It is more critical than ever to be fully aware of current economic conditions and in tune with current consumer behaviour. One way we can do that is with data from organizations outside of our own, especially when they focus on a specific benchmark.
Some of the most elusive data in the online business world is affiliate marketing statistics, especially if you’re looking for Canadian-specific information. Legitimate, current data is often sourced from affiliate marketing platforms, like the data we’re sharing below.
This data is helpful for both affiliate marketers (publishers) and businesses that have their own affiliate programs. Affiliate marketers can use it to maximize their income, while affiliate advertisers can identify more economical ways to market their products and services.
Affiliate Marketing Businesses Making More Money
The following data was recently released to guide affiliate marketers through the fourth quarter of 2023, based on 2022 numbers (a similar economic climate). It compares the fourth quarter in 2022 to previous years in order to calculate revenue growth year-over-year (YOY).
The affiliate marketing publishers in Canada who have the highest revenue growth are Content/Blog/Media (16 percent), Influencers (20 percent), and Product Comparison/Reviews/Discovery (18 percent) websites.
For comparison, American affiliate marketers are seeing the fastest revenue growth with Loyalty Program – Closed User Group (64 percent), Content/Blog/Media (37 percent), and Loyalty Program – Non-Cash Rewards business models. Globally, the biggest jump in revenue was in the Loyalty Program – Closed User Group category, with a 55 percent growth rate.
Affiliate Business Models in Canada
Following are the fastest growing affiliate business models in Canada by revenue, along with some that are falling behind.
The income of Canadian affiliate marketers who promote advertisers through content has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2020 alone, it grew by 126 percent YOY! That growth continued in 2021 (28 percent) and 2022 (16 percent).
Canadian coupon deal sites also grew a lot in 2020 (81 percent YOY), but in 2022 it dropped back a bit (-15 percent).
Influencer revenue made a huge jump in both 2019 (121 percent) and 2020 (105 percent). That growth dropped by 40 percent in 2021, but then rebounded in 2022 with 20 percent growth YOY.
“The influencer community’s surge as trusted advisors offers novel collaboration opportunities for retailers and publishers, enabling shoppers to make informed decisions,” says CJ.
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Cashback loyalty program growth dropped by 17 percent in 2022, but struggling consumers still love these loyalty programs and they continue to do well for us. A great example of this business model is Rakuten, which has a ‘refer a friend’ option currently offering $30 if you’d like to promote it.
Loyalty: Closed User Group
Canadian closed loyalty program revenue grew by 18 percent in 2022.
Loyalty programs are always popular and they appeal to cash-strapped Canadians, even in good times. A “closed user group” takes the loyalty program and turns it into a loyalty strategy by forming a community for deeper engagement.
“Community customer loyalty programs foster customer engagement and can sprout from an existing loyalty program,” says Zendesk. “For example, online clubs and groups may form within a loyalty program, such as Sephora’s Beauty Insider Community. Brands with this type of program can allow customers to post questions, share photos of themselves wearing a product, and interact with one another.”
Loyalty: Non-cash Rewards
Non-cash loyalty programs experienced significant growth in 2019 (48 percent) and 2020 (84 percent), but slowed considerably in 2021(-6 percent) and 2022 (-17 percent).
Non-cash rewards include exclusive deals, bonuses, enhanced customer support, events, and support for causes.
CJ doesn’t define the “other” affiliate marketing models in this report. Whatever they are, the category grew by 38 percent.
The pay-per-call model jumped by 75 percent in 2019, but that was cancelled out by a huge drop in 2020 (-80 percent). While it regained 5 percent in 2021, it dropped again in 2022 by 10 percent.
Product Comparison, Reviews & Discovery
Product comparison, reviews and discovery also jumped in 2020 (by 96 percent), but lost 39 percent of that momentum in 2021. The model rallied somewhat in 2022 with a YOY growth rate of 18 percent.
Broaden Your Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketers are usually in the position to broaden their business model with relative ease and little expense. We can diversify our revenue sources and flip our focus to whatever is growing fastest. Consider bringing in some of the above models that are trending upwards in Q4, 2023.
Is your Canadian company experiencing revenue growth with any of the above affiliate marketing business models? Please share your experience in the comments below, or join us in the Online Business Canada Facebook group!
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.