What is happening in the affiliate space? Who are the big players and how much are each of them making from it? How has the industry grown over the last ten years? What are projections of growth for the future? What are the big trends in the industry?

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What is happening in the affiliate space? Who are the big players and how much are each of them making from it?

Hello! Thanks for your question about what is happening in the affiliate space. In short, the e-commerce market has grown remarkably over the past few years, and with it, the affiliate space. Affiliate marketing has become so large that top Fortune 500 companies incorporate it in their marketing strategy. Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.

To answer your question, I searched the following: Corporate websites, Industry reports, User forums and review sites. I tailored my search to affiliate marketing, seeking out the big players, trends, and state of the market today.

Amazon’s Associates, which was launched back in 1996 is recognized by most as the longest running program. This program is a blueprint that many affiliate marketers follow today. But, the first affiliate program was developed in 1994. In the past, affiliate marketing was plagued with the reputation of having low value or being out right scams. With today’s technology and transparency, the previous view of affiliate marketing has changed. The rise of social media marketing and self-publishing tools have greatly increased the global market. Today’s digital age has ushered in a new breed of associate marketers. The wide array of opportunities in this field include: Compare / review sights, Apps and solutions, general content, media sites, networks, Influencers, high profile leaders, authors, Bloggers and social media. There are also mastermind or private groups that are centered around an interest. There are also, tried and true paid advertising affiliates. Authenticity is the most crucial point to insure customers for merchants and steady revenue for affiliates.

A 2016 annual report generated by Affstat reported that the top two trends in affiliate marketing are B2C Products at 59.32% and B2C services coming in at 22.08%. The top three avenues in which affiliates generate the most traffic are: Search engine optimizers – 69.22%, Leveraging social networks – 67.32%, and Blogging – 64.48%. A majority of affiliate annual revenue is reported to be under $20,000, with only 2.16% reporting earnings between $40,000 - $50,000 a year. The top demographics reported related to affiliates are, 31.86% are between 35 – 44 in age, 54.23% are male, 55.32% are married, 62.35 % have children, and 54.25% work from home.

In other reports, there are more statistics found including: In the U.S., affiliate marketing spending nears $5B. In the UK affiliate marketing drives 1% of the country’s total GDP. Affiliate marketing ROI in the UK amounts to £15 per every £1 spent; with 4 out of 5 Britons involved. Approximately 15% of all digital media industry’s revenue comes from affiliate marketing. Developed affiliate programs account for generating 15% to 30% of all advertiser’s online sales. In 2015 Amazon.com revenue surpassed $100B. It is estimated that affiliates generated at least $10B of the revenue. Over 80% of brands utilize affiliate marketing, and in the UK, brands spend £1.3B a year on affiliate marketing and lead generation. Rakuten’s acquisition of Ebates for $1 billion marked largest amount paid for an affiliate. More than 75% of the Australian market is owned by one affiliate network, Commission. More than 30% of affiliate-generated sales originate from a mobile device.

The top 6 major global players identified by Blue Book are as follows: ShareASale, CJ Affiliate (originally Commission Junction), Amazon Associates, eBay Partners, Commission Factory, and Rakuten LinkShare. After exhaustive and extensive searching, I compiled the following factors regarding the major players in affiliate marketing. Let it be known, some of the companies have more information published about them than others. I am also including web link information on the runners up, ClickBank, AvantLink, Avangate, and Slimlinks in attached source files.

1. ShareASale is highly regarded and rated at 4.5 stars by affiliates on ace affiliates. ShareASale is based in Illinois and started in 2000. Affiliates also rate the ease of use at a three, suggesting it is best to have some experience before using. The average EPC rates are $0.96 . The average order size is $65. Average conversion rates are 1.8%, that is below average for retail. ShareASale currently offers more than 2,500 products from more than 2,000 merchants. Commission rates, then, vary according to what merchants and products you choose to promote. ShareASale has an estimated revenue of $10.3M.

2. CJ Affiliates (originally Commission Junction): The traffic overview of CJ Affiliates is: Total Visits 2.59M, Avg. Visit Duration 00:08:07, Pages per Visit 6.58 and 24.03% of all traffic is from the US. Reportedly, 54.92% of engagement comes from Facebook and a majority of the interest, is in business and industry. CJ Affiliates, was founded in 1998 in Santa Barbara, CA. The estimated revenue is $17.3 M.

3. Amazon Associates is an incredible retailing machine, a company that sells more than one million products and is one of the strongest brands in the entire world. Ace Affiliates give Amazon an overall rating of 4.5 stars, however when it comes to ease of use and payments, the company only rates at a one. The average Commission Rate: 4% , Commission can go up from there, but on average, most affiliates will earn this rate. Average EPC: $0.22, Amazon EPC rates are well below average. Average Order Size: $24 and Average Conversion Rate: 2.8%. Amazons last 6 months engagement rankings: Total Visits 7.88M. Most of the interest comes in at 56.91% from the US and 58.85% of social engagement in from Facebook.

4. eBay Partners: eBay Partner Network is one of the largest affiliate programs in the world. They offer 50,000+ items for sale in their marketplace. eBay was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in San Jose, CA. The company itself boast a whopping $8.8B on revenue, however, I was unable to find the eBay Partners portion of revenue. eBay Partners traffic over the past 6 months is 413.97K total visits. The US provides 46.99% of overall visits and 68.31% of the social media traffic is provided by Facebook.

5. The Commission Factory is a private business founded in 2011 in Queensland, Australia. The Commission Factory is everything you would expect from the fastest growing performance marketing and affiliate network. They have an estimated revenue is $2.3M. The traffic overview of the Commission Factory: Total Visits past six months 223.09K, A majority of their traffic, 51.85% is generated in Australia and 73.06% of the social media comes from Facebook. The major interest is in shopping and clothing, closely followed by business and industry.

6. Rakuten LinkShare: Is known as one of the oldest affiliate networks. The advantages of their platform are ad rotation ability and deep linking options. Rakuten has 10 offices and 8 networks globally, their affiliate network can process payments to 202 countries in 25 currencies. Rakuten LinkShare’s traffic the past six months ranks at 563.95K predominantly from the US and 52.91% of social media traffic is on Facebook.

In conclusion, today's affiliate marketing is a global sensation. There are a multitude of opportunities for affiliates, both new and experienced. The myth of affiliate marketing having low value or being an out right scam, has been eradicated. With today’s technology, the rise of social media marketing and self-publishing tools, the affiliate market has become a multi-billion-dollar business. Thanks for using Wonder! Please let us know if we can help with anything else!

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