Stat Watch: Affiliates, Loyalists and Referrers
Affiliate marketing has certainly faced its fair share of criticism over the years but it's an area ripe with opportunity. In fact, 84 percent of publishers recognize this and include affiliate marketing as part of their overall acquisition strategy and create content for this channel according to a Rakuten and Forrester report titled, "Networks Help Drive Affiliate Marketing into the Mainstream."
Of the affiliate advertisers in the study, nearly 9 in 10 said that affiliate programs were important to their overall marketing strategy, and more than 80 percent said they were devoting over 10 percent of their marketing budgets to their affiliate programs. The Feb. 2016 report also revealed most costs associated with affiliate marketing include placement, commissions, network fees and paid bonuses. On the revenue side, over half of the affiliate publishers in the study reported their programs accounted for more than 20 percent of their annual revenues. With affiliate marketing spend growing (Forrester projects a compound annual growth rate of 10 percent through 2020 to reach over $6.8 billion), however, publishers must compete aggressively for advertising dollars on various channels. The study found that publishers are most likely to market themselves through social media (68 percent leveraged organic social; 54 percent used paid social) and cross-promotions with other publishers.
With so many publishers to choose from, advertisers are selecting which affiliates to work with based on (1) vertical expertise, (2) overall quality of an affiliate's site, (3) number of followers/visitors, (4) look and feel of affiliates' content and (5) mobile optimization capabilities - to round out the top five. This is in contrast to how publishers prioritize what to promote. Despite being the top selection criteria by advertisers, publishers don't give "vertical expertise" the same weight, ranking it sixth when indicating how they promote themselves to potential advertisers.
Other loyalty, affiliate and referral stats to know: