10 Best Pay per Click Affiliate Programs in 2020

There’s something very attractive about earning a passive income from affiliate marketing.

I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of a website that makes money while you sleep?

Exactly.

The problem is that “passive” income is rarely passive.

In fact, there’s a shitload of work involved to make income from any website even remotely hands-off.

But you can dramatically reduce the amount of work you have to put in by implementing pay-per-click affiliate programs.

That way you’re letting somebody else do all the hard work for you once your website is getting traffic.

You get paid for simply hosting links, images, or videos on your site that your visitors then click on.

Yes, that also describes display ad networks…where you get paid for each click you send to an advertiser.

But we’re not here to debate semantics.

Instead what we are going to do is show you 10 of the best pay per click affiliate programs out there.

We use or have used several of these ourselves.

Which is why we can earn this much in a single month.

Ah Affiliate Commissions Example

Or this much.

Ah Affiliate Commissions Example

Some of the programs we’re about to share with you rival the earnings potential of the Amazon Associates program.

But before we go any further.

There’s one more thing…

We need to check this off before we get to the details of the programs themselves.

It’s a basic, but entirely relevant, tip for improving your chances of being able to work with any of these companies.

Avoid discussing controversial or contentious topics on your site. 

End of.

If your site is already on the sharp side of edgy you’ll find that your options will be limited in terms of approval.

For those of you still in the early days of your content publishing career, do yourself a favor by avoiding topics such as politics, religion, sexuality, violence, guns, obviously illegal activities, malware, torrents, etc.

The advertisers represented by the programs listed below are 100% risk-averse and always will be.

10 Best Pay Per Click Affiliate Programs

  1. Adsense
  2. Media.net
  3. Ezoic
  4. Mediavine
  5. AdThrive
  6. Skim Links
  7. Propeller Ads
  8. Infolinks
  9. Outbrain
  10. Revenue Hits

Adsense

Google Adsense Homepage Screenshot

Google AdSense was my first foray into the world of contextual advertising and getting paid per click instead of per sale via affiliate links.

This was way back in the early 2000s.

A time when AdSense was the only game on the affiliate marketing block.

These days they have multiple competitors, many of them now outpacing Google’s offering.

The first issue is that AdSense is notoriously difficult to get approved for.

But more importantly, is that it’s become very difficult to earn a full-time income from just AdSense alone.

This is down to their RPM (rate per mille), which is basically how much money you can earn from 1,000 visitors.

In the good old days of PPC affiliate marketing RPMs of $30 were pretty common.

Even idiots like me could make money because you got paid anywhere from $1 to $10 per click.

Right now you’d be lucky to earn 10c per click unless you’re operating in a really lucrative niche e.g. affiliate marketing, insurance, or web hosting.

But it’s easy enough to make money in those niches without AdSense if you already have traffic.

Where Google leads the rest of the market is the success of their YouTube AdSense program with social media influencers.

They’re untouchable there…for now.

URL: Google AdSense sign-up

Traffic requirements: None

RPM: Up to $7

Affiliate program: None

Payment threshold: US$100

Payment frequency: Net 30

Media.net

Media Net Homepage Screenshot

Media.net is usually the first port of call for affiliate marketing publishers who want to make more as a PPC affiliate. 

Most newbies use AdSense as their default setting when trying to monetize their website

It then takes them months to figure out they could potentially double their income by signing up with other pay per click programs. 

Like Media.net, for example.

The increased earnings are made possible because they pull ads from the Yahoo Bing Network.

Plus, you don’t need to ditch AdSense to use Media.net – their ad units will happily co-exist on the same page. 

Which is usually what experienced affiliate publishers do to earn more from each click. 

In terms of RPM, this platform offers upwards of around $10, but you might earn more if you blog on topics like credit cards, personal finance, etc. 

We actually tested Media.net internally not too long ago.

The end result was a 5x increase in earnings from the exact same volume of traffic.

So this is a PPC affiliate program that’s definitely worth your while.

URL: Media.net sign-up

Traffic requirements: 5,000 monthly visitors

RPM: Up to $10

Affiliate program: Yes

Payment threshold: US$100

Payment frequency: Net 30

Ezoic

Ezoic Homepage Screenshot

Ezoic emerged as a competitor to AdSense way back in 2010.

A decade later Ezoic has started to enjoy a surge in popularity among affiliate marketing publishers, especially those with huge content sites.

So why are they swapping over to this PPC affiliate program?

The most obvious reason is that Ezoic offers a vastly improved RPM when compared to AdSense or even Media.net.

Basically, you can earn up to $15 per 1,000 visitors, putting it on par with many popular affiliate programs.

But your website needs to get 10,000 unique visitors per month at the bare minimum.  

