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Affiliate Marketing Benchmarks

 Affiliate Summit
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Table of Contents

SECTION 1: THE SURVEY

Affiliate Marketing by the Numbers 2

SECTION 2: THEIR WORDS

Affiliates Speak Out 17

SECTION 3: RESOURCES

Glossary 21
Message Boards 24
Blogs 25
Twitter 30
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Affiliate Program
Merchant Facts & Figures
State of the Industry in Affiliate Marketing

O
ver four-hundred and fifty affiliates were surveyed on their methods,
preferences, and strategies for the 2009 Affiliate Summit AffStat Report.

This section features the results of the survey.

Most affiliates work solo, and scant data exists to tell the story of the affiliate marketer .

As an industry, we are rich in speculation, but poor when it comes to aggregating the
facts and figures that drive this business.

Take a look at the following results. You are bound to find some surprises and think
twice about the way you operate as an affiliate, merchant, network, or vendor.

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Affiliate Marketing by the Numbers

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Affiliates: Their Words


When given a soapbox, what do affiliates have to say about things?

T
he statistics tell one version of the story. But to truly get a complete picture of
the triumphs and hurdles of affiliates, you’ve got to hear things straight from
their mouths.

The following is an uncensored view into the opinions of affiliates on a variety of other
subjects.

Affiliates were asked to share any complaints, ideas, suggestions or opinions they have
regarding affiliate marketing.

Read what happens when affiliates stop being polite, and start being real. This is the
Real World – Affiliate style.

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Affiliates Speak Out on the Issues


 Please add Carousel Widgets.

 1. Don't lie...the truth is too easily found out. 2. If you're new, get training
from other experienced AMs 3. Don't cut me off because I only promote one
or two products right now. Down the line, I may do a site where I can
promote more. 4. Don't ask me to promote products that my site readers
would have no interest in.

 I hate it when I reply to an unsolicited manager email because it has relevance


to me and then the manager does not reply. I have quit programs over this. If
you aren't going to respond to me why bother sending me mail? Also, stop
treating Canadian affiliates (and non-USA publishers for that matter) like
second class citizens. Some of us perform much better than "homeland"
based publishers while honestly working within your service agreements.
This is a global industry - keep this in mind and you will find some amazing
markets out there.

 Notification of a "Big Weekend Sale" on Friday night isn't going anywhere.


Get us the information in time to fit it into a busy schedule. Respond to
emails, don't set your email filters so tight that you can't receive plain text with
a link question.

 NO toolbars in affiliate marketing.

 I've been an affiliate manager, so I know the difficult job they have ... trying to
please the merchants, their bosses and the affiliates ... all at the same time.
Dealing with a wide range of personalities isn't easy either. My biggest issue is
always communication. If there is an issue, it is handled and I know why there
is a problem. Being well compensated is an issue too. I also like affiliate
managers who follow up and ensure I meet the commitments I made.

 I sell nearly $3 Million per year (gross sales) with zero PPC. Keep your
programs clean (no parasites) if you want to grab my attention.

 Know what you're are talking about. How can I ask a question if I know that
you don't know the answer?

 I hate having to look all over the site for links for ads. I feel that all new links
should be found in the links management area of the merchant. If not then all
new ads should be provided with personal links.

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 If it were possible to program e-mails to contain the types of links requested by


affiliates and only those links it would greatly speed up the process of changing
them out on sites. It would be nice if affiliates were told in advance of things
that affect their sites rather than after the event - for example, telling an affiliate
that a merchant has made a decision that affects links immediately rather than
as of, say, 7 days hence, is assuming that affiliates have nothing more pressing
to do than make changes to links the instant they are asked to!

 My main compliment to good affiliate managers goes to those who are willing
to work with me on my level. They don't assume I know everything and are
willing to let me learn. My biggest complaint goes to those affiliate managers
who send me invitations to join their program "after looking at my site" and
then reject me when I apply to their program. Or they approve me and then
delete me after a month or so because of "poor performance", but they never
contact me to work with me.

 Of all the affiliate companies I am signed under with, I am hoping they are all
honest with paying out to the affiliates like me. One time I felt like I didn't
trust a big affiliate network and sometimes others. I wish there would be
investigators to check these affiliate companies with their honesty.

