Both the US report and the UK Affiliate Census (produced in association with Affiliate Window), were based on surveys of affiliates carried out in January.But despite the increasingly global nature of affiliate marketing, there are some notable differences between the US and UK markets.
ncreasingly, geographical boundaries are becoming less important. More than a quarter of UK affiliates (27%) promote US merchants and nearly a third of US affiliates (32%) promote UK merchants. Large numbers of affiliates are also promoting merchants from all over the world, irrespective of where they are based, both reports found.
In keeping with blogging fashion, I thought I would narrow this down to a nice round 10.
1.US affiliates are more likely to be full-timers
Just over half of the 450+ US affiliates (51%) surveyed work full-time in the industry, as opposed to being part-timers or hobbyists. This compares to a third of UK affiliates who work full-time on affiliate marketing.
2.PPC is the most significant affiliate ‘method’ for US publishers, while SEO ranks highest in the UK
Paid search or pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is the most significant category for US affiliates (48%), marginally ahead of true content (SEO) on 46%. Just under half of affiliates surveyed say each of these methods is important to them in terms of revenue generated. The UK research found that True Content (SEO) was the most important method to affiliates, by some distance.
3.More affiliates are promoting B2B merchants in the US
US affiliates are more likely to be involved in promoting business-to-business advertisers. More than a third of US affiliates (38%) promote B2B merchants compared to 27% in the UK.
4.Women are better represented in the US
Less than a fifth of UK affiliates (18%) are female, compared to 17% in 2007 when we carried out the first Affiliate Census. Women are better represented in the US, where 27% of responding affiliates are female. This is still low.
5.Health, Sport and Fitness leads the way in the US
In comparison, only a fifth of UK affiliates promote this sector. The biggest vertical in the UK is Travel & Flights, promoted by 33% of affiliates.
6.Affiliate Window is the most significant UK network, while CJ is the biggest in the US
Affiliates were asked to indicate which networks are the most important to them, judged by revenue generated through the network’s merchants.
According to our UK research Affiliate Window is the biggest network, with 43% of affiliates surveyed ranking them as the most important to them for generating revenue. Just under a fifth (18%) said that TradeDoubler is most important while 10% said that Commission Junction was their top-ranked network. (It should be noted that virtually all the major networks promoted the UK Affiliate Census to their affiliates, and not just Affiliate Window.)
7. In the US, there is more explicit talk of performance marketing.
Most people know that the advantage of affiliate marketing is that it is performance-based. In the US, people talk more about ‘performance marketing’ and the performance marketing industry. Yesterday our US office published an interview with Brad Waller of the Performance Marketing Alliance.
8.Quality and quantity of links an issue
There is universal frustration among affiliates about the quality of links from merchants which is the biggest reason why affiliates don’t promote a merchant after signing up.
Poor conversion rates is the obvious cause of merchants being dropped and publishers complain that many merchants need to sort out their websites and their proposition if they want to sell anything.
9.Concern that the ‘last click wins’ model is not sustainable
The last-click-wins reward model is generally the standard way of allocating credit for affiliate sales or sign-ups. Some believe performance marketing is about the last click by definition. In both the UK and US, only around a third of respondents (36%) believe the last click should always win. Many affiliates believe that the latest technology could enable a fairer allocation of commissions.
10.Affiliates want more communication from merchants
The majority of both US (64%) and UK affiliates (70%) have ‘limited communication’, ‘indirect communication through the network’ or ‘no communication with their merchants’. Both UK and US affiliates want to be kept better informed and to build better lines of communication.
In the US, affiliates are more vocal about getting better incentives and rewards from merchants. Perhaps the Brits are too polite to ask .