A recent article in iMedia Connections discusses the rise of "independent" affiliate networks, away from the big-3 (CJ, LinkShare and Performics). As the affiliate market matures, these big three will need to evolve to compete with "private" networks and their lower utilization costs -- and thus deliver higher potential ROI for the merchants.
However, this article presented another factoid of interest :
"The affiliate marketing industry is in the midst of rapid growth. A Forrester Research 2003 study found more than half of online retailers were using affiliate programs -- and 99 percent of them said the tactic was effective at driving sales. That finding outstrips the approval ratings for email, search marketing and portal deals. In addition, affiliate programs generally can attain between 10 to 30 percent of a brand's total online transactions over time."
I cannot fully endorse that affiliate "...outstrips the approval ratings... ...search marketing... ". Instead, I view affiliate as a highly effective channel - another "weapon" in the arsenal - for driving qualified traffic and buyers to our client's web assets.
A formidable one-two punch for driving ROI and Brand Awareness for your ever-more-vital web assets.
Stephen Harris / Director; Affiliate Marketing