Affiliate marketing is an advertising strategy where a brand or advertiser (affiliate company) partners with a third party (publisher or brand affiliate). In this arrangement, the publisher helps the affiliate company generate leads and sales by advertising its product or service on its website or social media channels.
Writing a blog or making a video about the brand’s product or service or posting a link to the affiliate company’s webpage are some ways a brand affiliate can help drive more traffic to the brand’s online shop or website.
When a customer visits the publisher’s website, Facebook, or Twitter page, clicks the link to the affiliate company’s landing page, and then takes action, the affiliate company pays the publisher a commission according to the terms they agree on. Typically, payments can be based on the number of clicks, leads, or sales generated.
Affiliate marketing is a low-budget, low-risk marketing method for boosting brand visibility and revenue for affiliate companies. Meanwhile, for brand affiliates, it can be a good source of passive income.
Top Affiliate Marketing Statistics for 2022
The following statistics show how affiliate marketing affects industries today and where it’s headed in the coming years. This information can help you decide whether you should start or continue engaging in affiliate marketing activities.
1. The number of online searches for “affiliate marketing” has increased since 2016.
Based on Google Trends data, worldwide search for the keyword “affiliate marketing’’ has steadily increased in the past five years, peaking at 100% in June 2021. The steady increase could be due to the growth of e-commerce, as businesses, including those that solely have physical stores, began to explore how they can promote and sell products and services online.
2. Affiliate marketing is a multibillion-dollar global industry.
Statistics show that by 2022, the affiliate marketing industry is expected to reach an estimated worth of $12 billion. This number has exceeded about thrice its worth in 2015.
Revenue from affiliate marketing has steadily increased over the years, as eCommerce continues to grow in popularity. With consumers purchasing basic goods, household devices, and tech gadgets, and procuring services using the internet, businesses are finding affiliate marketing as an effective means to connect to promote their brand.
3. Forecast shows that affiliate marketing spending will go higher in the next five years.
Based on Statista, the projected expenditure for affiliate marketing in the United States alone could reach $8.2 billion in 2022, which is up from 7.4 billion in 2021. From only $2.5 billion in 2012, the spending for affiliate marketing has continued to increase year by year, which suggests that more businesses are incorporating affiliate marketing in their campaigns.
Affiliate marketing spend not only continues to increase in the US. Other countries are also allocating a large portion of their marketing budget to affiliate marketing. For example, businesses in Japan spent about $2.7 billion on affiliate marketing in 2019. By 2024, the affiliate marketing expenditure could go beyond $4.3 billion. Meanwhile, affiliate marketing spending in the United Kingdom reached about $828 million in 2020, which is about 10% higher than the affiliate marketing expenditure in 2019.
These numbers not only show that affiliate marketing is recognized as an effective marketing tool globally, but also continues to thrive each year, with big players in the online marketplace — like the US, the UK, and Japan — allocating a chunk of their marketing budget to it.
The results of a 2016 survey show that 90% of merchants and advertisers say that they consider affiliate marketing an essential part of their marketing strategy. Of the respondents polled, more than 80% run an affiliate marketing program to improve website traffic and increase sales. Also, over 80% of advertisers set aside about 10% of their marketing budget for affiliate marketing.
Setting up an affiliate marketing program can lead to boosting brand awareness, improving lead generation, and augmenting sales without spending a huge amount on advertising. However, a successful affiliate marketing program relies on several factors, which include selecting brand affiliates who are in the same niche or target the same consumer profile. This way, the brand can reach its target audiences faster and discover new audiences for its products and services.
5. Affiliate marketing drives 16% of eCommerce sales in Canada and the US.
Affiliate marketing generates about 15% of the revenues from digital marketing channels. It has caught up with the likes of email marketing, paid search, and social media marketing as one of the most effective digital advertising techniques.
Through brand affiliates, brands can reach out to consumers without being too intrusive. Since brand affiliates have followers who trust their content, it can be easier for them to influence or convince people to buy products from brands they endorse.
6. The majority of publishers use affiliate marketing to generate more income.
Over 84% of publishers join affiliate marketing. A whopping 94% of publishers join 2 or more affiliate programs, while 39% and 20% of publishers use 3 or more and 5 affiliate marketing programs, respectively.
Publishers can work directly with brands or join an affiliate network like Amazon Associates, AWIN, or eBay Partner Network (EPN). Affiliate networks not just connect brands and publishers, but they also streamline processes such as account management, commission payouts, and reporting.
7. The top affiliate networks have over 100,000 affiliates.
Startup brands and small businesses that don’t have a huge marketing budget can use affiliate marketing to get their products and services closer to consumers. Affiliate networks have hundreds of thousands of brand affiliates that cater to a specific audience.
Likewise, joining affiliate networks can benefit bloggers and influencers who are looking to monetize website traffic and earn high commissions from advertising the products or services of a partner merchant. Below are some affiliate networks with the largest number of partner merchants and publishers.
- AWIN has over 15,000 advertisers and 100,000 publishers
- ShareASale has over 4,000 merchants(1,000+ of which are exclusive)
- CJ Affiliate has over 4,000 merchants and 70,000 publishers
- Amazon Associates has over 900,000 members globally
8. Affiliate marketers consider product relevance as a crucial factor in choosing an affiliate program.
It’s not all about the Benjamins. About 18% of marketers say that they look at the type of product before choosing an affiliate marketing program. If the products fit their niche, it’d be easier to create valuable and convincing content about them.
Other factors that affiliate marketers check out include commission rate, and the reputation of both the affiliate marketer and its partner merchants.
