I’m sure many of us have in the past had conversations with decision makers new to affiliate marketing who ask about the size and scale of our industry. Whilst it’s obviously relatively straightforward to showcase the range and breadth of affiliate activity it’s not always easy to quantify what the wider channel is worth.
Recently the IAB published the revenue and growth figures from its audited members and revealed Affiliate Marketing enjoyed healthy growth of 38.2% in 2009, accounting for £72.6 million in total spend.
This is clearly impressive but looking at the eConsultancy figures from its Affiliate Marketing Buyers’ Guide from early 2009 we see an estimated £227m was paid to networks and affiliates in fees and commissions in 2008. Neither figure is necessarily wrong or inaccurate; rather there is no central or regular way of collating the information for us to showcase our successes.
Why should this matter? We all know affiliate marketing works and continues to grow. But we also need to appreciate that to outsiders our industry can be quite impenetrable. It’s complex and takes time, effort and energy to understand properly, when all may be in short supply.
Because Affiliate Marketing is a fragmented industry, effectively multi-channel within a single channel, we need as much ammunition to fight our corner when speaking to senior decision makers about the validity and importance of our industry. Not only would this highlight the details behind the numbers (sector breakdown, size of the cashback industry, voucher code and true content case studies for example) but good news stories also help to flesh out the figures.
For the past year or so the Affiliate Marketing Council has debated embarking on these types of projects as well as asking networks to provide greater transparency on their figures. Historically there has been a degree of resistance to this, detailed discussion tending to over complicate matters. Hopefully the second half of this year will see some progress on this front with the formation of a sub-committee with the remit to educate and engage with a wider audience, helping us all to continue our collective drive towards increased market share.