What is the state of affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketers generate traffic for brands and get a commission for any sales that are made. It seems like a pretty good deal.
In this post, we’re breaking down all of the affiliate marketing statistics that you need to know.
So, if you’re considering using affiliate marketing to monetize your website, or you’re considering using it as a marketing channel for your business, you’ll find these stats useful.
Let’s get started:
Affiliate marketing statistics – Editor’s picks
- The global market size of affiliate marketing as of 2020 is $17+ billion. (Mhojhos Research)
- Only 22% of chief marketing officers said they had mastered affiliate marketing. (AM Navigator)
- Affiliate marketing spending ballooned to $9.7 billion in 2020. (Influencer Marketing Hub)
- 55% of affiliate operations are in the retail sector. (IAB UK)
Key affiliate marketing statistics
The following affiliate marketing statistics will give you a glimpse of where affiliate marketers think the industry is headed.
There are affiliate marketing stats here that discuss how much money affiliate marketing generates. There are also details on how much an affiliate marketer might set aside for an affiliate program.
The affiliate marketing industry is worth over $17 billion.
The global market size of affiliate marketing as of 2020 is $17+ billion. That is higher than 2016’s recorded value which was $13 billion.
In the United States alone, the calculated total addressable market (TAM) for an affiliate marketing company was $5.74 billion.
Influencer Marketing Hub estimated that the industry would be worth $13.8 billion at the end of 2021.
Source: Mhojhos Research, Influencer Marketing Hub
The most popular affiliate marketing platform is Amazon Affiliates.
Amazon Affiliates is the most popular affiliate platform even though it has recently cut its commissions by up to 50%.
It has a 90% customer retention rate in the US market.
Amazon Affiliates is free to join and once accepted, you can promote any Amazon product including those from third-party sellers.
But there are other affiliate networks worth researching. Awin, for example, has 21,200+ advertisers and 241,000+ publishers. In 2021, Awin generated 194 million sales.
Source: Awin, Awin Homepage
Marketers set aside 10% of the marketing budget towards affiliate marketing.
More than 80% of marketers allocate 10% of their marketing budget toward their affiliate marketing budgets.
For context, more than 80% of advertisers and 84% of publishers that were surveyed ran an affiliate marketing program.
22% of CMOs have mastered affiliate marketing trends.
Only 22% of chief marketing officers said they had mastered affiliate marketing. That makes it the least mastered digital marketing strategy.
The most mastered skill sets include digital marketing online campaigns (69%), content marketing (65%), and email marketing (58%).
Source: AM Navigator
Affiliate marketing stats about growth and strategy
These affiliate marketing statistics focus on how successful affiliate marketers see affiliate marketing as a viable strategy.
Also, these affiliate marketing stats reveal just how fast the industry is growing.
The affiliate marketing industry has grown over 8 billion since 2016.
The pandemic has accelerated the growth of affiliate marketing revenue. From $1.7 billion in 2016, affiliate marketing spending ballooned to $9.7 billion in 2020. That number was expected to be $13.8 billion in 2021.
In addition, 240 more platforms and influencer marketing agencies were created in 2020.
That brings the total number of affiliate marketing platforms and agencies to 1,360.
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
15% of the digital media industry’s revenue comes from affiliate marketing.
While the digital media industry still relies on advertising to generate the bulk of its revenue, affiliate marketing is growing faster according to Business Insider.
15% of the digital media industry’s revenue now comes from affiliate marketing.
Source: Business Insider
75% of affiliate marketers state their strategies are successful and above for customer acquisition.
The majority of affiliate marketers think that their affiliate marketing strategies are good for customer acquisition. 33% rate affiliate marketing as “highly successful” while 42% mark it as “successful”.
20% said that affiliate marketing was only “somewhat successful”. Only 3% said that it was “not successful” while 2% marked it as “not at all successful”.
Affiliate marketers can earn over $80k a year.
Some affiliate marketers publish income reports that reveal exactly how much they earn and how they do it.
Research suggests that affiliate marketers can earn anywhere from $0-$80,000+.
For example, John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire, earned $8,202 in May 2022 from affiliate marketing.
It’s worth noting the majority of affiliate marketers do not publish income reports so it’s likely that affiliate marketing revenue for top earners is a lot higher.
However, the amount you can generate through affiliate marketing depends entirely on the size of your audience, and your ability to drive traffic to offers. Commission rates in your industry are also a factor.
Affiliate marketing trends statistics
The following latest affiliate marketing trends reveal how affiliate marketers are keeping up with the times. You’ll see that affiliate marketing is top-of-mind for most marketers and that some industries rely heavily on affiliate marketing to boost their revenue.
Affiliate marketing strategies ties with retail advertising at 19%.
When marketers were asked to rank marketing channels by how much revenue they bring in for their organizations, affiliate marketing tied with retail advertising at 19%. That makes these two channels the highest revenue generators.
Paid and organic search came in second at 18%. Other channels mentioned are video and banner advertising (13%), paid social (13%), word of mouth (10%), and PR (8%).
The retail industry engages in affiliate marketing the most.
55% of affiliate operations are in the retail sector while 28% are in the travel industry. That makes these two the biggest industries in the affiliate marketing industry.
Other industries mentioned include finance (26%), insurance (23%), food and beverages (18%), home furnishings and appliances (17%), and entertainment (16%).
Charities (5%), gambling (4%), and government (1%) were the least popular sectors in the affiliate marketing industry.
Source: IAB UK
The most important channel for customer acquisition is affiliate marketing.
20% of marketers marked affiliate marketing as the most important customer acquisition strategy — higher than paid social (12%), video and banner advertising (15%), paid and organic search (16%), PR (11%), retail ads (13%), and word of mouth (13%).
And when respondents were asked to rank a second answer, affiliate marketing still came out on top at 19%.
Affiliate marketing statistics sources
That wraps up our look at the top affiliate marketing industry statistics.
The affiliate marketing industry is getting more competitive, and there are still challenges with data attribution. But, despite these challenges, affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to monetize an audience.
And it makes a lot of sense for brands too – it’s one of the easiest ways to acquire new customers and scale fast without the need to expand your own team.
Finally, if you want to check out more stats, I’d recommend starting with these roundups: