Guide to Verticals

If you’re just getting started with this business then you should probably know a thing or two about verticals. Even the most basic knowledge will get you a long way and help achieve better target demographics.

So what are verticals? What does it actually mean to be a part of a vertical market?

These are all questions you’ll be getting an answer for.

So let’s dive into this ultimate guide that will teach you how to recognize, utilize, and incorporate ad verticals.

Since we really want you to fully grasp the conceptual relevance of affiliate marketing, we’ll start from scratch.

An illustration of Verticals in Affiliate Marketing

What are verticals (markets) in Affiliate Marketing?

Markets in which brands offer their products/services to a specified group of customers in order to satisfy their wants.

Its aim is to either solve problems or provide desirable content or products to the customer. With the same interests and preferences, of course.

In Affiliate Marketing, these markets tend to be very specific and targeted instead of broad and generalized. Understanding this makes your job easier.

Going wider does increase numbers and ranges of potential buyers who will most likely visit. So interact and buy products.

This is called Horizontal marketing, which can be useful, but under specific conditions. Sales are effectively utilized if all of your customers came to get the same thing.

Through vertical targeting, you’ll establish connections with buyers under precisely defined niches where you’ll get key insights like:

  • Motivations
  • Desires
  • Appeals
  • Drives to purchase

It only takes a little reading and analyzing to use this to your own advantage.

The logic behind this principle is simple.

You’re targeting smaller groups of people with extremely high buying potential. And that’s what Affiliate Marketing is all about.

How do I utilize vertical targeting?

The same way you utilize everything else, through research, planning, and strategic approach. Analyze your targeted niche and its customer needs to craft a clear path to higher sales. After that, your focus should shift to your competition. Analyze their weaknesses by researching their product.

Getting insightful results might just be the only thing that separates you from your competition.

What do we mean by that? 

Even the slightest advantage gained through research can place you miles ahead of your competition.

Even if you’re selling the exact same product at the exact same vertical, all you have to do is:

  • Lower your price
  • Add value to your product/service

It’s extremely important to have your own marketing angle that distinguishes you from others.

What are the main Verticals?

There are two main verticals in Affiliate Marketing:

  • Mainstream verticals, which include E-commerce, Entertainment, Mobile Content, Nutra, Video Games, Cryptocurrencies, and many more
  • Adult verticals, which include many forms of Adult Content such as Adult Videos, Adult Dating, and so on

Each and every vertical is further dissolved into smaller particles called sub-verticals which are basically sub-categories of the vertical itself.

For example, if you’re vertical is Health, your sub-vertical would focus around mental health.

As far as the mainstream verticals are concerned, you’ll quickly realize that the number of available sub-categories is practically endless.

Consequentially, that leaves you with full freedom and flexibility to choose where exactly you would like to focus first.

Despite large numbers of mainstream verticals to choose from, some specific verticals are more distinguishable and recognizable than others.

Our guide aims at covering the most recognizable as well as the most profitable verticals in the industry such as:

E-Commerce Verticals

E-commerce is a mainstream Affiliate Marketing vertical that strictly focuses on commercial use of the internet. It works on a principle where monetary transactions such as digital payments take place online. Since its practicality of use has become imperative nowadays, E-commerce ranks highly among mainstream verticals.

This specific vertical has advanced up to the point where no boundaries or restrictions exist. You can literally buy or sell anything online now, as long as it complies with existing cyber laws. Virtually all brands that are recognizable worldwide have integrated themselves into this vertical through online shops and mobile apps.

Basically, everything revolves around promoting e-shops and their products, and your job is to monetize that. You can do that through CPS (Cost per Sale) by promoting online shops via coupons while earning your own percentage. Or perhaps earning your percentage based on successful app installs through the CPI model.

Main promotion platforms supported by E-Commerce are:

  • Google AdWords
  • Facebook
  • Native traffic, which you can find at MonadPlug

A large trend among affiliates is re-selling products from platforms through other platforms via dropshipping. However, since Facebook has become a second home for shady promotions, working on it is extremely challenging. Choose either Google AdWords or Native traffic, which we strongly recommend.


