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2011 AFFILIATE SUMMIT AFFSTAT REPORT

Affiliate Marketing Benchmarks

ďƒŁ Affiliate Summit realdeal@affiliatesummit.com http://www.affiliatesummit.com http://www.affstat.com


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Table of Contents SECTION

1:

THE

SURVEY

Affiliate Marketing Nuts and Bolts

2

Affiliates and Social Networking

10

Affiliates and Blogging

12

Affiliate Demographics

14

SECTION

2:

Affiliates Speak Out

THEIR

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Affiliate Program Merchant Facts & Figures State of the Industry in Affiliate Marketing

O

ver fourteen-hundred affiliates were surveyed on their methods, preferences, and strategies for the 2011 Affiliate Summit AffStat Report. This section features the results of the survey.

Most affiliates work in a vacuum, and scant data exists to tell the story of the affiliate marketer . As an industry, we are rich in speculation, but poor when it comes to aggregating the facts and figures that drive this business Take a look at the following results. You are bound to find some surprises and think twice about the way you operate as an affiliate, merchant, network, or vendor.

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Affiliate Marketing by the Numbers

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2 Section

Affiliates: Their Words When given a soapbox, what do affiliates have to say about things?

T

he statistics tell one version of the story. But to truly get a complete picture of the triumphs and hurdles of affiliates, you’ve got to hear things straight from their mouths.

The following is an uncensored view into the opinions of affiliates on a variety of other subjects. Affiliates were asked to share any complaints, ideas, suggestions or opinions they have regarding affiliate marketing. Read what happens when affiliates stop being polite, and start being real. This is the Real World – Affiliate style.

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Affiliates Speak Out on the Issues 

Affiliate managers please clean up all expired links in affiliate networks; affiliate managers please don't kick less active affiliates out; affiliate managers please use more auto updated coupon code static banners

Affiliate managers should allow their affiliates to try their products for free so that we, as affiliate marketers, can fairly and genuinely evaluate and then review them.

Affiliate Managers make triple effort contacting you to screen you, but when trying to learn about products their efforts are many times nonexistent.

Affiliate programs are all rip offs that never pay. This whole industry is staffed by crooks, liars and shady people who won't pay for advertising and services they got from publishers. Work on your honesty and business practices first and then we'll talk

Automatic banner updates help

Be available to pay real income

Do you cloak/redirect links? Cloaking is black hat, redirects are for tracking.

Don't steal our campaigns and reveal our secret traffic sources

Easy access to text links rather than searching

Email queries often go unanswered or take too long to be answered

Get better structures to datafeeds, more regular feed updates, more transparency to reversals, more transparency to shipping charges. Don't assume the industry is dominated by "bedroom warriors" any more.

Having a video advertising is the future, so, I think it is time video affiliate advertising start.

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Higher Commission Rates

I am an ethical affiliate and I am hurt everyday by unethical practices by other affiliates. Adware has become a bigger issue lately and until there is a way for merchants and affiliates to recognize when adware is at play, legitimate affiliates will lose money every day.

I am not sure that I am confident with the reporting. I check my stats multiple times a day and have seen the number of clicks decrease in just a matter of hours (in one case, minutes).

I can go to the website and make my own creatives... or I can post them ALL getting you more business.... I don't go on the sites that often, I am busy finding the deals I am posting. If I were sent scripts for EVERY deal, I would post them all thus generating more traffic for you.

I could really use a lot more ways to redirect traffic

I don't like it when a program never changes or updates their banners. I would expect them to change/update their banners at least once a month.

I don't think this affiliate business is a real business.

I feel that the stats are not accurate, which really bothers me. My site shows inflated numbers for views and clicks. I know I am not getting as many visitors as the stats claim. This puts a question of legitimacy in the back of my mind.

I hate when I make a "deep" link to a product, check to make sure it's working, and then later when I go back weeks or months later, that link is linking to a different product (usually different version of the same product). I understand when the original version of the product is no longer available, but it seems like well over half the time it is still available, but the page now defaults to some other color/style/version of the product.

