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The UK market for affiliate marketing grew an estimated 45% in 2007, taking the total value of online sales generated by this channel in 2007 to more than £3 billion, according to research published in E-consultancy‘s Affiliate Marketing Networks Buyer’s Guide.

The £3.13 billion total for 2007, compared with £2.16 billion in 2006, illustrates the healthy state of this digital sector, which will continue to grow strongly during 2008, E-consultancy said.

Sectors such as retail, travel and financial services continue to be the bedrock of affiliate marketing, with both Blue Chips and SMEs ramping up their investment, according to E-consultancy’s head of research, Linus Gregoriadis:

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“Affiliate marketing continues to gain momentum because the performance-based model is so popular with advertisers. When the biggest consumer-facing brands in these industries do not have a well-defined affiliate strategy, it now tends to be an exception rather than the rule,” Gregoriadis said.

“The channel has become much more strategic and boardrooms are starting to take notice. Media agencies are becoming increasingly involved in this sector as a consequence of its increased profile,” he added.

According to the research, commissions and fees paid out to affiliate networks (covering payments for both networks and affiliates) amounted to £186 million in 2007, up 40% from £133 million in 2006 (and compared with £83 million in 2005).

The growth of affiliate marketing reflects the buoyant nature of online retail in the UK. According to the IMRG, the UK’s online retailers generated some £46.6 billion in sales last year.

About the study: The 2008 Affiliate Marketing Networks Buyer’s Guide assesses the UK marketplace for Affiliate Marketing, with a focus on 17 leading networks. The 167-page report also contains an overview of market trends and profiles of those companies offering related services.

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