 The affiliate tools are either too complicated or severely lacking. Interfaces are
usually too cluttered and the search options rarely work. Also, merchants
should be required to provide basic banners such as the 125x125,
120x30|60|90 and 468x60. Skyscrapers, half-page, etc suck up too much
screen real estate. Lastly, what's with this nonsense of dropping an affiliate if
they don't make a sale in 6 months? If I'm serving up your ads, that means I'm
getting you eyeballs. Maybe people just aren't interested in your products!

 It seems that if you don't make any sales you get left alone. When money
starts rolling in everyone wants to start asking questions. Affiliate marketing is
a cut throat business. Many tactics take time and money to learn and affiliates
should not be bombarded with questions having to explain how they market.
If there is no spamming or deception involved, does it really matter?
Everyone is making money and isn't that what it's all about.

 I'd like to see more of them accept incentive traffic. As long as you don't
misrepresent the merchant it shouldn't matter where the sales or leads come
from as long as they are reliable.

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 Affiliate programs have too low a return rate. For a targeted site it should be
higher than a mass marketer (think niche marketing). ROI is too low given the
constant work involved. I would like to see more partnerships, for instance, if I
run targeted sites I would lease that site to the advertiser rather than work with
straight affiliate programs. I own targeted sites & once the economy improves
I will sell them rather than work for a low ROI. Not worth the marketing
effort under the current conditions.

 I get the heebie jeebies when I see/read a lot of the affiliate marketing stuff out
there. To me, an affiliate program should match the site's theme. If your site's
theme is simply to push an affiliate program without providing any useful
content, what's the point?

 Call us more often, and plan meetings with us in person at conferences. Stop
the blog blasts and email newsletters.

 More AM need to communicate with affiliates.

 That publishers only have a limited amount of space for sales ads and needs to
be taken into consideration when sending out emails. Weekly sales are better
than daily as most affiliates have more than one merchant and they can
become bogged down with emails. It is sometimes hard to answer 300 to
1,000 emails a day!

 I'm at that stage where I'm finding a balance. A well-established merchant


without PopShops will lose to a new merchant WITH PopShops.

 I think AM's need to scour their data. Even if there are solutions in place, they
only work as good as your data; the keywords, prod names, descriptions, etc.
The data you have for your site is far different than what I need to promote
those items on my site. Cut the gibberish and give me shorter descriptions.
Include keywords that customers would search for outside of your site. You
have to think outside of your site to really provide valuable data to your
affiliates. Any kind of industry news or alerts are great to share. Your affiliates
will absorb your passion for this as a career and not just a quick buck.

 Not being able to directly talk with the merchant. The "separation" of
merchant and affiliate by networks and 3rd party AM's discourages productive
collaboration.

 Stop sending useless emails. 5 emails from one program in a week is WAY
TOO MUCH! Sending them once a month requires planning, but you are
supposed to be a m a n a g e r.

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Affiliate Marketing
Resources
Some things to make your job easier.

T
here are some great resources out there that can make your job a whole lot
easier. Here is a glossary to explain industry terms, plus lists of suggested
message boards, blogs, and Twitter accounts that you should know about.

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Affiliate Marketing Glossary


Affiliate marketing has a language all its own. Below is a collection of some of the
frequently used terms.

Affiliate: a Web site owner that earns a commission for referring clicks, leads, or sales
to a merchant.

Affiliate Agreement: terms between a merchant and an affiliate that govern the
relationship.

Affiliate Information Page: a page or pages on your Web site that explains clearly
and concisely what your affiliate program is all about.

Affiliate Link: a piece of code residing in a graphic image or piece of text placed on an
affiliate's Web page that notifies the merchant that an affiliate should be credited for
the customer or visitor sent to their Web site.

Affiliate Manager: the manager of an Affiliate Program who is responsible for


creating a newsletter, establishing incentive programs, forecasting and budgeting,
overseeing front-end marketing of the program, and monitoring the industry for news
and trends.

Affiliate Program (also an Associate, Partner, Referral, or Revenue Sharing Program):


a merchant pays a commission to an affiliate for generating clicks, leads, or sales from a
graphic or text link located on the affiliate's site.

