Is the fear of choosing the wrong affiliate marketing niche stopping you from diving into this lucrative business? This data study is for you. Empire Flippers gave us answers to some big questions about the sites that were sold on their curated affiliate website marketplace.

We got a mountain of data to cover more than 300 affiliate, display advertising, and amazon associate sites sold since 2019. We’ve broken down this data to give you some niche ideas and help you choose the most lucrative affiliate niches for your 1st or 50th site.

We’ll start by using the data to highlight the most important findings. Then we’ll take an eagle-eyed view of how all the sites in our study handle content, links, and time spent. Finally, we’ll reveal and analyze our favorite niches for affiliate marketing (in our opinion).

If you’d prefer to watch rather than read, I cover some of the key insights in this video.

What We Learned—Insights and Revelations

We took the 300+ sites we received as part of the data dump and organized them by affiliate marketing niches, assets, and monetization model.

From there, we compared the groups against each other to get some answers that can be carried into your next affiliate marketing campaigns.

Data from Empire Flippers Best Niches

Which niche brings in the most affiliate revenue? Which niche benefits most from a content-heavy or link-heavy affiliate marketing strategy? Here are some of the things we’ve learned.

  • The News & Education Niche reported the highest average adjusted monthly revenue at $8439 per month
  • The Baking Niche reports some of the lowest monthly revenues at $773 per month
  • The Medical niche reports the best ROI on content with a revenue/content ratio of $33.14 per published page
  • The Office niche reports the best ROI on link building with a revenue/backlink ratio of $5.61 per backlink
  • The Survival & Security Niche reports the best ROI on time with a revenue/hour ratio of $2860.25 per hour
  • Non-Amazon sites earn the most compared to other monetization models, with a monthly average of $5540
  • Amazon Associate Sites report a staggering revenue/content ratio of $7.95 per published page
  • Non-Amazon Affiliate sites command the best ROI for building links at a revenue/backlink ratio of $1.54 per backlink

We’ll tell you more about the context of each of these insights in the sections below. Tables have been included to help you understand more about how these sites stand up to other niches.

You may have questions about how some affiliate niches performed. We’ll cover our list of some of the best niches in more detail right after these insights.

The News & Education Niche Reported the Highest Average Adjusted Monthly Revenue at $8439 Per Month

News & Education held the lead for revenue after we tidied up the data a little. That tidying was necessary.

At first, the Religion & Spirituality niche appeared to be one of the biggest money niches by a long shot, with a commanding lead at $24,842.

The News & Education Niche Illustration

Sure, this is an interesting niche (and probably an evergreen niche if the last 5000 years of history are any indication), but we just didn’t have the faith to place it among the most profitable affiliate marketing niches without some digging.

Before we simply took that number as proof of a trend, the team dove a little deeper into the data. What we found was that only two sites sold in that niche for the life of the data. One was making well over $20k, and the other was barely clearing $1000 a month.

Unfortunately, our view of the Religion & Spirituality affiliate niche was badly contorted by the high-earning whale of a site. However, there are multiple metaphysical affiliate programs out there with lucrative commissions.

We found a few other niches that had the same problem. We didn’t get enough data points to assess the following affiliate niches:

  • Religion & Spirituality
  • Jewelry
  • Lifestyle
  • Agriculture

Because of this, we removed the above niches from the list and came up with the “Adjusted” list below.

So, beyond news, which niches have the best revenue when you adjust for measurable niches? Our data gave us this top 10 list of the highest revenue-earning niches for affiliate marketing.

The Adjusted top 10 Revenue-Earners

Table_The Adjusted top 10 Revenue Earners

These sites report the most revenue, but that doesn’t solve the whole ROI equation for us. The most profitable affiliate marketing niches are the ones that also have low costs.

We’ll be looking deeper into the best-performing affiliate niches later. For now, let’s look at what the data says about the baking hobby niche and whether low revenue means it’s not a profitable niche.

