The Microsoft Affiliate Program | Monetization & Promotional Strategies | Niche Facts

The Microsoft Affiliate Program | Monetization & Promotional Strategies

microsoft windows start screen

From Microsoft Word to Minecraft, Internet Explorer to Outlook, Microsoft has a dynamic range of popular and indispensable technology products.

They also have an affiliate program.

So if you want to promote their software and hardware products, this guide will show you how to signup and promote this multinational technology company.

One quick note- Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, has a separate affiliate program. You can sign up for the Bing Ads affiliate program here.

Earning Potential

It’s important to note– it might be easier, and more lucrative, to promote some of Microsoft’s products by becoming an Amazon Associate and affiliate-linking to Amazon.

Though Amazon doesn’t have access to the full inventory of Microsoft products (the Windows Store Apps, for example), you can buy Xbox consoles and games as well as copies of the Windows operating system on Amazon and you’ll have a much higher conversion rate referring people to Amazon than to Microsoft.

That said, as I explain a bit further on, Microsoft does have a range of proprietary products that aren’t on Amazon- so there’s definitely a reason to consider signing up as an affiliate.

According to their affiliate program page, you can “join the Microsoft Affiliate Program and earn up to 10% commission on Office, Surface, Xbox, PCs and more.

What’s included in the “more”?

If you read down the page, you’ll see that it includes “Microsoft hardware and software products…apps, games, and movies from the Windows Store“.

Their affiliate program sits within Impact.

I went through the application process and was approved:

How To Join

Create an Impact account.

Then, go to this application page and go through the process.

If/when you’re approved, you’ll see Microsoft within your Campaigns:

How To Promote These Network Offers

  1. If you want a complete, step-by-step system to start growing your own highly profitable affiliate & authority niche site, check out AuthorityHacker's Authority Site System
  2. A reliable and fast hosting solution like SiteGround (it's what I use)
  3. A brandable domain name from GoDaddy (my guide)
  4. A premium theme- I use GeneratePress but there are some cool niche themes on ThemeForest
  5. Image & graphics from DepositPhotos (all legal and licensed)
  6. Content from iWriter (my review)
  7. An automated social media drip campaign from MissingLettr (my review)
  8. An auto-responder to build your email list– ConvertKit is what I'm using
  9. Finally- you can always refer to my free step-by-step niche selection guide and all of my free niche reports for inspiration

Microsoft Keyword Research

Below, I did some keyword research and extracted 1,000 of Microsoft’s top-performing organic keywords.

You can use this table to brainstorm content ideas to generate cross-platform traffic you can push to Microsoft:

Promotional Strategies

Microsoft has a variety of different software and hardware products you can promote.

My general thesis is to create content across different channels (website, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.) that generates a passive flow of monetized traffic.

When it comes to making money online promoting Microsoft, you can go a lot of different directions.

Site Ideas

Here are a couple ideas:

  1. Promote Microsoft cell phones (Lumia) on a cell phone review website with a YouTube unboxing channel.
  2. Promote Windows Store Apps– reviewing different games and utilities on a website and YouTube channel.
  3. Create an Office 365 site that specializes in Microsoft’s various desktop products- Excel, Word, Access, etc.
  4. Specialize in resolving Microsoft Support questions- there are tons of users reporting problems with Microsoft products.
  5. Run a VR site and promote some of Microsoft’s Virtual Reality products– you can see on this page that Microsoft has a variety of VR software and hardware products:
  • Microsoft HoloLens
  • Windows Mixed Reality headsets
  • Windows Mixed Reality-ready PCs
  • Windows Mixed Reality Experiences
  • VR-ready PCs
  • VR Headsets and accessories

Those are just a couple of ideas- the general thesis is creating a tech content site that can push traffic to different Microsoft software and hardware products.

As you can see, you can be pretty imaginative- try to angle your website around a specific theme that attracts organic traffic.

Remember, you don’t need to strictly monetize with affiliate marketing. Once you’re getting some decent traffic, you can monetize with display ads.

You can use an advertising solution like Mediavine, once you’re getting ~1,000 Sessions a day, and automatically insert ads into your content.

Display advertising can be a powerful, even primary, monetization method.

Windows Affiliate Site Examples

Windows Central affiliate-links to the Microsoft Surface on Microsoft.com below. It’s pretty apparent that when it comes to promoting hardware, most tech review sites prefer to link users to Amazon over Microsoft.

It took me a while to find an authority site linking to Windows and not to Amazon for a physical good.

Digital Trends did a roundup of the best Windows apps- these also are affiliate links. A nice, clean example of a ‘best of’ product review in the App space:

What Can You Promote?

According to their FAQ page, “all products on Microsoft Store or the Windows Store are eligible for commissions. All completed sales referred by your site earn a commission (subject to a 30-day return period).

