The ad tech industry has been in flux the last couple of years. Many publishers have been looking to other marketing and ad options in order to bring in revenue.
Merchants are tapping into alternatives to display advertising as the digital content landscape has recently been stifled by ad blockers.
Content monetising platform VigLink wanted to get a better idea of how publishers and merchants felt about affiliate marketing services, in regard to sentiment, value, and spend.
It surveyed 500 publishers and 100 merchants that currently use an affiliate marketing program.
It discovered that the top two revenue generators for publishers were Google AdSense and affiliate marketing -- both native solutions.
Like affiliate links, Google AdSense enables publishers to pair text with links to curated merchant destinations.
Large publishers with over 100,000 Unique Monthly Views (UMV) make the majority of their money with display advertising. Google AdSense comes in second, and affiliating marketing comes in third.
Around 76 percent of publishers said the top benefits to using affiliate marketing is that it makes monetizing their site and content easy. Furthermore, 65 percent said a top benefit is that it generates additional revenue.
Thirty-four percent of publishers with fewer than 5,000 unique monthly views rank affiliate marketing as their number one way of generating revenue. Of the publishers surveyed, 9 percent had generated more than $50,000 in 2016.
Managing expectations is important when new publishers first work with affiliate marketing, especially for those who are used to earning good revenue from their previous display efforts.
One reason publishers' expectations of affiliate revenue is not being met could be due to declining web page views. Predominantly, time spent online has shifted from publishers' sites to social media.
Many affiliate marketers are still relatively new to the affiliate industry. Only half (51 percent) of publishers with more than 100,000 UMV have been using affiliate marketing programs for over five years.
The majority of smaller publishers (65 percent) with fewer than 5,000 UMV have been utilizing affiliate marketing for two years.
So, will affiliate marketing continue to bite at the marketing revenues? Currently, 30 percent of publishers do not think there are enough products that interest their readers, and 20 percent think that adding affiliate links to their sites is too complicated to manage successfully.
However, it does seem likely that merchants will continue to expand or open affiliate programs.
As more people become familiar with different affiliate solutions that take care of the technical aspect of adding affiliate links, such as hardcoding links onto a site, then managing successful affiliate campaigns will be far more scalable.