The Baking Niche Reports Some of the Lowest Monthly Revenues at $773 Per Month

The baking niche had some of the lowest reported revenue among the affiliate marketing niches that could be examined.

Don’t hold that against it, though. Remember, our data only includes sites that sell. The decent number of baking sites that made it into our analysis suggests that these sites don’t need much revenue to make it to market.

The Baking Niche Illustration

That could make baking a safe (if possibly a little saturated) niche market for your first site.

These sites mostly host recipes and often monetize through affiliate offers for the ingredients or kitchen accessories you need to complete the recipe. Sub-niches and micro-niches may focus on a single type of recipe, such as cocktails.

You may be interested to know who the baking niche is sharing the bottom of the ladder with. The table below covers the five lowest-earning niches and the average monthly income reported at the time of sale.

The Bottom 5 Revenue-Earners

Table_The Bottom 5 Revenue-Earners

Again, remember that this table only assesses the revenue. Low revenue niches can still be profitable niches. If you need niche ideas, a less competitive niche with lower revenue can be a great place to start your affiliate marketing business.

The Medical Niche Reports the Best ROI on Content With a Revenue/Content Ratio of $33.14 Per Published Page

The Medical niche was a standout winner of the revenue/content ROI among all affiliate marketing niches. They reported approximately $33 a month for each published page on their site.

The Medical Niche Illustration

A lot of factors may go on to explain why medical niche content performs so well compared to content on other affiliate marketing sites. For one, you don’t need that many pages of content to target some narrow medical issues (for example, snoring).

If you’re looking for some alternatives for your next investment, the image below shows the rest of the niches that get great ROI for content.

The Top 10 Niches for Content ROI

Table_Top-10-Niches-for-Content-ROI

For several other reasons, we believe that the medical niche is one of the most profitable affiliate marketing niches, and the best overall. After a few more insights, we’ll take a deeper dive into what this evergreen niche is doing right.

The Office Niche Reports the Best ROI on Link Building With a Revenue/Backlink Ratio of $5.61 Per Backlink

The office supply niche significantly beat out some of the nearest competition to establish itself as the affiliate marketing niche that gives the best revenue return for backlinks built.

Bear in mind, we’re talking about overall backlinks to a site, not individual referring domains.

The Office niche Illustration

This niche is a bigger player than the name may suggest. It’s less about staplers and paper and more about high-end PCs, standing desks, and custom ergonomic chairs. Many of these items have great commission rates.

Office supply was already a healthy evergreen niche in the past. Now that more people are working from home, it is growing significantly faster than before. This could be a profitable niche for you with a little market research.

For comparison, we’ve included our list of the top 10 niches that deliver revenue for backlinks.

The Top 10 Niches for Backlink ROI

Table_Top-10-Niches-for-Link-ROI

You may notice there is some crossover with the particular niches featured here. The medical, bed & bath, apparel, and music niches all found their way into both the top content ROI and top link ROI lists.

That’s a good indication that these could be some of the most profitable niches for new affiliate marketers or affiliate program veterans who want to boost their margins.

The Survival & Security Niche Reports the Best ROI on Time With a Revenue/Hour Ratio of $2860.25 Per Hour

Wow! Quit your job today because survival is quite possibly one of the most profitable affiliate marketing niches offering $100,000 for a solid 40-hour workweek. Right? Unfortunately, probably not.

The Survival & Security Niche Illustration

And I talk about more below, you should be careful about trusting hours worked numbers. They aren’t based on anything except self-reports, and even if they weren’t, we have a problem…

Once again, this is one of those particular niches where a whale undermines our data. In this case, it’s a giant affiliate business site that was earning tens of thousands. In the same period, only a few other (much smaller sites) sold in that niche.

For your interest, we’ve included the rest of the top 5 niches for this measurement.

The Top 5 Niches for Revenue/Hour ROI

Table_Top-5-Niches-for-Revenue-Hour-ROI-

Non-Amazon Sites Earn the Most Compared to Other Monetization Models, With a Monthly Average of $5540 

Among the monetization models of the studied sites (affiliate marketing, display advertising, and amazon associates), affiliate marketing was a clear winner.