I have a MAJOR problem with reporting. I checked my stats before closing out for the night and had 323 clicks. I get up the next morning, check my clicks and it is 220! How is that? I check my stats multiple times a day. I am not liking what I am seeing when this happens. I would like an explanation other than I would have to call right when it happens. On the reporting 19 Copyright  2011. Affiliate Summit – http://www.affiliatesummit.com All rights reserved. REPRODUCTION STRICTLY PROHIBITED.


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options, there needs to be a date so that I can keep more accurate records. There is no option of a date when I am looking at my reports. 

I have always felt this industry lacks adequate oversight, especially as to the networks. They allow all websites in without vetting them and their owners and have poor and inadequate customer service and sometimes account managers.

I have never received a dime from any affiliate links, even though people have told me that they used my links to make purchases, there is nothing in any of my accounts. I think the whole thing is a scam, or their tracking system is horridly flawed. Just my opinion for using it for the last three years

I love affiliate marketing

I love when affiliate managers email out info complete with links containing my affiliate id for easy posting. I don't have time to go and dig for deals or info, so having info come to me on upcoming promotions, deals, hot items is invaluable.

I need to learn how the heck to get sales. I have not sold a single item and need to and want to.

I prefer to deal with merchants who manage their own affiliate program (not through affiliate networks).

I really like the program. One area we would like to see improve is the front end communication with affiliate program managers before they visit the site. As a review site, program managers often approve/disapprove our request based on the home page review. This makes the approval process somewhat random. For example, if apparel outlets happen to visit us while a apparel review is on the home page, they approve us 100 percent of the time. However, if there is a music review on the home page, they deny us without ever looking at the fashion section. Eventually, we will contact them to reconsider but it would make it much easier to establish the connection up front without having to follow up. Of course, we appreciate we have unique product for programs. Our strength is in the reviews rather than banners (which we rotate from time to time). It requires more patience on the part of the program manager, but our site and social networks are growing as a result.

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I really like to deep link straight to specific products. It would be really nice if a product went offline if a quick note was sent out to affiliates, or the failing link would at least goes to another landing page. It sure would make my day/month/year to have lifetime cookies and repeat customers in more affiliate programs.

I sincerely tell others about companies I admire and prefer. I've gotten hundreds of people into X merchant and Y merchant but neither one of those companies will let me be an affiliate. Those that do hold back. They don't pay unless you earn so much. How hard is it to transfer $20? I can understand not wasting time with a check but how hard is a direct deposit? A thousand people bringing in 2 people is still 2,000 new customers. Also, some affiliate networks take no responsibility for affiliates being turned down. Affiliates get snubbed and rejected based on page ratings or something else and never get told why so we can't fix it. If I like a company, I'll send them business...paid or not.

I think Affiliate Networks should support Direct deposit, its faster than pay by International Check. Direct deposit by using routing numbers can expedite payments worldwide if affiliates have USA branch at their local Bank. .

I wish affiliate managers were familiar with their products enough to give better suggestions on their products. Ex: if I ask an affiliate manager "What products would be good to market to 10 year old girls who like to fish, and play chess", an answer like "They're all good" is not helpful.

I would like more help in getting my web site known and draw in customers and sales

I would love for affiliate programs to send out a regular, timely email with current promotions. It's so much easier than going to each affiliate's page within the affiliate network. It would also be great if they removed expired promotions and gave definitive expiration dates when possible.

I'd like affiliate managers to work more closely with me to better promote their products. I'm always open to suggestions or partnerships or promotions.

If new creatives and links are added, would be good to have the end date noted in that e-mail, too. Also, banners and links that automatically update would be nice to have.

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Improved commission, automatic updated banners & links (i.e. publisher website has a banner/link, and if it changes, it should automatically linked to old link to get updated automatically.)

Integrity is priority one.

It is too common for banners and links to lead only to the advertiser's home page. Most of my sales are from links to specific pages, so the availability of various smart links is important to me.

It is very annoying to have unusable promo materials. Like broken datafeeds, with invalid links, missing pictures. Or banners only 1 size, not answering emails for weeks, not activating affiliate accounts for several days, declining without a real reason.

