In-Depth 2020 Target Affiliate Program Review (and How to Make Your First Commissions)
Everyone's heard of Amazon Associates, but the Target affiliate program is news to most affiliates, and probably you too.
But is it any good? Is it worth adding to your monetization mix for niche or review sites?
With up to 8% commission on over a million products, the answer is yes. Target is an excellent addition to affiliates. It might even become your primary source of income, depending on your niche.
In this article, we'll cover the Target affiliate policies, products, and payouts, review which affiliate it's most suitable for, and demonstrate real-life strategies to start getting your first Target commissions.
Target Affiliate Program Basics (Products, Commissions, and More)
What is the Target affiliate program?
The Target affiliate program allows webmasters, bloggers, and influencers to sign up to promote a selection of Target's products and receive a commission upon referring a sale.
If you promote an affiliate link to a lounge chair in the Target online store, someone clicks your link, likes what they see, and makes a purchase. You'll get up to 8% of the final sale revenue. The commission depends on how many customers you refer each month.
Though the Target.com online store offers a massive product catalog with a wide range of categories, many are excluded from the affiliate program.
Target's affiliate marketing program doesn't support that many categories.
The main ones that offer affiliate payouts are home and outside living (furniture, appliances), apparel, and beauty products.
Beyond that, Target excludes many significant categories, including electronics, video games, books, music, baby care products, etc.
Excluded product categories:
- Target cafe
- Household commodities
- Digital entertainment
- Books and magazines
- Pet care
- Non-carbonated beverages
- Video games
- Meal essentials
- Breakfast & warm beverages
- Photo non-lab
- One spot
- Photo lab
- Target.com music
- OTC-personal care
- Target.com movies
- Target.com books
- Paper & disposable plastics
- Contract mobile
- Bread and baking
- Frozen – meals and sides
- Bulk coffee
- Prepaid cards
- Pizza hut express
- Bulk candy
- Target cafe retail
- Frozen pizza and desserts
- Gift cards
- TV and home electronics
- Fan central
- Imaging and office
- Portable electronics
- No-contract mobile/accessories
- Bicycles and physical fitness
- Games/diecast/action figures
- Team and sport equipment
- Indoor/outdoor recreation
- Computer software
- Preschool/seasonal toys
- Electronics services
- Automotive accessories
The Target referral qualification policy relies on the last-click attribution model and saves referral data for up to 7 days (cookie duration).
If someone visits your website, follows the link, and decides to think about it, you can still earn a commission.
As long as they directly visit the product page and click no new affiliate links, the referred customer can wait for a week.
Only one action (checkout) is allowed per click, but the cart can include unlimited products/value.
Commissions & Payouts
Any sales transactions (actions) are "locked" for 60 days after the end of the month in which they happen.
That means a sale happening on March 1 is locked for 90 days, until May 31. During this period, Target can adjust or cancel your commission, depending on the status of the sale.
For example, if the entire order is returned for a refund, the commission will get canceled. If a single product in a larger order gets canceled, the commission fee will be modified.
Payouts happen 20 days after the end of the transaction lock period.
In other words, it might take up to 110 days from the day you make a referral until you finally get paid for your work.
Level of Experience
Because Target offers copy-and-paste ads and product tables, much like Amazon Associates, it's suitable for any affiliate marketer, ranging from beginners to experienced.
The only caveat is that because the supported product categories are narrow, it's only a viable alternative if you target one of the three main categories of products.
But its volume bonuses make it an especially great option for established affiliate marketers in the home & outdoor furniture, baby, or apparel niches.
These categories, especially home and outdoor, include several high-priced products from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Note: Like many other affiliate programs, TAP follows a manual application process, so you need an established platform (website or social media following) to get accepted.
Target Affiliate Program vs. the Competition
In this section, we compare how Target holds up against Amazon Associates, Wayfair, and other competitors.
After reviewing your alternatives, you might find a better option or discover that a mix of multiple programs will give you the highest commissions across different product categories.
Target Affiliate Program vs. Amazon Associates
As another retailer that sells virtually anything, Amazon Associates is a fair comparison for the Target affiliate program.
The Amazon affiliate program supports a broader range of products, but Target has higher payouts (even at the base level) for it's supported product categories.
As a result of Amazon drastically lowering some of its affiliate commissions in April 2020, Target now has a significant competitive advantage.
To top this off, Target offers volume bonuses, with its affiliate commission rate capping at 8%.
For example, if you are in the indoor or outdoor furniture space, you could earn up to 5% more in fees by switching to Target.
Target Affiliate Program vs. Wayfair Affiliate Program
Because one of the main product categories included in Target's affiliate program is home and outdoor, Wayfair is a great comparison.
Previous affiliates should note that Wayfair has moved from ShareASale to Commission Junction.
Let's take a look at how the specifics stack up:
Up to 7%
Up to 8%
7 days (last click)
7 days (last click)
60 days after sale
60 days after EOM
20 days after EOM
20 days after lock
The thing that stands out is that Wayfair's EPC (estimated earnings per 100 clicks) is more than twice as high as Target's. Of course, Target offers many lower-priced products like beauty creams and clothes, compared to Wayfair, which focuses on furniture and other home products.
