How much money do you need to get started with affiliate marketing?

This is one of the most common questions you get asked as an active, full time affiliate.

Back in 2016 I even asked it myself to a mobile marketing group on facebook…

picture of facebook screenshot


The question is dependant on a lot of variables.

  • Mobile/Desktop
  • Expectations/timeframe
  • How smart you are
  • Leverageable skills
  • How ruthless you are
  • Vertical / GEO (ex: antivirus, skin cream, finance, gambling, sweepstakes, etc, etc) (tier 1, 2, 3, 4 countries)
  • Preferred medium (popunders, redirect, native, facebook, organic, display)
  • Connections/networking capabilitiesTL;DR: Between $1k-10k. Read along if you want to know what the difference is.

Let me explain:

  • Mobile/Desktop

    Mobile traffic is generally cheaper than desktop, the amount of money required to reach statistical significance is higher when promoting offers using desktop traffic.

  • Expectations/timeframe

    Do you expect to reach $10k/day in 30 days? Well, you’re in for one hell of a ride..You’d have to launch a lot of campaigns on a daily basis, burning through huge amounts of money. If you instead set a goal to reach $100/day within 3 months you’re much better off, and during those 3 months you might still have a part time job enabling you to get a constant flow of $$$$ which you can invest. (a much more rational choice that you actually will be able to reach in the near future)

  • How smart you are

    There’s 2 sides to the coin of this topic.
    1. Neuroscientists who published a study back in 2015 showed that higher IQ (intelligence quota) correlated with an increase in laziness. Which seems to confirm the good old ”hard work trumps talent” saying. What I’ve experienced out of an affiliate perspective is that those who are incredibly intelligent might make amazing setups, might come up with very creative angles. Yet these super smart people will be too lazy to set up campaigns and actually run their super smart and creative ideas… Big waste of potential. In this way, the people who do not have IQ’s of 125 an upwards and that are willing to work hard, will almost always win over the lazier ones.
    2. But…and yes there’s always a but.
    The smart people that have actually been able to restrain themselves from the easy dopamine shots of watching a 4-hour binge of youtube clips, will be very, very successful. Because they’re able to think outside the box (however cliché that sounds, it works wonders) if you’re able to separate yourself from the masses and come up with an angle, a system or a script that dazzles the world. You are on to a bright future in this industry.

  • Leverageable skills

    Do you have any skills which you can utilize for affiliate marketing?
    Do you know how to code? Are you a programmer? Do you know how to optimize a website?
    Are you comfortable with Adobe Photoshop? The list goes on..The essence is, do you have any knowledge which you can use to put yourself ahead of your competition? Make sure to put it to practice.

  • How ruthless you are

    Imagine this: You’ve been doing affiliate marketing for 2 months, without any success. You’ve spent $2000 and only made $500 of revenue ($1500 loss). You just started a new campaign last night before you went to bed, as always when starting a new campaign you thought ”this is going to be it, the offer is perfect, lander is perfect, I’m going to make big $$$ on this”. But upon waking up and checking your stats (which is the first thing you do when you get up). You load the statistics in your preferred tracker and see that you’re -90% ROI. – Now. Are you going to let the ”bad” news affect your entire day, are you going to go around feeling down? Or are you going to keep trying? After all, you know the offer actually converts.. Your attitude and mental ruthlessness is the #1 factor to campaign success.

  • Vertical / GEO

    The vertical you chose with greatly impact the amount of starting capital you will need to get started with promoting its offers. Look at these two offers, the first one is a gambling/casino offer, the other one is a sweepstakes offer.

    picture of casino vertical sweepstakes vertical
    The major difference here is in the vertical. Casino offers are generally more difficult to convert and sometimes (in this case) requires a FTD (first time deposit). Whilst the sweepstakes offer is easier to convert and generally only needs an e-mail submit or a pin flow to convert.
    Another big thing is GEO. If you promote an offer in USA, there will be a lot of competition (expensive traffic) and the payouts will be bigger. But in other countries competition can be lower, but payouts will be lower). In the beginning I heavily suggest you start with less competitive GEOs, because it’ll be cheaper to get going. It should also be quite obvious that I don’t suggest you start promoting casino offers with a $1000 budget, as you will easily lose all of your money just testing the offer.

