How to Start an Affiliate Program on ShareASale


1. Is it necessary to start an affiliate program?
2. Which affiliate network to choose?
3. Outsource VS in-house
4. Start Affiliate Program on ShareASale   Q&As

1. Is it necessary to start an affiliate program?

You can try Google and Facebook first to see whether your products are competitive and attractive. If it does not work, it is suggested that the affiliate program will be hard to begin.

Advice from LinkShare: merchants’ websites that generate over $2 MM in online revenue tend to ramp up faster (3-6 months) and have a greater likelihood of success.

Affiliate marketing is also known for performance marketing. Apart from CPS (cost per sales) model, merchants need extra budget for placement buying during the holiday season which may be not a small amount. Take a look at the Groupon rate card for 2018 Q4.

Groupon rate card

2. Which affiliate network to choose?

When choosing a fit affiliate network for your business, you need to consider the following factors.

  • Target Market
  • Setup fee
  • Management fee
  • Monthly Minimum Fee
  • Type and number of affiliates
  • Number of competitors
  • Agreement term
  • Tracking method (image, iframe, s2s, API)

Check the fee charged by different affiliate networks. (note: data collected by Bob in 2019) If you are a small business owner targeting the US market, then ShareASale is a good fit for you.

Affiliate Network Setup fee Minimum deposit Contract-time Transaction fee
CJ $3,000 $3,000 12 month 3% revenue share OR 30% affiliate commission,$500 monthly minimum
ShareASale by Awin $550 $100 / 30% affiliate commission,$35 monthly minimum,
LinkShare (Rakuten) $1,000 $3,000 13 month 3% revenue share OR 30% affiliate commission,$500 monthly minimum-with 30 days waived
Admitad $500 TBC 12 month 30% affiliate commission,  $200 monthly fee for account management

Learn more about the top affiliate networks by mThink.

3. Outsource VS in-house

Whether you have an in-house affiliate team or outsource your affiliate programs to OPM, you need to consider:

  • Budget & KPI
  • Tracking
  • Anti-fraud
  • Apple IPT 2.2, GDPR, FTC

4. Start Affiliate Program on ShareASale   Q&As

shareasale affiliate network

a) Does ShareASale have any requirement for sales or traffic of the advertiser’s site?

ShareASale doesn’t require that a Merchant has any sort of amount of sales or traffic in order to get started.

b) What about the account setup fee and commission ShareASale charges for verified sales?

To get started as a Merchant, there is a one-time network access fee of $550. During setup, you would be required to make a $100 minimum deposit to pre-fund your account to put towards affiliate commissions as well as our transaction fee will be deducted from that balance, Our transaction fee is 20% based on the commission amount.

For example, if you set a 10% commission for your program and an affiliate refers a $100 sale, they would receive $10 and ShareASale would receive $2, leaving you with a total payout of $12 on a single transaction. There is a monthly minimum that would require your account to generate $25  in fees, and that goes into effect 120 days after activation.
Update (2019): 30+ after Activation  $35 Minimum Per Month

Detailed pricing info can be found here:

c) How long will the agreement last? If we want to close the program for bad performance, is it OK?

ShareASale doesn’t have any term agreements for Merchants. You are free to use our service and platform for as long as you’d like, and close it out if you feel that your marketing efforts are better spent outside if the Affiliate space.

d) How long does it take to get the pixel integrated and launch the program?

Typically, it takes about 1-2 weeks for ShareASale Merchants to navigate our setup wizard. However, we’ve seen Merchants go through it as quickly as a day. It really depends on the speed at which you’re able to move through setup. Below, I’ll provide a guide for what’s required for each step, as this might help you better plan for integration:

First and foremost, you’ll want to get a Merchant ID and account access here:

That will introduce you to the setup wizard which is described more in these posts:

  • Step 1: Commissions:
  • Step 2: Attract Affiliates:
  • Step 3: Managing Affiliates:
  • Step 4 & 5: Placing and Testing the Tracking Code:
  • Step 6: Setup Fee and Deposit:
  • Step 7 & 8: Customize your campaign and get activated:

e) How many advertisers and affiliates on the vertical of…?

ShareASale currently has 7000+ Merchants being promoted by a pool of Affiliates that we’ve been building over the last 18 years.

While the amount of Affiliates is significant, ShareASale strays from giving specific numbers as this doesn’t present Merchants with a clear expectation of how their program will fair. Essentially, the amount of Affiliates on our network doesn’t guarantee your success if those Affiliates aren’t interested in promoting your websites.

This means that it’s up to our Merchants to present their best selves and present Affiliates with an exciting idea of why they should apply to join their program(s). In part, ShareASale provides you with these tools to build an attractive and competitive program, but it’s completely up to you how you’ll use them within your program.

If you’re looking for specific regarding some of your competitors within the space, we invite you to sign up for a free Affiliate account, as this will allow you to browse Merchants/Advertisers by category, providing you with an understanding of what similar Merchants are doing to find success on ShareASale.

f) Advanced tracking

Advanced Tracking

g) GA Integration

Regarding GTM, ShareASale has the ability to automatically append Google Analytics query string data to all ShareASale links, improving data capture between ShareAsale and Google Analytics. This includes both links that you build and landing pages that affiliates build out. Affiliates are not typically aware of your designed Google Analytics query string format, so we recommend that you have ShareASale globally append query string data to all links so that affiliate links are properly tagged and reporting into Google Analytics.

Please note, ShareASale is able to add (affiliate ID) and (banner ID) dynamically on globally appended query strings.
As such, we typically recommend the following format for Google Analytics:
utm_source=ShareASale&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=(affiliate ID)_(banner ID) where (affiliate ID) and (banner ID) are dynamically replaced with respective ID values.

Your account needs to be activated before the parameters will work.

h) data feed

Here is a helpful link on how to create a data feed:

Here are also some instructions and attachments.


There are 6 mandatory fields that are required in every data feed file and data must be filled in for each cell of each product listed. The six required fields are:

  • SKU (column A) – must be unique, duplicate SKU’s will be removed
  • URL to Product (column C)
  • Price (column D)
  • Category (column I) – must correspond to the ShareASale numeric options listed below the data feed specifications table
  • Subcategory (column J) – must correspond to the ShareASale numeric options listed below the data feed specifications table
  • Your Merchant ID (column N)

Please note that although there are only 6 mandatory columns where data must be populated, all columns must be represented in the file and in the specified order. So, even if a column allows a Null value, the column must be included in your CSV file and can be treated as blank space if you choose to not enter any data in the field.

Data feed through FTP
ShareASale’s feed solutions work on a push rather than a pull basis. You can push your datafeed file to the ShareASale FTP. We will then pick up and process the file from our FTP. In order to get started, please let me know the IP address(es) you will be pushing the file from. I will then whitelist your IPs and provide you with FTP credentials.

Would you be able to use sFTP instead? Doing so will dispense with the IP match requirement. Alternatively, a more slimmed down list of IPs would also work.

Datafeed Management Companies 
Some companies we work with but you are not limited too are Your Store Wizards, SmartFeed,, GoDatafeed, Merchant Advantage, Solid Cactus, DataFeedWatch, Channel Advisor, Single Feed, Mercent Retail, FEEDGENI, and ShoppingFeeder.

i) Recruitment tool

Find New Affiliates with the Recruitment Tool

Pay attention to the agreement or you will need to pay more money if you break it.


You need to prepare for creative such as

  • Affiliate program page on your site
  • Banners, coupons, text links
  • Affiliate program bio and agreement

Learn More: Affiliate Marketing Guide

Wishing you all the best and much success!

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