Affiliate Program Directory: directory of affiliate programs, featuring information


such as the commission rate, number of affiliates, and affiliate solution provider.
Associate-It, AssociatePrograms.com and Refer-it are among the largest Affiliate
Program Directories.

Affiliate Solution Provider: company that provides the network, software, and
services needed to create and track an affiliate program.

Auto-Approve: affiliate application approval process where all applicants are


automatically approved for an affiliate program.

Commission: income an affiliate receives for generating a sale, lead or click-through


to a merchant's Web site. Sometimes called a referral fee, a finder's fee or a bounty.

Cookies: small files stored on the visitor's computer, which record information that is
of interest to the merchant site. With affiliate programs, cookies have two primary
functions: to keep track of what a customer purchases, and to track which affiliate was
responsible for generating the sale (and is due a commission).

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Contextual Link: integration of affiliate links with related text.

Conversion Rate: percentage of clicks that result in a commissionable activity (sale or


lead).

CPA (Cost Per Action): cost metric for each time a commissionable action takes
place.

CPC (Cost Per Click): cost metric for each click of an advertising link.

CPM (Cost Per Thousand): cost metric for one thousand banner advertising
impressions.

CPO (Cost Per Order): cost metric for each time an order is transacted.

eCPC: stands for 'effective Cost Per Click’. Affiliates that earn on a CPA or CPO will
back their numbers into an eCPC. It is calculated by dividing total earnings by their
number of clicks. For example, if an affiliate earned $1500 from 3000 clicks, the CPC
would equal $1500/3000, or $0.50.

eCPM: stands for 'effective Cost Per Thousand impressions'. Affiliates that earn on a
CPA or CPO will back their numbers into an eCPM. It is calculated by dividing total
earnings by their number of impressions in thousands. For example, if an affiliate
earned $1500 from 75,000 impressions, the CPM would equal $1500/75, or $20.00.

Hybrid Model: affiliate commission model that combines payment options (i.e. CPC
& CPA).

In-house: alternative to using an affiliate solution provider; building affiliate program


architecture within a company.

Lifetime Value of a Customer (LVC): the amount of sales in dollars that a customer
in his lifetime will spend with a particular company.

Manual Approval: affiliate application approval process where all applicants are
manually approved for an affiliate program.

Merchant: an online business that markets and sells goods or services. Merchants
establish affiliate programs as a cost effective method to get consumers to purchase a
product, register for a service, fill out a form, or visit a Web site.

Pay-Per-Sale: program where an affiliate receives a commission for each sale of a


product or service that they refer to a merchant's Web site. Pay-per-sale programs
usually offer the highest commissions and the lowest conversion ratio.

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Pay-Per-Lead: program where an affiliate receives a commission for each sales lead
that they generate for a merchant Web site. Examples would include completed
surveys, contest or sweepstakes entries, downloaded software demos, or free trials.
Pay-per-lead generally offers midrange commissions and midrange to high conversion
ratios.

Pay-Per-Click: program where an affiliate receives receive a commission for each click
(visitor) they refer to a merchant's Web site. Pay-per-click programs generally offer
some of the lowest commissions (from $0.01 to $0.25 per click), and a very high
conversion ratio since visitors need only click on a link to earn the affiliate a
commission.

Predatory Advertising: method that creates or overlays links or banners on Web sites,
spawns browser windows, or any method invented to overwrite or redirect affiliate
links.

Residual Earnings: programs that pay affiliates not just for the first sale a shopper
from their sites makes, but all additional sales made at the merchant's site over the life
of the customer.

ROAS: stands for 'Return on Advertising Spending'. This is the amount of revenue
generated for every dollar spent on advertising. For instance, a ROAS of $1 means
you're generating $1 in sales for every $1 in advertising spend, and a ROAS of $5
means you generate $5 in sales for every $1 in spending.

ROI: stands for 'Return on Investment'. This is what all marketing managers want to
see from the money they spend on their marketing and advertising campaigns. The
higher the sales, the larger the number of shoppers and the greater the profit margin
generated by sales – the better the ROI.

Super Affiliates: that small percentage of sites - the top 1% of affiliates, based on
performance and earnings - that generate the lion’s share of the revenue for your
program. They are born marketers and are very successful with the affiliate program
they promote from their sites.

Two-tier: affiliate marketing model that allows affiliates to sign up additional affiliates
below themselves, so that when the second tier affiliates earn a commission, the
affiliate above them also receives a commission. Two-tier affiliate marketing is also
known as MLM (Multilevel Marketing).

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Affiliate Marketing Message Boards


What are affiliates saying about your program? Monitor and participate in these
message boards regularly to maintain a grip on the affiliate community:

 5 Star Affiliate Marketing Forums -


http://affiliate-marketing-forums.5staraffiliateprograms.com/

 ABestWeb - http://forum.abestweb.com/

 affiliates4U (UK) - http://www.affiliates4u.com/

 AffSpot - http://www.affspot.com/

 AssociatePrograms.com -
http://www.associateprograms.com/discus/index.php

 Digital Point - http://forums.digitalpoint.com/

 SitePoint - http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/

 Wicked Fire - http://www.wickedfire.com/

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Blogs for Affiliate Marketers to Read


The affiliate marketing blogosphere is expanding constantly. Blogs are a great resource
for news and information in affiliate marketing as it happens, as well as to learn more
about tactics affiliates are using (and some you shouldn't use).

Here are some blogs focused on or related to affiliate marketing to check out.

 49above - http://blog.49above.com/

 5 Star Affiliate Marketing Blogs -


http://affiliate-blogs.5staraffiliateprograms.com/

 Ad Hustler - http://www.adhustler.com/

 ADS-links.com - http://www.ads-links.com/

 Advertising & Marketing Blog - http://www.jonathantreiber.com/

 AffBuzz - http://www.affbuzz.com/

 Affiliate Classroom - http://blog.affiliateclassroom.com/

 Affiliate Confession - http://www.affiliateconfession.com/

 Affiliate Love Project - http://www.affiliatelp.com/

 Affiliate Marketing Blog by Shawn Collins - http://blog.affiliatetip.com/

 Affiliate Marketing The Smart Way - http://www.thelazymarketer.com/blog/

 Affiliate Program Advice - http://www.affiliateprogramadvice.com/

 Affiliate Stuff - http://www.affiliatestuff.co.uk/

 Affiliate Summit - http://www.affiliatesummit.com/blog/

 Affilorama - http://www.affilorama.com/blog

 Affzilla.com - http://www.affzilla.com/

 Azam Marketing Blog - http://www.azam.info/

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 Andy Beard - http://www.andybeard.eu/

 Beer Monies - http://www.beermonies.com/

 Blue Hat SEO - http://www.bluehatseo.com/

 Branding100.com - http://www.branding100.com/

 Brandon Adcock dot Com - http://www.brandonadcock.com/

 Bryn Youngblut - http://bryn.me/

 Cash Tactics - http://www.cashtactics.net/

 CDF Networks - http://www.cdfnetworks.com/

 Chris Bloczynski dot Com - http://www.chrisbloczynski.com/

 chrisbrogan.com - http://www.chrisbrogan.com/

 Christian Affiliate Marketers - http://www.christianaffiliatemarketers.com/

 CJ UK Blog - http://www.cjblog.co.uk/

 copyblogger - http://www.copyblogger.com/

 Cost Per News - http://www.costpernews.com/

 Dennis Yu - http://www.dennis-yu.com/

 FeedFront Magazine - http://www.feedfront.com/

 Fraser’s Affiliate Marketing Blog - http://www.affiliateblog.co.uk/

 GeekCast.fm - http://www.geekcast.fm/

 Geno's Affiliate Marketing Blog - http://www.amnavigator.com/blog/

 Google Affiliate Network Blog -


http://googleaffiliatenetwork-blog.blogspot.com/

 How to Make Money Online - http://www.jonathanvolk.com/

 Ian Fernando - http://www.ianfernando.com/

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 Income Zombie - http://www.incomezombie.com/