Sweepstakes are verticals that focus on choosing winners through lottery systems, or simply luck. Participants are asked to share their personal details such as their name, e-mail or other forms of information. Various products and shopping gift cards are commonly rewarded to winners.

Nevertheless, your priority here is to facilitate as much completed sign up processes as you can. Your profit relies on your conversion rates, luckily for you, most sweep offers are easily convertible. Other offers require subscriptions thus making them a lot harder to convert.

This strictly depends on GEOs. T-1 (Tier-1) countries use personal info as a high-value source, so advertisers pay for that.

Whereas T-3 (Tier-3) countries use subscriptions as a high-value source.

However, should you succeed in converting them, your payout becomes instantly higher due to the high value it presents to advertisers. Note that sweepstakes won’t work on direct links, only on pre-landers which increase user engagement.

When it comes to pre-landers, it’s all about your angle, the more believable it is, the bigger the conversion rate.

Another very important factor is page speed. Users (especially mobile users) won’t wait for ads to load. The perfect loading speed for the page is one second, or preferably under that.

There are a few methods which you can use to modify your page speed:

  • Place all of your codes into one file
  • Shorten your code, if possible
  • Compress your images
  • Never use shared hostings, instead try VPS or CDN

You can test your results on Google PageSpeed platform.

Finance Verticals

Another large vertical with highly-targeted content amongst users is Finance itself. Financial product brands tend to aim for valuable customers by focusing mainly on quality rather than quantity.

However, it’s quite challenging because these offers are difficult to convert. Two main reasons are responsible for conversion difficulties:

  • Users had previous bad experiences with bad offers
  • Large amounts of investments are necessary

The most vital factor of this vertical is definitely honesty and trust establishment. Try to be as transparent as you possibly can with your users by giving them information in advance.

Nutra Verticals

Nutra is arguably one of the most popular verticals, usually known as H&B (Health and Beauty).

It’s completely rich with sub-verticals such as diet, muscle, hair, skin, male enhancements and many more correlated sub-verticals.  This particular vertical focuses entirely on three models of sales:

  • Direct selling – includes selling products directly to consumers in non-retail environments
  • Cash on delivery – a process in which payments are made prior to the delivery
  • Trials – temporary offers which allow consumers to examine or test products before buying

Marketing and selling H&B products are extremely time-consuming and companies mainly choose trusted affiliate networks. Advertisers mainly track two main metrics:

  • Re-bill Rates –trial offers based on monthly payments
  • Chargebacks-initiated by cardholders which most likely results in a return of funds, but doesn’t have to

These specific metrics are measures for traffic quality in this particular branch.


Horse racing, online casino, poker, and virtually every other form of betting is considered a sub-vertical to this enormously profitable vertical. The Internet has managed to revolutionize the role gambling had in terms of its popularity. The value of this particular vertical is approximately 400 billion euros.

However, there are many challenges for affiliates if they aim for sustainability in this Affiliate Marketing vertical:

  • Products of gambling websites
  • Software suppliers for gaming websites
  • Obtaining gambling licenses for desired markets
  • Payment system selection
  • Promotion of website


The gaming industry is one of the best, but simultaneously one of the most demanding Affiliate Marketing verticals to monetize. Hardly anything can be accomplished without exceptional analytical skills and “outside the box” type of creativity. However, at the same time, this particular niche provides you with product and services which boost your commission rates significantly.

How, you may ask?

Well, the gaming industry is constantly evolving, and, nowadays, purchases are rarely required by customers. So, odds are in the favor of those who have large traffic and large social media or e-mail community. Generally, 5 payments models are compatible with this vertical:

  1. SOI (Single opt-in) – payment model which pays for every added user in the mailing base list regardless of their information confirmation
  2. DOI (Double opt-in) – receiving payments for adding users to your mailing base
  3. CPP (Cost per player) – new player-new payment
  4. CPO (Cost per order) – payment model which pays for every purchased game
  5. Revenue Sharing – a certain percentage received after users pay for products.

