people who visited the site but did not opt in > you can use negative audiences for your ads with facebook ads, you just take visitors to the site and substract the people that visited the thank you page. For people who did not purchase, you simply can't with affiliate marketing unless the vendor adds a conversion pixel of yours on their thank you page.
The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.
Click Bank is an affiliate website that is unique in the fact that it is the distributor for it’s products, meaning that you’re dealing with the supplier of the products you’re promoting directly, rather than dealing with third-party suppliers. This program, like the one mentioned above, also provides it’s affiliates with in-depth training on how to get started, only in the form of training tutorials, rather than training courses. This training will walk you through getting your account set up and getting started in the affiliate marketing world.
Outbrain is not necessarily the network of choice, it was just an example. As for tracking the ROI usually you'll want to track campaigns in Google analytics and track clicks on affiliate links as event and average value/email or you'll want to duplicate the post and run paid traffic to the duplicate so you know exactly what the conversions are as you can put them in separate email lists etc too.
The frequency and method of payment vary as well. Most programs pay their affiliates monthly, although a few pay more frequently. Some require that affiliate earnings reach a specific threshold, which can be as low as $25 or as high as $100. Some programs don't have a threshold. There are programs that pay through direct deposit into your bank, but a vast number pay through PayPal.

My question is when I do an initial google search of my niche, using the most obvious keyword, I get 2 huge sites set up by very reputable companies (that are paid results) on this topic. Think like Pepsi setting up a site on cocktails to make with pepsi, I hope that illustrates what I am trying to say… then the rest of the page 1 results are all articles about this topic from larger sites that cover a very broad range of topics, such as a food website having an in depth article on BBQ’ing.
This is one of my favorite Amazon Affiliate Websites because it’s so freaking cool! These guys gather up the coolest gadgets, gifts, tech and oddities from Amazon and around the web to showcase on their website. These are gag gifts and fun gadgets people love to buy. They likely use a SEO tool like SEMrush to find great blog post ideas. This site uncovers the cool, often hidden, things of the internet and all you have to do is click on one of the Amazon Affiliate links to buy it from the Amazon store. ThisIsWhyIAmBroke works with more than just Amazon, but it’s one of their biggest revenue sources. It’s entirely possible to create a website just like this.
You don’t necessarily have to have a huge site or lots of traffic. Consider emailing an affiliate program’s contact person (look for contact info on the site or in affiliate newsletters) if you send a lot of leads their way, rank well in the search engines for a related keyword or have a high conversion rate. Make your email compelling. Read my tips here. You just have to be a good fit and provide excellent value to the merchant. Another good resource for this is here.
Focus on reviewing products that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product you are promoting. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.

Google Adsense and Amazon Associates are 2 well-known online companies that you can trust. Having liaisons with these reliable partners, not only your reputation is assured but also the guarantee of receiving your payment monthly. You will have no worry about run off partners, and conversely your can have easily accessible affiliate accounts with them to keep track of your income.
These two services are requirements for a successful affiliate marketing website. While there are free options available, I never recommend setting up your first affiliate marketing website on a free platform. For more information about why I do not recommend setting up a free affiliate marketing website, you can read my article about why free affiliate marketing websites are a waste of time.
For good or bad, this is always how I've approached my niche sites.  I put a little bit of effort into building links after the site is a few months old, and then I just focus on the content for the site.  Now, its possible that I may go back and do another link building push at some point.  However, the site continues to grow in terms of Google rankings and traffic, so I see no reason to go out do more active link building.
I do have a question, though, you state that longer articles are better (which I understand). I've found a niche that has a few keywords with very high CPC (no real affiliation program can be used though), with a few thousand searches a month. For each keyword I could probably 500 words on each keyword. Should I do this, or should I compile them into one big article? They keywords can be linked to each other, for example, "how to start running", "basics of running" etc. (Those obviously aren't the keywords, and more can be written on those). What would you recommend?

Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
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