The affiliate marketing sites in this study brought in more than $5000/week in average revenue.

I would argue that it’s no surprise to see this model do this well. Affiliate marketing has long offered better commission rates than other monetization models.

The best Monetization Model non amazon sites

With Amazon associates, there’s one game in town. They set the commission rates, and you can like it or take a hike. With affiliate marketing, there are a million offers out there, and big names compete to give good affiliates better commission and perks.

Unlike display advertising, affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to blast ads at your target audience. Any experienced affiliate marketer can tell you that the readers you attract can be a source of leads for years. I’d rather draw them in with content they like than risk driving them away with annoying banner ads.

In the table below, you can find out just how much more revenue affiliate marketing sites tend to turn out than the other competing models. However, our final top insight nearly turned the tables on my sense of satisfaction.

The Top Monetization Models

Table_The Top Monetization Models

Amazon Associate Sites Report a Staggering Revenue/Content Ratio of $7.95 Per Published Page

I was surprised to see how much more Amazon Associates sites were making off of each piece of content than your average affiliate marketing website (table below).

Best-Monetization-Model-on-content-ROI_Illustrations

However, there are some good reasons this can happen. For example, you can micro-target amazon sites around a single product (down to a single model from a single brand). That can make it easy to own a search with only a few pieces of content.

Despite this, I’m still comfortable declaring affiliate marketers the winners of this contest. They do collect more revenue overall and have a lot more options to get there.

Monetization Models Revenue/Content

Table_Monetization-Models-per-Content

Non-Amazon Affiliate Sites Command the Best ROI for Building Links at a Revenue/Link Ratio of $1.54 Per Backlink

Affiliate Site best for backlink ROI

Among all monetization models, non-Amazon affiliate sites can expect the best return from building links. 

As you can see in the table directly below, it wasn’t even a particularly close competition. Affiliate sites collect around 3x as much for each backlink they build compared to the other monetization models represented in the study.

It’s interesting to note (in the second table below) that affiliate sites also typically build far fewer links than sites pursuing the other two models. 

Monetization Models Revenue/Backlinks

Table_Monetization-Model-Revenue-per-Backlink

Monetization Models Backlinks Built

Table_Monetization-Models-Revenue-Backlinks-Built

These insights may provide you with the information you need to generate some good niche ideas. Next, we’ll take a wider view of the findings, and show you what we’ve learned about how all the sites are reporting link, content, and hours worked.

The Big Picture: Links, Content & Hours Worked

You need to know how many links, pieces of content, or hours worked a week go into affiliate marketing sites. This will help you understand what a valuable site looks like and what kind of work it will take you to get there. We’ve got the data, starting with links.

Backlinks

The histograms below tell you the number of overall backlinks held by each site by the time they were sold. On the X-axis, you’ll see the amounts of links (divided into ranges called “buckets”) that exist on the site. On the Y-axis, we see the number of sites that are in each set.

All three graphs cover the same information. The only difference is that the bucket size is different in each one. You can see how the trend lines change with different ranges.

Site Count vs Backlinks 01

Site Count vs Backlinks 02

Site Count vs Backlinks 03

The most important thing for you to note if you want to put this graph to use is the declining rate of return after a number of links. We see that a peak happens early when you look at the data from any of these three perspectives.

We see the biggest peaks at [250, 500] and [500-750]. This may suggest (generally) that a site can be successful without going far beyond that. Naturally, there are some differences among niches that we’ll cover further down.

Content

Let’s look at some of the same types of readings for content.

Again, the three graphs below all cover the same data. The bucket sizes change with each one to show you how different ranges affect the trend lines.

Site Count vs Content Published 01

Site Count vs Content Published 02

Site Count vs Content Published 03

You may be able to put some of the trend lines here to use. We see that the meat of the bell curve falls between 25-250 pages. After that, there are only rare peaks before the line goes flat in the later buckets.

