7 Interesting Affiliate Marketing Industry Statistics & Data (2022)

ODi Productions May 26, 2023
355 People Read
Affiliate marketing statistics data graph

In this article I’ll be sharing the state of the Affiliate Marketing industry as of 2022, by sharing statistics and data from my research.

Also, I will share my predictions for upward trends and growth opportunities for 2023 based on these statistics, based on my 9 years of experience.

I’ll include sources for each of these data points so you can research further if you wish.

Let’s dive in!

1. Affiliate marketing industry spend grew 10% in one year, and has almost doubled since 2015, estimated to have reached $8.2 Billion in 2022 (Statista)

In this first point, I want to point out that “spend” probably refers to commissions paid out alone.

Since affiliate marketing is typically a very high profit-margin business (all digital, low overhead, no cost of goods sold), this $8.2 Billion figure is what companies paid out to affiliates in 2022 alone.

Depending where you are coming from, this may seem small compared to other industries, but if it’s mostly profit then these commissions most likely account for well over $100 Billion in company revenue and lifetime customer value generated.

Let me give you a concrete example to explain. Let’s say an affiliate sells a product to 1 customer and earns $100 commission. For the company, that customer is actually worth $450 over the lifetime, effectively netting $350 after paying the affiliate (minus operating expenses).

If an affiliate program were to generate 10,000 sales, it would effectively net the company up to $3.5 million in LTV after paying out affiliates.

The affiliates would earn $1 million total, but the LTV they create for the company is a much higher multiple of that due to margins and the fact that most affiliate programs pay 5-30% of the sale.

My prediction for 2023: Affiliate marketing spend will surpass $10 Billion in commissions, due to the rising popularity as a marketing channel for all companies (see next point), compounded by the rising costs and growing ineffectiveness of paid advertising for smaller brands. 

2. According to Google Trends, the search term “affiliate marketing” is at its absolute peak in December 2022, from data spanning back to 2004

Affiliate Marketing term at all time high in Google Trends chart

Wow, at the time of this writing I did not expect to see this.

I earned my first affiliate commission in 2014, after spending a year or two learning about it through various forums and blogs.

After earning over $1,000/day in commissions for almost a year consistently, I began making YouTube content on affiliate marketing at the end of 2017, and personally thought that it “peaked” around 2018-2019.

Turns out that the post-COVID boom to e-commerce was a rising tide for the affiliate marketing industry as well (see next point).

Coincidentally, I took about a sporadic 2 year break from YouTube/content starting in 2020, to focus on serious business projects, improving physical/mental health, and getting back into my passions like music production and golf.

When I was most actively uploading around 2019, that scored a measly 25 on Google Trends relative scale, compared to 100 at the time of this writing.

I’m not sure if this scale is logarithmic or what, but it’s possible that affiliate marketing is 4x more popular now than it was in 2019.

My prediction for 2023: Affiliate marketing will continue to get more popular this year, and what is now a relative “100” score, may only be “70” by December 2023.

For last year’s reference, December 2021 scored a “50”, so twice as popular by December 2022. I don’t think it will double again due to the macro economy, but even a 50% increase is still significant. I tend to be more conservative in my estimates.

3. According to an Awin Report, Bloggers earn 40% of ALL publisher commissions

Year after year, they say “blogging is dead”. Yet, year after year, blogging accounts for BILLIONS of dollars in commissions. 

$3.2 BILLION last year alone.

Not to mention, SEO and Blogging make up 2 of the top 3 affiliate traffic sources (see next point).

The best way to earn SEO is through high-quality, consistent blogging and content marketing.

Best part of all? It’s never been easier to build a world-class blog in minutes with JetPage, optimized for SEO and designed for affiliate marketers to focus solely on content.

If you’ve struggled with WordPress, give JetPage a free trial and you won’t regret it.

It’s what I’m using on the website you are reading now :)

4. Top 3 Traffic Sources for Affiliate Marketers: SEO, Social Networks, Blogging. (BloggingX)

Since 2017 on my YouTube channel, I’ve been preaching about the power of SEO and owning your own website/blog and email list.

