In this, the final blog post in our partner and affiliate marketing research series, we will summarize some of the fascinating data available in our first-ever global industry study. Entitled, The State and Future of Partnerships, it summarizes the opinions of 1,200 senior marketers from leading brands on the topics of partner and affiliate marketing.
The survey was developed with the intent to provide a better sense of marketer attitudes toward the partner and affiliate program businesses and their roles in company revenue. We’ve now published a total of four posts on this study. In this fourth installment, we will discuss the number of partnerships brand like, and their key priorities to drive growth from these partnerships in the months ahead. We’ll also examine the language and terminology used in the partner and affiliate marketing industries, and provide a link where you can download the complete survey results in a PDF.
Priorities for Partnership
By definition, partnership is a relationship business that relies on mutual benefit to thrive. Marketers have a range of opinions about the best ways to improve their partner and affiliate marketing programs. Among these brand leaders, the strongest partner marketing priorities were adding more partners (27%), strengthening relationships with key partners (23%), and obtaining richer program and user data(21%). The focus on creating more and better partnerships and acquiring additional data reflect the strong incentives for driving additional revenue and growth from the channel.
Focus on Major Partnerships
Brand are primarily focused on forming major partnerships versus collaborating with thousands of entities. 2/3 of respondents say their companies work with fewer than 100 partners, though, in fairness, some of those partners have hundreds or thousands of subpartners. Just 2% have 1000+ partners. The most common number of partners reported ranged from 50-99.
Business Leaders Know the Term Affiliate
The term affiliate marketing is very well known among our brand leader respondents. 84% of respondents were familiar with the term “affiliate marketing." Among the 16% as yet unfamiliar, figures were higher in regions like Asia where the affiliate business is in its nascent stage.
Terminology in Flux
There is still no broad consensus among brand leaders about the nomenclature for this industry. 79% of respondents view partnership and affiliate as related concepts
The most common belief in the industry (41%) is that affiliate is a segment of a larger category of partnership. Still, there is clearly an opportunity to clarify industry terminology for many brand leaders that are active in the partnership space.
The lack of clarity in this area is one of the reasons why our company has spent a great deal of time and resources evangelizing for the following definitions, to demonstrate both the roots and future of our industry:
- Affiliate: The cleanest definition of an affiliate is a business whose primary way of making money is through partnerships. These businesses work with other companies to drive traffic, clicks and sales, in exchange for money. That’s what they are all about. A cashback site, for example, is an affiliate.
- Partnership: When we talk about partnership, we mean a performance marketing arrangement between a brand and any type of organization or individual. For example, a brand can partner with an affiliate, another major brand, or an influencer. The term “partner” is not limited to a company that makes most or all of its money via affiliate programs. Often, partnerships offer unique strategic benefits in addition to driving traffic. Under this definition, a car rental business partnering with an airline is a partner, for example, but not an affiliate. That’s because their primary business is renting cars, not driving traffic and sales for others.
Closing Thoughts on Our Survey
Reading multiple blog posts on a research study can add complexity the task of gleaning insights. Instead, we invite you to download a free and complete copy of the research. That will also make it easy to share with your team.
Coming soon: In the coming weeks we will be debuting regional versions of this study for North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. These studies will compare scores by region and against the global average. We hope that these will add additional rich insight into the role that partner and affiliate marketing play in the future of business.
Partnerize would like to thank the 1,200 marketers worldwide who participated in this survey. The success of this study enables us to do more such research in the future. We invite you to contact us and opt-in to receiving information about future research studies.
Note: Partnerize is the new trading name for Performance Horizon. Partnerize makes it easy for brands to form, manage, and make payments to their partners, whether they be affiliates, influencers or other major brands. Visit our homepage for more information about our services, case studies from customers, and our company. Contact us for information on the survey and our services.