Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative source of revenue if you know a high-quality platform to start on. Both ClickBank and JVZoo are respectable and widely used platforms, and both have their pros and cons.
We'll compare the two in meticulous detail before reaching a conclusion on which is the better option for affiliates. Before this, however, there is a more fundamental question to answer — is affiliate marketing worth your time?
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Affiliate marketing is more popular than most laymen think. According to 99firms, more than 80% of all marketers dabble in affiliate marketing at some point in their careers. The reason for this is simple — the affiliate sector can be incredibly lucrative as a passive income source.
Passive income — contrary to its pop-culture representation — isn't free money. It requires a lot of learning and putting in hard work in the beginning so that you can reap the benefits later. Affiliate marketing isn’t a money-grabbing scheme either, though it tends to be portrayed as such by other industries.
Platforms such as ClickBank and JVZoo are legitimate affiliate marketing networks where members stand to earn a lot with the right approach — if they pick the right one for their niche.
Affiliate marketing is a branch of online marketing whose existence is based on the part of a product's life cycle.
Most customer-facing vendors are selling their products online in 2020. The days of retail-only shops are long gone. According to Frost and Sullivan, B2C online sales alone will surpass the three billion mark by the end of 2020, with B2B lagging closely behind.
It’s important to note that most people who manufacture products or market them as wholesaler vendors don’t have a lot of web-savviness. That's not their branch. Over the past twenty years, entire industries have popped up around the growing demand for the easy creation of a business's online presence.
Page builders such as ClickFunnels offer simple visual interfaces for web programming and design to simplify tedious coding for small business owners. Many vendors, however, do not want to deal with marketing themselves — they just want to secure additional sources for lead generation.
Affiliate marketers come in to fill this gap:
Manufacturers or vendors offer a product to affiliate marketing networks
Affiliate marketers apply to promote the product through their online channels
Consumers learn about the product due to the affiliates’ efforts
Consumers make a sale and become paying customers
Affiliates take an agreed-upon percentage of the selling price as their commission
This simple yet genius process is what makes affiliate marketing affordable for vendors and profitable for affiliates.
According to Awin, over 80% of all brands use affiliate marketing in their advertising campaigns to a certain extent. Now that we’ve taken a brief look at how affiliate marketing works, the next question is — why do marketers and businesses use networks such as ClickBank and JVZoo?
The role of ClickBank-esque networks is one of an intermediary between the vendors who provide products and the marketers who advertise them. We will explain the pricing schemes of both JVZoo and ClickBank in more detail below, but suffice it to say that both have their own ways of extracting a profit from the process.
So, why do the other parties that make up the affiliate marketing chain require an intermediary in the form of affiliate networks in the first place? Wouldn’t both marketers and vendors earn bigger profits by communicating directly? There are a couple of reasons why this isn’t true:
Platforms such as ClickBank and JVZoo represent the quickest way for affiliate marketers to find prospective vendors and vice versa. It’s important to note that this is particularly true for ClickBank, as it offers a wider variety of products compared to the more niche JVZoo experience.
Even if you opt for an affiliate network that focuses on a particular product category, you will still find a vendor willing to let you promote their products far quicker than you would on your own. There are exceptions to this rule. For instance, hugely popular influencers and household names in the industry rarely go through such platforms. They are more likely to be directly approached by vendors instead.
However, this is only true for YouTube marketers with millions of followers or marketing titans such as Neil Patel. The likes of ClickBank are the most convenient option for mid-tier marketers, who make up the majority of advertisers online.
These platforms also enable a level of quality control that more than justify their role in the marketing process. ClickBank is known to routinely check their vendor base for shoddy products that are unsellable and remove them promptly. That takes out a lot of guesswork for the marketers on the platform and helps them avoid hopeless sunk cost fallacies.
In the end, affiliate marketing platforms actually save a lot of resources for both vendors and marketers. The former don’t have to burn through their marketing budgets by creating their own network of affiliates from the ground up. The latter can avoid spending a lot of time searching for vendors, cutting down on “non-billable” hours.
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There are plenty of affiliate marketing networks on the Internet in 2020. Some of them are made to cater to a specific product niche, while others serve a general market with a wide variety of products.
ClickBank and JVZoo are the most popular affiliate platforms today. Both do an excellent job of connecting vendors and marketers to mutual benefit. Each has ups and downs, but the question is — how do you wager these and make a decision?
We will compare the platforms across a variety of categories:
Associated affiliate costs
Ease of use
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Choosing an affiliate platform means considering what kind of products you can promote as a part of its network. ClickBank and JVZoo differ hugely in that regard.
The ClickBank marketplace contains an incredible variety of product categories and subcategories. Affiliates promote both digital products and physical items on this platform, provided by thousands of different vendors. Some of the groups include:
Software & Services
Cooking, Food & Wine
As Seen On TV
Arts & Entertainment
Compared to ClickBank, JVZoo has a far narrower product focus. The affiliates based on JVZoo almost exclusively sell computer software used for digital marketing. In this regard, your choice between the two platforms depends on your product niche.
ClickBank Vs. JVZoo — Product Variety
An assortment of digital marketing products such as SEO audit tools.
A vast variety of product niches and vendors
Someone who is still undecidedly exploring what niche they want to work in would be better off trying to advertise ClickBank products. This would allow them to try different things and settle on a niche they’re most comfortable with in the end.
Affiliate marketers that already have experience in the business and are confident of their desire to work in the digital marketing niche are better suited for JVZoo. This platform contains vendors selling a variety of products in that particular niche.
It should be noted that every affiliate platform out there contains a certain number of junk products. Regardless of how detailed and careful their product screening is, at the end of the day, every affiliate platform wants to offer enough product variety to its affiliates.
