By Affiverse

The benefits of affiliate marketing, backed up by numbers


In an October 2019 case study by Pepperjam, the importance of affiliate marketing to multiple companies is made visible.

The paper – titled Affiliate Marketing Ranks as a Primary Channel for Customer Acquisition and Revenue Growth – surveyed 178 US-based professionals. 42% of these were directors, with 38% being C-level and 20% holding a vice president role. 

Amongst other things, marketers also said that they value the transparency and flexibility of affiliate marketing. This was especially the case when measured against other channels, such as paid advertising. 

In this blog post, we’ll share the key statistics and specific affiliate marketing areas that were viewed as valuable. But the report also shared barriers that are stopping some companies from utilising this channel. So, we’ll speak about how such issues can be tackled too. 

A key revenue driver 

When asked to rank seven digital marketing channels in order of importance for customer acquisition, affiliate marketing was top. 20% of participants ranked this as #1, with 19% doing so for #2 and 15% for #3. In total, over half (54%) of marketers agreed that this was one of their top three most important acquisition channels. 

In comparison, paid social came second with 45% (a split of 12% for #1, 17% for #2 and 16% for #3). 

What does this suggest? Along with possibly driving more traffic than the other channels in the survey, one could argue that affiliate marketing also has a better return on investment (ROI) over the long-term. 

A safer choice, in the eyes of many 

Affiliate marketing’s importance among marketers was partially due to its perception as a lower-risk channel. For this, we should turn to one particular passage cited on page six. 

“Affiliate marketing was 16% less likely to raise ROI concerns than display40% less likely to raise rising cost concerns than paid social advertising, and 44% less likely to be seen as a fraud risk than paid social advertising. Affiliate was also 17% less likely to be viewed as a challenge in measuring channel performance and 16% in establishing ROI compared to PR/influencer marketing.”

It should also be noted that 51% of interviewees said that they associate performance transparency with their program. 

What does this suggest? Affiliate marketing provides a bridge over the river of marketing-related concerns. It provides better transparency for the consumer than paid media, which is susceptible to ad fraud – something which is prevalent in search engines. And for the organisation itself, they’re more able to see a clear monetary benefit through data analysis. 

What’s halting more organisations from getting involved in affiliate marketing? 

There are two key findings that stand out in this respect. The first is that according to survey participants, 37% of key stakeholders don’t understand the value and/or potential of affiliate marketing. 

Along with the above, 35% of marketers said that they don’t know how to measure affiliate marketing’s incremental impact and revenue possibilities. 

What does this suggest? We still have a lot of people to teach about the benefits of this channel. 

How can we address the above issues?

As the report mentions: “It is the job of affiliate marketers to educate and advocate to key stakeholders on the value of the channel and to prioritise the need to integrate channel data into their attribution systems of record.”

This is why workshops, training and networking events are so important. If marketers are taught by those who have been there and done that, then the benefits become clearer. But it’s not just about that. These individuals will then know practices that work to deliver results, meaning that the statistics mentioned at the beginning of this blog post will rise.  

Final thoughts 

Affiliate marketing is a great complement to other digital marketing channels. So, it’s not surprising that many marketers see the benefits in using it. 

However, many still aren’t aware of the positives. If people can neither see the benefits nor implement an effective strategy, they won’t invest in it. 

And that’s where we, as experienced affiliate personnel, come into the fray. We need to show how and why affiliate marketing is a useful addition to existing digital efforts.

Once more professionals know about the benefits of affiliate marketing, they’ll be able to enjoy them.

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