It would be good if you can create business cards for a small fee to affiliates members with the names and websites on the card, etc

It would be great to have direct deposit payment to South African affiliates

It would be nice to have an affiliate manager help me succeed and improve as affiliate.

It would be very nice to have the ability for me to show or promote an affiliate through the use of video marketing. Instead of just text and link marketing, video marketing would be very useful in marketing brand names. Even a five or 10 minute introduction of a product would be very welcoming to customers. Not everyone has the time to read a text then click on the link, but video marketing would take all that away. My site support includes all kinds of marketing methods, but having a good quality HD video marketing is good for any brand. If I am to rate the importance of video marketing to texts, or link marketing method, I would rate video marketing at 55%,texts marketing at 15%,Banner marketing 20%, then link marketing at 10%. Video marketing is the best, companies that can afford it should use it. I would prefer to have video marketing deals. The era of just link, texts, or banner only marketing should start to decrease, while video marketing is the deal now!

I've been trying this for 4 months and haven't made a dime. I must be doing something wrong.

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I've never had any sales accept to myself. How do I get traffic?

Lack of datafeeds or networks charging a fee to access data feeds

Let me know where I stand compared to other affiliates promoting the same product in terms of conversions and conversion rates. Competition is a huge motivator and I like knowing how well I rank compared to other affiliates.

Affiliate Network relations are horrendous. Requests for help with problems are never responded to and I have moved most of my business to other affiliate companies.

Affiliate Networks payment method is annoying. I am about to dump the one I use because they keep sending me $10 US cheques (which cost me $20 to bank). I should be able to switch to direct deposit but the option never becomes available, no matter how many checks I cash. Frustrating!

Local government should stay out of Internet based businesses.

Make what you share worthwhile for the effort, or don't bother. Our effort is a fixed cost.

More lead programs needed

More quality, more details, more need, more education materials, more and more

More relevant programs for a mobile age. phone carriers, etc. Like the random banner option. Think it needs some tweaks for when it converts some banners to certain sizes... Some banners get too stretched and look like crap...

Most of the time I don't read Affiliate Network emails anymore. My inbox is overflowed by useless merchants newsletter and bulk emails from AMs. This is causing communication issues because when the networks want to reach me for important matters, I miss the emails most of the time.

Most of their tracking and reporting are incorrect and they cheat their affiliates out of their commissions 23 Copyright  2011. Affiliate Summit – http://www.affiliatesummit.com All rights reserved. REPRODUCTION STRICTLY PROHIBITED.


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Most of them pay us way, way too low!

My complaints are that I sometimes purchase something from my own website and I am suppose to have some credits but I never see the credit I suppose to have for that transaction.

My job is to send potential customers to you. Your job is to sell them something. Don't blame me and threaten to drop me if your site, company or store cannot sell your wares. I am not a salesperson. I am a lead provider.

Need the option of Master SKU data feeds from merchants. Too many times merchants include all sizes and colors of a product as their own individual product SKUs in the datafeed. Leads to lots of duplications of the same product in the feed, which have to be manually removed from affiliate's WP store. Very time consuming. Would love to see just one Master SKU used in a datafeed, with various available size and color detail included within the description fields. Such available size and color info should be updated frequently by merchant so that the datafeed represents current available inventory accurately). Up to date sale and promo prices are also needed in the datafeeds. Quite often prices in the data feeds do not match the promo prices on the site, which impairs affiliate's ability to drive traffic during a merchant promotion or sale.

One thing I don't appreciate about the Affiliate Marketing supply sites is when I haven't made too much money on my account from an affiliate links, they take my earning after a period of time. I don't think they should do that.

Pay Per Call is becoming the #1 affiliate marketing method on and offline. I think it would be a good idea if there was more exposure to this method of affiliate marketing.

Paypal should be considered for payment method since it's the safest and fastest option. This has been my dilemma with affiliate networks. I like the affiliate network I work withvery much. Because they are professional and have an excellent reputation. However, I have stopped promoting their advertisers since 2004 because I had hard time cashing foreign checks in my country. Although, they offer direct deposits, it's only for selected countries. And they also require that you have successfully cashed two paper checks to be eligible. That's difficult to do in my country. 2) If Paypal is not possible, try also to issue paper checks to the local currency of the affiliate marketer like me. This is very possible. To sum it up, Payment method is really a big issue 24 Copyright  2011. Affiliate Summit – http://www.affiliatesummit.com All rights reserved. REPRODUCTION STRICTLY PROHIBITED.


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and factor in selecting Affiliate Manager/Network to join. Thank you so much for allowing me to participate in this survey. More power! 

Please be responsive but do not bug me...

Please keep affiliate links current and relevant with good landing pages.

Please provide clarity on what is wanted in partners; please provide a variety of linking options and content; please provide feeds or apis when possible; please don't low-ball on fees, especially when we bring totally new clients; please create various affiliate product offerings; offer recurring revenue for subscription referrals; please tell us how we can help you!

Sales copy would be nice so I don't have to reinvent the wheel. Descriptive text is also nice without copying from the product page.

Share the wealth

Some of us are relatively new and sometimes need additional assistance. Responses are appreciated.

The affiliates should receive awards, such as best new campaign, most impressions, most clicks, most sales, highest percentage, etc make being an Affiliate is just as important as being a Publishers.. The Publishers are failing to realize we make this company not them.. We can turn any company into money.. They wouldn't be coming to us if they was doing great in a recession.. Affiliate Networks need to get their Advertisers to realize this and calm their demands down.. Our system our way. Not do it their way. Our customers are buying what we are selling and the Advertisers are just reaping the benefits of our promotional schemes..

The best market from affiliate marketing now is in East Asia

The first time I worked as an affiliatethe affiliate network did not pay me any money. This is my second trial and I have a friend who is a computer programmer and computer scientist who will monitor my website especially the sales and also look out for redirected links.

The manager needs to help with ideas 25 Copyright  2011. Affiliate Summit – http://www.affiliatesummit.com All rights reserved. REPRODUCTION STRICTLY PROHIBITED.


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Affiliate programs need a longer revisit time for their cookies. Three days is just way too short.

There are two or more avenues to pursue utilizing and maximizing income stream via affiliate marketing .1) Aggressive bombarding the airwaves with every trick and bell and whistle available in the arsenal of marketing and even changing the attack based on whims or customer moods and thus being totally dedicated to grabbing a sale. 2) Passive consistent offer the products in a standard no joke format and allowing customer to do buainess on the basis of demand for a proven product. No chasing the ambulance grubbing for a sale. Affiliate marketed goods should be a discerning effort--i:e Let some site owners market the old fashioned way with standard ads which are good for a duration of time and market goods via the high flying bells and whistles changing every week or month based on events holidays or such. Some sites should be allowed to use the old standard country style and let other sites play the glitz and glamour whooping and hollering for attention salesmanship. I personally prefer for my site standard banner long term standard sales pitch which does not change chasing the fringe customer. Then again my sales rate and income stream with affiliate marketing is nil nano zero so what the hey do I know. I'm from the old school and have been left at the train station as the train was loaded and pulled away from the station.

Time to diversify out of affiliate marketing. toolbars, merchants join multiple networks & other situations that result in poor tracking, high merchant reversals (e.g., One merchant just reversed 20-25% over holiday season citing they made an "SKU" mistake), newsletter popups on first visit from aff site, cookie stuffing, etc. come between a legit sale & the affiliate receiving their commission. The writing has been on the wall for awhile, now it's beginning to be carved in stone. When I see very few or no sales after thousands of clicks from targeted product pages, I know something else is at play. I'm through providing free advertising for some merchants.

Very upset at the dropping of programs with the Nexus NY Law. Do not like when managers threaten to terminate you for not having enough sales in a certain quarter.

We are very satisfied with our affiliate network and its affiliate merchants.

When I write affiliate managers, some do not respond. Some left me in the dark and don't come back to me on questions or comments I have.

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When I'm approved by an affiliate network I want approval on all of my channels. I don't like being rejected by a company I have been approved by on another channel.

When posting text links to Facebook, it's more effective to have links that show a photo and description of the site than to show just the affiliate link

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2011 Affiliate Summit AffStat Report