I’m usually a “glass as half full” kind of guy. Sometimes, however, I see the glass as a bucket, and the water, as a drop. And to push an analogy far further than it should be, sometimes I’m really thirsty. That’s where I’m at with new data reported by Custora and what it tells us about the potential growth of affiliate marketing. Their findings, derived from data spanning 72 million customers from 86 U.S. retailers across 14 industries, suggest that retailers today are getting some of their most valuable customers for free from publishers around the web. In fact, this free referral traffic drives customers with a lifetime value of 26% above average, behind only organic search and certain pay-per-click programs. Meanwhile, this same free referral traffic is the fourth largest contributor of new customers, accounting for over 6%.
If you were a retailer, what would you do to get more of these awesome customers? I mean, you can’t just buy referral traffic, can you? Of course you can, and that’s exactly what an affiliate program is for. It’s the tool and incentive structure to turn content into commerce. Meanwhile, publishers need not wait for retailers to wake up and smell the coffee, they can recognize that they’re the ones driving these customers and start getting compensated for it, today. I can think of one program in particular…
Today, affiliate marketing comes up as a good player among these marketing channels. It drives nearly 1% of new customers, who, on average are worth about 8% more over their lifetime than the average new customer. But good is not good enough when publishers are still missing out on their full opportunity to capture the value of their influence. I mean, if all new customers driven for free by referrals from publishers (6%) were instead affiliated, then we would see an immediate boost of 6x for new customers driven by the affiliate marketing channel. And that’s just counting new customers; the growth would be massive when you factor in purchases from existing customers. The way I see it, it’s money on the table, just waiting for publishers to pick up.
Posted by Oliver Deighton, VP Marketing, VigLink