Affiliate marketing will also be one of growth drivers in online marketing in 2022. That’s according to a survey of 1,100 affiliate marketers. But what opportunities, risks, and challenges are the industry dealing with? We will examine this in a three-part series. Part 1 of 3: Sales forecasts and ad spend.
Affiliate Marketing: Sales Forecasts And Ad Spend
In pandemics and crises, transparent and scalable advertising channels are popular alternatives in digital marketing planning. Affiliate marketing, in particular, was able to benefit enormously from this in the second year of Corona since there is a manageable cost risk for retailers due to performance-based remuneration.
In addition, many small and medium-sized online shops discovered affiliate marketing as a new sales channel. They saw it as a powerful lever to make themselves more independent of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.
According to an analysis by the online booking platform Crossvertise, advertising spending by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) rose by more than 10 percent this year.
Shopping Behaviour Has Changed Fundamentally During The Pandemic
Almost a year ago, no one would have expected the global Covid pandemic to drag on for so long. Of course, the shift in consumer behaviour from offline to online purchases also had a positive impact on the affiliate channel, leading to another 11 percent year-on-year increase in global online sales in the third quarter of 2021, according to Salesforce.
According to an estimate by IAB Europe, digital advertising now accounts for 56 percent of the advertising pie. Michael Muller from GfK recently said that more than 80 percent of all consumers have fundamentally changed their shopping behaviour during the pandemic and that digital shopping options such as fast delivery services, social commerce, and live video shopping are becoming increasingly popular.
Originally only intended as a replacement for the closed stationary trade, many consumers have come to appreciate the convenience and immediacy.
Affiliate Marketing: Trend Survey Among 1,100 Marketers
To take an objective look at the different trends and developments in affiliate marketing in 2022, we are again conducting a major trend survey among 1,100 affiliates this year in cooperation with the digital marketing agency xpose360 and merchants, agencies, and networks /technologies.
With this, we want to query further expert knowledge, independent of our own opinion, to obtain a different picture of other developments. According to the Affiliate Trend Survey 2022, the industry participants also see the product over the past year as highly positive.
Sixty-eight percent of affiliates, 68 percent of advertisers, and even 84 percent of agencies and networks/technologies could record increasing sales in 2021. Sixty-one percent of advertisers and 58 percent of affiliates also stated that Corona positively impacted their affiliate sales.
According to a survey of 100 advertisers published by the English-language industry conference Affiliate Summit, 49 percent of advertisers increased their affiliate spend in 2021. Additionally, 10-30 percent of marketing spend is on affiliate marketing.
According to a global study by Backlinko, 40 percent of US retailers see affiliate programs as the most critical channel for customer acquisition. According to a survey by Unicode, the affiliate industry is responsible for around 16 percent of online orders worldwide.
Development Of Advertising Expenditure: Digital Advertising Investments Reach 53 Percent
Very few would have expected the advertising market to recover quickly in 2021 despite Corona. According to Magna’s media network, the advertising market is expected to grow by 20 percent in 2021 and thus amount to 28 billion euros.
The result would then even be 15 percent above that of 2019, i.e., the last year before the Covid pandemic. Above all, digital advertising formats benefit from the growth. The growth for online advertising is 31 percent, which corresponds to 16.5 billion euros in advertising expenditure.
According to the Digital Advertising Latest, digital advertising investments in Germany exceeded non-digital ones for the first time with a share of 53 percent. It is still unclear what effects the fourth corona wave will have, which many did not see coming in autumn.
High inflation is also causing uncertainty at the moment. Although the consumer climate is robust, this is only a snapshot. The price development driven by an unchanged monetary and interest rate policy could also lead to considerable problems in the medium term.
Effects Of Omicron Still Unknown
The effects of the Omicron variant on the pandemic and the ongoing delivery problems could still impact further developments. However, the Ifo Institute expects a strong upswing in the summer of 2022, which could lift the growth rates for the year as a whole to 3.7 percent if the wave of infections is overcome in spring and the supply problems also subside.
That is why the current forecasts assume a plus for 2022, despite all the uncertainty. The media network Zenith expects growth of 9.1 percent, as digital formats will grow faster than others. Magna also predicts growth of 10 percent in the coming year, driven by digital advertising formats with an increase of 15 percent. According to Zenith, by 2024, digital’s share of the total market is expected to rise to 65.1 percent as people increasingly rely on digital technologies to connect, be entertained, and shop.
Sales Forecasts For Affiliate Marketing In 2022 – 65 Percent Expect Growth
According to a survey by the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW), around 100,000 employees earn their money with affiliate marketing. The number is distributed among around 7,000 advertisers who operate a partner program.
In addition, around 40,000 affiliate partners, approximately 50 affiliate networks or technologies, and about 150 agencies or technical service providers or consultants are expected.
The assessment in the trend report shows that the affiliate industry is also benefiting in the second year of the coronavirus. Because of the pandemic, 45 percent of advertisers invested an additional budget in affiliate marketing in 2021. Sixty-one percent also positively impacted their affiliate sales from the pandemic.
Affiliate Marketing: The “Positive” Effects Of The Pandemic
According to Adam Ross, CEO of Awin, 2021 will see €14 billion in revenue generated for Awin advertisers worldwide, with double-digit growth every month. In addition, over 15,000 new affiliates and 5,000 new advertisers started their affiliate marketing with Awin last year.
Webgains also reported growth of 33 percent for the third quarter of 2021 and an increase of 29.3 percent for the first three-quarters of 2021, and sales of EUR 11.6 million. At Tradedoubler, global sales for the first three quarters of 2021 increased by 19 percent to one billion Swedish kronor (SEK). Gross profits also increased by 12 percent to SEK 202 million.
The other sales forecasts of the industry participants are also very optimistic. Sixty-five percent of advertisers and 68 percent of affiliates expect sales to increase in 2022. In the case of agencies and networks/technologies, 69 percent also expect sales growth for 2022. In 2020 it was still 59 percent who forecast growth.
Affiliate Marketing As An Alternative To Google, Amazon, Facebook, And Apple (GAFA)
Thirty-four percent of the advertising companies also see affiliate marketing as an excellent alternative to the GAFA companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple). Fifty-five percent report it as a good supplement.
The Adobe report “Digital Trends 2021” states that the new buying behaviour is also reducing buyers’ loyalty, promoting the development more and more in the direction of performance, measurability, and added value. Forty-four percent of the experts surveyed have noticed the meteoric rise of a new customer whose buying habits have shifted entirely to the digital world.
Last but not least, this brings entirely new expectations of the customer experience provided by brands. Thirty percent of those surveyed report that customers today are less loyal to products and brands.