As an entrepreneur or business owner, you'd want your brand to reach a wider audience and meet its sales targets. Achieving these goals requires a lot of time, effort, and resources. Fortunately, there are several marketing tactics you can do not only to increase awareness for your brand but also to drive more sales for your business.
Today, one of the most effective marketing strategies businesses implement is affiliate marketing. Since the 2000s, affiliate marketing has steadily gained traction, as more businesses use digital marketing to get their brand closer to consumers. Also, the rise of influencer marketing, where business owners collaborate with bloggers and social media influencers to advertise the products and services, has made affiliate marketing an integral part of marketing plans.
In this article, we're listing the top affiliate marketing statistics for 2023 that every advertiser and affiliate marketer should know.
Top Affiliate Marketing Statistics for 2023:
- 1. The number of online searches for "affiliate marketing" has increased since 2016
- 2. Affiliate marketing is a multibillion-dollar global industry
- 3. Forecasts suggest that affiliate marketing spend will continue to increase
- 4. 8 out of 10 brands run an affiliate marketing program
- 5. Affiliate marketing drives 16% of eCommerce sales in Canada and the US
- 6. The majority of publishers use affiliate marketing to generate more income
- 7. Awin tops one list of affiliate networks with the highest number of publisher links; however, Amazon Associates has nearly 50% share, according to another source
- 8. Online Affiliate Marketing Managers can earn an average of about $58,000 annually from affiliate marketing
- 9. SaaS Based Products Pay 20-70% Commission
- 10. There are 7 types of publishers who typically participate in influencer marketing
- 11. 31% of publishers consider affiliate marketing to be one of their top 3 sources of revenue
- 12. More than 65% of publishers use social media to reach out to potential customers
- 13. The number of male publishers is higher than female affiliate marketers
- 14. Publishers whose age range is between 35 and 44 comprise the majority of the total affiliate marketer population
- 15. The top affiliate networks have over 100,000 affiliates
- 16. Affiliate marketers consider product relevance as a crucial factor in choosing an affiliate program
- 17. Web hosting is one of the most popular and lucrative forms of affiliate marketing programs
- 18. The fashion and wellness industries are the top niches
- 19. Cost per Action or Pay Per Lead is the most commonly used payment model.
- 20. Affiliate marketing conversion rate averages between 0.5% to 1%.
- 21. Mobile-ready websites are at an advantage.
- 22. Most affiliate marketers use blogs to increase web traffic.
- 23. Artificial Intelligence and voice search tech trends to watch out for.
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. The number of online searches for "affiliate marketing" has increased since 2016
Based on Google Trends data, worldwide search for the keyword "affiliate marketing'' steadily increased from 2016, rising in intensity since 2020. Its peak to date came in August 2022. The initial steady increase could have been due to the growth of eCommerce, as businesses, including those that solely have physical stores, began to explore how they could promote and sell products and services online. The more rapid increase since 2020 probably represents increased volumes of brands and people trying to earn income online in the age of Covid.
2. Affiliate marketing is a multibillion-dollar global industry
Mhojhos Research found that in 2019, the affiliate marketing industry was estimated to have a worth of $17 billion. This is up from $13 billion in 2016. Research we previously reported predicted the affiliate marketing industry to have an estimated worth of $12 billion in 2022, so the industry has grown much more rapidly than expected. And we have yet to see figures from the post-Covid era, where the value of the affiliate marketing industry is likely to be higher yet.
Revenue from affiliate marketing has steadily increased over the years as eCommerce continues to grow in popularity. With consumers purchasing basic goods, household devices, tech gadgets, and procuring services using the internet, businesses are finding affiliate marketing as an effective means to connect to promote their brand.
3. Forecasts suggest that affiliate marketing spend will continue to increase
Statista reports that the projected expenditure for affiliate marketing in the United States alone was expected to reach $8.2 billion in 2022, up from $7.4 billion in 2021. From only $2.5 billion in 2012, the spending for affiliate marketing has continued to increase year by year, which suggests that more businesses are incorporating affiliate marketing in their campaigns.
