As you reflect on the successes and shortfalls of the past year and identify key strategies you want to integrate into your marketing plan in the new year, arm yourself with insights found in the 7th annual AffiliateBenchmarks Report. These recently released results are broken into four versions—Merchant (U.S.), Merchant (Global), Affiliate (U.S.), and Affiliate (Global).
Below, we give you five report highlights. If you find any of this useful, be sure to check out the complete AffiliateBenchmarks reports. In these reports, once again, LinkConnector is voted as a top 10 network. We are honored to consistently remain a favorite network, and thank our merchants and affiliates for their dedicated support!
Five Key Takeaways
ONE: Commission amount is the most important factor for affiliates in determining whether or not they will promote a merchant.
Supporting data from U.S. affiliates: The most important items to consider when deciding to join an affiliate program are…
- Commission amount (43%)
- Product being sold and price (33%)
- Relevancy of advertiser and product (34%)
Takeaway: While this comes as no surprise, payout is the most effective factor in attracting new affiliates. Commission should be competitive; merchants should also consider rewarding individual affiliates based upon their performance.
TWO: Nearly half of all surveyed affiliates rely on affiliate network newsletters to alert them of newly launched programs.
Supporting data from U.S. affiliates: The most popular means through which affiliates learn about new programs are…
- Affiliate Network Websites (48%)
- Advertiser Websites with Affiliate Info Pages (42%)
- Emails from the Affiliate Network (40%)
- Searches on Google, Yahoo, etc. (30%)
- Blogs (27%)
Takeaway: Stay connected to the promotional avenues your affiliate network provides to you. If your network produces a periodic New Campaigns newsletter, if you are a merchant be sure that your new campaigns are included. If you are an affiliate, and you have not considered the resources available to you through affiliate networks, this popular avenue may keep you in the know.
THREE: Over half of surveyed affiliates consider content for their site to be the most valuable tool in promoting a program. Further, half of the affiliates preferring content from their merchant partners would like it to be in the form of graphics or images.
Supporting data from U.S. affiliates: When promoting an affiliate program, the most valuable tools are…
- Content for your site (52%)
- Coupons and discounts (32%)
- Deep linking ability (22%)
- Display or image ad units (23%)
- Text links (20%)
Further, when receiving content from a merchant, the preferred form of that content is…
- Graphics / Images (50%)
- Written Content (28%)
- Video (13%)
- Product Reviews (9%)
Takeaway: Whether merchant or affiliate, an affiliate program will only be as successful as the time and effort you put into it. For merchants, if you have limited resources, prioritize providing your affiliate partners with converting graphics or images they can place on their websites.
FOUR: Roughly half of surveyed affiliates identify ‘Free Shipping with no minimum’ as the top sale-driving promotion.
Supporting data from U.S. affiliates: If promoting different consumer offers on your site, the best types of offers that drive overall sales are…
- Free shipping, no minimum (49%)
- Limited time offer (33%)
- Percentage off purchase, no minimum (33%)
- Dollars off no minimum (28%)
- Free shipping with a minimum (25%)
Takeaway: Merchants setting their promotional plan for the new year should strongly consider measuring a ‘free shipping with no minimum’ promotion against other promotion types. Affiliates should also try working with merchants offering this promotion type as the report finds compelling evidence that this particular type of offer converts traffic most effectively.
FIVE: Roughly a quarter of surveyed affiliates found both Exclusive Coupon Codes and increased commissions to be highly effective in driving increased affiliate orders.
The following chart is a closeup look into the effectiveness of different techniques in driving increased affiliate orders (source: U.S. affiliates).
Takeaway: It cannot be overstated that increasing affiliate commissions—even for a subset of a merchant’s top performers—is a highly effective means in growing an overall affiliate program. Exclusive and Vanity Coupon Codes are also having strong results in driving increased activity.
Other key takeaways include affiliates’ preferred means of receiving new information from merchants (overwhelmingly through email) and much, much more. This year, several new topics were also covered such as mobile, attribution, and recruitment techniques. Beyond trending items and excellent information enabling both merchants and affiliates to optimize their programs, the AffiliateBenchmarks is going a long way to validate and give a voice to our industry. We greatly appreciate their efforts!