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What Are Two-Tier Affiliate Programs?

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You might have heard of two-tier affiliate programs and wondered if it’s the same with multi-level network marketing. Well of course tied affiliate marketing has levels but that does not make it akin to Multi-Level Network Marketing. Many people are familiar with the term “affiliate marketing,” but two-tier affiliate marketing may be a mystery to them. What I can tell you is a multi-tier or sub-affiliate program also has levels, I will dive into the specifics as we go along in this article. So let’s get started, firstly we are going to answer the question what are two-tier affiliate programs? And then go on to give examples, and stress the advantages.

What Is A Two-Tier Affiliate Program?

A two-tier affiliate program is a structure, whereby affiliate marketers are paid commissions on both their own sales and the sales of sub-affiliate marketers they refer to the affiliate program. What this means is first, you will be paid commissions on sales generated by your own referrals. Secondly, if those people you referred promote the products to others and make sales, then you will get a percentage of those sales. Sounds simple enough right? I know it’s some will say if it’s too good to be true then walk away. Not in this case, two-tier affiliate marketing is popular in this field of digital marketing. If you didn’t understand don’t let’s keep going. I will make you understand by using examples this time.

How Does A Two-Tier Affiliate Program Work?

The first tier of commission in two-tier affiliate marketing is identical to that in a usual affiliate program. You earn commission on your own sales. The first-tier involves individual sales and commissions. It is usually the most lucrative in the early stages of a person’s affiliation with a particular business or product. Commissions for individual sales typically range from 10% to 50%, though they might be higher or lower depending on the product. Many two-tier affiliates will continue to make a living off of this compensation structure because it is consistent with the average affiliate scheme.

In second-tier affiliate marketing, the original affiliate can now refer additional affiliates to the business and start generating their own sales. The second-tier offers lower commissions to original affiliates than the first-tier. Typically, second-tier commissions vary from 1% to 10%.


So now let’s use an example for a better understand. Let’s say Affiliate X refers Affiliate Y via a two-tier affiliate program link. Now, Y advertises the goods and services offered by the affiliate program cited by Affiliate X in an effort to make a transaction. Accordingly, Affiliate X will continue to receive a first fee on his own sales. Additionally, Affiliate Y will get a cut of his own sales. However, since Affiliate Y is his referral, Affiliate X will also receive a second, smaller commission for Affiliate Y’s purchases.


So now let’s take an example for a better understanding. Suppose Affiliate X uses a two-tier affiliate program link to refer another Affiliate Y. Now, Y promotes the products/services provided by the affiliate program referred to by Affiliate X and generate a sale. So as usual Affiliate X will earn a first commission for his own sales. Additionally, Affiliate Y will earn a commission for his own sales. However, since Affiliate Y is his referral, Affiliate X will also earn a second, lower commission for Affiliate Y’s sales.

Isn’t that fantastic? Earning for both your own conversions and the conversions of marketers and webmasters you have referred? Therefore, two-tier commission is essentially just an extra way to make money (passive income) without putting much effort. Additionally, commission rates differ for every program.

Theoretically, affiliate programs can have an endless number of tiers, although there are practical restrictions. As more tiers are introduced, the program begins to attract people who are more interested in making money off the labor of others. They choose this over doing the actual work themselves. It’s good to a deeper understanding of how affiliate marketers fit into the whole affiliate marketing ecosystem. Thus, you can have a look at the Beginner’s Guide On How Affiliate Programs Work. Additionally, the guide will also clarify when and how affiliate marketers can earn commissions.

There are also a few three-tier and four-tier affiliate programs. The WP Engine Affiliate ProgramFiverr Affiliate Program, and Builderall Affiliate Program are a few examples of the best-paying two-tier affiliate programs. These programs will also be briefly discussed in this article.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Two-Tier Affiliate Programs.

Generally, the best way to make money online or make a passive income is through affiliate marketing. Two tier affiliate programs are the best in the world right now. However, some people are not aware of advantages and disadvantages of two-tier affiliate programs.


  1. Two tier affiliate programs are best for new affiliates.
  2. They are marketable and increase the potential for higher earnings for both businesses and affiliates.  
  3. It allows original affiliates to earn commissions not only from their sales but also from sales of other referral affiliates.
  4. You can generate your sale from other links. Besides, you can take those links that are already authorized. It is a new model affiliate marketing industry. 
  5. You can generate more sales when your site is authorized and has huge traffic.
  6. Because referrals are also interested in second-tier profits for themselves, it is more likely that they will sign up and actively participate.