We seem to be seeing that the value of adding new pages diminishes sharply after around 250 pages. Again, there are caveats that need to be noted about some niches. You’ll learn about how some niches make use of more or less content further down.

Time Spent

You can report how much time you spend a week developing a site when selling on Empire Flippers. There’s a reason I didn’t bother organizing histograms for this one. It’s just not that reliable of a reading.

time spent meme

First, it’s on the honor system. Unlike links or content that can be crawled, this factor is self-reported. No one is sending notarized timesheets to prove that a website was a considerable effort.

Second, people want to justify charging the highest price they can for a website. Reporting more hours is an easy way to do that. Don’t put too much stock in it.

You’re probably interested to hear more about some of the things we learned about the factors we tracked. Next, we’ll tell you more about how these factors applied to some of the top niches.

Niche Deep Dive

We picked a list of our favorite niches for a deep data dive. The most profitable niches is a topic I’ve been covering for a long time. This data represents a great chance to put some numbers behind those claims.

We’ll take you through a fuller list of the stats that we picked up for each niche, including:

  • Average monthly revenue
  • Average # of Content Published
  • Average # of Backlinks
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week
  • Highest Average Monthly Gross Revenue
  • Lowest Average Monthly Gross Revenue

You’ll also get to see niche-specific scatterplots that will help you understand how much content and links it takes to earn a place in each niche. We’ll start with the niche that I think has outperformed all of the others.

The Medical Niche (The Best?)

The medical niche comes first because, in our minds, it is the best and possibly most profitable affiliate marketing niche. It’s a healthy evergreen niche with a world of sub-niches with amazing conversion rates.

The Medical Niche (The Best?)

Snoring products live in this niche, and so do the highly profitable CBD/Marijuana markets. There are also hundreds of home medical devices that are a good fit for a review-style site. Depending on the product you choose, you can find a highly motivated target audience.

Let’s bring it back to the data, though. It was number one for content ROI and number two for backlink ROI respectively. This makes it a really promising niche for a new site. The work you do has a good chance of being rewarded.

However, be warned that it often takes an authority site to thrive in this niche. While this is one of the most evergreen niches around, Google has taken steps to clamp down on sites that don’t meet the highest standards.

  • Average monthly revenue: $4591
  • Average # of Content Published: 138.50
  • Average # of Backlinks: 1146
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week: 7.00

The Home Niche

The home niche is a vibrant niche covering home decorations, furniture, and other exterior and interior home design products. This profitable niche includes a mix of high-commission and low-commission offers, with lots of opportunities to work directly with manufacturers.

Home Niche Ideas

Here are the average statistics that we picked up from the home-based affiliate marketing sites that made it through our study.

  • Average monthly revenue: $2675
  • Average # of Content Published: 348.60
  • Average # of Backlinks: 5412.17
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week: 4.86
  • Highest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $16082
  • Lowest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $276

Scatterplots: Content and Backlinks ROI within the Niche

Scatterplots_Home Niche 01

Scatterplots_Home Niche 02

The Pet Care Niche

The pet niche covers a huge market. The lucrative programs in this niche may cover anything pet owners need for their furry friends from toys, to food, houses, and accessories.

It was already a burly affiliate marketing niche before the pandemic brought hundreds of thousands of new people into pet ownership.

Pet Niche Ideas

This data may not fully cover the consequences of increased ownership over the last year, but it does confirm what we already suspected: This niche is a beast. It’s not hard to say why. Pet owners love their little fur babies, and they don’t need much convincing to spend money.

Among our ROI-graded affiliate marketing niches, it has the highest average revenue. However, as you can see in the stats below, it also has some high costs of entry with many pieces of content and links being typical on sites that are sold.

