This is it. You’re going to finally take the plunge into the lucrative waters of affiliate marketing. Maybe you’ve been thinking about it for a while, but now’s really the best time to dive in. Here are 4 reasons why right now is the time to begin your affiliate marketing journey.
1. Affiliate Marketing’s Annual Growth
According to a study by Rakuten and Forrester Consulting, affiliate marketing spend in the US shows a compound annual growth of 10%, growing to over $6.8 billion by 2020.
To put this growth into perspective, affiliate marketing currently accounts for about 16% of e-commerce sales. This is on par with email marketing and more than both social commerce and display advertising. And of the four mentioned, affiliate marketing seems to have the brightest outlook in terms of growth over the next few years.
This means that if your company is investing in email or display ads, but neglecting affiliate marketing, you will be left behind by your competitors as the numbers show that it’s an increasingly popular venue for sales. And the reason businesses are flocking to it is because it works.
2. Increasing Amount of Publisher Revenue
The mark of a good advertising program is how willing people/platforms are to actually advertise your business. If affiliate marketing didn’t work for the publishers on the other end, revenues for both them and the merchants (you) would dry up. But that’s not the case at all.
According to a recent survey from VigLink, publishers say that affiliate marketing is a close second to Google AdSense as the best source of generating revenue.
As the image above shows, it’s also much preferred over display advertising these days. A big reason for this is due to the rise of ad blocking technology reaching 40% of desktops/laptops. Affiliate marketing, especially with the use of conversion triggers, sees much less impact from ad blockers.
The survey also shows an interesting take on how publishers feel about affiliate marketing: 64% reported “that their affiliate marketing revenue expectations were not met,” but 77% “acknowledged that revenue generated from affiliate marketing programs from 2015 to 2016 increased or stayed consistent.” Translation? Even when it’s working and working well, publishers are a hard group to please.
3. Finding Influencers is Easier than Ever
Remember when everyone watched the same three TV shows? Back when Friends was on the air, you could ask any stranger about the last episode, and he/she had probably seen it. Today, entertainment has been fragmented beyond reason, and this goes for just about everything people have an interest in. And that’s good for affiliate marketing.
Before the fragmentation, affiliate marketing was more of a shotgun approach. If you sell luxury watches, maybe a group of sites that generally cater to the wealthy is where you’d advertise. But today, there’s a subreddit for that. And an Instagram account. And a Twitter hashtag. Now affiliate marketing is surgical.
It’s easier than ever before to find the specific group of influencers and enthusiasts that would be perfect publishers for your business. Is it easy to get them to become your publishers? Sometimes, but generally it takes work. Still, the process of actually finding these influencers or groups today is as simple as can be, and that’s a huge leg up for modern affiliate marketers.
4. Start Now, Grow Tomorrow
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb
Unlike, say, Google AdWords, you can’t just throw money at affiliate marketing and expect it to work overnight. It takes time to get publishers up to speed, test out incentives, raise or lower commissions, and above all, grow the relationships that are the life-blood of this process.
The sooner you get started, the larger and more efficient your publisher network will become. According to the survey above, “91% of merchants plan to increase or keep their affiliate marketing budgets the same in the future.” To be clear, that means 9 out of 10 merchants are seeing continued success with affiliate marketing with no plans to slow down. In this business, that’s about a sure a bet you’ll ever make. And waiting on launching your own program is just leaving money on the table.
Remember, over 80% of advertisers run affiliate programs. Don’t spend this summer getting even further behind your competitors. The beach will always be there, but your revenue might not be!