* Update: thanks to MarketingVOX for updating the content of thier article.
Remember the Telephone Game from when you were a kid? Somebody would say a phrase or sentence to one person and that person would pass it on to the next person. The farther it goes, the more the message is distorted. Cute on the playground, not so cute in news reporting.
You see, I published the annual AffStat report on affiliate marketing benchmarks last week. This was followed up by a summary from Internet Retailer.
Everything was fine so far. Then MarketingVOX excerpted and interpreted the Internet Retailer piece with the title, E-tailers’ Affiliate Programs Slowing Down.
The MarketingVOX article started with…
The overall effectiveness of affiliate marketing is falling for the online retailers that still maintain such programs; moreover, fewer retailers have large numbers of affiliates – sites that drive traffic and sales to online retailers’ e-commerce sites.
I’ve got a problem with this in a couple of areas. For starters, “online retailers that still maintain such programs” – was there a mass exodus I missed?
Online retailers that still maintain such programs dominate the comScore top retail Web sites list annually. The likes of Amazon.com, Dell.com and Walmart.com are still keeping the faith.
And the comment that “fewer retailers have large numbers of affiliates – sites that drive traffic and sales to online retailers’ e-commerce sites” – yes, affiliate managers are slimming the roles, but not the “sites that drive traffic and sales to online retailers’ e-commerce sites”.
They’re dumping the dead weight – affiliates that join and don’t become active after a fixed period of time. Having a bloated number of joined affiliates was cool to excite investors and journalists in 2000, but it’s an antiquated concept today.
Anyhow, the message from MarketingVOX carried along to Retail Blog Marketing, where they asked, “Affiliate Marketing Now Less Effective?”
This article boasts, “I have suspected for a long time that managed affiliate marketing programs work for 10% of merchants and are a waste of money for the rest. According to this article, I was correct.”
The supporting data? The information from AffStat that “Last year, 15% of etailers had 10,000 or more affiliates; that number has dropped to 9% for this year.”
As explained above, the total number of affiliates is pure vanity and has no bearing on the performance of an affiliate program.
No need to get excited – the optimization of affiliate programs doesn’t equate to slowing down or becoming less effective.
As Loretta Lynn sang…
I can’t understand a word your sayin’
We’ve got a bad connection on our minds
Communications one thing we never seem to find
Oh Lord I’m sorry, but there’s trouble on the line