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Major UK-focused affiliate marketing survey results published

Major UK-focused affiliate marketing survey results published

In November and December 2006, E-Consultancy carried out a survey of 1536 UK-based affiliates, which they estimate accounts for around 4% of the total number of UK affiliates. Here are the key findings.

Who are affiliates?

  • Affiliates are predominantly male (83%), in a long-term relationships (68%), fairly evenly distributed across the United Kingdom, with 36% living in London and the South East.
  • 48% are educated to degree level.
  • Only 25% say that they’ve taken any form of marketing course before becoming an affiliate, and 50% say that their education has not helped them with their present knowledge and understanding of affiliate marketing.

How active are affiliates?

  • 51% are active affiliates, with 39% occasionally active, and 10% inactive, though you’d expect most people who took this survey to be vaguely interested in affiliate marketing.
  • 26% of respondents became affiliates last year (2006), 17.7% have been marketing since 2005, and 12.5% since 2004. 7.65% of affiliates have been going since before 1999.
  • 25% work 10 hours per day on their business, with 10% putting in over 13 hours per day.

Level of income

  • 12% say affiliate marketing is their only source of income.
  • 49% earned less than £500 a year, unsurprisingly.
  • 61% full-time marketers earned at least £20,000.
  • 10% earned over £750,000 in the last year.

Traffic generation

  • Organic search is used by 74% of respondents compared to 38% who used paid search.
  • 43% think SEO is the single most effective way of getting and converting traffic, compared to paid search at 22%.


  • Only 15% of affiliates run exclusively with one affiliate network, which isn’t that surprising and presumably (though this is a guess) these are the lower earners or part-timers. 63% are signed up with 3 or more networks.
  • TradeDoubler is used by 87% of affiliates who promote its UK merchants, whilst Commission Junction gets 54% of respondents. Here’s a full list:
    Network# Affiliates
    Affiliate Marketing UK86
    Affiliate Window653
    Brand Conversions55
    Commission Junction735
    DGM Affiliates380
    Online Media Group(OMG)256
    Paid On Results307
    Smart Quotes79
  • The most crucial function of a network is payment of affiliates, with 68% believing this is ‘crucially important’, and 29% ‘very important’.

Program sectors

  • The biggest sectors for affiliates are:
    • 1) Travel / Flights (30%)
    • 2) Entertainment and Music (27%)
    • Joint 3) Electrical goods (24%)
    • Joint 3) Computers / laptops / peripherals (24%)
    • Joint 5) Gifts / Gadgets (22%)
    • Joint 5) Books (22%)
    • 7) Fashion / clothes / lingerie / accessories (21%)
    • Joint 8) Financial services (19%)
    • Joint 8) Mobile phones (19%)
  • 51% of all affiliates promote 10 advertisers or less. 23% of all active affiliates promote a staggering 80 advertisers or more (hopefully not all on the same page!), whilst 33% of all active affiliates promote 10 advertisers or less.

Program promotion

  • The biggest reason for affiliates not promoting merchants after making the effort to sign up for programs is because of ‘insufficient quality & quantity of links’.

The state of affiliate marketing

  • 50% of respondents believe that affiliate marketing is getting harder over time; 11% disagree.
  • 38% think you need to be technical to be successful, with 39% disagreeing.
  • 34% think that Google is damaging the affiliate marketing industry, whilst 26% disagree.
  • Half of all affiliates think that spyware is a major problem for the Affiliate Marketing industry.

Checking statistics

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  • 56% of full-time affiliates check their statistics once or twice a day, whilst 14% check them on the hour, every hour. Apparently three full-time marketers never check them!

Number of websites

  • One quarter of respondents run between 5 and 10 websites, whilst another quarter run just one. 3% run over 100 web sites.

How affiliate networks can improve

Affiliates offer plenty of comments about how affiliate networks and programs could improve, including:

  • networks offering more support and guidance, particularly for new affiliates
  • protecting affiliate interests
  • improving user interfaces
  • monitoring deep links
  • sorting out tracking issues
  • networks becoming more proactive

It’s an interesting survey. If I had access to the raw data I would probably want to see if there is a correlation between such factors as the number of programs signed up with, number of websites operated, level of technical expertise, amount of hours worked, and eventual earnings. Nevertheless, it gives a snapshot of the state of affiliate marketing in the UK. The full report is available from the E-Consultancy web site.

How does it reflect with your experience of affiliate marketing?

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