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Affiliate marketing expected to hit $6.8B over next 5 years: Study

Dive Brief:

  • Research on affiliate marketing conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Rakuten Marketing found a robust affiliate marketplace expected to grow to $6.8 billion over the next five years. Over 80% of advertisers and 84% of publishers have reported running an affiliate program.
  • The research also found marketers use affiliate programs throughout the buying cycle at 83% in the discovery and awareness phase, 79% during conversion or purchase, and 79% for ongoing customer engagement.
  • Affiliate networks were found to be important for affiliate program effectiveness, but multi-channel measurement was seen as key for “unlocking further potential” for the programs, according to the report.

Dive Insight:

Adam Weiss, general manager and senior vice president of Rakuten Affiliate Network, told Marketing Dive, “The way consumers discover and take in information has shifted drastically over the years, while their level of sophistication and expectation toward advertisements has increased. Presenting content that drives real value in a trustworthy way can be a significant challenge for brands and content creators, but this challenge can be solved with a smart affiliate marketing strategy.”

Affiliate marketing is showing a compound annual growth rate of 10% through 2020 at $4.2 billion in 2015 and expected to reach $6.8 billion in 2020.

Content and content delivery has become a major driver of affiliate programs. "Creating content that drives real value for customers and delivering it in a trustworthy way can be a significant challenge for many advertisers," per the report. The Forrester research found that both marketers and publishers are embracing affiliate programs as a way to meet this challenge.

Nearly 90% of affiliate advertisers said the programs were important or very important to their overall strategy with 80% reporting devoting more than 10% of their budgets to affiliate programs. Meanwhile, more than half of surveyed affiliate publishers reported the programs accounted for more than 20% of their annual revenue.

Though challenges regarding measuring metrics exist, the beneifts of working with influencers are clear: they can help build customer loyalty and amplify your reach.

Recommended Reading

Marketing Dive: Why influencer marketing has a metrics problem — and how we can solve it


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