I got a glimpse of the commission rates during the application process. I reproduced it below- the information is accurate as of November 2018:

Online Sales  
1Unshipped Preorders0% of item sale amount
2Unshipped Preorders0% of item sale amount
3Windows Mixed and Virtual Reality1% of item sale amount
4Services and Accessories2% of item sale amount
5TV Shows7% of item sale amount
6Xbox Live 12 Months7% of item sale amount
7Xbox Live 1 Month7% of item sale amount
8Movie7% of item sale amount
9Surface and Surface Accessories2% of item sale amount
10Windows5% of item sale amount
11Xbox Live 3 and 6 Months7% of item sale amount
12Office 365 (Monthly Subscription)$5.00 per item
13Office (non-subscription)5% of item sale amount
14e-Books7% of item sale amount
15PC Hardware1% of item sale amount
16Office 365 (Yearly Subscription)$10.00 per item
17Other Software5% of item sale amount
18Apps and Games purchases7% of item sale amount
19Developer/Visual Studio5% of item sale amount
20Band2% of item sale amount
21Xbox Game Pass7% of item sale amount
22Phones2% of item sale amount
23Gaming: Xbox Console and Games2% of item sale amount
24Apps and Games in-App Purchases7% of item sale amount
25Phones2% of item sale amount
26Office 365 (Monthly Subscription)$5.00 per item
27Apps and Games purchases7% of item sale amount
28Gaming: Xbox Console and Games2% of item sale amount
29Windows5% of item sale amount
30PC Hardware1% of item sale amount
31Other Software5% of item sale amount
32TV Shows7% of item sale amount
33e-Books7% of item sale amount
34Xbox Live 12 Months7% of item sale amount
35Developer/Visual Studio5% of item sale amount
36Xbox Game Pass7% of item sale amount
37Windows Mixed and Virtual Reality1% of item sale amount
38Xbox Live 1 Month7% of item sale amount
39Office (non-subscription)5% of item sale amount
40Apps and Games in-App Purchases7% of item sale amount
41Xbox Live 3 and 6 Months7% of item sale amount
42Services and Accessories2% of item sale amount
43Surface and Surface Accessories2% of item sale amount
44Office 365 (Yearly Subscription)$10.00 per item
45Movie7% of item sale amount
46Band2% of item sale amount
All Other1% of item sale amount
Digital Goods & App Sales
1Unshipped Preorders0% of item sale amount
2Unshipped Preorders0% of item sale amount
3PC Hardware1% of item sale amount
4Windows5% of item sale amount
5Office (non-subscription)5% of item sale amount
6TV Shows7% of item sale amount
7e-Books7% of item sale amount
8Office 365 (Monthly Subscription)$5.00 per item
9Apps and Games in-App Purchases7% of item sale amount
10Office 365 (Yearly Subscription)$10.00 per item
11Gaming: Xbox Console and Games2% of item sale amount
12Xbox Game Pass7% of item sale amount
13Movie7% of item sale amount
14Xbox Live 12 Months7% of item sale amount
15Other Software5% of item sale amount
16Windows Mixed and Virtual Reality1% of item sale amount
17Phones2% of item sale amount
18Apps and Games purchases7% of item sale amount
19Xbox Live 1 Month7% of item sale amount
20Band2% of item sale amount
21Surface and Surface Accessories2% of item sale amount
22Xbox Live 3 and 6 Months7% of item sale amount
23Services and Accessories2% of item sale amount
24Developer/Visual Studio5% of item sale amount
25Apps and Games in-App Purchases7% of item sale amount
26TV Shows7% of item sale amount
27Phones2% of item sale amount
28Xbox Game Pass7% of item sale amount
29Gaming: Xbox Console and Games2% of item sale amount
30Xbox Live 12 Months7% of item sale amount
31Windows Mixed and Virtual Reality1% of item sale amount
32Movie7% of item sale amount
33Office (non-subscription)5% of item sale amount
34Band2% of item sale amount
35Xbox Live 3 and 6 Months7% of item sale amount
36e-Books7% of item sale amount
37Services and Accessories2% of item sale amount
38Apps and Games purchases7% of item sale amount
39Xbox Live 1 Month7% of item sale amount
40Developer/Visual Studio5% of item sale amount
41PC Hardware1% of item sale amount
42Windows5% of item sale amount
43Office 365 (Monthly Subscription)$5.00 per item
44Office 365 (Yearly Subscription)$10.00 per item
45Surface and Surface Accessories2% of item sale amount
46Other Software5% of item sale amount
All Other1% of item sale amount
Shipped Preorders
1Xbox Live 1 Month7% of item sale amount
2Windows Mixed and Virtual Reality1% of item sale amount
3Windows5% of item sale amount
4Band2% of item sale amount
5e-Books7% of item sale amount
6Office (non-subscription)5% of item sale amount
7PC Hardware1% of item sale amount
8Developer/Visual Studio5% of item sale amount
9Xbox Game Pass7% of item sale amount
10Apps and Games purchases7% of item sale amount
11Xbox Live 3 and 6 Months7% of item sale amount
12TV Shows7% of item sale amount
13Services and Accessories2% of item sale amount
14Movie7% of item sale amount
15Surface and Surface Accessories2% of item sale amount
16Apps and Games in-App Purchases7% of item sale amount
17Gaming: Xbox Console and Games2% of item sale amount
18Office 365 (Monthly Subscription)$5.00 per item
19Office 365 (Yearly Subscription)$10.00 per item
20Xbox Live 12 Months7% of item sale amount
21Other Software5% of item sale amount
22Phones2% of item sale amount
23Phones2% of item sale amount
24Services and Accessories2% of item sale amount
25TV Shows7% of item sale amount
26Surface and Surface Accessories2% of item sale amount
27Office 365 (Monthly Subscription)$5.00 per item
28Band2% of item sale amount
29Windows5% of item sale amount
30Apps and Games purchases7% of item sale amount
31Xbox Live 12 Months7% of item sale amount
32Windows Mixed and Virtual Reality1% of item sale amount
33Xbox Live 3 and 6 Months7% of item sale amount
34e-Books7% of item sale amount
35PC Hardware1% of item sale amount
36Movie7% of item sale amount
37Xbox Game Pass7% of item sale amount
38Xbox Live 1 Month7% of item sale amount
39Apps and Games in-App Purchases7% of item sale amount
40Gaming: Xbox Console and Games2% of item sale amount
41Office (non-subscription)5% of item sale amount
42Office 365 (Yearly Subscription)$10.00 per item
43Developer/Visual Studio5% of item sale amount
44Other Software5% of item sale amount
All Other1% of item sale amount

