Advertiser survey to reveal health of the UK affiliate industry

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With likely double-digit growth in 2020, the affiliate industry asks advertisers and agencies for their opinion on the channel and issues important to them.

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The survey comes at a time when many retail businesses are reporting bumper affiliate performance across previous 12 months as well as significant Black Friday growth. 

Featuring a series of qualitative and quantitative questions, the IAB survey will give the UK Affiliates and Partnerships Group an opportunity to take stock and prioritise work that could help drive additional spend in the channel. 

The last reported IAB data in April 2020 showed the industry had grown by more than 8% in the previous 12 months. This year’s ad spend numbers are due again this spring, with the IAB seeking audited financials from networks and other performance businesses to help qualify the scope of affiliate marketing. 

Australian Collaboration 
The survey also marks a collaboration with another local IAB to create a multi-national view on the affiliate channel. The Australian Affiliate Marketing Working Group completed its third annual survey at the end of 2020 

By running a similar survey concurrently with the Australian IAB Affiliate Group, brands eyeing future international expansion will be able to see what commonalities exist between the two markets. 

The questionnaire also seeks to understand how the events of 2020 have impacted affiliate marketing spend in the UK while attempting to understand the challenges and barriers the industry faces. 

Identifying barriers to future growth 
GroupM, WPP’s media buying agency, anticipates digital marketing grew by around 8% globally in 2020 despite the overall drop in advertising budgets. With digital spend expected to surge again in 2021 by almost a quarter, it is an opportunity to understand how important performance marketing channels are in delivering that growth. 

In light of this expected increase and with e-commerce sales surging by 40% in 2020, the survey asks what barriers exist that stop brands investing more in the affiliate channel. Other areas covered in the survey include tracking, the affiliate mix on affiliate programmes, attribution and what issues are important as we enter 2021. 

Awin’s Global Strategy Director, Kevin Edwards, is Chair of the Affiliates and Partnerships Group in the UK. He commented, “We’re aiming to secure the views of hundreds of retailers in the UK. We know there are certain areas that require work by the industry to build trust so that brands have confidence in investing more heavily in the channel. We hope this survey will give us areas of focus to achieve that in 2021.”

For completed surveys, the UK IAB is making a donation to the Trussell Trust which is working to stop UK hunger and poverty. Every completed survey will also be entered into a draw to win a £50 Not on the High Street voucher, donated by Awin. 

Industry rollout 
The survey, which takes no more than ten minutes to complete, is open to all brands and agencies and closes next week. It’s supported by all members of the Affiliate and Partnerships Group including Awin, Impact, Optimise Media, Partnerize and Rakuten Advertising. 

Recently the IAB published a quick guide to what to expect from the affiliate channel in 2021 alongside some new case studies demonstrating the success of the channel to their wider digital audience. 

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