 Internet Geek Girl - http://www.internetgeekgirl.com/

 Jangro 2.0 - http://www.jangro.com/

 Jeremiah Cooper dot Com - http://www.jeremiahcooper.com/

 JimKukral.com - http://www.jimkukral.com/blog/

 John Chow dot Com - http://www.johnchow.com/

 JoelComm.com - http://www.joelcomm.com/

 JustinDupre.com - http://www.justindupre.com/

 Lee McCoy's Affiliate Marketing Blog - http://www.leemccoy.co.uk/

 Legacy Affiliate Blog - http://www.legacyaffiliateblog.com/

 LinkShare Blog - http://www.linkshareblog.com/

 LisaPicarille.com - http://www.lisapicarille.com/

 MadPPC - http://www.madppc.com/

 Many Body Theory - http://www.manybodytheory.com/

 MediaTrust Blog - http://blog.mediatrust.com/

 MissyWard.com - http://www.missyward.com/

 Money Making Scoop - http://www.moneymakingscoop.com/blog/

 MsDanielle.com - http://www.msdanielle.com/

 murraynewlands.com - http://www.murraynewlands.com/

 Nerdy Affiliate - http://www.nerdyaffiliate.com/

 NETexponent Blog - http://www.netexponentblog.com/

 NickThrolson.com - http://www.nickthrolson.com/

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 Nickycakes.com - http://www.nickycakes.com/

 OffWhiteHat.com - http://www.offwhitehat.com/

 OOOFF.com - http://www.oooff.com/php-affiliate-seo-blog/

 Pepperjam Blog - http://www.pepperjam.com/blog/

 Performance Marketing Alliance -


http://www.performancemarketingalliance.com/

 PPC.bz - http://www.ppc.bz/

 PPC Fool - http://www.ppcfool.com/

 ProBlogger - http://www.problogger.net/

 Prosper202 Blog - http://prosper.tracking202.com/blog/

 ReveNews - http://www.revenews.com/

 Shankman.com - http://www.shankman.com/

 Share Results Blog - http://blog.shareresults.com/

 ShareASale Blog - http://blog.shareasale.com/

 Shock Marketer - http://www.shockmarketer.com/

 ShoeMoney - http://www.shoemoney.com/

 Slightly Shady SEO - http://www.slightlyshadyseo.com/

 Super Affiliate Marketing Blog - http://www.aojon.com/

 Super Affiliate Mindset - http://www.superaffiliatemindset.com/

 Tactic Tester - http://www.tactictester.com/

 The Real Tim Jones - http://www.therealtimjones.com/

 Thoughts on Affiliate Marketing from Logan Thompson -


http://www.lrthompson.com/

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 Trevor Nash-Keller 2.0 - http://www.trevornashkeller.com/

 TrishaLyn.com - http://www.trishalyn.com/

 TylerCruz.com - http://www.tylercruz.com/

 UberAffiliate - http://www.uberaffiliate.com/

 Webgains UK Blog - http://blog.webgains.com/

 Webgains USA Blog - http://usablog.webgains.com/

 WesMahler.com - http://www.wesmahler.com/

 Winning the Web - http://www.winningtheweb.com/

 Who is Andrew Wee - http://www.whoisandrewwee.com/

 Wiseaff - http://www.wiseaff.com/

 ZacJohnson.com - http://www.zacjohnson.com/

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2 0 0 9 A F F I L I A T E S U M M I T A F F S T A T R E P O R T

People to Follow on Twitter


There are lots of folks Tweeting about affiliate marketing and issues related to the
industry. Here are some we'd suggest following - they are the speakers from Affiliate
Summit East 2009:

 Stephanie Agresta - http://twitter.com/stephagresta

 Mike Allen - http://twitter.com/mta1

 Tim Ash - http://twitter.com/tim_ash

 Sarah Austin - http://twitter.com/pop17

 Larry Bailin - http://twitter.com/LarryBailin

 Debbi Ballard - http://twitter.com/DebbiABallard

 Shashi Bellamkonda - http://twitter.com/shashib

 Jay Berkowitz - http://twitter.com/JayBerkowitz

 Jamie Birch - http://twitter.com/JamieEBirch

 Scott Brinker - http://twitter.com/chiefmartec

 Chris Brogan - http://twitter.com/chrisbrogan

 Mike Buechele - http://twitter.com/mikebuechele

 Deborah Carney - http://twitter.com/loxly

 Brent Csutoras - http://twitter.com/brentcsutoras

 David Dalka - http://twitter.com/dalka

 Trisha Lyn Fawver - http://twitter.com/trishalyn

 Todd Friesen - http://twitter.com/oilman

 Karen Garcia - http://twitter.com/karengarcia

 Gab Goldenberg - http://twitter.com/GabGoldenberg

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2 0 0 9 A F F I L I A T E S U M M I T A F F S T A T R E P O R T