  1. A lot of affiliates will sign up and try to earn all of their commissions from second-tier sales. Everyone would be depending on their referrals to make the sales if every affiliate began with this strategy, hence there would be no sales.
  2. Some people also mistakenly link two-level affiliate programs with multilevel marketing systems, which are frequently less successful.

Despite these drawbacks, many affiliates and businesses are nevertheless able to successfully implement two-tier marketing systems to increase earnings and brand recognition.

Two-Tier Affiliate Marketing Earnings.

In two-tier affiliate marketing, you must focus on two different audiences in order to increase your earnings. These are affiliate marketers and buyers, often known as end users. You should promote the products to the buyers, and promote the affiliate program to affiliate marketers. As a result, you should exercise extreme caution when developing your tactics for two-tier affiliate marketing success.

Some of the effective strategies to make money with two-tier affiliate programs include:

  • Targeting Groups of Bloggers and Social Groups
  • Building An Email List
  • Optimizing the Affiliate Program on Google

These strategies will be explained below.

1. Targeting Groups of Bloggers and Social Groups

 Repeatedly post a recruitment link for the two-tier affiliate programs you are already registered with. This works best if you are already a member of LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, and other social groups that comprise affiliate marketers like you. Of course, you should not spam.

Don’t forget to post recruitment links along with a screenshot showing your first-tier earnings.

Discuss about the program itself and also the unique selling propositions of the product you are promoting.

This will make a lot of people interested in the program and the brand you are advertising. You can progressively begin to earn second-tier commissions if they are accepted and sign up as your sub-affiliates.

2. Build an Email List.

It’s a great idea to grow your email list. If you are already an authority in your niche (example: pet toys), chances are there that you already have contractors, business owners, bloggers, affiliate marketers, and suppliers on your list. It’s very likely that these people also have channels to reach out to relevant buyers.

Sending a newsletter at regular intervals is a great way to rope in these people as your sub-affiliates and to grow your affiliate business with time. You can rope in these as your sub affiliates and grow your affiliate business through sending newsletters at regular intervals.

Your newsletter should constitute information about the product and the program else.

3. Google Affiliate Program Optimization.

Additionally, you can also optimize your website or blog on Google for specific and possibly long-tail keywords.  It’s important to keep in mind that certain affiliate marketers are constantly trying to join programs that relate to their niche.

Remember that there are affiliate marketers who are almost always looking to join programs that fall in their niche.

There are numerous niches, for example, in the affiliate marketing sector ‘Pet‘ affiliate marketing vertical.

Within an affiliate marketing vertical, there may be a number of niches. Read more about verticals.

One affiliate might have the interest to promote cat food dispensers. On the other hand, another affiliate might be interested in offering natural dog food products.

You need to rank your website on Google for keywords like ‘dog food product affiliate programs’ or ‘cat food dispenser affiliate programs.

By doing so, you possibly reach out to a group of sub-affiliates who maybe be interested in your niches. You can therefore build your team of sub-affiliates and begin to earn money from both your sales and your referral sales.


  1. ShareASale
  2. Grammarly
  3. TemplateMonster
  4. SEOReseller
  5. WP Engine
  6. Fiverr
  7. LinkTrackr
  8. A2 Hosting
  9. SEMrush Affiliate
  10. Long Tail Pro

The 10 best two-tier affiliate programs are listed below. They can help you generate extra revenue with good recurring commissions. Affiliate marketing is a fantastic monetization strategy. It enables you to receive huge commissions on the sales or leads you to produce.


Two-tier affiliate programs allow you to generate passive income with little effort. Although two-tier affiliate programs appear attractive, always bear in mind that sales are what sustain an affiliate program. To succeed in affiliate marketing, you must market the product and increase sales.

Although two-tier marketing is appealing, I must add that it is difficult to implement and be successful at. We can’t merely advertise a two-tier scheme, recommend a few affiliates, and hope for plenty of conversions and huge commissions from them.

In order to thrive in two-tier affiliate marketing, you must put in your own labor as well. Put all of your work into promoting the products, and make sure to share the strategy you employ so that your sub-affiliates can do the same. Furthermore, it is the quality of products that matters and not quality over quantity. Simply because an affiliate network has a two-tier architecture does not mean you should follow it blindly. Select only those programs (products/services) that you can recommend to others without reservation.

So, the key strategy to succeed in two-tier affiliate marketing is that you will need to do the work yourself too. Put your best efforts into promoting the products and mention the approach you use for your promotions so that your sub-affiliates can also follow the same. Furthermore, it is the quality of products that matters and not quality over quantity. Do not blindly follow hundreds of affiliate programs just because they have a two-tier model. Choose only those programs (products/services) that you trust and will not hesitate to recommend to others.

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