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[REPORT] Affiliate Marketing: More Than a Conversion-Driving Channel

Jan 19, 2024

Director of Content

For many brands, affiliate marketing is an important part of the marketing mix. And since affiliate marketing is a performance-based channel, marketers typically expect their partnerships with affiliate marketing sites to deliver — exclusively — on converting customers.


Marketers aren’t wrong about affiliates’ ability to drive purchases. But as a new research report from Partnerize explores, consumers engage with affiliate marketing in impactful ways throughout the entire consumer journey. 


Reaching, engaging, converting, and keeping consumers

Partnerize’s research report, Mapping Affiliate Marketing Experiences & Tactics Across the Consumer Journey, found that:

  • 57% of online consumers have made a purchase through affiliate sites such as cashback/reward websites or apps (such as Swagbucks, Rakuten Rewards, MegaBonus and others);
  • 48% have made a purchase through buy-now-pay-later shopping portals (such as Affirm, Klarna, PayPal and others); and
  • 41% have made a purchase via coupon websites or apps (such as Brad’s Deals, RetailMeNot, CouponCabin, and others).



The report, which was driven by the results of a Marketing Dive studioID survey of 1,000 online consumers, also found that affiliates drive spending — with 71% of those online consumers saying they spend the same amount or more on purchases through affiliate marketing outlets as they do for purchases on other online retail or direct brand sites. 


Consumers do more than make purchases through affiliates, however. They also engage with affiliates to discover new products, or to help them make decisions about whether to buy those products. 


“Some marketers think of the affiliate marketing channel largely as coupon, cashback or discount oriented — and maybe 15 years ago that was the case, because the primary compensation and payment model for affiliates was based on last-click,” says Maura Smith, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Marketing at Partnerize. “However, over the last few years we have seen technology evolve, enabling partners who sit in the upper funnel to earn and be compensated for their role in the conversion journey.”


New attribution and compensation structures brought forth by innovators like Partnerize, however, are shifting the affiliate landscape. 


“We’re seeing more and more discovery–and awareness–generating entities start to utilize affiliate marketing as a monetization tactic,” says Smith. “There are now affiliates who specialize in all phases of the consumer journey, from awareness to consideration to conversion to loyalty, and they can really aid a marketer in reaching, engaging, converting, and keeping consumers for life.”


Tapping into affiliates’ audiences

Affiliates have unique and distinct audiences, and consumers in those audiences trust them. (Partnerize’s report found that 63% of online consumers say they are just as confident when shopping through an affiliate site versus a direct brand site, and 17% say they are more confident.)


Tapping into those audiences isn’t just about converting them. By using a platform like Partnerize to build out a unique, diverse affiliate marketing program, brands can drive up brand exposure, revenue, and customer loyalty. 


Read the complete report: Mapping Affiliate Marketing Experiences & Tactics Across the Consumer Journey right here.

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