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US Affiliate Marketing Investment in 2021 Drove $71B in E-Commerce Sales – Findings from New Performance Marketing Association Report

The Performance Marketing Association (PMA), the trade association for the affiliate and partnership marketing industries, and of which PerformanceIN is a proud member, has today released the results of a brand new study.

Amongst many encouraging findings, the study ultimately found that affiliate marketing investment reached a huge $9.1 Billion in 2021, representing a 47% increase over the previous industry report for 2018.

Conducted by the PMA, with underlying data provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the industry report found that affiliate marketing investment in 2021 drove $71B in e-commerce sales.

The study solicited information from seven leading affiliate networks and platforms: Awin, CJ, LinkConnector, Partnerize, Ascend by Partnerize, Rakuten Advertising, and ShareASale. The average ROAS was 12:1, meaning that every dollar invested in the channel drove $12 in e-commerce revenue.

According to the PMA, a variety of forces have helped drive outstanding growth:

  • Increased recognition of affiliate traffic quality among senior marketing executives
  • Expanding acceptance of pay-for-performance buying models among publishers
  • Digital channel growth due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on buyer behaviors
  • Strong ROAS for affiliate marketing versus other digital marketing channels
  • Increased channel adoption among new industries, including auto, CPG, and B2B
  • Growth in mobile marketing spending and improved mobile sales tracking in the channel

The continued appeal of more traditional partner types has been reflected clearly by the fact that cashback, rewards and loyalty publishers, as well as coupons, vouchers and rebates accounted for just over half of category spending, up from previous years.

Encouraging data for all stages of the buying funnel

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