SEO generates WARM leads who have intent that are looking for YOU or your product.

It is much easier to sell a warm lead than trying to do paid advertising to cold traffic, especially if you’re a beginner or a newbie.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on paid traffic, but it doesn’t convert at nearly the same rate or ROI as SEO and organic traffic.

No wonder super affiliates tend to love blogging.

5. There are currently 12% more male affiliates than female. (Influencer Marketing Hub)

My prediction for 2023: I expect to see this gap shorten and many more successful female affiliates contribute to the growth of huge niches like fashion, beauty, and others.

Coincidentally, these are niches that I have never touched due to lacking domain expertise.

Hmm… maybe it’s not too late for me to learn how to apply some foundation and eye shadow :)

6. 65% of affiliates use social media to get potential leads and sales (Affstat)

This one is interesting to me because at the end of the day, there’s a million and one ways to do affiliate marketing when you consider how many niches, products, traffic sources, and sales channels there are.

That said, you can see from previous points that SEO and blogging accounts for a large majority of the commissions.

But social media is an absolutely fantastic tool if you know how to use it correctly.

And according to this stat, 35% of affiliates are not utilizing social media!

For example, I was “early” to YouTube for performing video SEO and it led me to outranking some of the biggest websites like CNET and BestBuy for headphones.

With the rise in TikTok and short-form content, there’s another boom happening with social media that the early adopters can get an edge.

Also, just my perspective, but most businesses tend to stick to ONE or two things and never deviate. That means, bloggers like to focus on blogging and email, and YouTubers like to focus on just making YouTube videos.

There’s always opportunity if you’re willing to break out of the comfort zone and try multiple things, and see what sticks.

7. Affiliate marketing drives 16% of e-commerce sales in the US and Canada. (Influencer Marketing Hub)

By my napkin math, 16% of US and Canadian e-commerce sales equates to roughly $180 BILLION generated by affiliate marketing.

If we give a blanket 5% commission rate, that equals $9 Billion in commissions. Not far off from the $8.2B figure from earlier in this article.

Anecdotally, the amount of reviews I’m seeing these days saying, “YouTuber x or Influencer y recommended this product in a video or Instagram post” is at an all-time high.

Considering that billions of consumers use social media for hours each day, it’s not really much of a surprise that many products are taking off thanks to strong word-of-mouth and referrals.

This is only inevitable and will probably continue to be one of the main drivers of many company’s growth, especially for B2C companies.

My prediction for 2023: Affiliate marketing will end up driving 18% of e-commerce sales in US and Canada this year. That 2% increase is a whopping $22.5 BILLION. My reasoning is the growing ineffectiveness of paid advertising, and the sheer number of companies adding and investing to their affiliate programs. From my side, I’m seeing so many brands and companies trying to build their affiliate program as fast as possible.

Conclusion and advice for beginners starting out...

Although it is clear that affiliate marketing as an industry has grown year over year, it is borderline shocking to me that it is at an all-time high at the time of this writing (January 2023).

I mean, I shouldn’t be this surprised considering I have been preaching about how awesome this business model is since 2017, but to see its popularity grow 4x in just a few years is just unprecedented.

Factoring in the acceleration of e-commerce these past 2 years due to COVID, it makes perfect sense that affiliate marketing would see a similar boost.

Anyways, I seem to always land on this message of “there’s never been a better time to start”, but now I have the data to prove it.

If you’re a beginner who wants to get started but unsure what steps to take, I created a completely FREE 6-hour course that will help you identify the “phase” you’re in (pre-revenue, first sale, $100/day, etc) and EXACTLY what to focus on to get to the next phase.

To join, simply click the “Get Free Course” button in the menu of my website, put your email, and I will send you a link to sign up for the course on Teachable.

Hope this article was insightful, spent a few days writing it all up. 

Wishing you a prosperous 2023.