The progression of the affiliate channel in terms of its perception and integrity has been a common area of discussion for many OPM's and Account Managers as they battle tirelessly to bring new advertisers into the channel. The launch of many commissioned reports from external research companies continues to portray the industry as one that is continually growing, taking market share from other digital channels and provides incremental value to advertisers.
At today's Rakuten LinkShare NYC Symposium, research was released and presented by Forrester's Senior Analyst Andy Hoard, detailing the true value that affiliates deliver to advertisers, both directly and indirectly. Commissioned by Rakuten LinkShare, this research offers a different approach to defining the importance of Affiliate & Performance Marketing to a brand.
Key highlights of the research included:
- An expectation that the channel will keep pace with all digital spending up to and throughout 2016
- The channel produces new-to-file customers, generating incremental customer acquisition.
- Customers are more likely to buy a product they find merchandised or advertised on multiple websites.
- The channel attracts consumers who spend more than the average online shopper
- Affiliate & Performance Marketing helps trigger brand reconsideration, often closing the sale.
- Promotions offered in the channel have a positive impact on an advertisers brand reputation and loyalty
- The younger generation are driving the affiliate forecast.
While Social Commerce and practices are very much still in full development mode, the research shows a distinct lack of successful ROI implementations through the social channel, and the only two areas that see a loose definition of ROI include product / customer ratings and customer support through twitter.
Mobile Commerce & Agile Commerce
Unsurprisingly, the research showcased more serious growth opportunities in mobile, with mobile commerce expected to triple it's figures by 2016 to $31 billion dollars. Hand-in-hand with Mobile Commerce comes the term 'Agile Commerce', adopted as the name for Online to Offline convergence.
In order to succeed and get the best value out of eCommerce, being ubiquitous and being seen at many of the touch-points along the customer journey is said to actually increase brand perception. For content-hungry consumers, the affiliate channel is well positioned, making them valuable to Advertisers as the average number of websites visited before a purchase is 'two to three' (74% of respondents).
"The study reflects how the affiliate marketing industry is strongly aligned with today's value-driven, always connected consumer who typically visits multiple sites before making a purchase," said Scott Allan, senior vice president of global marketing, Rakuten LinkShare. "As interactive marketing budgets grow and evolve, affiliate marketing will continue to be a key, measurable tactic for brands and retailers to attract and acquire new customers."
Download the Report
A4u has been spending the day at the Symposium and was handed a printed copy of the research. It's available online for free too - download here.