Target is the second-biggest discount store retailer in the U.S., placing just behind Walmart (Source).
If you're running an authority site, could Target be a viable alternative to the dominant Amazon Associates affiliate program?
In this post, we examine the Target affiliate program, comparing it to Amazon's affiliate program, and discuss promotional strategies.
Target's Keyword Rankings
Before we dive in, let's take a look at their keyword rankings. Below is a list of 1,000 of their best-performing organic keywords:
Use this keyword table to get a sense of their most popular products. I recommend cross referencing it with Amazon to see if there's any gaps in Amazon's product coverage that Target can fulfill.
In this video, I'll walk you through an overview of the Target affiliate program. Leave a Like if you find it helpful!
Getting Started With Niche SitesUse the strategies on this page in conjunction with my niche site process. Here it is in a nutshell:
- AuthorityHacker's Authority Site System (my review): a complete, step-by-step system to start growing your own highly profitable affiliate & authority niche site.
- A cloud-based on-page optimization tool: Surfer SEO makes your on-page SEO easier, faster, and more effective than ever using data-driven, real-time signals to rank in search engines.
- A reliable and fast hosting solution like SiteGround (my review)
- A brandable domain name from GoDaddy (my guide)
- A premium theme- I use GeneratePress but there are some cool niche themes on ThemeForest
- SEO Friendly Article Writing ($8-$12 / 1,000 words) from HireWriters (read: my HireWriters review)
- Powerful Backlinks from Authority.Builders (read: my Authority.Builders review)
- An automated social media drip campaign from MissingLettr
- An auto-responder to build your email list– ConvertKit is what I'm using (read: my ConvertKit review)
- Finally- you can always refer to my free step-by-step niche selection guide and all of my free niche reports for inspiration
The Commission Structure
The Target affiliate commission structure is volume and category-based.
Meaning, the commission structure will vary by category, and the more Target products you sell, the more you earn.
|Monthly Net Orders*||Apparel & Accessories||Home & Outdoor Living||Baby Gear & Furniture||Health & Beauty|
According to Target, their Estimated Earnings per 100 Clicks is approximately $12-$13. This means that the average payout for every 100 clicks is $12-$13 (Source).
As you can see, Target has a variety of product categories:
It's essentially competing with Amazon on all of their product verticals, as opposed to the Best Buy affiliate program, which competes with Amazon on electronics goods.
However, if you read the fine print on the commission structure page, you'll see that there are a variety of excluded categories:
Excluded: Grocery, household commodities and essentials, baby care items (diapers, wipes, food, and toiletries), pets, electronics, toys, sporting goods, movies, video games and consoles, Target Pharmacy and OTC, Target Photo, Target Optical, Target Café, prepaid and gift cards, music, books, SweetJOJO, contract mobile (Source).
What that means, is that you'll need to focus on promoting products from the following categories: Apparel & Accessories, Home & Outdoor Living, Baby Gear & Furniture, and Health & Beauty.
Target VS Amazon Commission Rates
How does it compare with Amazon's commission structure? You can always get the up-to-date commission structure for the Amazon Associates program here.
As you can see, if you're able to move Target products, the volume-based commission structure can outperform Amazon.
For instance, if you can sell over 10,000 units of Target apparel, you'd get an 8% commission rate, beating Amazon's 7% commission rate for the Apparel category.
How likely is that? Very unlikely- unless you've got a massive amount of traffic. Think: Oprah or Kim Kardashian.
From my experience running traffic to both Amazon and non-Amazon retailers, Amazon converts at such a comparatively high rate that you would have to send an exorbitant amount of traffic alternative affiliate programs for it to even approximate the earnings you would get from the Amazon Associates program.
Qualified Action Payouts
Besides their generic affiliate offerings, their are some specialty affiliate opportunities you can promote, including getting users to sign up for a Target REDcard (debit or credit); create a wedding registry with Target; create a new baby registry; or create a new college registry.
The cookie length is 7 days, which is better than Best Buy's paltry 1-day cookie window. So, according to their affiliate page, you get credit for any order within 7 days of the original click placed by the customer (Source).
How To Promote
One generic promotional strategy I have used for Advertisers like Walmart, Wayfair and Jet is, whenever I write a product review, I'll have one prominent affiliate link to a search path for the product.
So, for example, if I was promoting "juicers", I might have a comparison table featuring 5 different Amazon juicers. But I would add an additional link to the Target search path for juicers.
Shop for juicer online at Target. Free shipping on purchases over $35 and save 5% every day with your Target REDcard.
This is easy enough to do with the 'Deep Linking' capabilities most affiliate networks provide for their programs.
I generally use generic anchor text like "Check Target Prices". That way, if users find a lower price on Target for the juicer, I get a commission on the sale. Here's an example:
Find Unique Products
As I wrote about in my Best Buy affiliate program review, one promotional strategy I would consider is finding unique products Target sells that Amazon doesn't.
For example, this page details some of their exclusive brands, including: A New Day, Goodfellow & Co, JoyLab and Who What Wear.
Still have a few loved ones left on your holiday shopping list? We hear you! Last-minute shopping can be stressful… which is why we’ve rounded up a few must-have clothing, shoes and accessories from Target exclusive brands A New Day , Goodfellow & Co , JoyLab and Who What Wear .
For instance, the term "a new day target" gets 4,400 searches a month, according to KeywordsEverywhere.
Find Deals (Price Arbitrage)
Another strategy is promoting Target sales & deals to your email list. As you can see, Target has a Deals section featured prominently in their menu navigation:
You could mine these deals for price discounts and alert your audience when there's a good buying opportunity.
Credit Card Signups
You could also promote the Target credit card- if your audience signs up, they get discounts on a range of products, like 15% off of Baby product subscriptions.
Again- this would be something you could promote to your list. You'd obviously want to be transparent about the pros and cons of signing up with the Target REDCard- but it is a viable way to monetize with the Target affiliate program.
Target Mobile Gift Cards
In January 2010, Target rolled out an innovative Mobile Gift Card program.
At the time, Target said "Target guests no longer need to carry their Target GiftCards in order to redeem them, thanks to the innovative Target Mobile GiftCard."
Whether you like them or not, gift cards remain an incredibly popular gift idea, which is why the new Target Mobile Gift Card program is incredibly cool. The new feature allows you to convert any Target gift card into a digital barcode that can be used from any Internet connected cell phone — no extra fees involved.
The program doesn't appear to be active anymore- and remember, Target doesn't actually pay commissions on gift card purchases.
You can check out some of their mobile-eligible gift cards on their website.
Read More Of My Niche Reports
It's tough competing with Amazon.
For Advertisers, in order to attract affiliates away from Amazon, it's difficult incentivizing them without dipping too deeply into thin margins.
They aren't going to beat Amazon on price, shipping speed, or ease of use, so they have to compete in other areas- leveraging brand equity, developing proprietary products, generating attractive exclusives, etc.
If you'd like to test whether Target is a viable affiliate partner, you could use Thirsty Affiliates for link-tracking purposes and measure how many clicks Target's URL gets.
You can cross-reference with this with Affiliate Network Traffic Reports and then use ThirstyAffiliates to change the URL and test conversions on a different platform for the same product.