How big is the affiliate marketing channel in the UK? This was a question the industry asked itself seven years ago when 27 companies collaborated to bring to life the world’s first size of market study.

Coordinated by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC, the weighty report grabbed headlines with compelling revenue and return on investment numbers. Boasting £16 in sales for every £1 invested and accounting for £14bn of the UK’s e-commerce market, it definitely showed affiliate marketing was a channel to be taken seriously.

Fast forward to 2020 and no such report exists to show the current scale of the industry. While this may seem like a retrograde step perhaps it also indicates how much affiliate marketing has integrated into the wider digital ecosystem.

However, the IAB still produces a couple of headline affiliate numbers. And that’s where we need businesses operating within the space to come forward and submit their data.

Wider contribution

As part of their Adspend Study, the IAB only measures network and platform fees. Given they don’t take into account commissions in the wider study, they aggregate both sets of data to produce a top-line number specifically for the affiliate industry.

This can only be achieved, however, if we have as wide a contribution from the industry as possible.

These are the companies who submitted numbers in 2019:

Awin, CJ, Impact, MyOffers, Optimise, Partnerize, Quidco, Rakuten, Tradedoubler.

It’s worth noting that this is a significant drop from seven years ago and it would be great to see other companies add their revenues to the total. That’s why we’re reaching out to the wider affiliate community.

Snapshot of the channel

If you’re interested, there are a couple of considerations. Given networks and SaaS platforms typically capture most publisher commissions, we do not need publishers to contribute unless there are revenues not captured through these types of platforms. 

Similarly, some advertiser run direct programmes which may be missed from the overall picture. Agencies too may be using software that isn’t offered by the aforementioned businesses. As a general rule of thumb, if you feel you can submit numbers that won’t be accounted for twice and are based on driving CPA-based activity we want to hear from you.

While we don’t have the resource to model numbers from major programmes like eBay and Amazon, and therefore cannot measure the full scope of UK affiliate marketing, what remains is an important snapshot of the channel. The only data needed is full-year commissions and fees tracked in the UK through your business.

Now for the serious bit. The IAB collects this data in a secure environment, subject to the rigour of PwC’s data handling standards. No submitting company’s data is shared with another submitting company’s. All data is collated and represented as a ‘size of market’ piece; nothing is separated out.

Here are the results from the last three years:

It’s completely free to submit your numbers and you do not need to be a member to participate. You’ll also receive a copy of the report when it is released in April.

If you feel you should be included please drop me a line and I will pass your details onto the IAB who can send out the submission form. Time is short so you’ll need to get in touch this week.