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The Current State And Future Potential Of Affiliate Marketing

Helping companies form successful partnerships since 2004, Adam Ross is CEO of global affiliate marketing platform Awin.


In 2000, my company launched into what was effectively a cottage industry. The sector was small and nascent but packed with talented, passionate people. While today’s profession bears few similarities, the spirit of creativity and invention remains.

Now a multi-billion-dollar powerhouse, affiliate marketing is a global industry table stakes for any e-commerce business hoping for sustainable growth. At its heart is a pay-for-performance, adaptive advertising model empowering millions of consumers to make better purchasing decisions every day. Companies can use the channel to build their own advertising ecosystems, creating a galaxy of revenue drivers across almost every media touchpoint.

Using affiliate marketing, retailers can collaborate with a rising TikTok star or niche YouTube creator to promote a new campaign. Or they can work with a glossy magazine or product review site to boost their brand. Advertisers can connect with a sector-leading comparison app or cutting-edge fintech pioneer to acquire customers or reach a massive audience of savvy shoppers via cashback or coupon communities.

And all of this is achieved with little risk and very high ROI.

Factors And Forms

This diversity of possibilities is the result of a few factors. Let’s discuss two of the biggest in recent years.

First, I find that the pandemic fueled interest and investment in the channel. The performance heritage of affiliate meant when brands were hunkering down, unsure of where to invest ad spend, they sought refuge in cost-per-acquisition (CPA) campaigns. I noticed the ability for publishers to drive steady sales for retailers without cost risk was a life raft for many during this disruptive period.



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