The Way I See It: State of Affiliate Marketing Part 1
My fellow affiliate marketers, the state of the affiliate marketing union is strong, but faces many challenges in the coming year.
For many affiliates and affiliate programs, 2009 was another banner year as the affiliate channel continues to grow. Despite all of the economic calamities and constant new reports about rising unemployment, company failures, and global financial meltdowns, most affiliate marketers that I know were either immune to all of the noise or more likely just ignored the doom and gloom and pressed forward.
Take our program for example. Our fourth quarter affiliate sales were up 62 percent from 2008 to 2009. As I said in our recent affiliate newsletter, â€œRecession my butt!â€ Most companies are satisfied or even ecstatic with 10 percent growth year to year in a good economy, so 62 percent growth is pretty good in a â€œdown economy.â€
That sentiment was echoed by Commission Junction, LinkShare, Google Affiliate Network, and ShareASale in the recent 2010 Affiliate Industry Preview Series. All experienced phenomenal growth despite the recession.
The reason is simple. Affiliates are a resilient bunch.Â In the program I manage, I never once got an email asking how the economy is affecting sales or when sales would pick back up or if there was anyone left who could afford our courses. Instead, what I got was an optimistic and excited bunch of affiliates who came up with innovate ways to generate sales despite the recession.
Affiliate marketers, as a rule, are familiar with adversity. We are used to being Google Slapped, laughed at by our friends with â€œreal jobs,â€ and testing far too many ideas that never should have made it off the drawing board in the first place, often failing miserably. We are used to failure after failure in order to find the one thing that actually works.
As Pinnacle Award Affiliate of the Year finalist, Eric Nagel once told me, â€œI usually try ten things, nine of them fail, and I stick with the one that works.â€ So affiliate marketers tend to overlook a little recession with ease.
All in all, I found that our affiliates and the industry as a whole could not care less about any of the bad news coming from the television and newspapers. I have found an industry that is marching forward and leaving the worriers, naysayers, and pessimists in its dust.
Forrester Research confirms the continued potential growth of affiliate marketing expecting the industry to grow by double digits in 2010 and to become a $4 billion market by 2014. That is over a 100 percent increase over the expected 2009 numbers!
Indeed it is an exciting time to be in affiliate marketing.
This is not to say that there is not a place for caution and organized action against threats to our industry. I did say in the beginning that the industry faces many challenges in the coming year after all. I will cover those in part two, so stay tuned.