9. Web hosting is one of the most popular and most lucrative affiliate marketing programs.
New bloggers, influencers, and brand owners would need a host to set up their websites. Web hosting affiliate programs are popular among publishers because for a minimal fee, they can earn per referral.
Bluehost, which just paid over $5 million in commission in one year, offers one of the highest-paying web hosting affiliate programs. Publishers who promote Bluehost’s web hosting service and other products can earn at least $65 to $130 from a sale.
10. The fashion and wellness industries are the top niches.
The fashion industry, which includes clothing, footwear, jewelry, bags, and other accessories, makes up a quarter of all affiliate program accounts. However, health and wellness, which is worth over $4 trillion, emerge as the most profitable. Niches in the health and wellness industry include fitness, diet trends, alternative medicine, and organic food and beverages. Other booming affiliate marketing niches are:
- Luxury Items
- Personal Finance
- Movies and Music
- Pet Care
11. Awin tops the list of affiliate networks with the highest number of publisher links.
In research conducted by Publisher Discovery, Awin has 30% of the worldwide publisher links followed by CJ affiliates (15.8%) and Rakuten (7.4%). Awin’s large market share is primarily due to its acquisition of ShareASale. However, the data for this list doesn’t include Amazon Associates publisher links and affiliate activity from in-app or social media pages.
In the same research, but only taking into account active publishers, CJ Affiliate emerges on top with 15.7% of active publisher links. Awin takes the second spot with a 10.2% market share, while Rakuten ranks third with 5.0%.
However, results from another research by Datanyze, which includes an Amazon Associates publisher link, show Amazon Associates ranking on the top with almost half of the market share at 44%. Coming in at the second spot is Awin’s 11.95% market share, followed by Rakuten, which has a 7.69% market share of publisher links.
12. Cost per Action or Pay Per Lead is the most commonly used payment model.
In this model, the merchant or advertiser pays the publisher a specific amount for every action that a user makes. Action may vary and may include email sign-up, event registration, or buying a subscription.
Cost per Sale is another payment model commonly used in affiliate marketing where the publisher receives either a fixed amount or a percentage of the cost of the item sold. Typically, commissions range from a minimum of $3 to $200 or 1% to as high as 60% per sale, depending on the affiliate program and niche. However, there are affiliate marketers that earn a thousand dollars from a sale.
13. Publishers can earn an average of about $51,000 annually from affiliate marketing.
At the top end, affiliate marketers can receive over $70,000 of commissions from affiliate marketing in a year. Meanwhile, low-tier publishers can earn an average of about $35,000 annually from commissions.
Many publishers say they use affiliate marketing because it allows for earning money with only a little effort. They only need to sign up for an affiliate program and then create and upload content. When web users click or make a purchase after clicking the publisher link, they get a commission. This means affiliate marketers can earn while doing other activities like taking a vacation, watching a movie, or even sleeping.
14. Affiliate marketing conversion rate averages between 0.5% to 1%.
Conversion rates vary from one industry to another. The majority of affiliates also don’t share conversion rate data to stay ahead of their competition. Hence, these numbers could only serve as a benchmark to assess whether your affiliate marketing program is effective or needs improvement.
15. Mobile-ready websites are at an advantage.
One out of two internet users says that they are likely to buy using a mobile device. As people can purchase products using their smartphones, tablet, or laptop, publishers and brand affiliates must have their websites optimized for mobile devices. Mobile-ready websites allow shoppers to view web pages with ease, which improves the overall customer buying experience.
16. Most affiliate marketers use blogs to increase web traffic.
About 65% of publishers say that good content boosts website traffic. If customers find their blogs engaging, relevant, and helpful, they are more likely to make a purchase. Many of the most successful affiliate marketers also claim that they experienced an increase of up to 240% in revenue by releasing useful content.
Blogging is a popular choice for marketers and content creators because it is less expensive than posting advertisements. Likewise, blogging statistics show that blogs generate as many as three times more leads than ads.
17. More than 65% of publishers use social media to reach out to potential customers.
There are over 2 billion people who either have Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram accounts. Twitter has more than 200 million active users. With the numbers this significant, there’s no wonder affiliate marketers use social media to connect to niche audiences.
18. The number of male publishers is higher than female affiliate marketers.
However, the difference is just about 12%. There are about 54% male publishers and 43% female affiliate marketers. More female content creators and influencers are learning the trade, which can reduce the gap in the coming years.
19. Publishers whose age range is between 35 and 44 comprise the majority of the total affiliate marketer population.
People within the 35 to 44 age group make up 32% of the total affiliate marketing industry. A close second is publishers within the 25 to 34 age group at 28%. Other affiliate marketer age groups include 45 to 54 (22%) and 55 to 64 (9%). On the lower end, 5% of marketers are 18 to 24, while 3% are above 65 years old.
20. Artificial Intelligence and voice search tech trends to watch out for.
Based on statistics, over 72% of mobile device users use voice assistants daily. In the US, about 40 million people have a smart speaker at home. By 2022, it is projected that 1 out of 2 households in the US will have a smart speaker. Plus, 43% of the people who own smart speakers use voice search to shop.
Apps like Siri and Alexa were considered a novelty when they were first introduced. However, as smart homes emerge, the use of voice-assisted technology has also increased. Now, besides shopping or searching for information, digital assistants are useful in performing daily tasks such as turning appliances on or off, playing music and videos, checking weather updates, and setting up a person’s daily schedule.
Tip: Consumers are increasingly looking for authenticity in brands.