Ezoic also focuses on optimizing ads on your site via machine learning (at least they didn’t call it A.I), so you won’t have to fiddle with the manual placement of ad blocks.

And finally, their referral program pays you 3% of your referral’s lifetime revenue.

URL: Ezoic sign-up

Traffic requirements: 10,000 monthly visitors

RPM: Up to $15

Affiliate program: Yes

Payment threshold: US$20

Payment frequency: Net 30

Mediavine

Mediavine Homepage Screenshot

Mediavine is the next step up the ladder for affiliates who are generating significant amounts of traffic and now want to make more money from that.

But this PPC affiliate program is far more selective about the publishers they work with, for starters. 

That’s not to say that other pay per click affiliate programs don’t work with high-quality websites and publishers.

It’s just that Mediavine takes things to the next level.

A perfect example of this is their barrier to entry – your site needs to have a bare minimum of 50,000 unique visitors per month.

So that roots out spammy content publishers uploading churn-and-burn affiliate marketing websites.

Which leaves more money in the pot for you.

And that brings us to discussing earning potential – Mediavine pay more per click.

In fact, they now occupy the space that Google AdSense once did with RPM’s of up to $30.

So a website with 50,000 visitors can expect to earn around $1,500 per month (probably more) as a PPC affiliate.

Or roughly as much money as you’d expect to make promoting products via Amazon’s Associate’s program.

Their payment terms are net 65 though which means that your February earnings would not be paid until May.

URL: Mediavine sign-up

Traffic requirements: 50,000 monthly visitors

RPM: Up to $30

Affiliate program: No

Payment threshold: US$25

Payment frequency: Net 65

AdThrive

Adthrive Homepage Screenshot

You might need to sit down if you’re still reeling from the fact that Mediavine seems to have such a high barrier to entry.

Comfy?

Good.

AdThrive requires websites to have a minimum of 100,000 unique visitors per month.

And even when you are approved they still vet your site to make sure your audience is a good fit for their advertisers.

They even check that you’re not on the shitlist with any other major pay-per-click affiliate programs. 

So again, the focus is on a high-quality symbiotic relationship between advertisers, publishers, and AdThrive themselves.

In terms of RPM, they pay in the region of $12 – $30 per 1,000 visitors.

Which places them well ahead of 90% of many other pay per click affiliate programs.

We’ve heard from a number of Authority Hacker students that they’ve increased their site revenue dramatically (like 3x – 5x) by simply swapping over to AdThrive.

URL: AdThrive sign-up

Traffic requirements: 100,000 monthly visitors

RPM: Up to $30

Affiliate program: No

Payment threshold: US$25

Payment frequency: Net 45

Skim Link Homepage Screenshot

Skimlinks is one of the older pay-per-click affiliate programs out there – outliving most of its competitors. 

As of right now, they offer affiliate marketers a way to monetize their content without relying directly on affiliate programs. 

Simply install their script on your site and it will then recommend products you can link out to from within your content.

How it works is that they pay a 75/25 split on all money earned through commissions. 

And you also don’t have to do any tracking or other nerdy stuff because they take care of that for you. 

The line between Skimlinks and pay-per-click affiliate programs is a little blurry because they represent affiliate programs instead of just advertisers.

But then they’re effectively the same thing.

They also run a referral program, one that pays you a 35% cut of your referrals’ commissions for their first 12 months with this PPC affiliate platform.

Just bear in mind that they pay net 90, so you’ll be waiting at least three months for your cash. 

Note: They no longer support Amazon as of March 31st, 2020.

URL: Skimlinks sign-up

Traffic requirements: None 

RPM: Varies depending on the niche

Affiliate program: Yes

Payment threshold: US$65

Payment frequency: Net 90-ish

Check out our in-depth Slimlinks review.

Propeller Ads

Propeller Ads Homepage Screenshot

You might not be familiar with PropellerAds but 150,000 affiliate publishers already are.

So, how do they compare to the other pay-per-click programs in our roundup?

For starters their ads are Google AdSense compatible, so you can display multiple affiliate ads on the same page. 

They also moderate their ad inventory to prevent any issues with malware, etc.

But they do serve adult content, so you’ll obviously need to make sure that works for your audience.  

Something else worth mentioning is that their claim of being able to bypass ad-blocking technology, adding around 20% to your bottom line. 

In terms of how much you can make with your ads, RPMs are up to $7 but not much more than that.

But when you do earn money you get paid really quickly – they pay out every Thursday once you’ve earned more than $5 in a given week.

That’s the fastest payment schedule of any of the affiliate programs listed here. 

And finally, you get a 5% cut of all revenue generated by referrals for their lifetime with PropellerAds.  

URL: PropellerAds sign-up

Traffic requirements: None

RPM: Up to $7

Affiliate program: Yes

Payment threshold: US$5

Payment frequency: Net 7

Infolinks Homepage Screenshot

Infolinks is another pay per click affiliate program in the same vein as Skimlinks.

