What is the True Value of Affiliate Marketing? (15 Key Statistics)

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Discover the value of affiliate marketing.  On an anecdotal level, you may be aware of a trend or some changes happening in the business and marketing world. 

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But when it comes to facts, statistics are the way to go. As affiliate marketing continues to develop and evolve, it has increased its share-hold in the marketing world, making available data on the subject become more and more prevalent. You might be wondering: how popular is affiliate marketing? What are the benefits? This new-found abundance of statistics has released some interesting reading while cementing the strength of this particular marketing channel.

Here are 15 affiliate marketing statistics worth paying attention to:

1. Affiliate Marketing Budget set to Increase

Probably one of the most shocking affiliate marketing statistics is about the industry’s accelerated growth in budget. According to eMarketer, in 2016 U.S. retailers spent $4.7 billion on affiliate marketing. That represents some 7.5 percent of retailer’s total digital spend. What’s more, Influencer Marketing Hub predicts that affiliate marketing spending is expected to reach $13B in 2022 and will rise even further to $15.7B in 2024.

The 2017 Internet Advertising Bureau’s annual report showed the commission value stood at £1.6billion, demonstrating a major investment.

All in all, The Awin Report reports the total investment in affiliate marketing globally as over €12billion, clearly demonstrating the growing confidence in the channel by advertisers.

2. 81 Percent Of Brands Have Adopted Affiliate Marketing

The value of affiliate marketing can be determined by its continuous rise in popularity with leading advertisers. This is largely due to its performance-based nature and cost-effectiveness. Increasingly, publishers are outnumbering advertisers amongst affiliate marketing adopters as they look to generate revenue. Wondering exactly how popular affiliate marketing is? As of 2016, 84 percent of publishers and 81 percent of brands had adopted this strategy – showing just how highly valuable affiliate programs can be.

In turn, this is placing greater pressure on affiliates for transparency. In recent years, brands such as Warner Brothers and the Kardashians have been scrutinized for failing to disclose paid advertising relationships.

Both brands and influencers can expect to face increased pressure to disclose paid endorsement arrangements, and this is likely to significantly affect many affiliate marketing programmes. With heightened regulation, it’s likely both marketers and affiliates will be forced to change or face punitive fines.

Similarly, with the advent of the General Protection Data Regulation last May, affiliate marketers will need to monitor their partners for compliance with the GDPR.

Vetting relationships assume significance to ensure each party have the appropriate consents and disclosures covering the collection, tracking, and processing of personal customer data.

3. “Affiliate Marketing” Search Interest Grew 30 Percent In One Year

The perceived benefits of affiliate marketing have people talking. According to Google Trends, search interest in the term “affiliate marketing” rose by 30 percent from September 2016 through to September 2017. As online retail continues to enjoy surging popularity, forcing a decline in traditional bricks and mortar retailing, access to cutting-edge affiliate marketing skills and expertise is becoming increasingly important, particularly to small retailers.

4. 20 Percent Of Publishers’ Revenue Is Now Generated Via Affiliate Marketing

Affiliation has become an important strategy to almost 9 out of 10 publishers, accounting for 20 percent of their revenue, showcasing just how popular affiliate marketing is. This in part has developed because some traditional sources of revenue are declining, so publishers have looked to affiliate marketing to generate more revenue. An example of using affiliate marketing to grow revenue includes the development of  Snapchat Discover. According to the International Business Times, since launching Snapchat Discover, the business has secured a network of media partners totalling 19 U.S. and U.K. channels and a further four international channels.

5. Affiliate Marketing Is Generating 16 Percent Of All Online Orders

The true value of affiliate marketing can be seen in its success compared to email marketing: They are both driving the same volume of online orders. Organic search is generating 21 percent of online orders while paid search is driving 20 percent of online orders.

6. One Influencer Generated $7 Million In Affiliate Marketing Revenue In A Year

This influencer has discovered the most profound benefit of affiliate marketing. News from entrepreneur.com that Jason Stone, better known to his 2.5 million Instagram followers as the Millionaire Mentor delivered $7 million in retailer sales between June 2016 and June 2017 via his affiliate marketing activity.

Stone selectively posts affiliate marketing offers to his profile he believes appeal to his followers.

