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.
- 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 Advertising.com 103 AffiliateFuture 609 Affiliate Marketing UK 86 Affiliate Window 653 Affilinet 105 Brand Conversions 55 Buy.at 428 Clash-Media 55 Commission Junction 735 DGM Affiliates 380 Linkshare 102 Online Media Group(OMG) 256 Paid On Results 307 PrimeQ 50 Shareasale 54 Smart Quotes 79 TradeDoubler 1,191 Webgains 294 Zanox 144
- The most crucial function of a network is payment of affiliates, with 68% believing this is ‘crucially important’, and 29% ‘very important’.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?