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Optimize Mobile Affiliate Marketing Efforts for The Best Results

With giant computers in the past, who could have thought a tiny handheld device could now dominate our lives? It would be a shame not to take advantage of this overflowing mobile traffic. Nonetheless, not everyone ...

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mobile affiliate marketing

With giant computers in the past, who could have thought a tiny handheld device could now dominate our lives?

It would be a shame not to take advantage of this overflowing mobile traffic. Nonetheless, not everyone knows the best ways to optimize affiliate marketing efforts through this channel.

Which type of ad do you use? What about the content length and style? Do you need a considerable budget to get started?

This article helps you gain insights into the mobile affiliate marketing world and how you can utilize this approach to attain high-quality mobile leads that convert into commissions.

What is Mobile Affiliate Marketing?

The traditional affiliate marketing model involves a commission-based partnership between merchants and their partners, usually affiliate marketers.

Mobile affiliate marketing works similarly but applies specifically to smartphone users. Instead of websites and landing pages, you will use mobile channels like apps and other mobile-friendly platforms.

If you are already running a YouTube channel or a blog, you might notice that most of your audience comes from mobile traffic. This is your shot to leverage mobile devices for more people to reach your affiliate offers.

mobile affiliate marketing 1

So, is it the same as doing regular affiliate marketing?

No, because mobile affiliate marketers aim for a different target audience. All the offers, strategies, and tools are only geared towards mobile users.

However, it is not complicated to start this type of affiliate marketing.

For example, social media apps like Facebook let you run paid ads on Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. Doing this effectively means you are working on mobile marketing.

Back in the day, people used to utilize this model to acquire new phone numbers via SMS messages. But as smartphones were invented, they arrived with a fresh way to affiliate marketing via mobile phones.

Whatever your desktop screen displays, a mobile screen can show the same thing. Most importantly, users of all ages are able to access this touchscreen technology.

Older generations needn’t learn how to use computers anymore. Now, they can easily use smartphones and click on mobile offers like everyone else.

This means more opportunities for monetization and, thus, increased sales and affiliate program commissions!

Why is Mobile Affiliate Marketing Worth a Try?

The reasons why affiliate marketers should adopt mobile affiliate marketing are simple yet beneficial. Once you decide to try this model, you will understand how many people can turn it into a stable source of income.

Broader audience reach

It is easy to reach audiences anywhere and anytime since mobile devices are globally ubiquitous. Based on their demographics and geographics, you can attract potential customers more easily via desktop approaches.

As mentioned above, your Internet traffic may even come from old mobile users like millennials and Boomers. They are also capable of making purchase decisions with higher values.

No more worries about reaching young adults who often hesitate to click or hit purchase high-priced products.

Moreover, mobile advertising is available in many forms. From ads on web browsers and in-app to Google Store promotion, there are diverse ways to distribute your affiliate ads on mobile.

With such a dense presence everywhere, mobile users will pay attention and are more compelled to visit your affiliate links.

Huge traffics

By 2028, the mobile market will expect to have 5+ billion smartphone users. Mobile phone growth is definitely outpacing desktop usage in many thriving industries.

You probably notice that most Internet activities must now be mobile-friendly, besides the required desktop display. This is because worldwide businesses and advertisers understand the importance of smartphones in daily life.

And so can you as a new face in mobile affiliates.

It is possible for you to promote affiliate offers via mobile, thanks to the incredibly vast traffic sources. Here are some common advertising types to apply for smartphone users:

  • Banners on a mobile-friendly site
  • Paid search on search engines (Google)
  • In-app ads
  • Social media ads (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  • Ad networks (push notifications, pop-ups, native ads, etc.)

As long as you have a comfortable advertising budget, all these platforms are effective in driving traffic and making affiliate sales.

Quick & easy purchase process

Making Amazon and other website transactions on a desktop is a nightmare. Some even make you take your phone out to pay since they do not support specific device types.

When online buyers shop for your affiliate products, you want to ensure the best user experience. A smooth checkout will leave great impressions, encouraging them to buy more and leading to higher conversion rates.

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In specific, most mobile payments involve streamlined navigation and mobile wallet integration. All these features combined with one-tap checkout are what every customer desires.

Simply understood – when people decide to spend money, make it as quick and convenient as possible. Who knows, they might change their mind at a slow-loading payment gate!

But in general, mobile shopping is always more advantageous than desktop.

An Extended Comparison of Mobile Affiliate Marketing’s Pros vs Cons

Benefits Downsides
Insane growth in the future Poor mobile-site interface design
Lower competition than desktop Hardships in app development
Produce more targeted ads Short of necessary tools
Attractive offers from merchants Lower click-through rate (CTR) than desktop
Pay to pay with limited gains


First of all, mobile traffic grows at a more rapid pace than desktop, which we discussed earlier. So, investing in mobile affiliate marketing from now on would be a wise move.