That $7 million came without having to incur any of the costs or inconvenience involved in selling his own brand of products or services online.

According to Jones, affiliate marketing is at its most successful when influencers focus on promoting products that align with their personal brand and niche market interests.

7. The Most Popular Affiliate Marketing Category Is Fashion, Followed By Sports, And Health/Wellness

Affiliate marketing category statistics can help to determine some of the best niches. Research conducted by AM Navigator discovered fashion as the clear favourite category, with 18.7 percent of affiliate campaigns promoting fashion-related products.

Runners-up in the study was the sports and outdoor product sector with 14.6 percent of programmes, followed by the health/wellness and beauty sector which accounted for 11.1 percent of programmes.

8. U.K. Affiliate Marketing Now Drives 1 Percent Of The Country’s GDP

According to industry research conducted by IAB UK, the value of affiliate marketing is beginning to show up as growth in the U.K.’s GDP performance. This figure exceeds the performance delivered by the entire U.K. agriculture sector.

9. UK Growth In Sales Up 9.2 Percent

The IAB research also shows that in 2017 increased affiliate marketing spend helped generate 8.9 billion in sales. This 9.2 percent growth is estimated to have created £16 return on every £1 invested.

10. Nearly 50 Percent Of Affiliate-Referred Traffic Came From Mobile Devices

Mobile internet usage exceeded desktops in 2016 and with the advent of Google’s mobile-first index, mobile websites will be ranking higher than desktop versions on smartphones and tablets.

Now we see nearly 50 percent of affiliate-driven website traffic is being sourced from mobile devices on the Awin network. So, if your website isn’t configured for mobile browsing you could experience a big drop in traffic. As of July 2018, mobile page speed became a ranking factor further underlining the importance of mobile.

Two other interesting stats we reported, was that iPad AOV continued to outperform that of Android tablets, delivering £89.03 in Q1 2016, compared to just £59.86 for Android tablets.

Similarly, iPads consistently saw a higher conversion rate of 4.11 percent compared to Android tablets, with a measly 1.29 percent in Q1 2016.

11. 76 Percent of Publishers Think Affiliate Marketing Makes Monetising Their Website Easy

According to research by Viglink, publishers have a positive view of affiliate marketing. 45 percent feel it does not interrupt the user experience, while the top reason 76 percent of affiliate marketers pursue it is because they feel it makes monetising website easy. 65 percent also feel it generates additional revenue.

12. 22 Percent of CMOs Nominate Affiliate Marketing As Least Mastered Practice

A recent collaborative survey by Marketo and Fanatics Media found 22 percent of the current generation of Chief Marketing Officers surveyed nominated affiliate marketing as their least well-mastered area of practice. Given affiliate marketing is one of the best disciplines for driving brand building activity and generating a positive ROI, this statistic could give brand owners cause for concern.

13. For 38 Percent Of Marketers, Affiliate Marketing Top Acquisition Channel

According to the National Retail Federation, over a third of marketers feel that affiliate marketing is one of the strongest forms of acquiring new customers.

14. Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing Initiatives Are Delivering 10 to 15 Percent Conversion Rates

If you’re a retailer and phone calls are an integral element of your marketing strategy, then if you are not leveraging Pay-Per-Call, you’re leaving revenue and future sales on the table. Pay-Per-Call conversions on average range between 10 to 15 percent compared to 2 to 3 percent for online conversions.

15. Content, Content, Content

Affiliate marketers use content to good effect in their campaigns and with good reason. Over the last few years, content produced by affiliates has grown by 175 percent, and the revenue created by content publishers has increased by 240 percent. Content marketing, in general, creates three times more leads than ads, yet costs 62 percent less.

Final Observation

Still wondering how popular affiliate marketing is? As these statistics indicate, the value of affiliate marketing is continuing to grow as expected. In part that growth is attributable to the explosion in user-generated content and the change in consumer behaviours triggered by the emergence of online retail and social media. Readers are increasingly interested in unbranded content, and with millions of talented content creators out there striving to satisfy that demand through blogging, tweeting or creating YouTube videos, little wonder affiliate marketing continues to cement its status as a reliable and profitable marketing channel.

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