While the locking period can be shorter, the standard Commission Junction payouts are delayed until 20 days after the end of the month after a transaction.
Other than that, these programs match up very evenly, especially when you consider that the available products are in many of the same categories.
For medium volume affiliates, with a few thousand monthly visitors, and less than a hundred referred sales, Target's maximum of 8% is unreachable.
For most affiliate marketers, the realistic upper ceiling is 7%, even as a Target affiliate.
A unique thing about the Wayfair affiliate program is that it includes its network of other online retail sites.
Included online stores:
- Wayfair (Canada and US)
- All Modern
- Birch Lane
- Joss and Main
Because of its extensive catalog of items specifically for the home and garden, it's an excellent alternative for affiliates in the interior or gardening niche.
Target Affiliate Program vs. Overstock Affiliate Program
Another retail affiliate program with a similar catalog is Overstock, an online retailer of furniture, appliances, etc.
Let's compare its affiliate program with Target's.
Up to 6%
Up to 8%
14 days (last click)
7 days (last click)
60 days after sale
60 days after EOM
20 days after EOM
20 days after lock
Again, the EPC is much higher than Target's.
This is probably a combination of Overstock affiliates focusing on higher-priced specialty products, and Target's low commission rate for Beauty Products (that are already cheap).
Like Amazon and Target, the Overstock affiliate program offers special commission rates by category:
There are no volume discounts or bonuses. That means even beginner affiliates can earn 6% on furniture sales straight off the bat.
Overstock's program also runs through the Commission Junction affiliate network.
Since many affiliate marketers already have a CJ account, they could save time and energy on the signup and onboarding process.
What About Free Shipping on Large Purchases?
For furniture and other large items, how do the different retailers handle shipping?
Large purchases, like expensive furniture or appliances, made through Target, tend to include free shipping or delivery.
Wayfair also offers free shipping on most furniture and large items over $35 (flooring, extra-large, and unusual items are excluded).
Overstock currently offers free shipping on all products and orders (within the US).
For home and garden products, Amazon does offer free shipping on select orders, especially for Prime members.
But in this category, many products are just listed through Amazon by third-party retailers.
These products can have shipping fees as high as fifty dollars per product.
With Amazon, this is usually because an independent retailer is listing their products on Amazon, rather than fulfilling them through Amazon.
Many High-Value Product Categories Excluded
Unfortunately, the Target affiliate program excludes a lot of high-value product categories that many affiliates rely on.
- Televisions and electronics
- Pet supplies
- Laptop computers, PC parts, and accessories
- Sports and hobby equipment
While Wayfair focuses mainly on indoor and outdoor furniture, both Overstock and Amazon support more product categories, including every single one listed above.
Overstock product category commissions:
- Televisions and electronics: 1%
- Pet supplies: 6%
- Laptop computers, PC parts, and accessories: 1%
- Toys 1%
- Sports and hobby equipment 3%
Amazon product category commissions:
- Televisions and electronics: 2%
- Pet supplies: 3%
- Laptop computers, PC parts, and accessories: 2.5%
- Toys 3%
- Sports and hobby equipment 3%
If your site targets niches relevant to these products, Target isn't the best choice.
Instead, you should rely on a mix of Overstock and Amazon to give you the most options.
Furniture is one of the best categories in the Target affiliate program.
Just imagine, up to 8% commissions on products that cost $800 and upwards, that's $64 or more for a single referral.
Plus, Target offers free shipping even on most large items and is a trusted brand that consumers have likely already purchased from.
That makes Target's affiliate program a great match for the high-end furniture niche.
Target Audience: High-Income Household Housewives
Who buys high-end furniture?
Do minimum wage workers or college students drop hundreds and thousands of dollars on an outdoor sofa?
Instead, your target market will be mostly high-income households. In these households, it is typically the wife that makes buying decisions for furniture and other home and outdoor living products.
Of course, this won't always be the case, but when it comes to marketing, numbers outweigh political correctness.
- Age: 35–60+
- Job position: Housewife
- Household income: $70,000+
- Interests: Interior design, shopping, luxury brands
So what's the best channel for reaching rich housewives on the internet?
You might have guessed it already…
Main Marketing Channel: Pinterest
With 98 million monthly active users, Pinterest is now the third-largest social media network in the US.
But if it's in third place, why are we choosing it?
It's a great way to reach women. Its user base is 76% female, making it one of the best channels to reach women in the US in 2020.
Also, Pinterest is already a proven social media platform for interior and decor.
Interior affiliate giant DecorMatters has amassed over 240 thousand followers on Pinterest, just sharing indoor and outdoor design ideas and examples.
You can check out their account for more inspiration on how you can establish your brand on Pinterest.
You won't come far if you try just to take pictures of single products and promote them on Pinterest.
Instead, you must arrange multiple products into a completed design. Just look at how DecorMatters features all the affiliate products included in their designs:
If you don't want to invest thousands of dollars for each blog post, don't worry.
