Something quite revolutionary happened in January this year. The world’s first ever definitive and audited overview of the UK’s affiliate marketing industry was published.

It was something we’ve been crying out for. Given the six monthly IAB PwC AdSpend study lumps affiliate marketing within the Display category and don’t take account of commission spend and revenue generated, there was always a feeling that we were under represented in the digital eco-system.

When the inaugural Online Performance Marketing Study was published in January I think many people were genuinely shocked not just that it had come to fruition but what the numbers revealed.

Hunger for Performance Insight

I won’t retread the numbers as they’re freely available and have been widely reported, but it was clear there was a hunger for this data. For once a positive affiliate marketing story was hovering up acres of press coverage and people outside the performance bubble were sitting up and taking notice, many of them for the first time.

It was standing room only at the launch event; non-traditional publishers were present alongside the trade press together with companies intrigued by what this multi-billion pound industry could offer them.

There was no doubt in anyone’s minds that the study would have to be an annual piece of research. Six months in the planning and execution, with multiple stakeholders from PwC, the IAB and a cross-section of industry volunteers to carve out the content, it is no mean feat. 

And it is not cheap.

Which brings me the main point of this article; why have so many companies been so reluctant to contribute this year? Despite six months of multiple requests and a levy imposed on members, many companies who have happily used the data in numerous presentations and pitches have refused to stump up a small amount of cash to support the study. 

Put Up or Shut Up

Let’s be clear, the IAB had to chip in with a sizeable five figure sum last year in order to shore up the project and it’s heading that way this year; put simply without the financial support of the industry this invaluable work is unsustainable. I can guarantee the same companies who are refusing to pay will also be those bemoaning the lack of insight available in years to come should the OPM publication cease to be an annual event.

As much as the IAB would probably like a public naming and shaming, it’s obviously not appropriate for me to do so here; many companies will know who they are anyway.

So this is a simple plea for more cash. The IAB were true to their word when they bankrolled this costly piece of work this year, now we have a duty to demonstrate we’re the grown up, professional industry we want to be.

If you’d like to speak to the IAB about contributing to the OPM Study (and the associated sponsor benefits) please email Clare O’Brien who will be happy to help.