The Affiliate Survey

Posted by Matthew Sheppard On February 23, 2018

​The IAB’s Affiliate Marketing Working Group worked together to produce a survey of the Affiliate Marketing industry in Australia. This group is comprised of members from agencies, affiliate networks and publishers. It includes Cash Rewards, Columbus, Commission Factory, Impact Radius, Rakuten, Shopstyle (Allure Media) and Navigate Digital. 

This survey was completed by 122 advertisers and agencies on behalf of their clients and gives a snapshot into this channel’s position in digital marketing in Australia. The respondents were largely retail businesses (71 percent) and 55 percent of businesses turned over more than $25 million per year. There are more than 500 affiliate programmes live in Australian and this survey covers approximately 24 percent of them.

The channel is maturing in Australia, with 48 percent of respondents launching their program in the last three years. This was significantly lower than the DGM (now APD) survey of 2013 which showed that nearly two-thirds of advertisers surveyed had been using the channel for less than three years. The intention to increase spend appears to continue the increase shown in the DGM survey. In 2013 spend was expected to increase by 61 percent from non-agency managed advertisers in the 2013 to 71 percent across all advertisers in the 2017 survey and expected to increase to 79 percent. This indicates the continued growth of the channel as a revenue driver and positive attitudes to it from budget setters in marketing teams.
Forty-five percent of advertisers run their affiliate activity in Australia only, while the remainder run activity in at least one other territory around the world. This may point to the number of international businesses who have established themselves in Australia.
This survey shows the channel’s continued growth in Australia, both as a portion of advertiser marketing budgets and as a part of their digital revenues. It found that seven in 10 advertisers plan to increase their spend over the next 12 months and 57 percent of advertisers have increased their spend on Affiliate Marketing versus other channels. Thirty-six percent of advertisers surveyed receive at 10-20 percent of their ecommerce revenue from the channel, indicating the importance of the channel to online businesses, particularly given that 45 percent of advertisers surveyed would be regarded as SMEs (up to $min revenue).
The use of mobile sites is all but universal amongst the marketers surveyed, with 9 percent of them having mobile enabled sites or apps. This places advertisers at a great advantage when gaining the attention of the 14.5 million Smartphone users in Australia (December 2017, Nielsen Digital Landscape report). Indeed, 24 percent of advertisers surveyed see more than 50 percent of their affiliate driven sales from mobile. This is a clear progression from findings in the DGM 2013 study, which showed three quarters of advertisers receiving only 10 percent of sales from mobile and APD’s 2014 survey which showed only 33% of advertisers reporting that the Affiliate channel utilises mobile effectively to drive sales.
Like all marketing channels, affiliate programs require direct management. However, the majority of advertisers spend less than five hours a week on their program. This may be an opportunity for growth for businesses as greater investment in time in affiliate programmes directly influences positive outcomes. 
The survey also revealed that 68 percent of organisations do not cap the spend on affiliate programs. DGM’s 2013 advertiser survey indicated that 21 percent of clients’ capped budgets. While this finding may appear insignificant un-capped budgets for affiliate programs are vital to the success of those programs. Capped budgets can act as a hand break on growth and prevent affiliates from doing their best work and so advertisers should carefully consider their budget allocation when it comes to affiliate marketing. 
When it comes to the types of affiliate partners that advertisers work with, it’s clear that content is king. It’s used heavily (82 percent of Advertisers partner with content sites and blogs) and they’re most satisfied with it as a stream, rating it 6.88 out of 10. 
The survey demonstrates the continued growth of the affiliate channel in Australia and progression from the 2013 survey. It shows the increasing importance of the channel to Advertisers in terms of their marketing spend and their revenue from the channel.


​Download the Affiliate Marketing Australian Industry Review here.

Matthew Sheppard