The Nike Affiliate Program: Joining & Monetizing
Does Nike offer an affiliate program?
Yes, but with a caveat.
The bad news here is that according to this support page, Nike is not currently accepting new affiliate applications for U.S. traffic.
Don't despair, however, because there's still a chance you can get into this iconic brand's affiliate program if you're a European Union citizen.
And there could be some wiggle room if you're a U.S. affiliate- you can use VigLink (which I discuss down the page) or even contact Nike's affiliate support and ask if you can craft a custom deal for U.S. traffic.
That said, according to a European Union affiliate page, the following European Union countries can join the Nike Affiliate program through the WebGains affiliate network:
UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Finland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Poland.
In this post, I'll walk you through the Nike commission structure, what you can promote, some Nike keyword research, and how I would produce content to get traffic that converts on Nike sales pages.
Now, let's take a look at the commission structure and benefits to being a Nike referral partner:
Nike Commission Specifics
- Publishers can earn up to an 11% commission
- An average order value (AOV) of €100
- A 30-day cookie referral period
- An array of category-specific Nike affiliate banners
- Specific NIKEiD promotional material
- An automated product feed
- Access to Nike affiliate communications for special offers and new products
- Access to Nike gifts for affiliate-run competitions and promotions
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Nike And VigLink
According to VigLink, Nike is a participating partner- and they're paying out, at the time of this writing in June 2018, 6.83% commissions. According to the page, they are paying out on the following locations (U.S. included):
- Non Europe
- United Kingdom
- United States
My advice is to contact VigLink if you're a U.S. publisher with primarily U.S. traffic- you'll want to make sure they're actually going to pay on American traffic.
Check with VigLink support to certify that you can send American traffic to Nike offers and products.
As a quick note, the way VigLink works, it will automatically monetize your non-affiliate links with affiliate offers. So, in this case, it's a bit of a workaround when it comes to the Nike affiliate program, especially and potentially for U.S. traffic promoters.
What Can You Promote?
Like any fashion brand, there's lots things you can promote.
- Training & Gym
- Sandals & Flip Flops
- Tops & T-Shirts
- Hoodies & Sweatshirts
- Jackets & Vests
- Pants & Tights
- Surf & Swimwear
- Nike Pro & Compression
- Socks & Underwear
How To Promote
My instinct would be to try to rank for brand terms things like "nike socks" or "nike jackets". Fashion SEO is rough- it's a very competitive landscape.
As you can see in the Nike Keyword Research below, there's some interesting opportunities- "huaraches", a type of Mexican sandal, is a big Nike product, with huge search volume (118,000/month) and very low search competition (Keyword Difficulty: 8).
Nike Keyword Research
I used Ahrefs to scrape Nike's top 1,000 organic keyword rankings (minus some redundant brand terms)- check it out below:
I would focus on producing content on low-competition fashion themes- the Jordan brand "flight club" sneakers is another interesting opportunity.
I'm prone to listicles- so I would produce something like the "25 best flight club shoes of all time" with a mixture of old sneaker images and affiliate links to current Nike Flight Club shoes available for purchase.
You get the idea- think outside the box about how you can create interesting, engaging, unique content around these different terms.
For example, Bloomberg produced this piece on the 25 best-selling Air Jordans of all time:
In the summer of 1984, Michael Jordan’s agent, David Falk, met with Nike executive Rob Strasser. Falk wanted a signature shoe called the Michael Jordan. Strasser said it needed a better name. “In the middle of this meeting, I had this brainstorm,” Falk recalls.
Another good example, with actual affiliate links, is Highsnobiety.
You can see that beneath the Air Jordans, the site owner is affiliate-linking to where you can purchase the shoe at several stores: Stadium Goods, StockX, Grailed, and GOAT.
We’re still quite fresh into the year, but it’s never too early to take a closer look at the best Air Jordan sneakers of 2018 so far, so you can remain updated 365 days of the year.
If you've got an email list- try promoting Nike deals and specials to your list.
For example, at the time of this writing, the Golden State Warriors recently defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 Finals. Nike has a whole page dedicated to playoff basketball wear.
If you had a basketball blog- imagine pinging your list with one of these offers. Perhaps linking to a rundown of the top NBA playoff designs of all time. I'm nuts for basketball- I know I'd click through to that.
You can also navigate to their Men's Clearance page. If you ran a shoe blog, Nike's affiliate newsletters and their on-site deal sections could be a goldmine, helping your audience purchase Nike brand clothing.
Another idea- maintain a page on your site with the cheapest Nike footwear.
Every week you'd assemble the cheapest deals for Nike footwear- scrambling together a list that includes a variety of affiliate partners like Amazon, Nike and Ebay.
You could broadcast emails to your list promoting Nike shoe deals. If you kept adding content to this page, over time it would probably attain strong organic keyword rankings.
Plus, people would naturally link to it, helping it to soak up even more keyword rankings as your Domain Authority surges.
I love the idea of promoting big-time brands.
People love Nike products.
Which means they will convert when you send them to Nike.
I'm sure it doesn't convert as well as the Amazon Associates program does- but no physical products retailer does.
The only tricky thing here is that Nike is apparently not open to publishers with U.S. traffic. As I recommended, you can try outreaching to Nike to see if you can craft a private deal, or try using VigLink to monetize your Nike links.