 Jen Goode - http://twitter.com/JGoode

 Michael Gray - http://twitter.com/graywolf

 Jeff Greenbaum - http://twitter.com/jeffgreenbaum

 Tyrona Heath - http://twitter.com/tyrona

 Rae Hoffman - http://twitter.com/sugarrae

 Mike Jacobs - http://twitter.com/mikeyjake

 Zac Johnson - http://twitter.com/moneyreign

 Kris Jones - http://twitter.com/pepperjamceo

 Bennet Kelley - http://twitter.com/internetlawcent

 Gary Kibel - http://twitter.com/GaryKibel_law

 Beth Kirsch - http://twitter.com/bethkirsch

 Jim Kukral - http://twitter.com/jimkukral

 Eric Lander - http://twitter.com/ericlander

 David Lewis - http://twitter.com/cashbaq

 Stephanie Lichtenstein - http://twitter.com/StephARC

 Brian Littleton - http://twitter.com/Brianlittleton

 Graham MacRobie - http://twitter.com/grahammacrobie

 Todd Malicoat - http://twitter.com/stuntdubl

 Melanie Mitchell - http://www.twitter.com/melaniemitchell

 Kate Morris - http://www.twitter.com/katemorris

 Vinny O'Hare - http://twitter.com/vinnyohare

 Scott Parent - http://twitter.com/americancliche

31

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2 0 0 9 A F F I L I A T E S U M M I T A F F S T A T R E P O R T

 Christopher Park - http://www.twitter.com/BLAIRAffiliates

 Neil Patel - http://twitter.com/neilpatel

 Lisa Picarille - http://www.twitter.com/lisap

 Scott Polk - http://twitter.com/scottpolk

 Geno Prussakov - http://twitter.com/eprussakov

 Dush Ramachandran - http://twitter.com/DushR

 Wil Reynolds - http://twitter.com/wilreynolds

 Lisa Riolo - http://twitter.com/lisariolo

 Bud Rosenthal - http://twitter.com/turnhere

 Steve Schaffer - http://twitter.com/SteveSchaffer

 Jeremy Schoemaker - http://twitter.com/shoemoney

 Alex Schultz - http://twitter.com/alexschultz

 Melanie Seery - http://twitter.com/mellies

 Peter Shankman - http://twitter.com/skydiver

 Carolyn Shelby - http://twitter.com/cshel

 Joshua Sloan - http://twitter.com/sloanzone

 Brian Solis - http://twitter.com/briansolis

 Joe Stepniewski - http://twitter.com/digijoe

 Michael Streko - http://twitter.com/streko

 Michael Vorel - http://twitter.com/michaelvorel

 Evan Weber - http://twitter.com/experienceads

 Karen White - http://twitter.com/KarenWhite_LV

32

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2 0 0 9 A F F I L I A T E S U M M I T A F F S T A T R E P O R T

 Chris Winfield - http://twitter.com/chriswinfield

 Woody Wood - http://twitter.com/AmazonAssociate

 Dennis Yu - http://twitter.com/dennisyu

Affiliate Summit Related Twitter Accounts

 Affiliate Summit - http://twitter.com/affiliatesummit

 FeedFront Magazine - http://twitter.com/feedfront

 GeekCast.fm - http://twitter.com/geekcast

 Shawn Collins - http://twitter.com/affiliatetip

 Missy Ward - http://twitter.com/missyward

33

Copyright  2009. Affiliate Summit – http://www.affiliatesummit.com


Some Rights Reserved.
 Affiliate Summit
realdeal@affiliatesummit.com
http://www.affiliatesummit.com
http://www.affstat.com

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0
United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/us or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171
Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

34
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