Giacomo Balli profile picture
Giacomo Balli
The Mobile Guy

Over two decades of experience at your service.
I help business owners make better decisions.

Let's Chat LinkedIn

iTunes Affiliate

Apple has been offering iTunes affiliate commission for years. The system used has been the same pretty much since it was introduced and therefore as a pain to implement. Depending on the country you were targeting you had to use different affiliate networks and generate separate links. Obviously this allowed for a lot of money being lost in case you guess the wrong iTunes store country for your user. Not to mention the length and nonsense that went into these links. The most important networks you had to join if you wanted to earn iTunes affiliate commission were Linkshare and Tradedoubler.
On August 19th 2013 Apple announced the new platform PHG (Performance Horizon Group) that will support more iTunes affiliate countries, higher commission and better reporting tools. PHG basically substitutes Linkshare as a partner (you will still need you Tradedoubler account if you wish to target everyone).

iTunes Affiliate Countries

Australia Canada Egypt
Hong Kong India Indonesia
Israel Japan Jordan
Kazakhstan Kuwait Lebanon
Macau Malaysia Mexico
New Zealand Philippines Qatar
Russia Saudi Arabia Singapore
South Africa Taiwan Thailand
Turkey Ukraine United Arab Emirates
United States Vietnam
TradeDoubler Europe
Austria Belgium Bulgaria
Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark
Estonia Finland France
Germany Greece Hungary
Ireland Italy Latvia
Lithuania Luxembourg Malta
Netherlands Norway Poland
Portugal Romania Slovakia
Slovenia Spain Sweden
Switzerland United Kingdom
TradeDoubler Central & South America
Argentina Brazil Chile
Colombia Costa Rica El Salvador
Honduras Panama Paraguay

iTunes Affiliate Link Example

1. Find the iTunes Store product

Open the iTunes Store and find the item you wish to create an iTunes Affiliate link for. This can be anything (a song, an album, an artist, an app, an audiobook, a book etc) currently available on the iTunes Store. In this example I'll use the iOS app "MyBookList" which allows you to keep a digital library of all the books you own.

2. Copy iTunes Store URL

Next to the "buy" or "download" button there is always an arrow that shows additional actions. Select "copy link". This is the URL that you can share with anyone and it will direct them to the page on the iTunes Store (without earning you iTunes Affiliate commission). I copied this link:

3. Clean up the iTunes Store URL

This is not an essential step but I like to do it to keep links short and consistent. Looking at the link we copied above
you will notice different details:
"it" is the italian store which is my iTunes Store default.
"app" specifies the type of element you are linking to.
"my-book-list-carry-your-booklist" is the localized name (will be different in other country stores).
"id443391908" is the unique id of the element I specified.
"?l=en&mt=8" basically tries to open the iTunes app rather than showing the preview webpage.
The only "essential" bits of the url are type and id.
I like to go from a url like this:
to this
Please note: iTunes Global Affiliate Program Manager kindly pointed out to be careful when you remove the "mt" parameter since it might open the wrong store. If you wish to be safe, you might want to leave "mt=8".

4. PHG iTunes Affiliate link example

Creating a PHG iTunes Affiliate link is extremely easy. Simply take the clean URL and add your iTunes Affiliate ID:
PHG also provides a tracking capabilities so you can see which links perform best. To include a tracking token, simply add it to the url:
The above link will allow you to track each click and earn iTunes Affiliate commission whenever someone makes a purchase through it.

5. TradeDoubler iTunes Affiliate link example

This is still following the old way of doing things and is more complicated to generate. The easiest way of doing this use the link builder provided by TradeDoubler and make the first one there. Once you have a sample iTunes affiliate link, you can extrapolate your own string. For example, mine is and then you add the clean URL we have from earlier so the final iTunes Affiliate link for European coutnries (TradeDoubler) is Unfortunately there is no tracking provided but you are free to build your own.

iTunes Affiliate API

There is a specific iTunes affiliate API. This is due to the fact that there are different programs to be implemented and would be hard to have a one-fits-all. However, you are certainly free to use the iTunes Search API and then generate iTunes affiliate links.
iTunes Store Search API is an asynchronous JSONP webservice which might be a little tricky to implement if you have never done it before. However, considering no authentication is needed, it's definitely something that can be handled with some genuine effort. More details here.

iTunes Affiliate Commission

PHG offers a 7% commission on all purchases made through your iTunes affiliate link within 24hours from the click (commission window). This includes in-app purchases related to the linked item (not others).
Tradedoubler offers a 4% commission on all purchases made through your iTunes affiliate link within 3 days from the click (commission window).

iTunes Affiliate Payout

Apple is not the one directly issuing payments. For this reason, you will (ideally) be receiving a different payment from every iTunes affiliate partner you sign up with. The most common payment method is bank transfer mainly due to reliability and security. Make sure you check out the minimum thresholds which might not be met especially at the beginning.

iTunes Affiliate Tools

iTunes Affiliate Link Generator

Each on of the iTunes affiliate networks provides its own link generator to be used whenever creating a new link. This is definitely a nice thing if you will create few links which will be reused. If you plan creating many different links, perhaps with different networks and tracking codes, you might prefer to build your own. It's pretty straightforward if you know some basic javascript. You can check out the one I made for my self which includes some other goodies here. georiot-logoWhen searching the web you might find some tools here and there but most of them do a very specific, limited, function and I don't find them to be very useful. However, there is one that I believe is truly amazing. It's called GeoRiot. I was lucky enough to discover them when they were still in beta years ago and have been using it the whole time. The concept is extremely simple: they do all the legwork of figuring out the correct iTunes affiliate network to use (based on the user's location) and also give you reporting tools. Also, you don't need to pay them! They will only take a a small percentage of your clicks as payment, starting from unaffiliated users (therefore ones you wouldn't make anyways). I think it's as genius and easy to use.

iTunes Affiliate Auto Link Maker

At the same time that Apple announced PHG, they also introduced a new auto link maker which implements the same concept as SkimLinks. You include Apple's javascript snippet, and after the web page has loaded it will scan the embedded links and replace them with the appropriate iTunes affiliate links. Very handy and definitely recommended trying it but unfortunately it currently only supports PHG.

iTunes Affiliate Widget Builder

Apple also provides an easy way to embed iTunes Store widgets within your website by simply pasting a code snippet. These are live elements that always retrieve fresh information from the store based on your specifications, just like the one on the right for Jay-Z's latest album Magna Carta.

iTunes Affiliate tracking mobile apps

Both PHG and TradeDoubler currently have their own apps in the App Store. These allow you to always keep at hand performance reports for your iTunes affiliate links.
phg-mobile-app tradedoubler-mobile-app

iTunes Affiliate links on Wordpress blogs

If you maintain a website or blog, odds are it's running wordpress. If you don't know about it, WordPress was first released on May 27, 2003 and is a free, open source blogging tool and content-management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL, which runs on a server. Features include a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by more than 18.9% of the top 10 million websites as of August 2013. WordPress is the most popular blogging system in use on the Web, with more than 60 million websites.
Just like for pretty much anything, you can already find plugins which will help you when creating iTunes affiliate link. I tried a couple but was not satisfied. They all seem to have a very specific purpose in mind and therefore do not leave much space for customization. I would advise creating the iTunes affiliate links manually (or use your own link generator) and then including them on your website.
The above is the most comprehensive guide when it comes to iTunes Affiliate links and revenue. Feel free to play around with it and make sure to reach out if you have questions or at least say hi after you make your first $1000. :)

#iTunes Affiliate
Published: Mon, Sep 16 2013 @ 10:46:38
Back to Blog