Target typically has multiple high-resolution photos of products from different angles, usually with a white or uniform background.
So instead, you can use AR tools (like DesignMatters) or hire someone to Photoshop together a completed design using highlighted products.
When Pinterest users click through to your main design post, you can share the products in the design in a featured table at the top of the blog post, or a separate column like in the example.
Just make sure to source products in your posts with items from the Target affiliate program, and you're ready to start making money.
Collect Email Addresses to Close Deals Later
DecorMatters has successfully created a community of millions of interior and decor lovers that they can convert at a later date with their AR app.
Of course, you probably don't have the budget to develop an engaging app, but you don't need it either.
An app isn't the only way to build your email list.
You could collect email addresses with a "Beginner's Guide to Patio Decor" or a private community or Facebook group to give hands-on advice.
You could even offer "exclusive designs and interior decorating tips" through an old-fashioned newsletter.
Another outstanding category for Target affiliate products is apparel. It offers hundreds of thousands of products to choose from, a price range to suit any consumer, and up to 8% commissions.
But if you're trying to establish a fashion site in 2020, you can't go wide and try to reach everyone.
You need to pick a target market, and preferably someone you can relate to and understand.
In this example, we'll target young professionals, but you can focus on any audience that makes sense with your experience and interests.
Target Audience: Young Professionals
- Age: 22–35
- Position: High-paid entry-level professionals in tech, programming, sales, and marketing.
- Income: $40,000+
- Interests: Tech, startups, career advancement, golf
You could go in more or less detail when dialing in on your target audience, but this gives us a basic understanding of which topics to focus on.
For example, we could do blog posts on "What to wear for your Silicon Valley tech interview" or something along those lines.
When it comes to tech-savvy young professionals, we can assume that they are research-prone.
So the best way to reach them is as they're actively researching product options online.
Main Channel: SEO and Organic Search
68% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, and, on average, it drives 1,000% more traffic than social media.
Not to mention, it's an incredibly prevalent channel in the apparel industry, as consumers can search for and find exactly what they are looking for.
Just look at the SimilarWeb stats for FashionBeans, a fashion magazine, and apparel affiliate site.
82.65% of the traffic comes from organic search, with a measly 1% from social media.
And it gets over 2 million visits every single month.
That should demonstrate the potential of organic search in the apparel industry.
There's too much to cover in a short section, so if you want to learn how to get more organic traffic, read our guide on SEO basics.
But what posts and pages should you create to get a piece of this traffic?
You want to reach consumers after they've already decided they need something.
When looking for new clothes, many people search for lists of items to compare with terms like "Best office shoes for women":
If you click any of the top results, you'll typically see links or CTA buttons to affiliate products.
(via Her Shopping Lists)
If you can write shopping guides and compare multiple dress items, you can reach interested buyers and jump straight to the end of the sales funnel, earning affiliate commissions with a single visit.
One of the secrets behind NicheHacks' success is our thriving community, including a Facebook group with over 56,000 members.
The great thing about Facebook groups is that engagement is much higher than for business pages.
Plus, once you have a few hundred members, user-generated content helps keep it alive even if you don't post anything for weeks.
Having your community is a great way to drive visitors back to your blog. It will also help you find content ideas and better understand your target audience.
- It's worth switching from Amazon Associates if you promote furniture, apparel, or baby gear.
- TV and home electronics are not included in the affiliate program.
- Large home & outdoor purchases typically come with free shipping.
- Because of the manual review process, prospective affiliates should have a relatively popular site/social media account before applying.
The Target affiliate program isn't just a great way to supplement your income (by providing more options); some affiliates may even drastically increase their earnings by completely replacing Amazon Associate products.
With high commissions and over a million affiliate products, no aspiring affiliate marketer in this niche can afford to ignore it when planning their business.
Do you have any further questions about the Target affiliate program that we didn't answer in this review, or do you have personal experience with it?
Let us know in the comments.
Target Affiliate Program FAQ
How does the Target affiliate program work?
After you apply to join the program and are accepted, you can promote special, unique links to Target products and earn a percentage of the sale.
After a referred sale, your commission is locked for at least 60 days until Target has confirmed the purchase is real, and that the customer won’t cancel, return, or change their order.
How do I register for the Target affiliate program?
You can register for the Target affiliate program through the publicly available registration page.
After signing up, you have to pass a manual review before you can start promoting Target products.
What are the alternatives to the Target affiliate program?
The Wayfair and Overstock affiliate programs are great alternatives to Target if you mainly promote home and outdoor products.
Target doesn’t include electronics, pet, hobby, or sports products in its program, so Amazon or Overstock would be better choices if your site is in one of those categories.
What Target products are eligible for affiliate sales?
Target offers affiliate commissions for the following product categories:
Home and outdoor living (5-8%)
Apparel and accessories (5-8%)
Baby gear and furniture (3-5%)
Beauty products (1%)
Most other products are not eligible for affiliate promotion or commissions.