Factors to Pay Attention to in Gaming

As in every vertical, competitiveness does exist and some key factors may indicate why your business is not generating profit:

  • Low rates – Short Cookie rates, as well as low commissions, are frequent scenarios in this vertical. So, users must approach with caution and wise strategies. Note that client games usually have higher rates when compared to browser games.
  • Audience GEO – CPL models are cheaper in CIS regions than in the USA, have that in mind before you target your audience.
  • Fraud Traffic – Click frauds are extremely risky for your business, so take great care.
  • Low selling opportunities – Learn how to play the game by analyzing your competition and utilizing your advantages.
  • Lack of tracking and analytical system – This is imperative, track your business if you want to ensure its sustainability and stability.
  • Poor promotion techniques – Probably the main reason why your profitability is low.

If your existing promotions aren’t generating enough conversions, then it’s probably time to update your promotion strategy. If you believe that this is your issue than we strongly advise you to click here; because this just might be what you needed this whole time.

Crypto Verticals

Affiliate Marketing Crypto Verticals have generated enormous attention around itself last year after Bitcoin peaked at almost $20,000 per coin. This phenomenon created a domino effect which consequentially leads to the creation of alternative cryptocurrencies and the “Crypto” vertical itself. It’s easily one of the most profitable verticals if you manage to hit the right offers which pay up to $500 per offer.

Tempting, isn’t it?

However, it’s all about timing it perfectly with the right cryptocurrency. This particular vertical is highly profitable but rarely monetized. It takes great dedication along with constant cryptoanalysis to facilitate offers that can’t be refused. Should you choose to monetize this vertical, make sure that you’ve previously tested your traffic, the best, or nothing.

Mobile Apps

This particular vertical includes utility apps for mobile platforms such as performance boosters, battery savers and many more.

Mobile app owners sell products or services via the mobile web where affiliates engage in performance-based advertising.

Offers are mainly:

  • CPA (Cost per Action) – Subscription-based, stimulates significant revenues if provided with the right traffic
  • CPI (Cost per Install) – Download-based, usually downloads through Appstore/Playstore

However, due to large competitiveness and constant increase in advancement, it’s becoming a lot harder for app developers to monetize. That’s exactly where you come in.


Mainly because app affiliate networks allow marketers to access traffic offers in many different verticals and locations.

Gathering advertisers is time-consuming and requires business partnership establishments that mobile developers have no time for. They’re most likely incapable of facilitating agreements on their own so the best route to go is contacting them first.


In its essence, anything that includes travelling falls under this vertical. From Hotel bookings, trip purchases, and transportation tickets all the way to the best deals for holidays, the choice is yours.

Payment models are defined by the service it provides such as:

  • CPI (Cost per Install) – Mainly travel & booking apps- seasonality Is key, time your promotions to perfection
  • CPS (Cost per Sale) – Credit card billings on booking trips that came from a landing page
  • CPC/CPL (Cost per Call/Lead) – Generally travel calls-the more calls received by a call center of travel agents, the higher your profit

Note that this particular Affiliate Marketing vertical oscillates seasonally so adequately timed approaches are pure gold here.

Dating Verticals

The general misconception that dating sites are a dead-end is still very present. Official records claim differently, stating that nearly 300 million worldwide users participate in dating platforms. Older generations tend to believe that dating is ineffective whereas newer generations treat it as a norm. Believe it or not, dating is widely considered as an international trend, thus meaning that large potential revenue is ever-present.

What you will most definitely need to start monetizing in dating is:

  • Dating Traffic – which you can find through various dating sites, forums, and blogs, or perhaps through platforms such as Traffic Stars
  • Utilizing CPA instead of CPS – simply because full sales in dating are never guaranteed, so it’s best to focus on impressions rather than product quality

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should ignore CPS. In some specific situations, it can be quite usable, such as with trusted advertisers who are satisfied with your traffic. The higher your quality of traffic, the higher the commission rates.

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What are Verticals in Affiliate Marketing? - The Ultimate Guide
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What are Verticals in Affiliate Marketing? - The Ultimate Guide
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