Affiliate marketing spend not only continues to increase in the U.S. Other countries are also allocating a large portion of their marketing budget to affiliate marketing. For example, businesses in Japan spent more than 349 billion Japanese yen on affiliate marketing in 2021. By 2025, the affiliate marketing expenditure could go beyond 514 billion yen. Meanwhile, affiliate marketing spend in the United Kingdom reached about £627 million in 2020, up from £569 million in 2019.
These numbers not only show that affiliate marketing is recognized as an effective marketing tool globally but also continues to thrive each year, with big players in the online marketplace—like the U.S., the U.K., and Japan—allocating a chunk of their marketing budget to it.
4. 8 out of 10 brands run an affiliate marketing program
The results of a Rakuten/Forrester Research 2016 survey showed that 90% of merchants and advertisers say that they considered affiliate marketing an essential part of their marketing strategy. Of the respondents polled, more than 80% ran an affiliate marketing program to improve website traffic and increase sales. Also, over 80% of the advertisers set aside about 10% of their marketing budget for affiliate marketing.
Setting up an affiliate marketing program can lead to boosting brand awareness, improving lead generation, and augmenting sales without spending a huge amount on advertising. However, a successful affiliate marketing program relies on several factors, which include selecting brand affiliates who are in the same niche or target the same consumer profile. This way, the brand can reach their target audiences faster and discover new audiences for their products and services.
5. Affiliate marketing drives 16% of eCommerce sales in Canada and the US
Affiliate marketing generates about 15% of the revenues from digital marketing channels. It has caught up with the likes of email marketing, paid search, and social media marketing as one of the most effective digital advertising techniques.
Through brand affiliates, brands can reach out to consumers without being too intrusive. Since brand affiliates have followers who trust their content, it can be easier for them to influence or convince people to buy products from brands they endorse.
6. The majority of publishers use affiliate marketing to generate more income
Affiliate publishers are content creators who specialize in publishing materials through websites, mobile apps, and other digital channels.
Over 84% of online content publishers join affiliate marketing. A whopping 94% of publishers join 2 or more affiliate programs, while 39% and 20% of publishers use 3 or more and 5 affiliate marketing programs, respectively.
Publishers can work directly with brands or join an affiliate network like Amazon Associates, AWIN, or eBay Partner Network (EPN). Affiliate networks not just connect brands and publishers, but they also streamline processes such as account management, commission payouts, and reporting.
Although most U.S. publishers don't consider affiliate marketing as great a money-spinner as eCommerce, 38% of publishers name affiliate advertising as one of their top 3 sources of revenue.
7. Awin tops one list of affiliate networks with the highest number of publisher links; however, Amazon Associates has nearly 50% share, according to another source
In research conducted by Publisher Discovery, Awin has 30% of the worldwide publisher links, followed by C.J. affiliates (15.8%) and Rakuten (7.4%). Awin's large market share is primarily due to its acquisition of ShareASale. However, the data for this list doesn't include Amazon Associates publisher links and affiliate activity from in-app or social media pages.
In the same research, but only taking into account active publishers, C.J. Affiliate emerges on top with 15.7% of active publisher links. Awin takes the second spot with a 10.2% market share, while Rakuten ranks third with 5.0%.
However, results from another research by Datanyze, which includes Amazon Associates publisher link, show Amazon Associates ranking on the top with almost half of the market share at 47.3%. Coming in at the second spot is C.J. Affiliate's 7.67% market share, followed by Rakuten, which has a 7.24% market share of publisher links, and ShareASale, 6.97%. By this measure, AWIN only comes in 5th position, with a 5.47% market share; however, it must be noted that Awin recently acquired ShareASale.
8. Online Affiliate Marketing Managers can earn an average of about $58,000 annually from affiliate marketing
According to Payscale, the average base salary for an Online Affiliate Marketing Manager is $58,241, not including benefits, bonuses, profit sharing, or commissions.
Top-end affiliate marketers earn a combination of up to $87,000 p.a. as a base salary, $13,000 p.a. as a bonus and $16,000 for commission. Meanwhile, low-tier affiliate marketing managers typically earn from $35,000 annually.
Many publishers say they use affiliate marketing because it allows earning money with only a little effort. They only need to sign up for an affiliate program and then create and upload content. When web users click or make a purchase after clicking the publisher link, they get a commission. This means affiliate marketers can earn while doing other activities like taking a vacation, watching a movie, or even while sleeping.
