What Is This Affiliate Marketing About

What Is This Affiliate Marketing About

When I created this website, I wanted to understand the question ‘What is the affiliate marketing about?’

These facts and figures will blow your mind!

Before diving head first into an arena I’d had little experience in, I needed to understand the big picture of affiliate marketing.

How has affiliate marketing evolved over time – how is it continuing to evolve, what are the challenges for newcomers, and how would I survive in a fiercely competitive marketplace.

With any business, researching the market and my competitors is a key. It’s part of defining a point of difference that a new business can offer potential consumers of its product or service.

At a glance – it could appear that an online affiliate marketing business holds very little risk and low entry cost, but a simple SWOT analysis suggests otherwise. There’s a huge investment of time up front (creating content that people want to read) in fact the average affiliate marketing website would be lucky to see any return on their efforts in the first 3-12 months. On the flip side, once a website is established and the hard work has been put in, there is the potential to reap excellent ongoing return for the effort put in.

Building a trusted brand and online identity is extremely important for any affiliate marketeer. Brand integrity for themselves and the products they are marketing needs to be their top consideration.”

The Big Picture Of Affiliate Marketing

Trying to determine just how much ‘commission’ is generated by affiliate marketing is near impossible. mthink.com estimated that it would be an estimated $6.8 billion industry between 2015-2020, however according to Wikipedia, that figure was achieved back in 2006. Back in 2014 headlines announced that Global business-to-consumer e-Commerce sales would reach $1.5 trillion.

The upshot of all of this, is yes, the Affiliate Marketing industry is HUGE.

Main Markets

Surprisingly, the US is not the largest selling market for affiliate marketers according to invespcro.com.

Topping the charts is Japan, followed closely by Germany then US.

We’re living in a global ‘village’ we are so interconnected with other countries, it really doesn’t matter where you live; it’s possible to get involved in affiliate marketing. New Zealand, where I live, doesn’t feature in the top ten markets, so that in itself creates an opportunity to tap into new markets and find new niches.

Who Are The Big Players?

mthink.com conduct an annual research survey to identify the top performing CPS (cost-per-sale) affiliate networks. After the data has been collated, industry leaders in this field are identified, also taking into consideration levels of customer service, their professionalism, and consistent ROI. The top 10 affiliate networks for 2016 were as follows;

  1. Rakuten Affiliate Network
  2. eBay
  3. Shareasale
  4. Avangate
  5. CJ Affiliate by Conversant
  6. ClickBank
  7. Amazon Affiliates
  8. RevenueWire
  9. LinkConnector
  10. AvantLink

What Does A Typical Affiliate Marketer Look Like?

Afstat.com produce an annual bench-marking report which analyzes data collected from 2500+ Affiliate Marketers globally (though it is noted that over 50% of the responses are from the US). However, if you believe the data set is representative of the industry we are working in, then the data throws up an interesting picture of who your typical affiliate marketer is.

They are aged between 25-54, married, have children, work from home (or a mix of from home and office) and are slightly more likely to be male – though it’s a pretty even split across genders.

48% of those surveyed reported an annual income of $20k or less. Interestingly, nearly 13% reported their annual affiliate income as $100k or more.

Most affiliate marketers work with less than ten affiliate networks (Shareasale/Amazon etc). Less than 8% of affiliate marketers utilizing a mind boggling 300+ affiliate networks! I guess that just demonstrates the scale and scope of the affiliate marketing dream – there are no limits, it all comes down to you.

Is There Room For Newcomers?

Undoubtedly, Yes.

This is a vibrant and growing industry. A large proportion of affiliate marketers make less than a part-time income and I imagine that in this group there would be a high turnover of bloggers and wannabe online business owners who start out with a ton of enthusiasm, but lack the tools, knowledge and/or stickability to make a real go of it. It’s a harsh world in the digital space and survival of the fittest would prevail.

But not only does this give newcomers a chance to get established, or even an authority, in their chosen niche; it also presents another spin off opportunity. That is to purchase a dis-used domain name from well-known websites like flippa.com – which can shortcut the process of achieving rankings and indexing on Google.

Affiliate Marketers were asked, ‘What would help you generate more business for your merchants and subsequently, you?’

