The Performance Marketing Association (PMA), the trade association for the affiliate and partnership marketing industries, and of which PerformanceIN is a proud member, has today released the results of a brand new study.

Amongst many encouraging findings, the study ultimately found that affiliate marketing investment reached a huge $9.1 Billion in 2021, representing a 47% increase over the previous industry report for 2018.

Conducted by the PMA, with underlying data provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the industry report found that affiliate marketing investment in 2021 drove $71B in e-commerce sales.

The study solicited information from seven leading affiliate networks and platforms: Awin, CJ, LinkConnector, Partnerize, Ascend by Partnerize, Rakuten Advertising, and ShareASale. The average ROAS was 12:1, meaning that every dollar invested in the channel drove $12 in e-commerce revenue.

According to the PMA, a variety of forces have helped drive outstanding growth:

  • Increased recognition of affiliate traffic quality among senior marketing executives
  • Expanding acceptance of pay-for-performance buying models among publishers
  • Digital channel growth due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on buyer behaviors
  • Strong ROAS for affiliate marketing versus other digital marketing channels
  • Increased channel adoption among new industries, including auto, CPG, and B2B
  • Growth in mobile marketing spending and improved mobile sales tracking in the channel

The continued appeal of more traditional partner types has been reflected clearly by the fact that cashback, rewards and loyalty publishers, as well as coupons, vouchers and rebates accounted for just over half of category spending, up from previous years.

Encouraging data for all stages of the buying funnel

It’s pleasing to see that content and subnetwork publisher investment accounted for 27% of total channel investment. The expansion in revenue for these publisher types reflects growing recognition of the channel’s power at all stages of the buying funnel.

“Affiliate is at the forefront of improving effectiveness and outcomes for brand marketing,” said Christen Evans, PMA Board President. “This important study demonstrates the rapid growth of our industry and the many ways it is expanding to include more industries, publisher types, investors, and marketing objectives.”

Sixteen affiliate publishers of multiple sizes and types also contributed insights to help determine the total size of the market. The data reflect estimates for the entire industry, including both participating and non-participating networks/platforms and “house” programmes managed by companies using homegrown toolsets.

Download the study for free to find out more about key industry trends, plus lots of insight into total spending by advertising and retail, as well as:

  • Total revenue contribution by advertising sector
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) by advertising sector
  • Return on Ad Spending (ROAS) by retail sector
  • Channel investment by affiliate type
  • Key industry trends

The findings were announced in a webinar that took place today, as well as the PMA conference, taking place today and tomorrow (2-3rd August) – You can still register to attend.