They also claim to be the 3rd largest pay-per-click company of their type in the world.

And to be fair, they do serve ads for a pretty impressive list of brand names, such as Nike, Netflix, and others. 

What sets them apart from similar programs is that Infolinks analyzes your website traffic in real-time, serving up whatever ads best suit your visitor.

An RPM of up to $5, however, might not seem like anything to write home about in terms of making money. 

But there are two things to consider here:

  1. You’ll end up using their ads alongside other programs such as AdSense
  2. This is still 2x – 5x more than you’ll earn from a typical AdSense unit

They also give you the opportunity to make money with their referral program.

You’ll get paid 10% of the revenue generated by any affiliate publishers you refer to this platform.

URL: Infolinks sign-up

Traffic requirements: None

RPM: Up to $5

Affiliate program: Yes

Payment threshold: US$50

Payment frequency: Net 45

Outbrain

Outbrain Homepage Screenshot

Outbrain does things a little bit differently to pretty much any of the other pay-per-click affiliate programs listed here.

Most of these programs focus on having you host ads on your site, getting paid for each click.

But Outbrain also allows publishers to purchase ad space from other affiliate publishers on the network.

So it holds a lot of promise for advertisers and affiliate marketing publishers alike.

Which is probably why they’ve managed to stay in business for almost two decades now.

And also why they get to work with companies like 3M, Lego, Merck, Panasonic, Disney, and IHG, for example.

They claim to offer publishers the “highest RPMs”, which is all well and good…except they don’t provide any proof.

But after some digging around I found that most publishers enjoy a pretty healthy RPM of between $5 and $10 with the platform.

One nice touch though is that they’re constantly analyzing how ads on your site are performing, tweaking them to give you the best RPM.

You will, however, be waiting for up to three months to get paid. 

URL: Outbrain sign-up

Traffic requirements: 3 million monthly visitors (not a typo)

RPM: Up to $10

Referral program: No

Payment threshold: US$50

Payment frequency: Net 60 or Net 90

Revenue Hits

Revenue Hills Homepage Screenshot

And that brings us to RevenueHits – the last of the pay per click affiliate programs in this roundup.

But this is a program with an important difference.

RevenueHits is a CPA (Cost per Action) program – you’ll only get paid if somebody clicks on an ad and then completes an action.

So it’s similar to referring a visitor to an advertiser using traditional affiliate links in that you only make money when the advertiser gets paid.

This is unlike AdSense, and others, where you get paid every time somebody clicks on an ad unit.

Within reason – they obviously check for click farms, etc.

But the fact remains that there’s very little point in driving crappy affiliate traffic to RevenueHits offers.

It’s just not going to convert.

Is this affiliate program worth your time and effort?

The short answer is “Yes”, as long as you have a relatively high volume of warm traffic coming to your site.

That’s how you go about hitting those $10 RPM figures with affiliate programs such as this one.

They also offer a number of different ad formats including display, floating, footer, pop-under, and all the other usual suspects. 

This platform is apparently also slightly more tolerant of “edgy” content, so they’re definitely worth a look if you’ve been turned down by others.

And they also operate a referral program where you get paid 10% of everything a referral earns within their first 12 months of working with RevenueHits. 

URL: RevenueHits sign-up

Traffic requirements: None

RPM: Up to $10

Affiliate program: Yes

Payment threshold: US$20 (PayPal)

Payment frequency: Net 30

Over to You

It’s strange to look back from the end of this roundup on pay per click affiliate programs to see just how far Google has fallen in this market.

Once upon a time, they seemed absolutely untouchable.

These days Google has been completely eclipsed by companies with a fraction of their resources.

Which is bizarre.

But it’s also bloody good news for you because this is how the free market is meant to operate – the best provider(s) wins.

It’s allowed pay per click affiliate programs like AdThrive and Mediavine to rise to the top of the heap.

 And for literally dozens of other similar companies to thrive – way to drop the ball, Google!

This diversity also means that you have an additional way to make money with your affiliate site in the form of pay per click affiliate programs.

You’re not sure how to build an affiliate site?

No sweat – we’re happy to show you how to do that in our free web class.

Two hours of your time wisely invested will give you the knowledge and skills you need to get a basic website off the ground.

And no, it’s not a pitch fest where we spend 90% of our time talking about how great we are.

We actually teach you stuff – the same stuff most “gurus” hide inside an expensive course.

So, if you’re tired of bingeing Netflix or Disney+…or other material…why not sign up?

You have absolutely nothing to lose.

And a whole lot to gain.

Just tell us the best email address to send your invite to.

If you enjoyed this blog post, don’t forget to share it with your friends on social media. 

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