  • Average monthly revenue: 4318.86
  • Average # of Content Published: 1246.67
  • Average of Backlinks: 4984.05
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week: 5.10
  • Highest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $13412
  • Lowest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $599

Scatterplots: Content and Backlinks ROI within the Niche

Scatterplots_Pet-Care-Niche-01

Scatterplots_Pet-Care-Niche-02

The Outdoors Niche

The outdoors niche (not to be confused with the more hardcore survival niche) is a broad niche for everyone who loves to get outside. Affiliate products include camping gear, performance coats, hiking gear, and water bottles. Just think of it as anything you could get from REI.

Outdoors Niche Ideas

The outdoor sites that appear in this study were relatively large. However, this niche lends itself well to tightly-targeted sites that focus each blog post on just one type of product.

  • Average monthly revenue: 3126.42
  • Average # of Content Published: 514.50
  • Average of Backlinks: 35723.92
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week: 2.33
  • Highest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $11785
  • Lowest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $759

Scatterplots: Content and Backlinks ROI within the Niche

Scatterplots_Outdoor-01

Scatterplots_Outdoor-02

The Automotive Niche

The automotive niche mostly doesn’t deal with vehicles themselves, though you may find commission offers to get people onto lots. The reliable money is in interior decor, aftermarket parts, and accessories.

The Automotive Niche Illustration

This niche has some strong stats, with high revenue and a low general requirement for content to earn it. It does seem that this niche may require some unusual effort to attract links.

  • Average monthly revenue: 3326.19
  • Average of Content Published: 302.38
  • Average of Backlinks: 8805.31
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week: 3.88
  • Highest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $11836
  • Lowest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $744

Scatterplots: Content and Backlinks ROI within the Niche

Scatterplots_Automotive-01

Scatterplots_Automotive-02

The Electronics Niche

The electronics niche covers consumer mobile devices and home electronics. It includes phones, phone accessories, and other cutting-edge home and personal devices. Think devices like Oura Rings, Roku’s, and other high-tech toys.

The Electronics Niche Illustration

This niche covers a lot of hobby niches, especially when it comes to products that appeal to the adventurous early-adopter market. Many sites in this niche tend to focus on reviews, tech news, or breakdowns of product specs.

  • Average monthly revenue: 2054.75
  • Average of Content Published: 376.67
  • Average of Backlinks: 1226.00
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week: 4.08
  • Highest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $4911
  • Lowest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $675

Scatterplots: Content and Backlinks ROI within the Niche

Scatterplots_Electronics-01

Scatterplots_Electronics-02

The Technology Niche

The technology niche covers mostly business-class technology products. For example, industrial or agricultural equipment may be considered technology. Affiliate programs in this niche may also focus on residential buyers seeking devices like generators and home solar-power setups.

Even when an affiliate program in this niche doesn’t have a great rate, a single sale can be worth thousands. That may help you explain the high revenues these sites can generate.

Technology Niche Site Ideas

They can also be a lot of work, as seen in the average content and backlink counts below. Selling a $10,000 piece of equipment takes a lot more than an insightful blog post and a well-placed affiliate link.

The upside is that leads alone can be lucrative in this market whether you sell or not. The contact and personal data you collect from a subscriber may be an asset on it’s own.

  • Average monthly revenue: 3362.36
  • Average of Content Published: 451.91
  • Average of Backlinks: 12877.64
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week: 6.82
  • Highest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $15234
  • Lowest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $616

Scatterplots: Content and Backlinks ROI within the Niche

Scatterplots_Technology-01

Scatterplots_Technology-01

The Sports Niche

The sports niche is a healthy one that covers sports events, memorabilia, and even some related gambling activities. Affiliate sites in the space may be collecting commissions for tickets, team-branded clothing, or memberships to fantasy sports platforms.

Sports Niche Ideas

Sports fans represent a huge and enthusiastic market of potential customers. As you can see below, the revenue opportunity is not bad.