However, despite its dominance in the past few years, the mobile affiliate market is not as crowded as desktop usage. Meaning better chances to make money online with much less competition.

And while you need to implement SEO practices to boost affiliate offers on desktop, mobile offers are more targeted. You can reach a wide range of interested buyers based on their locations, device types, etc.

This increases their clicking potential, resulting in more conversions.

The last benefit of this affiliate model lies in the mobile affiliate programs and networks. Their commission payouts are quite tempting for various different offers.

Unfortunately, you should still take these shortcomings into consideration:

A lot of affiliate marketers do not have the skill or knowledge to build a mobile affiliate site that actually converts. And if you want to develop an app, it takes time to learn coding or pay someone to complete the task.

Not to mention that the majority of reliable marketing tools are most functional on desktops, and the limited screen size may reduce your click-through rate.

In general, as much as these platforms sound simple and effective, you must have professional experience to initiate them. Or spend a certain amount to hire someone else to do the job.

Last but not least, you have to count on paid traffic while doing affiliate marketing on mobile. It might be a bit costly at first, especially for newbies.

How Can You Promote Affiliate Links on Mobile Devices?

You would be wrong to assume that modern mobile affiliate marketing is still about sending text messages to your audience.

These 2 channels should be your main focus to work with:

  • Free: Redirect traffic gained through social media to a mobile-optimized affiliate offer.
  • Paid: Pay specific social media platforms or relevant channels to drive traffic to your affiliate offer.

Although organic traffic is still available, check out these popular mobile ad types for better monetization.

Web browser ads

A mobile website is one of the most common and effective ways to display affiliate adverts.

It can either be a separate version of desktop websites or a responsive web (one that looks good on all devices). Feel free to choose your affiliate ads in diverse formats – text, images, or videos.

Regardless of the ad type, it needs to be:

  • Optimized for mobile display
  • Only visible to mobile users
  • Take audiences to mobile-focused landing pages

Obviously, Google is the most dominant player in the mobile ad space. Other names include InMobi and Millennial Media.

Google Store/ App Store promotion

mobile affiliate marketing 3

If you want to make use of app download tools like Google Store or App Store, their ads serve only one purpose: app installation. Such ads urge audiences to download a new app or game.

You will be paid based on “cost per install,” meaning one app installation per user device counts as a successful sale.

Often, a 2-tier system is available for affiliate payout using this ad type. You either receive a few cents for the 30-second app display or a higher commission if that device actually installs the app.

In-app ads

There must have been hundreds of times you saw ads pop up while using mobile apps. They are called in-app ads, bringing in an impressive rate of app traffic for app developers to pay their bills.

These ads usually ask for your email address in exchange for a quote or a product discount code. This approach is particularly helpful to collect leads and build an email marketing list.

The most important thing is these ads take you to an app install page, whether Google Store or App Store, based on your mobile OS.

Both actions are qualified for affiliate marketers to be paid.

Social ads

Social media channels are probably where you find sponsored or boosted posts the most. Facebook, Instagram, even Pinterest, and Snapchat allow paid ads for affiliates to monetize their profiles.

With these platforms, you can either spend money on advertisement or post (for free) about your affiliate offers to capture the audience’s attention, then drive them to mobile landing pages.

Critical Strategies for Mobile Affiliate Marketing Success

Ensure your success with this affiliate marketing model by adopting these strategies:

Understanding your mobile audience

At its core, mobile affiliate marketing enables you to connect your audience with products of their interest or solve their problems. Thus, being a matchmaker requires you to understand your potential customers thoroughly.

Take a look at Instagram influencers and podcasters. These so-called public figures know what their followers want to hear and provide them with suitable recommendations.

So, if you are not confident in this asset, invest time to get to know them. List out their online behaviors, preferences, and pain points you can address.

For example, if you are promoting a dating/friend-making app, you need to identify a clear portrait of potential users. Are they looking for casual or long-term relationships? Can your app help them find quality matches nearby?

The more personalized your product/service is, the more it appeals to your mobile audience.

Mobile-friendly content and landing pages

Undoubtedly, this is the most essential factor determining the make-or-break of your affiliate marketing campaigns. All your content display and landing pages must be mobile-optimized for the best user experience.

Check out the following tips to design effective landing pages for mobile usage.

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Concise copy and forms: You only have less than 30 seconds to grab someone’s attention when viewing your mobile website. Keep your message short and sweet by writing out what you need, then remove redundancies in editing.

Quick loading times: Heavy images and UX/UI elements are what lengthen a page’s loading time.

Keep in mind that many mobile users may use data connection to load your site on the go. Thus, displaying smaller file sizes will help the page load faster.

Focus on one CTA: Similar to creating concise content, minimizing your call-to-action (CTA) enables better focus for your website audience.

