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Study: Affiliate Marketing Strong, Evolving

October 20, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Affiliate marketing as a means to make money online in the United States is still strong, and not only growing but evolving into more effective methods. So concludes independent marketing research group Forrester Research in a new analysis of the affiliate marketing industry. 

The advantages of affiliate marketing remain its status as a low-cost, high-return customer acquisition strategy, the study suggests. Because of this low overhead and relatively easy return on investment, online entrepreneurs of all sizes will continue to invest in the market, growing it to an estimated $4 billion annual market by 2014.

However, the shape of affiliate marketing in 2014 may be considerably different than what we know today. The report’s article, Patty Freeman Evans, states that the landscape of the industry will shift over the next few years, perhaps quite dramatically.

The biggest change, then, may be the continuing rise of affiliate networks that help marketers administer large programs and act as a third party between operators and affiliates. “Marketers are reluctant to build an in-house service that will administer to all affiliates they work with, due to the high cost of such an initiative,” the report states. “Marketers will continue to appreciate the benefits derived from the collaboration and knowledge transfer that affiliate networks offer.”

That means operators will increasingly rely on networks like to provide info, interaction, and arbitration for affiliates. This already exists to a certain extent; however, it is expected to become more commonplace.

And what about the day’s big buzzword, social media? “Affiliate sites currently experimenting with social networks may be getting traffic from these sites but they are sending very few qualified leads to marketers,” the report says. “Because affiliate sites are typically paid by marketers on the sales they drive and not just on click-throughs to the marketer’s site, few affiliates are finding that their experiments with social networking sites are producing much revenue for them at this point,” summarizes

To read the original Forrester Research study, click here. For’s summary, click here.