Software affiliate programs fall into the technology niche, a trendy multidirectional vertical with numerous sub-niches.
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Software affiliate programs fall into the technology niche, a trendy multidirectional vertical with numerous sub-niches. This is an incredibly popular niche with high commission rates. Over the last years, the software industry has developed massively.
Although lucrative, software download affiliate programs are less popular than some other niches, such as gaming, Nutra, or e-commerce. Many marketers probably consider software irrelevant to niches they work with; however, the truth is that software can relate to almost any niche: antivirus software, parental control apps and software (Qustodio), data recovery software (Stellar), licensed software from reputable brands like Microsoft, Corel, and others. All of us need protection against computer viruses or access to specific platforms that are not available without a VPN. We do work with documentation and pictures; hence, the software is literally everywhere.
Considering software affiliate programs, keep in mind that software is subdivided into B2C (business–to-consumer), B2B (business-to-business), and SaaS (software-as-a-service). Thus, you might be careful while choosing your target audience.
In fact, digital products are sometimes easier to promote. Let’s see what type of software you can promote via affiliate programs:
Software affiliate programs offer typical affiliate payment models, including:
For example, NordVPN pays 40% on commissions, Aweber — 30% on commissions, Adobe — up to 85% on commissions, and QuickBooks — up to $50 per sale. You don't want to miss a chance to top up your bank account.
Naturally, all your existing traffic sources might be efficient for software marketing campaigns.
Websites & blogs (SEO). There is nothing better than free organic traffic. High-quality content (with affiliate links) cannot be overestimated. Google processes over 50 000 searches per second. Do thorough keyword research, optimize your articles to strengthen your ranking in search results, and make your content visible to a wider audience. Prepare articles in the form of "how-to" guides, reviews, or comparisons — people search for this type of content when they consider purchasing or downloading software.
YouTube. When you have a YouTube channel, it is a bit easier as you already have an audience. In this case, choose a product your subscribers might be interested in and promote it. Another option is to open a dedicated YouTube channel specialized in software reviews, comparisons, and new software releases. Undoubtedly, you have to produce great valuable content to make visitors download the solutions you promote. An additional advantage is that you can join several affiliate programs for various software types. For example, you make a comparison between the top three antivirus solutions, VPN services, or graphics software. Implement SEO techniques for video titles and descriptions of your videos — YouTube is the second largest search engine and you want your content to be visible to the people who search for software reviews. Affiliate links are usually placed in descriptions to videos but do not feel timid to announce and invite users to click your link.
Social media. Social traffic, both free and paid, is just awesome. If you have your own audience, share your links in the form of recommendations with a detailed review of the software solution you promote. Paid campaigns can be lucrative if you invest time in studying potential customers and targeting the audience. Actually, social media like Facebook and Instagram provide great targeting options to make your campaign profitable. As usual, testing is a king. Test and optimize your campaigns for the best results.
Push notifications. This is a very powerful ad format for software download affiliate programs if used properly. The CTR is reaching 30% for some niches. To get good results with push ads, you need to create an engaging ad copy (don’t skip testing!) with a strong call to action and select target GEOs. The quality of traffic is variable and depends on the number of notifications users receive daily. Sending pushes too frequently might lead to bad results and poor conversions, so monitor and optimize your campaigns to ensure positive ROI.
Pop up & pop-under. Cheap traffic; however, be ready for lots of junk. There are many ad networks out there offering to deliver your ads. However, this ad format is unlikely to be efficient if you promote expensive top-notch software; while it might show great results for VPN or antivirus ads.
Besides, if you promote highly-specialized software, you can join industry-specific forums or communities and share your affiliate links with the target audience.
The choice of an affiliate program depends on several factors, including commissions, available traffic sources, and your experience as an affiliate marketer.
Tip 1. Try to choose products targeted at a wider audience or trending. It is difficult to promote solutions targeted at narrow, highly-specialized communities as professionals won’t trust ads, they will look for expert recommendations.
Tip 2. If you have a website/blog or followers on social media, base your choice on your existing audience. What are they interested in? What solutions might be useful for them? Try to picture a generalized profile of your reader/follower and define major interests and problems. Look for a product that can help to solve the problem.
Tip 3. Consider high-quality software solutions. Some products are costly, thus you might get a pretty good commission. While choosing a product to promote, pay attention to the developer’s reputation and quality of customer support. This aspect is of extreme importance in the software download niche.
