Guest Post: 10 Reasons Why Affiliate Campaigns Fail: The Common Mistakes

Affiliate marketing has been a popular source of income online for almost 20 years.

However, many influencers and bloggers have come to disregard affiliate campaigns as they are paid more on a paid post basis.

Let’s explore the many reasons why affiliate campaigns fail and the mistakes often made by influencers, content creators and bloggers when trying to craft them.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”

Theodore Roosevelt

Before we dive into the strategies and techniques required for affiliate success, the first step all successful affiliates take is analysing and evaluating themselves, their “show” (blog, vlog, social accounts, etc.) and their audience.

Mistake #1: Not checking in with yourself

This is often overlooked by people because they think, “I know why I’m here, I don’t need to remind myself.”

Don’t make this mistake!

Without first understanding who you are, what’s unique about you, what your niche is, what your sub-niches are and what makes you attractive as a character it is likely you’ll miss a key reason as to why your audience will purchase through you.  

What you need to realise is your show is your business and your audience are your customers. Every business needs to tailor its message, branding and offerings to their existing or dream customers.

Your audience follow you because they respect your opinion when it comes to a particular niche. So, really understanding what your niche is and why they respect you is the key.

(Keep your eyes peeled for a future post on actionable ways to do this ‘check in’)

Mistake #2:  Not paying close attention to website tracking

Once you’ve checked in with yourself, it’s time to take a look at the vehicle you are taking your customers on the journey with…

Website/social media tracking is where you can build a clearer picture of what currently works and what doesn’t.

If you don’t take advantage of the tools out there to properly track the successes and failures of your site then you are much less likely to succeed with your affiliate endeavors.

Valuable insights such as what your top performing posts are, what days are best to post on, what time is best to post and frequency of posts can all contribute to better affiliate success.

Mistake #3: Not taking the time to get to know your audience

Through a combination of knowing your niche, what attracts people to you and what is working on your site, you can build valuable insights about your audience.

The game of knowing your audience is perhaps the most important aspect of affiliate campaigns as you are directly persuading people to purchase products through your links.

You wouldn’t start a restaurant in your local area without first finding out what people would like to eat…

The same applies for affiliate campaigns, you need to be totally in sync with what your audiences’ problems/desires are, find the solution and give it to them.

One actionable way to do this is AB testing your audiences responsiveness to different product categories, brands and timings/frequencies of posting; there’s a ton of valuable insights to be gained from this.

I hope this has cleared up why overlooking the evaluation of yourself and your show can easily result in very poor affiliate results.

Mistake #4: Forgetting Previous Campaign Insights

Continuing this theme of using what you’ve already got, if you’ve ever got involved with affiliate campaigns before then you already have access to valuable insights on what works and what doesn’t…

Not taking advantage of these insights is to not learn from your mistakes or your successes; here is a personalised roadmap of what works and what doesn’t – use it!

What doesn’t work should be as much of a focus as what does work, using the correct strategies alongside some that have failed in the past will lose you more sales than it gains you.

The Wrong Choices

All of the above was about using what you’ve already got to your advantage to gain valuable insights into what sparks the fire with your audience. To make the most of these stay tuned for our upcoming “check in” post.

If you have done the above correctly then you are less likely to make other mistakes like:

Mistake #5: Choosing the wrong products

If you’ve looked at your top posts and delved into what your audience likes then you are much less likely to make a brand or product blunder.

It may be that you like a specific brand or have been offered a high commission rate by them, however this doesn’t matter unless your audience is going to relate to the brand and ultimately end up purchasing from them.

Consider asking your followers what they think of the brand, or better yet, ask which brands are their favourites and which they’d like to see you sport. They’ll appreciate you taking the time to ask and it’ll show you care what they think.

This will all help build a community and turn people into hardcore fans.

Mistake #6: Choosing Quantity over Quality

If you’ve looked into your previous affiliate efforts as well as why your audience follow you and what they expect then you’ll find the right balance between content creation and promotional content.

If you try to sell too often then you’ll lose authenticity and if you don’t sell enough then people might lose interest.

“People will continue to buy from you until you either stop selling them stuff or offend them”

Russell Brand

Believe it or not people want to buy from you, they follow you because you solve a problem for them and if you sell them things that will get them closer to their goal then they are going to WANT to buy from you.

Mistake #7: Lacking Authenticity

If you don’t stay true to yourself and stay true to what you love, people will see right through it.

Remember, they follow you for you and the problem you are solving for them, stay true to this and you’ll be good as gold.

Some other more general mistakes people often make include:

Mistake #8: Poor SEO

As has been pointed out in previous last articles, a key advantage of affiliate campaigns is they continue to provide passive income after the event.

However, poor SEO will reduce organic traffic and mean you have less “hot” (solution-searching) traffic coming in from google problem searches.

Mistake #9: Poor Site Quality

The user experience of your vehicle will directly affect the success of affiliate campaigns. If you think about this it really makes a lot of sense.

You are selling other people’s products/services to your audience; would you purchase something from a site that loads mega slowly or that is confusing to navigate?  

Mistake #10: Lack of Salesmanship behind the campaign

The art of selling and copywriting are going to dramatically affect the success of your affiliate campaigns.

An affiliate campaign involves convincing members of your audience to purchase a product or service from another brand, and so you are acting as a third-party salesperson for that company.

This means you will need to be as effective as a salesman/woman if you are to be successful.

Not taking the time to educate yourself on the strategies and techniques employed by such professionals will certainly have a negative impact on your affiliate campaigns.


I hope this has piqued your interest and you are ready to learn how to create widely profitable affiliate campaigns.

Be sure to refer back to this post to help you achieve more with your next affiliate campaign!

Our next affiliate post will be the first of our ‘Affiliate Success’ series where we will take your through the steps required to create successful affiliate campaigns!

Author bio

A.K.A. Green Lantern, George Spain-Warner is a Co-founder of Kinsume, the world’s first eco-affiliate marketplace, and Author of the Exploratree Marketing Blog. Kinsume’s ethos is there’s always a win-win, which is why they’ve given their marketing platform and blog tree planting initiatives. Learn more about them and their story here.

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