  • Preferred method of medium

    Do you want to run facebook/google traffic? Popunders/redirect? Banners or Native?
    This choice will reflect the budget required to get going.
    I would rank the budget required like this: (cheapest first)
    1) Popunders/redirects
    2) Banners
    3) Facebook/google
    4) Native
    The easiest and cheapest way to get start would be with popunders or redirect traffic. Although there’s probably more potential in Native or FB/Google nowadays, I would still suggest you start out with pops/banners/redirects if you’re running low on cash.

  • Connections/networking capabilities

    The one thing that transformed me from a low level guy to a medium guy ( 😀 ) was networking and meeting actual, real people. Masterminding in skype/facebook groups are great. But actually sitting down and meeting people transforms your relationship immensely. There’s a lot of difference between the round skype icon of a mans face than the actual oval face in real life.
    Networking is key if you want to adapt, evolve, transform. You gotta do it unless you’re some crazy russian underground affiliate (who actually also would benefit from a little networking)

    Based on these variables I’d say you would need between: $1k – $10k (minimum) to get started.
    Lowest entry:
    1) Mobile/Desktop: Mobile
    2) Timeframe: Long term
    3) Smart/lazy: Smart but hard working
    4) Skills: Able to understand code (higher knowledge = better)
    5) Ruthlessness: Hard working, not easy on giving up
    6) Vertical/GEO: Mobile vertical (Sweepstakes, Apps, Antivirus, Vouchers) Tier 3-4 countries (think asian countries, african countries, some european and some latin american countries)
    7) Medium: Popunders, redirects or banners
    8) Connection: Able to connect with people/having existent connections
    = Starting capital needed between: $1000-$2000 (added monthly income is recommended)

    Starting capital needed breakthrough:

  • Server: VPS (Virtual Private Server): $10/month. Digitalocean is what I use, and what I recommend.
  • Tracking: Voluum($99/month) or Adsbridge($89/month): I personally use Adsbridge, however many use Voluum. I would recommend starting with Adsbridge as they’ve got a 14 day trial period which Voluum doesn’t.
  • Traffic: Now this will be the big cost for you, and it should. You should not waste your money on courses or buying expensive gear. Instead, you should focus your money on buying traffic, traffic is what will make or break you. It’s the deciding factor. Don’t be afraid to invest in traffic, it’s investing in data. I recommend spending at least $30/day on your campaigns and maximum $100, so you can get good data.
    Minimum recommended cost per month: Server + Tracking + Traffic = $999
    Maximum recommended cost per month: Server + Tracking + Traffic = $3099

    Let me know what you think,


  1. Hi eskil,

    Amazing post, direct to the point no fluff.

    2 quick questions:

    1- What approach do use to match Offer and Traffic?
    As you’ve said traffic is everything, but if you don’t have a good offer…

    2- Do you pai for STM or do you think for beginners is only a distraction? I’ve found you on affiliatefix.


    1. Hey Seneca! Glad you liked it!

      1. I usually take proven offers, (recommended by affiliate manager), on a proven traffic source (one which I know has worked before on this kind of offer), and then start mass testing landing pages. Once I see a winning lander, I start mass testing offers.

      2. I’ve been on STM before, but not anymore (it takes a lot of time, because you really enjoy the content :D), Content wise, STM is far far ahead than affiliatefix. Because of the natural barrier to entry of having a paid forum model, there’s less noobs, and the noobs that’re actually on STM are very eager to succeed. When I started out I didn’t have money to join STM, but if you do, I’d certainly recommend you signing up!

      If you have any other questions, please feel free to send me an e-mail or leave a comment.
      Also, if you have any advice for a blog post, please let me know!

      Kind regards,

        1. Generally, joining STM is a great way to read up on what others are doing, finding motivation, and getting to grips on topics you’re unsure on. The only thing that stopped me from joining STM a while ago was the money, for me, $99/mo was steep back then. If you can afford it, you really should join.


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