Digital marketers have singled out affiliate marketing as the skill they’d most like to sharpen in 2015, among categories including SEM, PPC and mobile marketing.

The findings form part of a wider UK-based report from Smart Insights into the state of digital skills this year, breaking down the attributes which are putting marketing professionals on the forward foot.

While participants rated themselves for strategy & integrated planning (52%), customer service, support & assisted selling (48%) and social media marketing (45%), just 13% ranked affiliate marketing as a key talent.

In fact, affiliate marketing bottomed a list of 20 other categories, behind other low-confidence areas including mobile marketing (21%), coding & development (22%) and graphic design (26%).

High demand

Far from a neglected area of digital marketing, affiliate skills are highly desired but proving difficult to access: four participants in ten ranked affiliate as their biggest area for improvement.

The results came as a surprise to AM Navigator CEO and affiliate industry expert Geno Prussakov, who deems the findings a result of continued efforts among industry members to “popularise and validate” affiliate as a channel.

“Continued research and reports put out by IAB and Affiliate Window, the efforts of Performance Marketing Insights, Affiliate Management Days, and others – it is good to see it all, finally, yield fruit,” says Prussakov.

“Affiliate marketer’s seat at the table and affiliate marketing’s place in advertisers’ digital marketing strategies has been overlooked for way too long. It is refreshing to see that marketers, finally, realise the importance of the ‘skill’ of doing affiliate marketing.”

Affiliate pipped mobile marketing to take the top of marketer’s most desired skills. You can view the full table below.