  • Average monthly revenue: 2946.23
  • Average of Content Published: 259.85
  • Average of Backlinks: 2512.69
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week: 2.85
  • Highest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $614
  • Lowest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $12851

Scatterplots: Content and Backlinks ROI within the Niche

Scatterplots_Sports-01

Scatterplots_Sports-02

The Health & Fitness Niche

The health niche (including the wellness niche) covers a huge variety of services and products related to self-improvement. I’ve worked in the muscle growth sub-niche, but there are also all kinds of offers for supplements, weight loss, superfoods, groups, and apps.

Health Niche Ideas

Considering the size and visibility of the fitness industry, it’s no surprise that the health niche can be highly profitable.

It can take an unusual amount of content to compete in this niche. For example, muscle supplements require you to churn out content on hundreds of topics to develop any real authority. The revenues in the fitness niche can make it worth the effort.

There are certainly still opportunities for newer/small sites in this affiliate niche. Take weight loss, for example. You can closely target a site to a specific program, ingredient, or device. A micro-niche can easily form when programs catch on (such as P90X from a few years back).

  • Average monthly revenue: 1678.40
  • Average of Content Published: 437.00
  • Average of Backlinks: 3365.90
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week: 2.60
  • Highest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $5661
  • Lowest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $592

Scatterplots: Content and Backlinks ROI within the Niche

Scatterplots_Health-&-Fitness-01

Scatterplots_Health-&-Fitness-02

The Food & Beverages Niche

The food and beverages niche covers special-order foods rather than your general groceries. Affiliate websites in the niche are generally trying to collect commissions on bulk orders of drinks, prepared meal services like Blue Apron, or novelty/limited-time/branded foods.

Food Niche Idea

After the pet care niche, this niche has the highest base revenue of those chosen for our deep dive. While this niche had a good sample size for our study, one site had so many links (70,000+) that it threw off the averages.

Most food and beverage sites had fewer than 5000 backlinks, as you can see in the scatterplots.

  • Average monthly revenue: 4038.67
  • Average of Content Published: 561.00
  • Average of Backlinks: 2603.42
  • Average of Hours Worked/Week: 4.33
  • Highest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $6655
  • Lowest Average Monthly Gross Revenue: $1484

Scatterplots: Content and Backlinks ROI within the Niche

Scatterplots_Food-&-Beverages-01

Scatterplots_Food-&-Beverages-02

The Rest of the Niches

There are many opportunities outside the most profitable niches. Below, you’ll see the rest of the revenue, content, backlink, and hours worked averages for the niches that didn’t make it into our favorites.

The personal finance niche is another one below that’s worth some consideration.

The personal finance niche includes the investment niche and ever-growing crypto niche. Many money blogging sites in this niche have generated great revenue just by offering advice.

Products in the personal finance niche include guides to stocks, trading systems, and passive income. You’ll find offers that cover personal loans, debt reduction programs, and other services with some very high commissions.

Table_The Rest of the Niches

Finally, we have the complete ROI table for you. This table covers the ROI measures of content, links, and hours worked for all niches.

Table_The Complete ROI

I’m proud to say that this is some of the most comprehensive data that’s ever been published about the factors at play in affiliate sites. However, there’s still a lot more to learn.

Some major niches, such as online dating, didn’t appear because not enough of those sites were sold to produce good data. Don’t let that fool you into thinking online dating, and other niches don’t have opportunities for ambitious affiliates.

While this is all the data we have for now, we’ll continue to reach out to Empire Flippers and other partners to bring you more data about what it takes to run an online business.

Get the Most Out of Your Next Affiliate Site

That covers just about everything in our data dive. The Empire Flippers data had a lot to teach us about the most profitable affiliate marketing niches, and I hope our explanation of the insights, big picture, and favored niches can help you make a better start as an affiliate marketer.

Check out the Facebook discussion linked below if you have questions about the study. I occasionally drop in to answer questions about niche marketing, lucrative affiliate products, and my other favorite affiliate marketing niches.

Want to know more about maximizing the value of affiliate sites? Join the Affiliate Lab. Here, you’ll get insider info about the affiliate marketing industry, and digital marketing tactics. Learn what you need to know about making money online and building sites that earn and sell.