With the growth of social networks, our desire for recognition can seem as wild as we want it to be. Where everyone has a chance to build their audience on a worldwide scale, it only makes sense that more people are looking to monetize their online presence, doesn't it? So today, we look at the latest affiliate marketing industry statistics. Perhaps the first question you want to ask is how many active affiliate marketers are there in the world?
It would actually be impossible to work that out because the business model is one of the easiest for anyone to take on. It doesn't require a licence. There is no centralized institution that calculates how many individuals work actively as affiliates. So anyone could become an affiliate marketer today for free, promote a couple of products on social media and quit tomorrow. Nothing to lose. That's why the current number of affiliate marketers is not available and if it is, it can be awfully inaccurate.
Wealthy Affiliate is said to be the largest community for new affiliate marketers and has welcomed 1.4 million people in the past 17 years of business. So there are certainly "millions" who work as affiliates as the industry keeps growing every year.
Indeed, referrals play a vital role in helping brands increase their revenues. Brands can save costs by paying commissions to affiliates upon sale instead of advertising themselves. The following affiliate marketing industry statistics prove that it is undoubtedly one of the most popular ways for the general public to make some cash online, and also it shows how brands are relying on this marketing method.
1. The Affiliate Marketing Trends
Affiliate marketing is an established business model. Looking back over the past decade, not only full-time affiliate marketers, but casual bloggers are earning supplemental income using PPC (pay-per-click) marketing as affiliates. Google Trends confirm that recent years have seen tremendous growth in the popularity of the search term.
The slight increase in popularity in the United States around 2017 can be explained. The 4G cellular networks first came out in 2009 but it took a few years to complete the coverage across the country. Eventually, it became normal for us users to be able to view relatively lengthy videos on the smartphone wherever we went without paying an extra fee.
It was around that time that video marketing was becoming the mainstream as opposed to blogging. More people became interested in earning extra income by broadcasting videos, not just on YouTube but on other social networks including Instagram.
But that rise was just temporary, nothing compared to the substantial rise in the past few years. You probably don't need an explanation - the global pandemic, remote work opportunities, and the rise in unemployment rates helped more people aware of affiliate marketing in 2020. The vaccine rollouts in 2021 helped people return to work, which resulted in a decrease in trends. 2022 is the year we appreciate the time we spend with our loved ones at home while balancing between whatever day job we have and the ability to monetise our online presence.
The term "affiliate marketing" is searched approximately 108,800 times every month in the USA.
Makes it an average of 3,600+ times per day, 150 times per hour.
Search engine requests for affiliate marketing grew by over 39% in 2021.
Using the same data above: In 2020, the term was searched close to 937,000 times. In 2021, the number shot up to 1,305,000 times, making it over 39% increase.
People still search for this simple term (rather than to search for longer tail keywords starting "affiliate marketing"), which means something. Many people either try to understand the meaning of it, or perhaps consider starting the business.
2. Shoppers' Trends
Revenue in the e-commerce market is projected to reach $907.8 billion (USA) and $4.15 trillion (Worldwide) respectively in 2022.
On the other hand, when you look at how consumers search to find products, the most effective methods to promote products are clear to affiliate marketers.
The majority of shoppers use Google (85%) to search for products.
Amazon (72%) is also a strong shopping search engine, followed by eBay.
36% of US shoppers visit Facebook when conducting product searches.
24% use Pinterest and 18% use Instagram.
50% of shoppers from UK and Germany rely on eBay.
These statistics show that producing product reviews is still the most lucrative way to sell affiliate products through content marketing. PPC advertising (Google Ads) is proven to be effective, as it gets you to the top of the SERP.
However, I don't think the stats tell you everything; fewer people may look for products on Facebook, but Facebook ads have a visual advantage. Images on your ads can be more compelling than those on Google.
3. The Adaptation of Affiliate Marketing
81% of advertisers (brands) run an affiliate program and 84% of publishers (incl. bloggers) create content for affiliate marketing.
Less than 3% of them said they were not part of this business model, nor had a plan to be involved in the future.
This commissioned study above was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Rakuten in but January 2016, but referencing this data against the search trends above, we can only assume that similar high percentages still apply.
Affiliate programs generate an average of 23 % of all sales for brands.
15% of the digital media industry's revenue is accounted for from affiliate marketing.
58% of the affiliate purchases was made on a mobile device in 2019.
74% of U.S. online shoppers check multiple affiliate websites.
They visit more than 2 non-retail websites before completing a purchase. 16% of them visit more than 4 websites.