As with any business, the correct training, mentoring and support is critical to success of anyone new to Affiliate Marketing. With the right tools and a proven template, newcomers can be up and running and heading along the right path extremely quickly. Check out my article about The Best Affiliate Marketing Training Program Online – where I share details of a comprehensive training course which is absolutely free.


Affiliate marketing is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

It takes hard work, time and commitment to ongoing learning to get a firm foothold in this competitive space. However, more and more business is being done online through our growing global marketplace. This in itself represents a huge opportunity to explore and realize the ‘work from home’ dream.

Or perhaps you want to take that one step further? Niche topics like travel, hospitality, adventure, sports, photography (to name a few) all lend themselves to being a writer on the go. There’s nothing to stop you being a true digital nomad. In fact, with internet cafes and free WiFi offered in most hotels, cities, and airports, who needs an office at all?

Exciting times ahead – our world is changing and we need to embrace it!

“If you found this article interesting, I’d love to hear from you. If you’ve got a question – get in touch using the comments section below, or contact me at Wealthy Affiliate via my profile here.

12 Responses&nbspso far.

  1. Don says:

    Hi Karen, great post! You offer a lot of info for those who want to look into affiliate marketing to make money online. You’re correct that an affiliate business takes work, time and commitment. If your willing to do that then you will make money. I might add patience is a virtue here also. If you have that “lottery mentality” (I spend a few few bucks and wait for the money to roll.) then you won’t make it.

    Love your post. All the best to you.


    • admin says:

      I 100% agree with you Don… it’s definitely not ‘easy money,’ it’s a job and takes a lot of time, commitment and as you say, patience! But it does offer a few perks, such as flexibility in your work day, working environment, as well as the topics or niche’s an affiliate wants to pursue – which makes the challenge of success all the more interesting. Thanks so much for dropping by and taking the time to comment on my post. All the best, cheers, Karen

  2. Your article is laden with stuff about affiliate marketing that i am looking for. You enlisted the players, and shown how huge the business is. The examples you cited to buttress the point that it is worthwhile engaging in affiliate marketing is motivating. And honestly, you pointed out though that one needs to work hard to get the results. Thank so very much for this information.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Seth, appreciate your feedback 🙂 The more I find out about affiliate marketing, the more I love being involved in such a fast paced vibrant online community. It takes time and effort to get the results, but hey, it’s time and effort on my terms and that is motivation in itself. All the very best 2017 (what’s left of it!), Cheers, Karen

  3. John Vine says:

    This is a splendid explanation, showing affiliate marketing from an original viewpoint. Unlike most other reviews, you delve into some details which will help many to understand whether it is something the want to pursue.

    • admin says:

      Hi John, thanks for your feedback. I think the hardest thing with this article was getting some quantitative data about what the size of the industry looks like. There are so many conflicting facts out there – but I still got a huge amount of personal value out of doing the research and coming to the realization that affiliate marketing is here to stay for the foreseeable future. For merchants, it’s a no brainer; they potentially have a massive salesforce in the affiliate marketeers. All the best, Karen

  4. Hi there

    Even though I have a strong idea of what affiliate marketing is about, it’s nice to be reminded every now and then. For the people who don’t know what it is, this post will serve to be very valuable.

    Thank you! =)

    • admin says:

      Hi Lawrence, thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a comment. Yes even as I was doing this research, I was blown away by the sheer size of the affiliate marketing industry – it’s massive, and I don’t think we’ve even seen the full potential of what is possible in this digital age. All the best, Karen

  5. Matthew Owen says:

    Once I started reading your article about affiliate marketing I couldn’t stop, the information you have to offer is 2nd to none and it looks like you really know your stuff. I have been wondering for some time now if you can actually make money this way and it turns out you can but with a bit of hard work by the sounds of it.
    Thanks for giving your time up to educate us 🙂

    • admin says:

      Hi Matthew, thanks so much for your lovely feedback. Yes you can make money online, with the right mix of tenacity, determination and perseverance. The affiliate marketing space is exciting and fast paced, and I’ve really enjoyed learning more about it through my research on this topic. All the best with your chosen niche. Kind regards, Karen

  6. Mrs S says:

    Great post!I like reading your article about affiliate marketing.You explained it very well.Its very informative and knowledgeable.

    Thanks for sharing !

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