Over the last 30 years, affiliate marketing has been leveraged towards building a sizeable income online by millions of people…
However, as time goes by and the internet landscape, consumer trends, user behaviors, promotional methods, and marketing channels evolve, breaking into the industry keeps becoming more and more challenging.
As a result, aspiring affiliate marketers who have been trying to make bank for a while without much luck can’t help but wonder…
“Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?”
Since you’re here, I’m guessing that you’re wondering the exact same thing…
This article is dedicated to revealing to you every single piece of information you might need to fully understand whether affiliate marketing is dear or not and why.
Let’s dive deeper!
Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?
No, affiliate marketing is neither dead nor dying. As a matter of fact, the latest affiliate marketing statistics reveal that the industry experiences a steady upward trajectory that’s not going to stop anytime soon.
Let’s take a closer look at the actual numbers…
It's a $14 Billion Industry
According to an Awin report, in 2017, the global value of affiliate marketing was estimated at €12 billion ($14.5 billion).
That same year, Statista reported that US merchants spent a total of $5.4 billion on affiliate marketing and that by 2022, the industry’s worth in the US will have tripled compared to 10 years earlier, reaching $8.2 billion (see graph below).
It’ll Be Worth $30 Billion by 2025
According to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting, the affiliate marketing industry seems to be steadily growing at an average rate of 10% per year…
Assuming that it keeps expanding at the same rate, affiliate marketing’s worth will have surpassed $30 billion by 2025.
Its Interest Has Grown by 300% In 5 Years
Based on data drawn from Google Trends (see chart below), over the past 5 years (February 2015 – December 2020), the global popularity of the search term “affiliate marketing” has skyrocketed from around 25 to 100.
That’s a whopping 300% rise over a five-year period!
In fact, right now, people’s interest in affiliate marketing seems to be at its highest point since Google Trends was launched back in 2004.
It's Responsible for 15% of All Digital Media Revenue
An affiliate marketing report that was released by Business Insider back in 2016, revealed that affiliate marketing drove as many online sales as email marketing, contributing to at least 15% of all the revenue generated within the digital media industry.
As such, affiliate marketing can be categorized as the 3rd largest source of online sales, after organic search (21%), and paid search (19%).
Since affiliate marketing is steadily growing at a yearly rate of 10% and those numbers were published back in 2016, we can safely assume that affiliate marketing might already be outperforming both email and paid search.
It Drove 1% Of the UK’s GDP
A study conducted by IAB UK revealed that in 2017, affiliate marketing drove 1% of the UK’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), actually exceeding the performance of the country’s entire agriculture sector.
In addition, that same study revealed that in 2017, the UK had £16 returned for every £1 invested in affiliate marketing, resulting in £8.9 billion in sales, 9.2% more compared to the previous year.
Affiliate Networks Are Growing
According to a report published by AM Navigator back in 2018, the largest affiliate marketing network, ShareASale, was running a total of 5594 affiliate programs.
At the time I’m putting together this article (September 2021), ShareASale hosts a total of 9536 affiliate programs.
That’s a 70% increase in less than 3 years!
13% of Affiliates Make Over $75,000/Year
According to an affiliate marketing benchmark report that was published by AffStat in 2016, 13% of all affiliate marketers reported earnings of over $75,000 per year.
Furthermore, a poll held on the STM Forum revealed that nearly 61% of the 117 affiliates that participated were making over $81,000 in yearly affiliate commissions (see graph below).
Such high profitability rates don’t just prove that affiliate marketing isn’t dead, but also that it’s among the most lucrative online business models that currently exist.
You can take a look at a few examples of how much money affiliate marketers make right below…
1. Pat Flynn
Pat is the owner of smartpassiveincome.com, a $100,000/month affiliate business.
In the video right below, Pat explains exactly how he generated more than $300,000 in affiliate commissions by promoting just one single product.
2. Tom Dupuis
Tom embarked on his affiliate marketing journey back in 2011 by launching onlinemediamasters.com.
At the time I’m putting together this article (2021), Tom’s affiliate endeavors bring in about $150,000 per year.
You can check out for yourself some of Tom’s affiliate income reports right here.
3. Doug Cunnington
Doug Cunnington is the owner of nichesiteproject.com as well as a high-quality affiliate marketing course called “Five Figure Niche Site“.
According to his latest income report, Doug has been earning more than $70,000/year via affiliate marketing since 2013.