Decide what action you want them to take. Is it signing up for a free account or subscribing to monthly newsletters? Highlight that CTA on your mobile landing page.

Smart content navigation: Since mobile screens are much smaller than desktops, you need to place content more strategically. Instead of a messy multi-column layout, organize your copy in a list form for a convenient mobile view.

Leveraging popular mobile channels

What do you know about common mobile channels that can be monetized for affiliate marketing? Paying them to display affiliate ads is one thing; you need to identify the most effective ones to optimize for better conversions.

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads

This form of advertising promotes your affiliate offers on other mobile websites.

When users look for specific categories on search engines like Google, they often find these ads in search results. Understanding your affiliate niche, you can utilize this channel to gain traffic from relevant keywords.

Consider analyzing niched keywords. This will help you find important and commonly sought keywords but do not cost much with high competition.

Social media promotion

As more and more people use social media on mobile, its advertising potential also increases. According to research, most social media marketing campaigns enhance brand awareness and customer motivation.

The most exciting part of social media ads is how you can directly target marketing efforts at your ideal audience. It will boost user engagement by applying unique keywords, hobbies, and interests within your niche in the content.

Deep linking and app install tracking

When promoting affiliate links on behalf of mobile affiliate programs, it is necessary to keep track of their performance. Or else, how can you know your mobile-optimized ads are creating profitable results?

As part of this, deep linking should play a crucial role in your marketing strategies.

When someone clicks on these advertised deep links, they are taken directly to the content of their interest or an app store if the app has not been installed. At the same time, the URLs can automatically open an app if it already exists on your smartphone.

Also, to track your affiliate commissions, you need to track the number of app installs.

Many famous social media channels like Facebook and Twitter now enable marketers to track app installs from ads. So you are able to analyze how effective your efforts are within the platform.

Third-party tools like Google Analytics for Apps are another great choice to monitor app downloads, as well as other essential metrics like user behavior and engagement.

Mobile-specific affiliate programs and networks

All affiliate marketers need to join at least one referral program to do mobile affiliate marketing. But first, choose a suitable niche for long-term promotion and investment.

You might want to opt for broad categories, but niching down will bring more benefits. Find a specific industry where you can become an authority.

Obviously, a finance podcaster will not promote acne treatment, and a fitness influencer will not recommend a SaaS solution. Thus, your followers will likely buy a product or service they know you really use.

Then, search for reputable mobile affiliate networks or programs in that niche. Check each option thoroughly for product/service quality, cookie duration, commission rate, and affiliate tracking.

mobile affiliate marketing 5

Note that such programs for mobile affiliates do not follow the normal cost per sale (CPS) model. Instead, they focus on cost per action (CPA) and cost per lead (CPL) offers.

Easy to understand since CPA and CPL perform better in this marketing space.

Whatever you decide to promote, make sure it fits your audience’s interest and brings them genuine value.

Creative and engaging ad formats

A lot of mobile ads are basically normal ads re-formatted for mobile display. However, there are exclusive ad types for smartphones, especially to gain in-app traffic.


This type of mobile ad covers the entire phone screen and usually pops up within a transition phase in the app. Although it demands your full attention, a fullscreen can be quite annoying.


mobile affiliate marketing 6

Due to the impressive virality of video content on platforms like TikTok, video ads are also gaining more popularity. Most are under 30 seconds long to quickly grab viewers’ attention.


The classic and effective approach to display ads, whether on a desktop or mobile-view page. They often come with some appealing text or graphics.


Native ads are specifically designed for the in-app experience or responsive websites. They blend well with their surroundings but still leave an impression on mobile users.


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This ad type is also known as an interactive or playable ad. Despite being challenging for marketers to design and develop, it is highly compelling for users to play games on mobile devices.

Performance analytics and optimization

More than tracking the number of app installs and link clicks, marketers require an overview of their marketing performance. This is necessary for further analytics and optimization to achieve the best results.

Consider these vital performance indicators to assess your own:

  • Click-through rate (CTR): Shows the effectiveness of your affiliate content in compelling visitors to click on a link or ad.
  • Earnings per click (EPC): Indicates the average amount of revenue you receive every time a mobile user clicks on affiliate URLs.
  • Conversion rate: Measures the percentage of audiences taking the desired action after interacting with your offer, whether subscribing to a service or purchasing something.
  • Return on investment (ROI): Quantifies how an affiliate campaign profits by comparing your gains and costs while running it.
  • User engagement: Tracks the level of involvement your mobile audience has with your affiliate content, ads, and links.

The good news is once you join mobile app affiliate networks and programs, most of them provide partners with in-depth tracking tools and reports. Thus, you needn’t pay for third-party software to analyze and optimize your performance.

Things to Consider When Adopting Mobile Affiliate Marketing

Even when the affiliate marketing world on mobile sounds compelling, do not dive straight in without a thorough understanding of its disadvantages.