83% of advertisers (companies that hire affiliates) recruit new affiliates by searching within affiliate network dashboards.
71% of advertisers have a "join our affiliate network" button on their website to recruit new affiliates.
Fraud losses for advertisers are projected to reach $100 billion by 2023.
It's not all good news for advertisers who employ affiliates. They face a lot of challenges as a result of advertisement fraud.
4. Affiliate Marketing Growth
eCommerce sales in 2022
Worldwide e-commerce sales are expected to exceed $5.5 trillion in 2022 and $7 trillion by 2025.
spend in 2022
Affiliate marketing spend is due to reach $8.2 billion by 2022.
Comparing to $5.9 billion in 2018 - it will increase by $2.3 billion (39%) in the next 3-4 years.
In 2010, the total of affiliate marketing spending in the United States was 1.6 billion U.S. dollars. The spend has steadily grown since, and it's projected to reach 8.2 billion dollars, i.e. over 5 times during the 12 years.
5. The Best Selling
Amazon owns 21.65% of market share.
Not surprisingly, Amazon is still the biggest affiliate program despite that it slashed the commission rates dramatically in 2020. It owned 21.65% of the market share by the size of accounts, had over 900,000 registered affiliates globally as of 2021. (Source: Refersion)
In terms of the variety and number of the products, Amazon Associates offers the best affiliate program to publishers. Certain restrictions apply (e.g. you're not allowed to place their affiliate link on your email/ebook), otherwise, anyone can join as long as they have a website or an app to promote the products.
Also Read: How To Make Money As Amazon Affiliate
However, Amazon Associates program may be considered differently from other affiliate networks for a few reasons. Amazon itself is the biggest e-commerce store and is operated differently by each regional division. Also, the registered third-party sellers don't have a choice of affiliates.
So if we don't count Amazon Associates as an affiliate network, CJ (Commission Junction) turns out to be the biggest affiliate network in terms of the number of registered publishers.
(Excluding Amazon) CJ is the biggest affiliate network, with 15.7% of market share.
NThe second biggest network is Awin 10.2% (5.4% of its own and 4.8% of ShareASale, which Awin has recently acquired.) Followed by Rakuten 5.0%.(Source: Publisher Discovery)
Fashion is the most popular affiliate niche (23%).
Followed by Sports & Outdoors (18%), Health & Beauty (14%), Travel (11%). It means over 50% of total affiliate sales is in either of these four categories.
As opposed to the four most-converting niches, generally recognized by affiliate marketers - health & beauty, wealth, love & relationship and self-improvement... When looking at the industry as a whole, fashion turns out to be the most promoted niche.
Awin generated $16 billion in revenue for its advertisers and $1.3 billion for its publishers in the financial year ending 2021.
6. Affiliate Preferences and Performances
51.3% of affiliates find the affiliate program information on the merchants website.
Followed by "Affiliate manager reaches out to me directly" (42.2%), Searches on Google, Yahoo, etc. (38.6%), Affiliate or CPA network website (38%), "I check out my competitors websites" (25.9%).
48% of affiliate marketers worldwide earned $20,000 per year in 2020.
Whereas 3% of affiliate marketers earned over $150,000.
Personally as an affiliate myself, I find this statistic spot-on. The best way - the most natural way to find an affiliate program is to find a product that I love, and that makes me want to promote it, so I check the header/footer menus to find partnership information. If I can't find the information, the next thing I'd do is to google. I also value any promotional emails that I receive from affiliate managers and am more than happy to look into what's on offer (as long as it's the right niche.)
56.3% of affiliates choose their preferred method of finding out information as emails from the affiliate manager.
17.1% prefers to receive emails from the affiliate network. 11.4% prefers to find out on blog or company website. Only 3.2% of them say they prefer to find out on social media (Twitter or Facebook.)
Typical affiliate conversion rate is 1-3 out of 100.
It all depends on the type of affiliate page, niche, targeted audience, time of day/year, and the marketer's skill and experience.
18% of marketers choose affiliate programs based on the quality and relevance of the product.
10% also look at the merchant's reputation, 11.5% see the tracking platform as the most important element, 10% look at the brand awareness, whereas 6.5% consider marketing terms and conditions.
10% of income that food bloggers make is from affiliate marketing.
They actually make more income from advertisements, i.e. 42%.
32% of affiliate marketers are aged between 35-44.
The data may not be surprising either - the second top age group is 25-34 (28%), followed by 45-54 (22%), 55-64 (9%), 18-24 (5%), 65 or above (3%).