I just received the Affiliate Bench Mark Survey. The survey results can be a big help to merchants in understanding affiliate marketers and their needs however the results are most likely skewed.
Those of us who have been in the affiliate marketing industry know that Pareto’s Principle also known as the 80/20 rule “80% of effects come from 20% of the causes” applies in even lesser numbers in the affiliate channel.
Based on the numbers we see for our managed merchants the affiliate marketing number is often far less than 5% generating 90% of revenue. That number will be larger or smaller based on the scrutiny of the merchant Affiliate Manager in reviewing affiliate applications. The top performing affiliates, those who earn commissions in excess of $10k per month, is probably a little less than 200 in number here in the United States.
The Affiliate Benchmark survey states that 40.3% of the affiliate responders are 1 person shops working full time and 36% responded that they have no full time employees. That means that potentially 76.3% of the respondents are smaller entities which probably don’t generate that much revenue. Sure, there may be a few outstanding smaller performers but I would venture to say that a large majority of affiliates may never generate any revenue.
64.3% Of Affiliate respondents claim they make less than $10k a year which further supports the above 90/5 theory.
Affiliate marketers can join some networks and apply to join merchant programs without having to qualify in much of any way. I’ve seen affiliate applications to join our managed merchant programs and they haven’t even built out a site, purchased a URL, or developed a social or blog page. Many of these smaller affiliates do not even provide an email address so an Affiliate Manager may query as to why they want to promote a merchant program and how they intend to market the merchant’s products or services.
I would suggest that the onus of qualifying affiliates before they join a network be on the network. Some affiliate networks remove inactive affiliates after a period of time and that is good thing. Some networks charge for email deployment after a certain monthly quantity is reached and having too many non producing affiliate partners becomes costly.
I also would like to see the Affiliate Benchmark survey results divided into at least two groups; top performers and others. While this might take some additional effort the survey results would be much more aligned with revenue generated and be much more valuable to merchants.
All in all the Affiliate Benchmark Survey is somewhat