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Target Affiliate Program Review: Is It a Viable Alternative to Amazon Associates?

Buying your first phone was an event to remember.

You probably remember exactly what kind of phone it was, and how happy you were to use its new features. It seemed like the greatest thing on earth, at the time.

However, that phone started to get older. It didn’t work the same. And there were newer, better versions on the market. You probably didn’t even feel remorse when you replaced your first phone with your second.

For many affiliates, Amazon Associates was the first program that they started with. It was new, exciting and everything seemed wonderful. However, now people are questioning their reliance on Amazon Associates and are seeking alternatives.

That being said, is the Target affiliate program a viable option for former Amazon Associates? Who can really benefit from changing to Target?

We’re going to see how Target compares to Amazon, in both the positives and the negatives. Then we’ll see who especially could use a change to Target.

The Target Affiliate Program’s Commission Structure

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The big uproar against Amazon Associates came when they changed their commission structure in 2017. Those who once earned the highest rate because of their volume of sales were banished to the lowest earnings due to promoting products falling in a certain category.

Commissions with the Target affiliate program are also divided by category, as with Amazon Associates. However, the more monthly net orders you refer, the higher the commission rate goes.

Currently, there are four categories that can earn commission for affiliates: Apparel & Accessories, Home & Outdoor Living, Baby Gear & Furniture and Health & Beauty. Commissions range from 1% to 8%, depending on which category you’re in and how many sales you refer per month.

Apparel & Accessories and Home & Outdoor Living offer the best commissions, starting at 5% and going up to 8% once you’re referring over 10,001 sales per month. Baby Gear & Furniture reaches a high of 5%, while Health & Beauty stays low at 1%.

You can also get bonuses when people start a wedding, baby or college registry, or when they sign up for a REDcard. This will range from $4 to $8 per signup. You can see the full commission structure for Target here.

The Best Features of the Target Affiliate Program

A Large Range of Products

Target has a large variety of products for you to promote on your website. Target is known as an everything-store, and most affiliates can make this program work for them, no matter what niche they specialize in.

However, as we mentioned above, only four categories will actually earn commission for affiliates.

7-Day Tracking with an Interesting Bonus

While tracking on Amazon is a dismal 24 hours, the Target affiliate program includes 7-day tracking cookies on all affiliate links. That means you have a much greater chance of getting commission from a purchase!

Also, the Target affiliate program has an interesting bonus: You’ll get paid commission on any purchase that’s made during those 7 days, not just on the first purchase.

For example, let’s say someone clicks on your link today. Tomorrow, they end up purchasing what you recommended. Three days later, they decide to make another purchase on Target’s website. You’ll get commission, not just for the first purchase but for the second as well!

Creative Options for Advertising

Target’s affiliate program offers product widgets, banners and other creative material for affiliates to use along with their links. In fact, there are over 150 different banners available for use!

These banners are constantly updated. In this way, you can keep your users updated on sales, promotions or new merchandise available within the online store. Banners are also available in many different sizes, depending on how you want them displayed on your website.

The Ups and Downs of the Target Affiliate Program

Pros

  • Average commission rates. While the commissions from Target are by no means high, they are at least average for the industry.
  • Dedicated affiliate management team. Questions? Take them straight to Target’s dedicated team, and you’ll get a prompt response.
  • Wide variety of products to promote. Most niches can find a place to settle in the Target affiliate program.
  • Trusted brand. Target is well-known in the US. This will help your conversion rates, as you’re encouraging people to buy from a place they already know and trust.
  • Easy signup for multiple websites. If you’re an affiliate with multiple websites, it’s easy to get started on Target’s affiliate program. When you apply, just list all of the websites you want to use, and they’ll all be approved for affiliate marketing.
  • Multiple-purchase commissions. When someone clicks on your affiliate link, you will receive commissions for all purchases made within 7 days.
  • Options for creatives. With over 150 up-to-date banners, besides other creative materials, affiliates have plenty to place on their website.

Cons

  • Some categories have terrible (or nonexistent) commissions. For example, Health & Beauty has only a 1% commission, while many other categories won’t earn any commission at all.
  • Lower conversion rate than Amazon. Amazon dominates the online commerce market. Since Target is more known as a brick-and-mortar store, your conversion rates will probably be lower with them.
  • Program is run through Impact Radius. This could be a pro or a con, depending on whether or not you’re already signed up for Impact Radius.
  • Must be directed to a US market. While websites from other countries are allowed in the program, their content must be directed at a US audience, since Target is a US store.

Who Can Really Benefit from Using the Target Affiliate Program?

So is the Target affiliate program really a worthwhile alternative to Amazon Associates? Who could benefit from changing over?

Commission Comparison

You want the program that will earn you better commissions. So how do these two websites compare?

Currently, apparel and accessory items earn a flat 7% commission on Amazon. On the Target affiliate website, if you refer between 301-1000 sales each month in that category, you’ll be earning the same as with Amazon. However, if you refer over 10,001 sales, you’ll earn an 8% commission.

On Amazon, home products earn 8% commission, while outdoor products only earn 5.5%. With the Target affiliate program, you could be earning anywhere from 5% to 8% in those two categories, depending on how many sales you refer.

Additionally, the baby category on Amazon was reduced to a 4.5% commission. In the Target affiliate program, you could earn up to 5%.

For those who focus on the health and beauty category, you’ll earn anywhere between 4.5% to 10% with Amazon Associates. (The higher commission is only for luxury beauty products.) Meanwhile, Target will only give you a 1% commission for this category, no matter how many sales you refer.

Summary

You should consider changing to the Target affiliate program if:

  • You refer more than 10,000 sales per month.
  • Your main focus category is apparel, accessories, outdoors or baby products.
  • Your audience is mainly from the United States.

You should not consider changing to the Target affiliate program if:

  • You refer very few sales per month.
  • Your niche isn’t one of the higher-paying categories mentioned above. (For example, while electronics have a very low commission in the new Amazon Associates structure, you won’t get anything with the Target affiliate program.)
  • Your audience isn’t based in the United States.

Obviously, each affiliate must consider his or her own personal circumstances. If you’re stuck in a low-commission category in Amazon and refer a decent amount of sales per month, switching to Target could be a smart move for you. Especially in the apparel, accessories and outdoor categories, you’ll see a vast improvement in commission rate.

However, each affiliate must weigh the above factors when making a decision.

Conclusion

Amazon Associates isn’t dead yet. In fact, it’s still quite a good option for some affiliate marketers. But, as we’ve seen, some of the low-rate categories on Amazon could reach a higher commission by switching to Target’s affiliate program.

But what if you’re not terribly satisfied with either program?

Keep an eye out for an upcoming article on this blog that will discuss even more high-paying alternatives to the Amazon Associates program!

 
 

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