ClickBank does have a strong reputation when it comes to product quality. If you want to make money from ClickBank, you can do so for years and never promote a single shoddy product. Its vetting process is more than satisfactory.
JVZoo leaves more to be desired in this regard. They are more lenient when it comes to product quality because they want to attract more niche vendors to the platform. That can be less than ideal for affiliates because many vendors don't provide you with product demos. If you put your online authority behind a junk product, you may lose commissions due to customer refunds.
In terms of profitability, however, both platforms have a lot to offer to their affiliates. Professional affiliate marketers that are capable of attracting a broad target audience to their content channels can select high-quality products on both ClickBank and JVZoo. These usually offer a smaller commission, but the difference is made up if you generate enough sales.
ClickBank Vs. JVZoo — Product Quality
Subpar product quality screening
Adequate product quality policies
Every affiliate marketing network is a for-profit business enterprise, meaning that they have to make money off your sales as well. ClickBank and JVZoo approach this with different pricing schemes:
ClickBank charges a flat entrance fee of $49.95 to its vendors, while affiliate marketers can join for free. The platform doesn't take a percentage of sales from affiliates, taking 7.5% of the selling price from the vendors, and an additional one dollar instead. Once affiliates withdraw their commissions from their ClickBank balance, the platform takes a flat $2.50 from that.
We’ll explain it via a practical example if all of this sounds too confusing. Let’s say that an affiliate selling text message marketing software makes a $50 sale at a 50% commission rate.
The affiliate would receive $25 in their ClickBank balance, and the platform would take $2.9 out of the vendor’s profits. Later, whenever the affiliate withdraws their combined commissions (meaning earnings from other sales and other products as well) from their ClickBank balance, they will pay $2.50 to the platform.
JVZoo, conversely, charges affiliates 5% of each sale they make. If the previously described deal had happened on JVZoo, the affiliate would pay $2.50 to the platform for a $50 purchase.
In this case, the cut taken by both affiliate networks is equal. The ClickBank pricing scheme is more complicated, but it is more favorable for affiliates in the long run. It’s crucial to note that they take their sale percentage from both vendors and affiliates, while JVZoo lets affiliates bear the brunt of the cost.
This is made even truer by the fact that ClickBank lets you set your payout schedule. For instance, you can adjust it so that the platform transfers your commissions once per month. That would make your entire processing fee for the period $2.50.
ClickBank Vs. JVZoo — Affiliate Expenses
5% of the price of each sale
$2.50 for each payout
Both platforms have a similarly simple registration process:
Navigate to the affiliate network website
Find the signup page
Enter the required personal and contact information
Verify your email
There are no entry fees for any of the platforms, and both are available across a variety of countries.
One of the issues with the affiliate marketing world, in general, is the fact that many platforms are notoriously tardy when it comes to affiliate payouts.
ClickBank is exceptional in this regard — their affiliate payments are not only always on time, but their affiliates can choose when and how they want to be paid. Your ClickBank account settings contain a payment threshold that you set.
Once your combined earnings cross that threshold, you will receive a payment via your preferred payment method. The platform supports:
Direct deposits (in selected areas)
JVZoo is far worse than ClickBank in this category. Their payout schedule depends on the vendors, as they are the ones that pay affiliates directly. This is both good and bad — some JVZoo vendors pay their members instantly, as soon as they make a sale. Others, however, delay payments for months on end.
The payout times are defined by vendors before affiliates start cooperating for them. That means JVZoo affiliates can choose vendors that have a more favorable payout policy — in theory. In practice, picking and selecting vendors in the JVZoo market isn't realistic. You will be forced to suffer through payment delays at some point on this platform.
JVZoo and ClickBank are similar in many ways, and the former is one of the best ClickBank alternatives out there. When it comes to payouts, however, JVZoo can't compete. Payout frequency is one of the biggest reasons why marketers tend to opt for ClickBank in the end.
Many affiliate marketing platforms force their members to deal with customer support for the products that they advertise. This is an obvious hassle, and something most marketers would want to avoid.
JVZoo and ClickBank free their affiliates from dealing with customers directly.
ClickBank's staff handles all of the customer support for the products found on their platform. JVZoo doesn't deal with customer support internally, but their vendors manage that part of the product life cycle instead.
Both methods are equally adequate from the perspective of an affiliate — the most crucial part is that you don't have to do it.
When we take all of the above into consideration, we can answer the most critical question — which platform is better overall?
Our vote goes to ClickBank.
This doesn’t mean that JVZoo is not worthy of your time. Professional online marketers who want to do some reseller marketing will find that this platform offers a wider variety of options in their niche. Outside of their niche, however, ClickBank has more quality-of-life features for its affiliates.
ClickBank offers more choices when it comes to different product categories, while JVZoo focuses on digital marketing products — for better or for worse.
In terms of product quality, ClickBank has a superior screening process. You won’t have to deal with as many refunds from unsatisfied customers as you would on JVZoo.
Their affiliate fee structure is radically different, but ClickBank tries to earn more from its vendors than from its affiliates. Neither platform forces affiliates to work as customer support representatives either.
If we only took these factors into account, the two platforms would be roughly the same in terms of quality. The issues JVZoo has would be evened out by their niche focus.
However, ClickBank is far more serious about their payout policies. Affiliates don't have to worry about whether their payments will be late, or how much the vendors care about paying them on time. This is a significant drawback of JVZoo — one that puts them in a close second place instead of being tied for the first.
The fact that ClickBank pays its affiliates directly instead of leaving it up to the vendors is an advantage that can’t be ignored.
ClickBank and JVZoo are top-rated affiliate marketing networks. JVZoo is better for advertising digital marketing products, but ClickBank is a higher-quality platform overall.
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