is affiliate marketing worth it

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth it in 2023?

Are you wondering if affiliate marketing is still worth pursuing in 2023? Should you still invest your valuable time in affiliate marketing, or is the market saturated would it be a Herculean task to achieve success as a newcomer?

Whether you’re interested in earning a passive income with affiliate marketing or looking into leveraging affiliate marketing to promote your products or services: we’ve collected some figures to help you overcome that hesitation.

Why you might be doubtful whether affiliate marketing is still worth it in 2023

There are two camps for whom the question of affiliate marketing is still worth it might be relevant:

  • Advertisers, who would leverage affiliate marketing to have others promote their products and services
  • Publishers, who are the ones advertising the products and services of the advertisers to build a passive income

The latter are probably the ones who are most hesitant about whether affiliate marketing is still worth it if you haven’t started yet. 

As with so many other examples when it comes to earning money, it might feel like you’ve “missed the boat” on affiliate marketing. Just like you wish that you would have invested in Bitcoin a few years ago, you might sigh and tell yourself that you should have started with affiliate marketing earlier. 

Perhaps you feel like the market is already saturated. All the profitable niches have been filled by now and those websites are very difficult – almost impossible even – to beat. Is it still worth it to join an affiliate marketing program when so many others already have enrolled before you? 

This might be true for some niches. For the most lucrative and popular topics, like insurance, travel, photography, and cooking, there are many websites that you would have to compete against when you’re just starting as an affiliate marketer. 

In those cases, starting with affiliate marketing in 2023 might not be worth your time and effort. Pick your battles!

However, as you’ll discover if you keep reading, the affiliate market is still growing. More money is being spent on affiliate marketing every year, and new opportunities for topics and niches keep popping up. 

Would it have been easier to start an affiliate business ten years ago? Perhaps, but keep in mind that you wouldn’t have had at your disposal all the information, affiliate marketing networks, and attribution tools that we have today, which makes it easier than ever for newcomers to learn the ropes. 

Is it still worth starting with affiliate marketing in 2023? Yes, it sure is!

Frequently asked questions

Before we delve in to answer the main question and show you why affiliate marketing is still worth it, here are some frequently asked questions about this topic to get you in the right state of mind.

How much money can you make from affiliate marketing?

How much money you can make from affiliate marketing depends on a lot of factors. First of all: the niche you’re in. While some niches can be very lucrative, with high payouts, they are usually also highly competitive. But, affiliate marketing has proven to have the potential to be able to replace a nine to five, making you enough to live off.

Does affiliate marketing make money?

Yes, affiliate marketing can make you money. Your earnings can range from anything from just a few cents a month to hundreds, or even thousands of dollars (or even more). As we stated above: the amount of money is highly dependent on several factors. But the fact is that, yes, affiliate marketing makes you money.

Does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing works. Period. Countless people have proven time and again that they can earn a living from it. Affiliate marketing works just as well for the business side. As you will see in the remainder of this article: affiliate marketing spending has skyrocketed over the last couple of years. Because it works.

Is affiliate marketing still profitable in 2023?

Yes, affiliate marketing is still profitable. If anything, there is more money to be made than ever, because spending has skyrocketed. Competition might have become a little stiffer, but as you will see in the rest of this article: it is certainly still worth it to start affiliate marketing in 2023.

According to a 2016 research by eMarketer, retailers in the U.S. spent about $4.7 billion on affiliate marketing. This represented about 7.5% of their total digital spend. 

The affiliate marketing forecast by Forrester, also from 2016, predicted that the US affiliate marketing spend would grow to over $6.8 billion by 2020, contributing to about $70 billion in sales. They foresaw a steady rise in annual spending (in millions):

Annual Values from 2015 to 2020

According to this 2018 report by Statista, we can expect this upward trend to continue. Statista predicts that the US affiliate marketing size will grow to a whopping $8.2 billion by 2022. We should keep in mind that this prediction stems from a time when the world hadn’t even heard of COVID-19. Since the coronavirus crisis seems to have sped up digitalization and online shopping, this number might turn out to be a low estimate.

This sentiment is underlined by the Awin 2021 report on affiliate marketing. According to this report, the US affiliate market has already passed the $8.2 mark that Statista foresaw for 2022.

It’s probably not surprising that the US is by far the biggest market when it comes to affiliate marketing. What’s more, they’re still the fastest growing market globally, according to Awin’s predictions. 

 Digital ad spend (USD)(M)Affiliate ad spend estimate (USD)(M)Projected ad spend growth 2021
US142,4008,50020%
UK19,60026416%
Eastern Europe8,90017011%
Germany8,30067212%
Australia6,6002648%
France5,50033018%
Nordics5,3002126%
Brazil3,80015213%
Italy2,80011215%
Netherlands2,5001506%
Spain2,2008814%
Belgium1,3005210%

In short: the affiliate marketing market size has seen exponential growth over the last couple of years and is expected to keep on growing. That doesn’t signal a market that has been saturated and isn’t worth getting into, right?

The consistent growth of the spend in affiliate marketing means that new advertisers will constantly be drawn to this lucrative way of marketing their product. This means an ever growing variety of products and services to promote as a publisher.

The market isn’t saturated, because the market keeps on expanding at an impressive rate.

In other words: there are always new niches to fill. Affiliate marketing is still worth it in 2023, you just need to find the topic that’s right for you, where the competition is still relatively low.

Is it worth starting affiliate marketing in 2023 as an advertiser?

We’ve mainly been talking about getting into affiliate marketing as a publisher so far. But, it should have become clear from the figures presented above, that affiliate marketing is also still very much worth getting into as a publisher.

According to Hosting Tribunal

 

With the rising popularity of online shopping, blogs, vlogs, influencers, etc., affiliate marketing is simply one of the best ways to market your product online and reach your intended audience. 

With other online marketing channels – such as Google Ads or social media marketing – getting more competitive and expensive, affiliate marketing offers a great alternative to boost the awareness of your brand, product or service.   

Conclusion: is affiliate marketing still worth it in 2023?

As this Google Trends graph shows, interest in affiliate marketing has quadrupled over the past five years. The recent corona pandemic gave this an extra boost, with people seeking to earn (extra) money from their homes and businesses trying to market their products and services online.

This growing interest was reflected in the rise we’ve seen in affiliate marketing spends in the US, but also globally. 

It is clear that affiliate marketing is still worthwhile for advertisers, who keep finding their way into the affiliate marketing market. According to Hosting Tribunal, it is competing only with email marketing for the position of highest grossing online marketing channel for ecommerce companies.

This ongoing growth of the affiliate marketing market means that affiliate marketing programs are still worth it for new publishers as well. The expanding market means new advertisers, products and services to promote. New niches to fill. 

What’s more, more people are shopping – and searching for information about products and services – online than ever before. According to Search Engine Land, 15% of daily searches on Google have never been searched before.

This means there’s plenty of opportunity to focus on topics with relatively low competition, which certainly makes affiliate marketing still worth it for both advertisers and publishers.

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