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Mobile Affiliate Marketing: What Gives?

Mobile Affiliate Marketing: What Gives?

By looking at the range of sales on the Affiliate Window network we’re now able to offer some insight about how mobile traffic is performing.

First a little bit of context about the information. For the purpose of this article the data is limited to the main handsets and mobile devices driving sales; the iPad, iPhone and Android phones. While we see the transactions generated by devices such as the Blackberry, the number of sales we’re currently recording as a network is so low as to be negligible.

The data runs across the crucial Christmas trading period and into the New Year, in fact it takes into account over ten weeks worth of sales and click data from late November 2010 to mid February 2011.

Crunching the millions of sales recorded across the entire network, one of most startling headlines that emerges is that as a proportion of all sales from mobile devices transactions have more than doubled since late 2010. At the end of November just 1.3% of sales originated from a mobile device. On 18th December mobile sales hit more than 2% for the first time, as on the move, panicked Christmas shoppers possibly turned to their mobiles for last minute gifts. While sales from mobile devices haven’t quite cracked the 3% mark yet, they’re not far off. On 13th February 2.8% of transactions were identified as mobile sales with no day in February so far dipping below the 2% mark.

Percentage of sales being driven through mobile devices and the network as a whole. The mobile devices are plotted on the left hand axis, the general network sales in the shaded block is on the right.

Mobile Affiliate Marketing

Aside from overall sales volumes the breakdown of mobile devices also throws up some interesting data.

iPad Overtook iPhone Sale Volumes

On Christmas Day for the very first time the iPad overtook the iPhone for sale volumes. It seems reasonable to assume new iPad users were testing out the devices on Christmas Day and over the whole holiday period as the iPhone lagged behind before reasserting itself in the first week of January. Combined the two devices comfortably and consistently account for around 80% of the sales designated as having tracked through a mobile device.

That’s not to say sales from Android handsets are negligible. In fact the rate of growth has outstripped the two Apple devices, trebling in three months despite lagging considerably in overall sale volume.

Finally it’s worth having a look at conversions. This again throws up some interesting statistics. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that due to its tablet form the iPad converts best. But it also far outstrips the network average overall by a click to sale conversion rate 40% higher and double that of all the mobiles analysed.

Click to sale conversion rates of the top revenue generating mobile devices plotted against the network average

Mobile Affiliate Marketing

In January alone nearly 30,000 sales totalling more than £2m in revenue on the Affiliate Window platform were tracked to mobile devices. When 2011 growth in both online and mobile sales is factored in we can comfortably assume advertisers will start to sit up and take notice, especially when many have sites that offer poor and inadequate navigability through handsets.

With the advent of dedicated mobile sites (Marks and Spencer and John Lewis were two of our high profile advertisers who launched this functionality in 2010) so we can expect increased mobile focus. But there’s one key ingredient missing: tracking.

For dedicated mobile sites there is no guarantee they will be able to track affiliate sales unless their tracking is upgraded. The message is clear though, ignore the power and possibility of affiliates to drive affiliate sales and you risk missing out on a rapidly burgeoning market.

Kevin Edwards

Kevin Edwards

Kevin Edwards has over nine years experience working for affiliate networks.

Since joining Affiliate Window in 2006, Kevin has had a significant impact on the business, facilitating and deepening relationships with partners and strengthening the core management team.

He heads up the Strategy team as Strategy Director with responsibility for producing research, implementing best practice and providing analysis for key clients.

He’s also former Chair for IAB's Affiliate Marketing Council.

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