CJ Affiliate is one of the oldest and most reputable affiliate networks. Founded in 1998 as Commission Junction (owned by advertising conglomerate ValueClick), the network has quickly gained the reputation of one of the leading platforms in the affiliate market. At the beginning of 2014, Commission Junction was rebranded and became CJ Affiliate by Conversant. As of now, CJ Affiliate has 15 offices all over the world.
Like many other affiliate networks, CJ Affiliate is a one-stop-shop platform for both affiliates and advertisers. This is a win-win cooperation. Advertisers expand their online presence, promote and sell their products and services, while affiliates earn commissions from sales/installs/subscriptions. The network benefits too. Affiliate networks serve as mediators in a junction ‘advertiser-affiliate’.
Note, the network benefits from marketers’ success: the more traffic a marketer generates, the more commission he earns, and the more the network earns. Important fact: network’s earnings aren’t deducted from your commission. In fact, networks make deals with advertisers. In some cases, businesses are even more interested in the cooperation with a network than affiliate marketers because networks help them in reaching their objectives and success (see Success Stories below).
Marketers (‘Publishers’) are rewarded for promoting products and/or services to their existing audiences (websites/blogs, social media) or new advertising channels. In fact, bloggers and website owners with established audiences and good traffic benefit the most because they have free organic traffic. Affiliate programs help them turn their visitors into customers and earn commissions from advertisers.
CJ Affiliate network provides CPA (pay-for-performance) affiliate offers from 3000+ advertisers. The network is well-known for its partnership with the top brands, like Barnes & Nobles, GoPro, J.Crew, etc.
Yes, most offers are CPA, hence, affiliates receive their commissions only when users carry out a specific action, for example, subscribe, provide the required data, purchase, etc. Occasionally, you can find some affiliate offers with pay-per-click or pay-per-view.
As for verticals, CJ Affiliate provides affiliate offers for almost all industries, including e-commerce, finance and banking, health and beauty, travel, technology, etc.
CJ Affiliate is free to join, but affiliates have to be approved by advertisers too. There is no minimum traffic to get approved; however, some advertisers review your blog/website in terms of content quality and optimization. Yes, you still can join CJ Affiliate without having a website (you might confirm your social media presence in this case), but your choice of affiliate programs will be limited. With no results in six months, your account can be deactivated.
To sum up, you have to comply with two major requirements to become a CJ publisher:
Step 1. Click to visit the sign-up page, provide your contact information, and verify your e-mail.
Step 2. When you get the e-mail, click "Create my CJ Publisher Account".
Step 3. Now you’re redirected to the Publisher Sign-up Form. After sign-up, you’re redirected to the CJ Account Manager. The dashboard offers all the key sections, such as performance, network statistics, and messages.
Step 4. To join affiliate programs, you should fill in data in your Network Profile (website description, promotional methods, and documents). Here you enter information about your blog or website: name and URL, target audience and type of content, vertical/category, and current monthly unique visitors. Note, there is an option “Not launched yet”. As for promotional methods, they might include preferable marketing channels, for example, blog posts, social media, e-mail marketing, etc. Section “Documents” is optional, but increases chances to be approved by advertisers. You may mention your media kit and so on.
Step 5. Account —> Administrative settings. Here you provide some payment details and tax information. You select a preferred payment option (direct deposit, Payoneer, or check) and enter tax data.
CJ Affiliate has a 2-level approval system for affiliates. First, you have to be approved by the network. Second, applying for an affiliate offer you should be approved by an advertiser. As for advertisers, as often as not the approval is almost instant or automatic, but sometimes it can take a couple of days or even a week (usually with large brands). The network boasts an impressive range of affiliate programs, from gardening to high-tech and automotive. That is to say that every marketer will find an offer to match his vertical or sub-vertical. To find affiliate offers to promote, you go to Advertisers —> Category. To find an offer, you can use filters by Events (Christmas, Cyber Monday, etc.), Link types (text links, banners, widgets, etc.), or Promotion types (sales, sweeps, etc.)
CJ Affiliate provides the information about the performance of advertisers directly on the website. This is useful for affiliates when making a decision on which products or services to promote. Searching for an affiliate program to promote, you should check program description, commission rate, EPC, cookie length, traffic source, etc.
Well, CJ advertisers are known for being picky. In case you are rejected to join the selected program, don’t surrender yourself to despair, just move on to the second option.
Once you’re approved, you get the promotional materials, such as links, banners, widgets, etc. Tip: for banners and flash links you can get a preview by hovering over the icon. You’ll get an idea of how a banner will look on your website.
To check your tracking ad code, click "Reports —>Performance Reports". If you see clicks/impressions on your link, the tracking works well.
Important: Keep a check on notifications. If a link or an ad doesn’t work, you will be notified. Also, offers might get expired, and advertisers might leave or close the program.
As one of the industry’s leading platforms, CJ Affiliate allows publishers to monetize their blogs and websites through cooperation with numerous world-class brands and provides innovative tools and solutions to maximize the performance.
Moreover, affiliates can become certified publishers. Content certified publishers have special bonuses from CJ Affiliate, such as automatic connection with more than 600 premium brands, pre-approved access to advertisers for special rates, etc. Check the Content Certification page, maybe your blog/website complies with all the requirements. To qualify for the status of CJ certified publisher, you need to make not less than $10 000 monthly in commissions and work with several CJ advertisers.