Data privacy regulations

The truth is mobile users are more skeptical of their handheld devices than desktops.

This is because smartphones usually contain personal data, including sensitive ones such as home addresses or card payment information. Therefore, you must ensure your affiliate mobile app provides transparent privacy policies.

Such regulations inform people about how you collect data and disclose the way your app stores and uses their personal information. Be really careful to make your audience feel safe and secure when clicking on your referral links and ads.

Mobile app privacy policies should be all-time accessible and explicitly indicate what personal data is gathered.

Fragmented app ecosystem

The insecurity of a mobile ecosystem is another thing to be concerned about. Since its nature is fragmented, you should be ready to face a series of challenges while doing mobile affiliate marketing.

There is no unified attribution, error-prone deep linking, and user permissions across various platforms and devices. They make affiliate tracking more difficult, not knowing the correct partner to attribute actions or sales to.

All of this can reduce the effectiveness of affiliate marketing on mobile.

Tracking complication

As much as deep linking and app install tracking are effective, they can sometimes cause trouble.

In traditional affiliate marketing, merchants can easily provide URLs and codes for their affiliates to promote. But in terms of mobile apps, it is not that simple.

The problem mainly comes from faulty deep linking that may interrupt your tracking process. These links are built to take visitors directly to an app or website content, but they do not function smoothly all the time.

Consequently, it will likely disrupt your customer experience. No one wants a broken user journey that leads to negative brand awareness and abandoned carts.

Tight space for ad & landing page

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Imagine a website covering the entire desktop screen so there is plenty of space to showcase whatever you want.

However, the same page on mobile will significantly limit the display, especially with responsive websites. Since you do not have room for everything like the desktop version, you must learn to prioritize relevant elements.

Limited spaces mean fewer ads can appear because you need to arrange more essential information for display. The number of ads will be the first asset to cut down on.

The worst part about it? The majority of mobile affiliate traffic comes from paid sources. So, reducing mobile ads is basically chopping away a portion of your potential commissions.

Low attention span

Fact: People browsing the Internet on a mobile device pay much less attention to what is on their phone screen than desktop users.

Did you know that the average adult’s attention span in 2023 was recorded at around 8.25 seconds, less than a goldfish’s 9-second effort?

For example, TikTok is wildly famous for its seconds-short videos, proving that many online audiences now prefer low-attention content.

So, if you are confident in producing enticing mobile ads that impress viewers quickly, good for you.

If not, people will possibly scroll past your affiliate offers on smartphones.

Mobile vs Desktop Affiliate Marketing: What are the Differences?

So, what are the main factors that distinguish mobile affiliate marketing from its desktop counterpart?

User behavior and engagement

Mobile audiences have a low attention span, so you need to focus on speedy approaches. The key to successful affiliate marketing on mobile is snappy, concise content.

Whereas desktop users tend to engage with longer sessions. They take in content more deeply to explore information in detail.

However, people are intrigued by unique engagement opportunities on mobile, like real-time GPS, touchscreens, and cameras.

These features empower marketers to elevate their affiliate marketing campaigns with location-based promotions and AR events.

Mobile-focus features and ad types

The responsive design and mobile-optimized pages are brilliant for making your offer look good on small screens. In comparison, most desktop sites lose functionality and appeal when viewed on mobile.

Not to mention the power of mobile apps. They enable direct and personalized communication with users, involving:

  • In-app messages
  • Push notifications

Plus, you can use a variety of ad formats for mobile, such as full-screen, video, or native ads. They blend well with the mobile experience to grab attention and gain traffic.

Personalization and targeting

Mobile marketing truly outshines desktop usage in terms of tailored experiences.

This device holds vast user data, allowing marketers to gain insights into their audience’s behaviors and interests. By leveraging this data, you can create personalized recommendations and affiliate offers to mobile users.

Plus, the real-time location services and data are significantly advantageous for your campaigns. They help you deliver messages that are more aligned with located users, boosting the possibility of engagement and conversions.


To be honest, it takes more than a word of encouragement for someone to start mobile affiliate marketing.

This business model is not like regular affiliate marketing, where you receive referral links from merchants and promote them with free-of-charge platforms. However, you must work with paid ad formats for traffic to convert and generate revenue.

So, is it worth it to invest in affiliate marketing on mobile devices?

The answer is YES.

Once you manage to overcome all the initial challenges (and a bit of upfront costs), you will find it an enticing income stream. Good luck!

Ellie Tran, a seasoned SEO content writer with three years of experience in the eCommerce world. Being a part of the UpPromote team, Ellie wants to assist Shopify merchants in achieving success through useful content & actionable insights. Ellie's commitment to learning never stops; she's always eager to gain more knowledge about SEO and content marketing to create valuable content for users. When she's not working on content, Ellie enjoys baking and exploring new places.