It is an open secret that people do not like direct advertising, even your loyal audience. The key to success in affiliate marketing is treating a promoted product as your own. To assure readers or social media users to download specific software, you need to prove that the solution is valuable and efficient. Hence, spend some time developing a marketing strategy, based on the following steps offered by Pat Flynn:
Show the demo of the product. Demonstrate the product in action — people are more prone to spend money on something with proven functionality. The optimal way is to record a video showing how to use the product and how people can benefit from the product. If you are not into video guides, you may create a detailed guide “How to” post with step-by-step instructions and screenshots proving the efficiency of the tool. In either case (text post or video), the content should be personalized (do not hide your personality and attitude toward the product), interesting, and captivating.
Provide answers to the most common questions about the product (similar to FAQ). When you create a demo about the product, try to answer the most common questions potential customers can have about the product. Then, answer questions under your post/video/article — your attitude and attention help to build trust, which cannot be overestimated. People are more inclined to purchase something through your link when they trust you.
Interview the developers of the product (if possible). If you don’t have a chance to make an interview with the owner (manufacturer or developer) of the product, you may interview industry experts to get their opinion. You can record a video (Zoom or Skype), make it as a text post (when you correspond with a developer via email), or make a podcast.
Offer the product to your audience. Do not feel shy to promote a product via your blog or channel. Quite opposite, try to share your excitement about the product, particularly if you use the product yourself. But do not run to extremes and do not get too aggressive while promoting anything. Just tell more about the product via demos, podcasts, how-to and comparison articles, and answering questions.
Do not recommend other similar products. It doesn’t mean that you deny the existence of other products or diminish their value or performance. Instead, you highlight the advantages of the promoted product and tell how useful it proved to be in your case.
You can work with in-house affiliate programs or select a software download offer via an affiliate network. The main disadvantage of in-house programs is in high requirements for affiliates, so beginners without websites are unlikely to be accepted by internationally-known brands. The solution is to join one or several affiliate networks that usually accept beginners and select an offer there.
You may benefit from cooperating with an affiliate network: run several campaigns and see the results on a single dashboard; all commissions can be accumulated and received as a single payout; in most cases, you have an affiliate manager who directs you through available offers and recommends the most suitable for your traffic offers.
The recent case study shows how to run a VPN offer on Tier-1 countries (US) and iOS using push traffic. The marketer, who preferred not to reveal his name, noted that he follows information about affiliate offers from the newsletter of CPA networks.
Traffic: SocialBar CPC by Adsterra
CPA Network: Adsterra CPA Network
Offer: All traffic VPN
Period: April 27 — May 03
Income: $1 195.10
ROI: about 310%
The offer in this case study goes with the CPI flow:
The initial test limit for new affiliates is 100 conversions. Once you have passed successfully the quality check, limits can be expanded.
The landing page looked as follows:
First of all, the marketer highlighted the importance of communicating with your support manager. In most cases, support provides really valuable practice-based advice and recommends the best way to work with an offer.
So, he decided to go with the CPC model: in the preliminary stage, he had a bid of $0.018. He also noted that Adsterra helps to estimate the number of clicks the campaign can potentially get.
Important: You need to watch your CTR closely. If your creatives convert well, you are safe to lower the bid. Actually, the rule of the thumb is to test three creatives, then optimize the campaign with the best performing options.
When you promote software of any type, creatives in the form of system messages usually work well. In this case study, preliminary tests just confirmed this statement.
In this specific case, the best conversions the marketer achieved from the “Windows-style”(compact) messages. Below you can see the creatives used for this campaign:
The marketer decided to go with PNG images as they “usually have better quality”. He also had to create a prelander as there were no ready variants:
Based on his experience, he doesn’t recommend narrowing traffic too much. For instance, using the English language targeting can narrow the audience and remove a significant chunk of traffic.
The final settings targeted iOS 11.0 and above; $0.018 bid:
With minimal optimization and adjustment, the results looked as follows:
Total expenses for traffic with Adsterra were $290.9
Total revenue: $1 195.1
The marketer considered the results great and noted that he wasn’t really following the campaign. He also mentioned that he applied minimal optimization — and only updated the blacklists. That is why the outcome wasn’t bad at all.
Whatever niche you work with, you can always add a software affiliate program to earn some extra money. We use the software at almost every step of our daily life: work with documents or images, virus protection, VPN, backup solutions, parental control, etc.
As you see, the array of products to promote is massive and commissions are attractive. So, do not pass up a chance, choose an affiliate software offer, plan the campaign, and earn money.