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Instagram Cancels Its Native Affiliate Program but Content Creators Find Great Success in the Partnership Channel

Aug 04, 2022

Vice President Of Operations in Strategic Technology

Recently, we learned that Instagram decided to end its native affiliate marketing program (aimed at influencers) effective August 31st, 2022. Just being introduced in June of 2021, the program was first billed as one of many dishes on Meta’s latest menu geared entirely towards content creators. The move to sunset such a short-lived opportunity certainly comes across as a confusing or at least conflicting change of direction for Instagram, whose parent company is investing heavily in user-generated content in both the actual and the meta-universe. What makes this all the more interesting is that Instagram’s new Content Marketplace, where brands can discover creators, only recently launched on an invite-only basis. Could this be the avenue that Instagram sees as a better option for a new marketplace for content creators? 


Perhaps the most interesting (read: noteworthy) aspect of this sudden move to sunset such a fledgling program is that it appears Meta is pulling back from affiliate dealings on Instagram. However, just because Meta does, it doesn’t make it right. It also doesn’t mean that you should pull back on your affiliate or partnership strategy, whether you’re a creator, an affiliate, or an advertiser. After all, Meta is dealing with enough of late, including a concerted effort among Instagram users to quit the attempt to become more like TikTok


In fact, according to the Performance Marketing Association’s new 2022 Performance Marketing Industry Study, the affiliate/partnership channel only continues to flourish (even long after the pandemic’s retail highs). The research shows that affiliate marketing investment reached $9.1B in 2021, supporting a 47% spending growth compared to 2018. Further, the study showed that affiliate marketing investment in 2021 drove $71B in eCommerce sales and boasted a continued 12:1 return on ad spend (ROAS). But there is more to the story regarding content creators’ efficacy that the PMA study uncovers that seems to live uniquely in our universal Partnerize platform data versus the other survey respondents.


For the period covered by the PMA study, the Partnerize platform consistently observed content partners contributing above a 45% total commission share—the highest of all partner categories. In May 2022 alone, content partners’ gross revenue YoY growth rate was up 36% over the same month the prior year, while their share of spend stood at 47%. Further, revenue share from new customers for content publishers is at 54% in May—higher than coupon, loyalty, and cashback. For additional insights and context, you can download our U.S. Affiliate Marketing Sales Index updated through May right here.


Interested in learning how to work more effectively with influencers? The data performance supports that those content creators—and the brands they serve—are winning on the Partnerize platform. Check our blog that offers 13 ways to accelerate influencer growth with Partnerize here.  



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