9. SaaS Based Products Pay 20-70% Commission
One of the results we found in a survey conducted for our Affiliate Marketing Benchmark Report was that SaaS products could be highly lucrative for affiliate marketers/publishers, paying up to 70% commission. However, commission rates varied greatly, and some were much nearer 20%. If you are a content creator/publisher wanting to participate in affiliate marketing, it is vital you first do your research to see that you are promoting products that offer a reasonable return for your efforts.
10. There are 7 types of publishers who typically participate in influencer marketing
Active Revenue identified seven types of publishers typically found in affiliate marketing:
- Blogs and content platforms
- Cashback and loyalty sites
- Comparison pages
- Social media publishers
- Email marketers
- Retargeting and remarketing experts
- Shopping directories and voucher sites
Publishers act as the connection point between advertisers and their audiences, and generally keep on top of recent consumer trends.
11. 31% of publishers consider affiliate marketing to be one of their top 3 sources of revenue
eMarketer surveyed publishers about their main sources of online revenue. Unsurprisingly, eCommerce topped this list, with 36% of publishers naming it their top online revenue source and 62% placing it in the top three. Second place went to Subscriptions and memberships (29% top source, 58% in the top three). Affiliate marketing, however, was also popular, and although only 9% of respondents named it their highest revenue source, 31% placed it in their top three.
As eMarketer observed, however, there is considerable overlap between these top sources. Many publishers would consider their affiliate revenue to be part of their eCommerce earnings, and may not clearly distinguish between the categories.
12. More than 65% of publishers use social media to reach out to potential customers
There are over 2 billion people who either have a Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram account. Twitter has more than 200 million active users. With the numbers this significant, there's no wonder affiliate marketers use social media to connect to niche audiences.
13. The number of male publishers is higher than female affiliate marketers
However, the difference is just about 12%. There are about 54% male publishers and 43% female affiliate marketers. More female content creators and influencers are learning the trade, which can reduce the gap in the coming years.
14. Publishers whose age range is between 35 and 44 comprise the majority of the total affiliate marketer population
People within the 35 to 44 age group make up 32% of the total affiliate marketing industry. A close second are publishers within the 25 to 34 age group at 28%. Other affiliate marketer age groups include 45 to 54 (22%) and 55 to 64 (9%). On the lower end, 5% of marketers are 18 to 24, while 3% are above 65 years old.
15. The top affiliate networks have over 100,000 affiliates
Startup brands and small businesses that don't have a huge marketing budget can use affiliate marketing to get their products and services closer to consumers. Affiliate networks have hundreds of thousands of brand affiliates that cater to a specific audience.
Likewise, joining affiliate networks can benefit bloggers and influencers who are looking to monetize website traffic and earn high commissions from advertising the products or services of a partner merchant. Below are some affiliate networks with the largest number of partner merchants and publishers.
- AWIN has over 15,000 advertisers and 100,000 publishers
- ShareASale has over 4,000 merchants(1,000+ of which are exclusive)
- CJ Affiliate has over 4,000 merchants and 70,000 publishers
- Amazon Associates has over 900,000 members globally
16. Affiliate marketers consider product relevance as a crucial factor in choosing an affiliate program
Many affiliate marketers carefully consider the nature of products before committing to promoting them. About 18% of marketers say that they look at the type of product before choosing an affiliate marketing program. If the products fit their niche, it's easier to create valuable and convincing content about them.
Other factors that affiliate marketers check out include the commission rate and the reputation of both the affiliate marketer and its partner merchants.
17. Web hosting is one of the most popular and lucrative forms of affiliate marketing programs
New bloggers, influencers, and brand owners would need a host to set up their websites. Web hosting affiliate programs are popular among publishers because, for a minimal fee, they can earn per referral.
Bluehost recently paid over $5 million in commission in one year and offers one of the highest-paying web hosting affiliate programs. Publishers who promote Bluehost's web hosting service and other products can earn at least $65 to $130 from a sale.
