Affiliates set for boost in 2012 as brands seek reach

A first study of the UK travel Affiliate sector by Affiliates4U has revealed programmes paid out an average of £75,000 in commissions last year.

The blind survey of blue chip companies and SME’s found affiliate programmes included, on average, 2,312 individual affiliates that cumulatively generated average revenues of £2.5 million.

Of those who responded 65% said the budget for its affiliates programme had increased for 2012, just 12% saying it had been decreased.

The majority of respondents said the percentage of online marketing revenue attributed to the affiliate channel was between 0% and 9% and 10% and 19%.

Although issues with long-tail affiliate attribution remain, 89% of respondents said they add value to their programmes.

The survey also found revenue from long-tail affiliates was less than 10% for the majority of respondents.

Charlie Ranger, Tui UK online marketing manager, is quoted in the report as saying: “The long-tail is more important than ever to travel.

“With the industry being so competitive it’s important that we spread our reach as far as possible. This is not to say we would sacrifice quality for exposure; we are keen to work with affiliates that can add value.”

And Alpharooms marketing director Daniel Morley added: “There’s a massive research process undertaken before every holiday.

“People want to know where the cheapest flights are from, if that airport has parking, how much that is and how secure.

“Everything from restaurants, bars beaches and nightlife are looked at before travel. TripAdvisor has tried, and in my opinion failed to dominate with their restaurant and bar reviews because it doesn’t fit into their standard template.

“Some things aren’t easily scalable, working in niches can really pay dividends for an affiliate.”

The biggest challenges for firms running affiliate programmes were brand control and implementing new technologies to remain competitive.

For 2012 mobile was a particular area for development, the survey finding mobile tracking and mobile websites were among the technologies least likely to have been implemented.

Chris Johnson, head of content at A4U said: “It is no surprise that mobile is firmly on the agenda for advertisers.

“This is no surprise to us at A4U, having seen catalysts being firmly established for the mobile channel through the development of m-commerce and mobile publishers.”

The Travel In Performance Marketing Report was compiled in collaboration with Commission Junction and was officially launched at the first PerformanceIN Travel conference yesterday.

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