Viability of affiliate linking in iOS apps


I'm curious about affiliate linking from my iOS app to products in the iTunes store.

This seems like a great idea: just downloading my app implies users have entered their credit card information and can purchase products from iTunes store very easily. However I've never noticed affiliate links in other apps. It's often Admob or iAds ads.

From reading the description of Apple's program it looks like I'll use Linkshare (at least for the US).

I'm aiming for about $1000/month revenue. Any reason to believe this definitely will or will not work?. Assume a reasonably popular app serving a niche market with affiliate links to relevant products in the iTunes store.

Edit : I'm assuming I can specify the exact product to which an affiliate link points. This helps ensure the affiliate linked products are relevent.

Affiliate Apps Niche

asked Jan 23 '12 at 02:38
Mr Database
129 points

2 Answers


First, Linkshare will only want to allow you to join their network if you have a website, so you'll need some sort of web version of your app also in order to get approved. In fact, you may only really need a mobile website packaged up with something like PhoneGap, depending on the complexity of your app idea.

The iTunes affiliate program allows you to link to any valid link in the iTunes store, and there is a search API that should allow you to programmatically get links to any product (though I've never used this API personally).

So I don't see anything wrong with your business model, the hardest part is creating enough value in your app to actually justify the user installing it.

As far as your goal of $1000 per month, keep in mind that it would require $20,000 in sales coming from your app, so keep that in mind in estimating revenue, if you think your average user will make 5 purchases in a month, at about $1 each, then you would need to have 4,000 active users a month in order for your business model to work.

answered Jan 23 '12 at 03:35
Jeff S
374 points


It is a very common business model for music related apps in the app store. It works for shazam and for the various tap tap games.

With that in mind, generating a large revenue in the app store is very difficult, and requires a serious investment in marketing (either in money, which is usually counter productive) or in some original and innovative viral strategy, which is hard to come up with).

Before you invest money in R&D, make sure that you can recover your investment, as the app store is a very hard market. Android is impossible at this stage, but iOS is very very hard.

Send me a private message if you want more specific advice (my start-up is in the mobile monetization field, though it is still in stealth mode)

answered Jan 23 '12 at 09:14
Ron Ga
2,181 points

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Affiliate Apps Niche