18. The fashion and wellness industries are the top niches
The fashion industry, which includes clothing, footwear, jewelry, bags, and other accessories, makes up a quarter of all affiliate program accounts. However, health and wellness, which is worth over $4 trillion, emerge as the most profitable. Niches in the health and wellness industry include fitness, diet trends, alternative medicine, and organic food and beverages. Other booming affiliate marketing niches are:
- Luxury Items
- Personal Finance
- Movies and Music
- Pet Care
The Toy industry saw the most U.S. affiliate revenue growth in 2020. However, according to Rakuten Advertising, it grew by 109% during the first year of Covid lockdowns.
19. Cost per Action or Pay Per Lead is the most commonly used payment model.
In this model, the merchant or advertiser pays the publisher a specific amount for every action that a user makes. Actions may vary and may include email sign-up, event registration, or buying a subscription.
Cost per Sale is another payment model commonly used in affiliate marketing where the publisher receives either a fixed amount or a percentage of the cost of the item sold. Typically, commissions range from a minimum of $3 to $200 or 1% to as high as 60% per sale, depending on the affiliate program and niche. However, there are affiliate marketers that earn a thousand dollars from a sale.
The IAB UK Affiliate & Partnerships Group found an incredible 99% used CPA-style payment methods, with Tenancy Fees (bonuses for placements) coming second with 56% usage. Allied with this, 86% of programs based their payment on Last Click (paying commissions out entirely based on the last referring affiliate partner).
20. Affiliate marketing conversion rate averages between 0.5% to 1%.
Conversion rates vary from one industry to another. The majority of affiliates also don't share conversion rate data to stay ahead of their competition. Hence, these numbers could only serve as a benchmark to assess whether your affiliate marketing program is effective or needs improvement.
21. Mobile-ready websites are at an advantage.
One out of two internet users says that they are likely to buy using a mobile device. As people can purchase products using their smartphone, tablet, or laptop, publishers and brand affiliates must have their websites optimized for mobile devices. Mobile-ready websites allow shoppers to view web pages with ease, which improves the overall customer buying experience.
According to Statcounter, 68.33% of web traffic came from mobile in Q2 2022, compared with 39.65% desktop and 2.02% tablet.
22. Most affiliate marketers use blogs to increase web traffic.
About 65% of publishers say that good content boosts website traffic. If customers find their blogs engaging, relevant, and helpful, they are more likely to make a purchase. Many of the most successful affiliate marketers also claim that they experienced an increase of up to 240% in revenue by releasing useful content.
Blogging is a popular choice for marketers and content creators because it is less expensive than posting advertisements. Likewise, blogging statistics show that blogs generate as much as three times more leads than ads. Notably, an Awin 2020 report found that bloggers and blogging sites held 40% of the commission market.
23. Artificial Intelligence and voice search tech trends to watch out for.
Based on statistics, over 72% of mobile device users use voice assistants daily. In the U.S., about 40 million people have a smart speaker at home. By 2022, it was projected that 1 out of 2 households in the U.S. would have a smart speaker. Plus, 43% of the people who own smart speakers use voice search to shop.
Apps like Siri and Alexa were considered a novelty when they were first introduced. However, as smart homes emerge, the use of voice-assisted technology has also increased. Now, besides shopping or searching for information, digital assistants are useful in performing daily tasks such as turning appliances on or off, playing music and videos, checking weather updates, and setting up a person's daily schedule.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the success rate of affiliate marketing?
The average affiliate conversion rate normally hovers around 1%. This percentage is an estimate, because many affiliate marketers will keep their affiliate conversion rate to themselves.
How big is the affiliate marketing industry?
Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Spending in the U.S. was expected to reach more than $12 billion by the end of 2022.
What is the average affiliate marketing percentage?
Most affiliate commissions will be percentage commissions, which is the most common way to get paid in affiliate programs. Commission can range from 5% to 30%. If you only sell a few specific products, consider a fixed-amount commission.
Is affiliate marketing worth it in 2023?
Affiliate marketing is hard work, and it is only worth it if you can match your product to your audience. It's important to pick products that match your niche and pick products that you are passionate about. It comes down to targeting the product to your audience.
Can affiliate marketing make you rich?
Affiliate marketing can make you rich, but it won't happen overnight, and it's not a fast process. The top tier of affiliate marketers, known as "super affiliates," often spend years building an audience to earn six-figure salaries.