If you’re reading this post, you probably want to know the answer to the question, is LTK legit?
Honestly, that is a really good question. I still remember hearing about like to know it (LTK) or rewardStyle, as they were previously called way back in 2013.
Let’s skip to the point:
LTK is legit.
Now, let’s talk about the semantics and answer questions on whether LTK is really worth signing up for, alternatives to LTK, pros, and cons of LTK.
- What is LTK?
- Pros of Using LTK
- Cons of Using LTK
- Alternatives to LTK
It’s true that when starting your fashion or beauty blog, it’s hard knowing where to begin.
If you’re asking my advice, I would say focus on SEO if you’re going the blog route or focus on video content if you want to kill it on social media.
But that’s not why you’re here: back to LTK.
What is LTK?
As the company puts it, LTK is “the world’s largest contextual shopping app.” https://company.shopltk.com/en/company
That’s not very helpful. As a content creator and avid user of the LTK app and website, here’s my definition of LTK.
In three words, LTK is a search, discover, and shopping platform.
LTK, once known as rewardStyle/LikeToKnow.It is an app and website that enables users to discover products in various categories, such as fashion, beauty, home decor, and lifestyle.
Content creators can post shoppable photos, videos, and product collections, which allows users to purchase items from creators they follow or discover on the platform.
LTK provides a convenient way for users to stay up-to-date on the latest trends without spending time searching through different stores.
LTK is a hub for content creators to share products they love with their audience and partner with brands, which provides creators a way to earn money on their effort.
Think of it this way:
Brands ➡️ LTK ➡️ Influencers/Content Creators ➡️ Followers
Brands come to LTK to connect with creators who can reach their target audience.
Content creators come to LTK to connect with brands that they love and use (so they can earn some money).
Readers/Followers/Subscribers come to LTK to find/connect with creators (so they can shop the brands/products they’ve seen content creators share)
Simply put, all roads lead to LTK.
Or does it?
Pros of Using LTK
1. Affiliate links made easy
LTK takes out the trouble of applying to each brand’s affiliate program.
Say you want to link to Nordstrom, Macys, Walmart, Etsy, and Abercrombie; you would have to apply to each brand’s affiliate program and hope to get approved (which could take days, if not weeks).
And these brands may self-host their affiliate program or direct you to an affiliate network like Commission Junction, Impact Radius, ShareASale, etc., where you have to create an account with the network and apply to the brand’s program.
So if all five of the retailers use different networks, imagine the pain.
And then, if you do get approved, linking to the brands is not always intuitive because each network has its own linking process.
With rewardStyle (ahem LTK), once you get approved, you immediately get access to their 7,000+ roster of retailers, including Amazon!
2. Great earning potential
Another benefit of using LTK as a content creator? Increased earnings potential.
Because LTK allows users to find products they love on their favorite bloggers easily, shoppers are more likely to click through your affiliate link and make a purchase.
Although it took me a while to see a snowball effect from my LTK links, my income with LTK has grown over time.
3. Brand partnerships
As LTK grew, the company introduced brand partnerships. This allows brands to connect with brands with a higher potential of converting for them and/or give them better exposure.
Then the brand, through LTK, reaches out to the influencer for a partnership. Last year, the majority of my brand collaborations came from LTK.
This equated to about 1/3 of my income!
Whether you are a blogger or a social media influencer, you can create your shoppable links directly on your desktop or through the LTK Creator app.
Someone comments on your photo asking for a link to the Stanley mug you reviewed a few weeks ago.
You can easily open the LTK Creator app (or fire up your laptop) and grab your affiliate link from your LTK folder or directly from the brand’s website using LTK Product Link on your computer.
This also ties back into helping you make more money.
Do you see how it all compounds?
5. Exclusive deals and discounts
For a few years now, LTK has been hosting LTK Day Sale and LTK Spring Sale exclusively for LTK app users (free to download and use).
LTK partners with big names and top converters in the industry, like Abercrombie, Tarte, Madewell, and more, to give app users an exclusive discount over the course of 3 days.
And as a fashion blogger or beauty blogger, it means more opportunities for you to earn as you share your favorite products from these brands with your audience.
And you grow your following, too… if you’re strategic with the process.
This is just the tip of the iceberg!
Ok, let’s talk about the cons of LTK because it’s not for everyone.
Cons of Using LTK
The folks behind LTK do not accept anyone and everyone into their network. They have to establish a set of (undisclosed) rules to ensure that randos don’t slip through the cracks.
I mean, I wasn’t accepted into rewardStyle (LTK) the first time I applied in 2013/2014.🤷🏾♀️ See LTK alternatives below for options I used while I waited.
Although word on the street is that LTK is more relaxed now that more and more LTK competitors are popping up left and right (anyone remembers 21 Buttons?), I wouldn’t put ALL my eggs on LTK (or any other network).
To increase your chances of getting accepted, grow your following, improve your photography/videography, niche down (fashion, beauty, home, and travel are LTK’s core areas), and post often.
2. Income Reversal
Ouch! I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck this is! If you make a sale, you typically see commissions pop up on your LTK dashboard.
Don’t go on a shopping spree! If the product is marked as returned, the retailer will reverse your commission on LTK.
So it’s totally normal to see your LTK commission fluctuate daily.
The only amount you should “mostly” count on is closed commissions. These are sales that are past the returnable window.
And please take this with a grain of salt. Because we only get paid those closed commissions when LTK gets paid.
Some brands have filed for bankruptcy. Missguided and Nastygal, I’m looking at you!
3. Narrow Niche
This is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you’re a finance blogger, rewardStyle is probably not the best for you.
You might be able to find some non-fashion/beauty/lifestyle brands, but for the most part, LTK is heavily focused on fashion, beauty, home, and travel.
As they say,
“A jack of all trade is a master of none.” —- except Amazon (and maybe Walmart).
I added a question mark because there have been a lot of talks about how transparent LTK is (or lack thereof).
One popular debate surrounds commission rates. How much do you earn vs. LTK?
While I think LTK has done better by providing a range (high, medium, and low commission with a percentage range), there still needs to be more accountability.
Major culprits here are Wayfair, Target, and Lululemon.
Creators link to these brands only to find out thousands of commissions have been reversed because the brand (not LTK) marked those as non-commissionable.
See how this can be a problem?
If you’re going to put in the effort to promote something you love and use, you should be paid for it.💯
Sometimes they say:
- Sale items are not commissionable, so the brand reverses the commission
- Or it’s a category like Target toys
- Or combining with a coupon negates your commission (you’re not going to tell your followers not to use a coupon, especially if they can save more money)
One argument says that LTK should hold brands responsible but either telling them to come clean or kicking them out.
LTK now provides a running list of brands and their categories that are not commissionable. And the LTK Product Link tool usually tells you the estimated commission rate of an item you want to link to.
I’ve added another question mark here. I’d love for you to be the judge.
I think it’s wayyyyyy better. But don’t take my word for it. Visit LTK. Download the LTK app (Apple here / Android here), and pay attention to the first feed you see (before you start following anyone).
Once you do that, please drop a comment below to let me know your thoughts on how inclusive you think LTK is.
Alternatives to LTK
Ok, let’s switch things up and talk about other alternatives to LTK.
Many influencers have moved from rewardStyle to ShopStyle and vice versa. It all boils down to your personal preference.
ShopStyle and LTK are like sisters (but competitors) as they target the same core group of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle creators.
ShopStyle is easily the best alternative to LTK.
One thing I love about ShopStyle is that they have notifications so readers can be alerted via email when a sold-out item comes back in stock. And you make a commission on that sale!
However, ShopStyle doesn’t make it easy to shop your looks on Instagram. They also used to pay per click but changed their model to per sale a few years ago.
This was the network I used when I was waiting to get accepted to LTK.
Skimlinks is geared towards bloggers and possibly bloggers – you need a place to paste or embed your links like on your blog or YouTube video description. They also have a link shortener too.
Skimlinks is more diverse in the brands they support home, fashion, beauty, tech, finance, etc.
I still use Skimlinks for brands that I cannot find on LTK.
Formerly Narrativ. Howl is making big waves in the beauty industry.
Their highest selling point is that your commissions are never reversed. If you make a sale, the commission is yours to keep regardless of if the item gets returned.😍
Why? The way they see it, your job is to introduce your reader to the product, not ensure that they love it. People are different!
Another perk of Planet Howl?
You can cash out your commission immediately.
Let’s say you promote a sale and make $1,000 in commission the first day the sale goes live. You can cash out your commission immediately with a processing 2.9% fee.
Hate fees? Wait the standard 60-90 days for your moolah to be deposited in your account.
The downside? Howl carries less than 100 brands.
But they carry major skincare brands like Tula, Dermalogica, Paula’s Choice, and more. And fashion brands like Carium and Tory Burch.
On the platform, you will also find Wayfair, Target, Best Buy, Ulta, and YesStyle.
