blogging career full-time.

Flynn was then able to take further steps to ensure that he could earn enough income to become financially independent. By learning more about what it means to be an online entrepreneur, Flynn began to sell advertising space on his blog and created a study guide for the LEED exam, both of which provided substantial income for several months.

After establishing himself amongst his audience, he eventually set up, where he decided to share his earnings, knowledge, and advice on how he achieved his success.

Parur Shahbazyan
Another successful affiliate marketing story, this time in a gambling context, is that of Parur Shahbazyan. After a simple $50 purchase of a website template in 2012, ‘Bookmaker Ratings’ was founded. The website promotes several reputable sportsbook brands like William Hill, Ladbrokes, bet365, and Paddy Power.

Just 4 years later, Bookmaker Ratings earned around $2million in revenue in 2016 with operating costs of $700,000. Shahbazyan suggests that his key to success in the gambling affiliate space was through earning the trust of his Russian audience by helping them solve any bookmaker related issues and providing unbiased bookmaker ratings. This might seem a bit simplistic, however, as Shahbazyan suggests, the general distrust towards bookmakers from Russian gamblers makes this an impressive accomplishment

The success stories mentioned above are just a couple from an endless list of affiliate marketers. However, is affiliate marketing still profitable for newcomers today?

Is Affiliate Marketing Still Profitable in 2021?

The fact of the matter is that the affiliate marketing industry has continued to proliferate over the years and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, a recent study carried out by Statista claims that affiliate marketing in the US alone reached $6.8 billion in the year 2020. This can be seen as both a positive and negative thing for newcomers just entering the industry.

The positive side being obvious, in that we all want to feel assured that we are entering what promises to be a thriving industry before making the jump. The negative side is that with new players constantly entering the market, making yourself stand out can prove to be extremely difficult.

To put things into perspective as to why affiliate marketing is still highly profitable, here are a few statistics derived from recent studies:

  1. Digital products and services involve no shipping or replication costs, making it common for affiliates to earn commission rates of 50% or higher.
  2. A study from ‘Rakuten Advertising’ suggests that 80% of advertisers and 84% of publishers ran an affiliate program.
  3. A study carried out by ‘Make A Website Hub’, showed that an average of 23% of merchant sales are derived from affiliate marketing.
  4. Lastly, ‘VigLink’ claims that 86% of publishers believe that their affiliate marketing revenue will increase or at the very least, remain the same within the future.

From these statistics, we can see a small glimpse as to why so many individuals are opting for affiliate marketing, and why so many companies choose to have their own affiliate programs. Moreover, these numbers show that affiliate marketing is a great way for companies to make money, and therefore, it’s also a great way to make money for whoever wants to work in the affiliate marketing industry.

Whilst it is still very possible to make money from affiliate marketing today, the reality is that it is a lot harder than it would have been a decade or so ago due to the level of competition that is now involved.

Despite the chances of making it into the top 5% of affiliate marketing earners not being as high as it was a decade ago, it is still viewed as a highly lucrative business and source of income for many individuals just starting out. It might take a few months or even years, but it can definitely be achieved.

Digital offerings such as online casinos support this argument, due to the high demand and minimal cost involved to begin promoting. On top of that, the affiliate deals involved can be extremely rewarding.

How to Make Money in Affiliate Marketing

Now that we have clearly established that individuals can really make money from affiliate marketing in today’s world, what are some must-follow tips for all affiliate marketers to adopt?

As we mentioned earlier on, standing out in today’s affiliate marketing world is harder than ever before, even when going for smaller profitable niches. Let’s say you choose to go for online casinos as your chosen niche. In this case, you won’t be the only one promoting those casinos. On the contrary, there will be hundreds if not thousands of other affiliates promoting the same online casinos as you, further owing to the fact that your platform will need to best the competition in one way or another.

If you are still new to the affiliate marketing space and would like to learn more about how you can get started, check out our previous blog posts here. For those of you who have already established your own website or blog, and are looking for some tips on how to increase your chances of success, continue reading.

As an established affiliate marketer, you’re probably already accustomed to conducting thorough research. A little trick we’ve learned which can boost your research habits is to become used to researching passively. This means always being on the lookout for new and interesting things which might be of use to your affiliate marketing business. More specifically, this could be something as simple as tailoring your social media feed to be more gambling orientated. Consequently, you would end up stumbling upon interesting bits of information related to the niche of online gambling whilst in your free time, and thus, expanding the window of opportunity to grow your business. Alternatively, you could browse different gambling websites and see if you come across any innovative casino affiliate advertisements that could inspire you.

Another important aspect is to regularly audit your website to check for any errors relating to SEO. This is something that cannot be disregarded, as issues can easily pile up, resulting in your website performing poorly and ranking lower on search engines. Software such as SEMrush is a great option for auditing, as it will help you resolve existing issues, whilst assisting with competitor research, keywords, organic traffic insights, link building, and more. 

Moreover, if you are signed up to several different affiliate programs, see how they are performing. Check which affiliate products your audience prefers for you to create well-informed future plans.

Lastly, we have one of Patt Flynn’s rules for affiliate marketing success. He claims that you should not try and be the very best. Instead, all you need to do is make sure you are more knowledgeable than your competitors by providing content that appears more expert-level, educational, up-to-date, and useful than other affiliate’s content.

Final Thoughts

It is evident that affiliate marketing is still a highly lucrative business worth considering today. However, individuals need to be aware that it is not the fast and easy pursuit that many think it is. This is purely a misconception and is the main reason why most individuals starting out end up quitting after a couple of months.

Affiliate marketing can yield enough profit to serve as both a passive and main source of income, for those individuals who are dedicated enough to put in the required amount of time. Patience is key, and therefore, you should not set the bar too high right from the beginning of your journey. Just keep your head down, put in the work, and you are highly likely to be rewarded for your efforts.