This is one of the strongest features of the CJ Affiliate network. A detailed reporting system with extensive functionality provides tons of data, including the possibility to fragment the report by the advertiser and/or website, which comes handy when you need to evaluate the efficiency of the campaign and general performance. The control panel allows adjusting account settings, messages from advertisers, and reports. The dashboard is intuitive and provides a performance summary, important announcements, and EPC stats.
Real-time reporting provides up-to-the-minute analytics that allows marketers to monitor activity on-the-run.
Another great feature of CJ Affiliate is selectivity. CJ publishers can choose the specific product from an advertiser and decide on where to display it. Many affiliate networks combine several products in a single ad code, but that is not the case with CJ Affiliate. This approach allows you to customize promo-materials to match your website and your audience.
Payment options: Payoneer, direct deposit, check. The minimum payout threshold is $50 for Payoneer and Direct deposit, $100 for the check. The network pays affiliates within 20 days of the end of the month. However, you need to know that some advertisers release your commission on the 10th of every month matching the standard locking method of CJ Affiliate, while there are advertisers that release commissions after 45 days of purchase or lead generation. As of now, CJ Affiliate doesn’t provide PayPal or bank card payout options.
Besides a standard set of affiliate instruments, CJ Affiliate provides various widgets and deep link automation, real-time transaction monitoring, view-through tracking, Site-to-Store, Pay for Performance, and Pay per Call. As you see, the publisher toolkit contains loads of handy instruments to manage activities and track performance. Besides, publishers can create customized reports with all details they need to evaluate the performance. Another practical tool is the Mobile package. The network supports cross-device activity for testing, tracking, and optimizing campaigns. You can simply download the application to your phone or tablet (iOS and Android) and have all the data at hand.
Karen’s partnership with CJ Affiliate had begun before the network was rebranded. However, the main principles of affiliate marketing haven’t changed much. She used her blog as a solid platform for generating traffic in the first place. SEO and Adwords were deployed to drive traffic to the blog. The payment history speaks for itself — she invested time and effort that paid off via affiliate marketing.
Hrishikesh Roy, a marketing coach and the owner of RoyDigital, shares with his audience his experience of working with CJ Affiliate (former Commission Junction). Unfortunately, the presentation is largely in Indian with some comments and remarks in English (I used a voice-to-text translation app to understand the speech). However, all screenshots from the dashboard are in English.
According to Hrishikesh Roy, "the best way to earn from affiliate marketing is to create a niche blog website". Fresh and unique content seasoned with SEO brings you dedicated traffic, which (using your marketing skills) "will end up converting into your affiliate product sales".
Being a marketing coach and trainer, Hrishikesh doesn’t reveal all his tricks and techniques, but he offers some "giveaways" and free materials to make people interested along with his own digital marketing course "Auto-Pilot Sales".
Olympia Sports was a novice to the e-commerce space, but cooperation with CJ Affiliate the brand "leveraged the power of affiliate marketing and saw tremendous growth."
Having launched its website in 2018, Olympia Sports joined CJ Affiliate in 2019 intending to help grow the online business. Steady growth was recorded but the brand increased investments to "spur further growth" to expand brand reach via high-performing publishers. As a result, Olympia Sports noticed two high-performing websites and worked closely with the Publisher Development Team to "secure optimal rates for placements". Finally, the brand got strong traffic, sales, and, hence, revenue growth from affiliate channels. According to the Affiliate Marketing Director of one of these websites, "… we [affiliates] can focus on growth strategies; they [CJ Affiliate] handle much of the logistics and data analysis behind the scenes."
Skipping ahead: 6-month partnership with CJ Affiliate helped Lacoste to:
To drive on-brand growth and to target full price consumers, Lacoste decided to partner with CJ Affiliate to access top content publishers, which weren’t available via other networks. The CJ team made Lacoste affiliate program Content Certified, so the brand accessed the network of 2 000+ high-quality publishers (aka influencers). As a result of an audience research, several platforms (“with audience overlaps”) were selected for ad placement.
No wonder that the CJ Affiliate network, despite its status of an iconic affiliate network, has its own pros and cons. Actually, opinions differ. Many marketers consider as a disadvantage the network’s requirement of having a website/blog, whereas others think of it as an advantage.
Warning: CJ Affiliate can reverse your commission and ban your account due to any suspicious activity. So, do not click on your affiliate link (even if you want to check whether it works or not), do not use VPN to check your link, do not try to purchase anything using your affiliate link. Even worse, prevent any fishy IPs and/or VPN users from your platform (yes, this is a challenging task). Some CJ publishers note that the CJ Affiliate network does not notify its affiliates about any suspicious activity (no alerts on the dashboard). This is the aspect publishers hope to be improved in the nearest future.
Well, CJ Affiliate is still one of the best affiliate networks, particularly for beginners: a stable platform with an extensive array of tools. Experienced marketers and webmasters might benefit from the Certified Publisher program. Oftentimes, leading brands set high requirements for their in-house affiliate programs. CJ Affiliate allows working with several major merchants via a single platform.
How quick will you earn commissions? If your blog/website is still crispy new with only a few clicks daily, it might take time. Established platforms with loyal audiences earn on affiliate marketing pretty fast. Once you join CJ Affiliate, advertisers can contact you directly by inviting you to join their programs.
Finally, joining CJ might look like a hassle (with a 2-level approval process) and quite challenging, but the network is all the way trustworthy. Well, be that as it may, affiliate marketing is about patience too. Add here an impressive amount of advertisers (some brands partner with CJ Affiliate exclusively), so marketers have an ample reason to cooperate with the platform.