And wait for it…
Commission rates are as high as 120%
This almost sounds too good to be true. But when you factor in acquisition costs for a new customer, brands are willing to make an initial loss to get a lifelong customer.
It is the same way brands would say, “get a free month for each friend you refer.”
Beauty brands are getting wiser!
When was the last time you changed your lotion or shampoo?
Don’t remember? Yup, it’s the same psychology here.
The brand gives the influencer 100% of the sale because they know that (say) 80% of new customers make recurring purchases for 12 months.
Click the link below to get on the waitlist to join Howl.
This is another one I recently tried. They pay you per click – like the former structure of ShopStyle. The only caveat is that you only get compensated the first-time the link is clicked.
However, with Stylink, you can see how much per dollar each brand is willing to pay you per click.
Stylink has a small but growing list of fashion brands participating in their program.
This LTK alternative may be a good fit for large Facebook Groups where you get significantly more clicks than conversions.
Mavely is yet another LTK alternative that has been making waves amount content creators and influencers.
They brand themselves as a leading platform for affiliate commissions and brand partnerships. From what I’ve seen in fashion bloggers and influencer groups, most creators using Mavely are happy with the platform.
From their last outreach email to me, Mavely offers monthly bonus programs, bi-monthly commission payout (like LTK), over 600 brands, and dedicated account managers.
They also claim to have the highest commissions in the industry. I’d love your thoughts if you’ve tried or currently use Mavely.
However, this is one platform I haven’t yet tried. I find that consistently using a few networks gives better ROI and creates less confusion for your readers and followers.
At least two years ago, LTK moved from offering dedicated account managers to everyone to just offering dedicated account managers to top-tier content creators.
Everyone else gets a general support email address they can message for help.
6. Amazon Associates / Amazon Influencer Program
This list would be incomplete without talking about Amazon Associates and the Amazon Influencer Program.
Arguably the biggest influencer program in the US, Amazon Associates offers anyone with a website or social media account a way to make REALLY lucrative income selling anything available on Amazon.
It’s more than just the clothing and shoes you see on fashion bloggers and viral TikTok skincare beauty.
I’m talking about tech bloggers, automotive bloggers, home and interior decor bloggers, book books, name it!
Although Amazon slashed commission rates during the pandemic, many people still make a sizeable income from Amazon.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Now, let’s talk about the Amazon Influencer Program.
Amazon Associates and Amazon Influencer Program are independent and interconnected.
Joining the Amazon Influencer Program requires you to become an Amazon Associate first. One of the perks of becoming an Amazon Influencer is a dedicated Amazon Storefront (or shop page).
Here’s what my Amazon Storefront looks like. An Amazon-branded shop page makes:
- you look more trustworthy in the eyes of your followers
- it easier for those without a blog/website to have one place to direct their followers
- organizing the products you recommend cleaner
- for a better-streamlined shopping experience
And content creators that perform REALLY well get invited to an exclusive fashion, beauty, or home Amazon Influencer Program with much bigger benefits. <- Sorry, I can’t go into details.🤷🏾♀️
7. Commission Junction, Impact Radius, ShareASale, ClickBank
Some bloggers use one or more of these networks, like ShareASale, to develop a direct relationship with the company’s marketing manager.
Some of these networks are significantly larger than LTK too. The last time I checked, new retailers with LTK need an account with one of these networks to join the LTK platform.
As an influencer, going directly to the source almost always guarantees that you keep a larger, if not all, percentage of the commission you make (rather than splitting it with LTK).
This works great if you can get a higher commission rate than the LTK platform offers.
Also, it’s a great way to get higher-paying partnerships when brands start seeing how well you convert for them.
Personally, I prefer a streamlined process when I’m creating content. I only use any of these if one of my top converting brands is unavailable on LTK, Amazon, or Skimlinks.
Is LTK Legit?
Like I said at the beginning of the post, LTK is legit. I’ve been with the platform since 2014 and haven’t had any issues receiving my commission.
Some brand partnerships take a while to pay out, but I eventually get paid.
Whew! That was a doozy!
Now that you know that LTK is legit? Here are a few combinations of networks I recommend for beauty and fashion bloggers:
- LTK + Amazon Influencer Program <- Fashion/Beauty, Home Influencer
- Skimlinks + LTK <- Mostly all inclusive
- Howl + LTK + Amazon Influencer Program <- Beauty influencer
- LTK + Amazon Influencer Program + Skimlinks <- Lifestyle and travel bloggers
Your turn! If you already share commissionable links on your blog and social media, what’s your tool stack like? Share your comments below.
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