Windows Store Apps

There are some interesting opportunities here- if you head over to the Windows Store, you can see a variety of different free and paid apps.

Some paid apps (which are obviously better to promote) include:

  1. HEVC Video Extensions
  2. Windows DVD Player
  3. HD Movie Maker – PRO
  4. Drawboard PDF
  5. Player for DVD’s
  6. paint.net
  7. Penbook
  8. WLinux
  9. PDF Conversion Tool
  10. Media Player S PRO
  11. X410
  12. Nebulas in 4K
  13. Nebo
  14. FL Studio Mobile
  15. PDF Fill & Sign
  16. iCloud on PC Guide
  17. Media Importer
  18. Krita
  19. MindMaple Pen
  20. My PDF Editor
  21. Screenbits – Screen Recorder
  22. myTube!
  23. Cloud for iDevice
  24. Ultra DVD Player
  25. Torrex Pro – Torrent Downloader
  26. Live Home 3D Pro
  27. Affinity Photo
  28. Diarium — Private Diary / Daily Journal
  29. Scrble Ink
  30. DVD Player-support VLC
  31. Recording Studio Pro
  32. Home Design 3D
  33. A+ VCE Pro
  34. Affinity Designer
  35. Panoramic Landscapes
  36. Weather Radar Pro
  37. Recipe Keeper Pro
  38. hueDynamic for Hue
  39. XOON
  40. MobileSheets
  41. WolframAlpha
  42. WinOpener

One easy way to promote Microsoft is to review these apps on a blog or a YouTube channel.

You can run the Windows App Store URL through Ahrefs to figure out the keyword search volume of the terms and produce content on the most lucrative terms- inserting your affiliate link into the YouTube description or on your blog.

Hardware

Microsoft also has a lot of hardware you can promote. According to their menu dropdown, these include:

  1. Surface
  2. Xbox
  3. PC & tablets
  4. PC gaming
  5. VR & mixed reality
  6. Accessories
  7. Phones
  8. Connected life (smart home products)

Promoting Microsoft hardware will be more competitive than the apps- but it’s still doable, especially if you focus on creating high-quality, cross-channel content.

Games & Entertainment

Under their Games & Entertainment dropdown, you can see Microsoft breaks the categories down this way:

  1. Xbox games
  2. PC games (disc)
  3. Windows digital games
  4. Windows phone games
  5. Movies & TV
  6. Books

This is another popular affiliate category- Microsoft produces tons of popular computer and console video games.

Clicking into paid digital games, there’s a lot of popular options:

  1. Minecraft for Windows 10
  2. Minecraft for Windows 10 Starter Collection
  3. Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition
  4. Age of Empires: Definitive Edition
  5. Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Edition
  6. Sea of Thieves
  7. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  8. Plague Inc.
  9. Minecraft for Windows 10 Master Collection
  10. State of Decay 2
  11. Farming Simulator 18
  12. Cuphead
  13. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  14. Forza Motorsport 7 Standard Edition
  15. ARK: Survival Evolved
  16. Forza Horizon 4 Deluxe Edition
  17. Sunset Overdrive
  18. Gears of War 4
  19. Bridge Constructor Portal
  20. Doodle God: Crime City
  21. Forza Horizon 3 Standard Edition
  22. ASTRONEER (Game Preview)
  23. Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection
  24. Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Add-Ons Bundle

It’s actually surprising how many popular games Microsoft Studios is responsible for- check out this list on Wikipedia.

Summing Up

The Microsoft affiliate program is a pretty interesting option- there are lots of unique, proprietary products you can promote.

There’s also a lot of long-tail searches available- particularly if you decide to promote some of the Windows Store apps. If you make the added effort to create YouTube tutorials you can really drive a lot of traffic to the Microsoft affiliate program.

Ryan Nelson
 

​Ryan Nelson is a NYC-based Industrial-Organizational Psychologist and a full-stack online marketer. He created NicheFacts.com to help people discover and build profitable, content-focused online businesses.

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