In the video right below, Doug reveals exactly how he managed to scale a niche website he’d launched back in $2016 from $100 to $70,000 in just 2 years.
4. Matt Diggity
Matt got started with affiliate marketing in 2009 after reading “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris.
Two years and a couple of failed websites later, he managed to build a full-time affiliate income.
Eventually, Matt discovered that there were online marketplaces where people were selling their affiliate websites for up to 40 times their monthly profit.
He bundled 3 of them into a package deal, put them up for sale, and ended up selling them for a $170,000 profit.
A year later, he sold a couple more of his affiliate websites for over $300,000 (see image below).
Right now, Matt runs two SEO agencies (LeadSpring LLC and The Search Initiative), an SEO blog (Diggity Marketing), a link-building service (The Authority Builders), the Chiang Mai SEO conference, and a high-quality affiliate marketing course called The Affiliate Lab.
You can take a look at Matt Diggity’s full story of going from zero to being a 6-figure earner right here.
5. Doug Beney
Doug embarked on his affiliate marketing journey in September 2014, at the age of 16 and while still in high school, by launching “midilifestyle.com”, a website that revolved around promoting music-related Amazon products.
Just 2 years later, by November 2016, Doug had scaled MidiLifestyle to bringing in over $6000 in affiliate commissions per month (see image below).
Later that same year, Doug launched dougbeney.com and FloeMedia LLC, both of which focused on helping other online business owners with web design & development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), digital marketing, and blogging.
Doug became a full-time affiliate marketer by the age of 18 before he even finished high school.
Now, that’s inspiring!
You can take a look at Doug’s affiliate marketing success story right here.
It's Being Used by Most of the Largest Companies
Affiliate marketing is currently being leveraged by most of the largest companies in the world, including, but not limited to:
- & more
As a matter of fact, a report that was published back in 2016 by Forrester Consulting revealed that affiliate marketing was being utilized by over 81% of US-based merchants and over 84% of US-based publishers (bloggers, YouTubers, influencers, etc).
Having said all that, if affiliate marketing was dead, no company or publisher would ever invest their precious time, energy, and money in using it.
Why Do People Think Affiliate Marketing Is Dead?
As you can see for yourself, affiliate marketing is clearly very far from being dead…
So, why do so many people speculate and claim otherwise?
That’s mostly because as many aspects of the internet landscape evolve (e.g. trends, user behaviors, marketing channels, etc), breaking into the affiliate marketing industry becomes more and more challenging…
For example, 15 years ago you could launch a simple blog with 20 short articles, buy a couple of backlinks, stuff your content with keywords, and make a couple of misleading claims and you’d be enjoying a full-time affiliate income.
Right now, a blog with 20 short articles is extremely unlikely to attract an audience large enough to generate affiliate sales. No, now you need to publish at least 50 high-quality, long-form articles to gain some significant traction.
Search engines and social media have developed stricter policies and ranking criteria that don’t really tolerate shady techniques like keyword stuffing, hidden text, low-quality unnatural backlinks, article spinning, etc.
Furthermore, most internet users spot misleading claims a mile away so affiliate promotions should be approached from more unique and honest angles.
What I’m trying to point out here is that aspiring affiliate marketers tend to assume that just because nowadays, succeeding in affiliate marketing requires the investment of much more time, energy, and effort than it used to, it must be dead…
However, this couldn’t be further from reality.
Truth is that what some mistake for affiliate marketing’s death, is actually its evolution.
Affiliate marketing is not dead…
On the contrary, the industry is growing at a steady rate year after year.
If no matter what you do, you seem to have trouble making money with affiliate marketing, then chances are that you’re doing something wrong.
Maybe the niche you’ve picked has way too much competition or way too little demand… Maybe the content on your landing pages is way too thin to convert visitors into buyers. Or maybe you’ve been promoting specific affiliate offers to an audience that’s not really interested in purchasing them.
Whatever the case, if you’d like to short-circuit your learning curve, minimize trial and error, speed up your progress, and increase the chances of reaching affiliate success, I strongly that you consider joining a structured affiliate course that’ll point you in the right direction.
Having said that, here’s a roundup of The Best Affiliate Marketing Courses that have helped thousands of people go from zero to generating a full-time affiliate income online!
Have any questions?
Leave a comment right below or contact me right here.
I’ll be more than happy to help you out!
All the best,
Harry, Founder & Editor at dearboss-iquit.com