US Affiliate Census 2009 is Out

Econsultancy has just announced the release of its long-awaited 55-page US Affiliate Census 2009. The full report may be purchased on this page. I have already had a chance to read through it, and here are some of the highlights:

  • More than 600 affiliates took part in this first US Affiliate Census, 76% of which were US-based. The findings of the report are based on the responses of these 457 US affiliates (the sample is a bit smaller than that of the UK Affiliate Census 2009)
  • 51% of the respondents classified themselves as full-time affiliates, 36% as part-time ones, and 13% as hobbyists.
  • The hobbyists said to be generating less than $50 in monthly sales for the merchants that they promote, 15% of survey participants states to generate between $2,000 and $10,000 in monthly sales, 15% more – $10,000-$50,000, and 17% generate more than $50,000 in merchant sales every month (more detailed breakdown is available in the report).
  • The breakdown of “affiliate marketing categories” is interesting. The top three ones are: PPC (48%), True Content (46%), and Blogs & Forums (40%). Social networking follows with its 24% of votes, while cashback and coupons got 23% and 19% of votes respectively.
  • Under a third of affiliates (30%) believe that commission should be split, either evenly between contributing affiliates (15%) or based on analysis of contribution (also 15%).
  • 98% of respondents promote US merchants, 35% – UK ones, and 27% – Canadian ones. Interesting (if not surprising) to see British merchants getting preference over the Canadian ones.
  • Among the top networks where affiliates generate revenue, 50% have mentioned Commission Junction, 32% – Linkshare, 30% – Other, and the 4th place is shared between ShareASale and Google Affiliate Network (both got 21%).
  • The most widely promoted sector is Health/Sport/Fitness (41%), followed by Gifts/Gadgets (28%), Books (27%), Home/Gardening (27%), Fashion/Clothes/Lingerie/Accessories (26%), Financial Services & Insurance (25%) and Entertainment (24%).
  • The top reason for not promoting a merchant is low quality and quantity of links (25%), followed by didn’t get around to it (20%), slow acceptance to program (17%), poor commission potential (12%) and bad follow-up communication (10%).
  • The main reason for dropping a merchant is that they have found a better/different merchant (30%). Other frequent reasons: loss of confidence in associated affiliate network (14%), poor communication (12%), just had to move on / make a change (11%), and commission structure changes and deteriorating relationship with 7% and 6% of votes respectively.
  • Among the ways for merchant to demonstrate loyalty to affiliates, they have mentioned (i) incentives and rewards, (ii) communication and information, and (iii) support and assistance.
  • For sources of information about affiliate marketing, 46% of affiliates turn to online blogs, 44% to resources provided by the affiliate network, 41% to blogs, 36% to training courses, and 24% and 19% have voted for networking events and conferences respectively.
  • Another interesting (and worrying) finding is that the majority of affiliates (64%) have either limited communication (34%) with the merchants they promote, indirect communication (18%), or no communication at all (12%).

Once again, the full report may be purchased at this Econsultancy’s webpage (sample also available for download).

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