In-app affiliate marketing is the fastest growing trend that took off in 2018 and will continue to grow in 2021. Apps are the fastest-growing e-commerce platform.

App remains one of the most significant marketing opportunities for brands, propelled by an evident change in customer purchasing behavior from Desktop to Smartphone to App. 

Mobile usage is projected to continue to expand, with smartphone users hitting 3 billion by 2019, with estimates reaching 3.8 billion by 2021. Customers are gradually moving to mobile shopping for convenience. Mobile devices are getting better with larger displays, better cameras, and more battery power. Mobile applications come with mobile devices. 

Why Global Retailers Need to Pay Attention to In-App Affiliate Marketing

A survey performed in February 2019 found that 57% of US shoppers used mobile retail apps to find product or service information. This study represents the Global Savings Group’s estimates, which indicate that 63% of smartphone users are finalizing their in-app purchases. Amazon, a strong pioneer in in-app trading, saw 85 percent of its US mobile shopper operation in-app in March 2019. Other big names like Walmart and Wayfair accounted for 78 percent and 50 percent of mobile operation in-app, with the lowest of the major retailers being Home Depot at 38 percent.

Want to see more affiliate marketing stats? Check our 2020 Affiliate marketing stats.

Statistics speak for themselves: smartphone use is on the rise, and apps are the preferred platform for consumers to communicate with brands.

Early adoptions of in-app affiliate monitoring are the major winners.

2020 has been the best year for the introduction of smartphone monitoring in the affiliate industry. More and more international brands have recognized the affiliate channel’s potential to gain new app users and create recurrent high-value in-app purchases. 

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Global Savings Group saw a rise of 1500 percent in-app revenue from January to August 2020, underpinning the entire industry’s promise.

Among the early adopters are some of Europe’s largest fashion retailers, which have benefited greatly from in-app monitoring. One big European fashion player that made in-app monitoring possible in April saw a month-to-month rise in channel revenue by 87%. 

Why Global Retailers Need to Pay Attention to In-App Affiliate Marketing

Another well-known global fashion brand allowed in-app monitoring in Q1, and to promote app adoption, introduced a special coupon campaign that gave consumers 30 percent off on in-app purchases. In comparison, mobile web users had only 25 percent off. The campaign was highly successful, with app purchases rising 459 percent and thousands of new app downloads, showing the impact of affiliate in-app marketing. 

Since apps have become such an essential platform for many marketers, allowing in-app monitoring has provided brands with useful insights into the affiliate channel that they would otherwise not see.

During the lockdowns in March and April of 2020, affiliate publishers saw Black Friday-like traffic spikes across several vertical lines, mainly powered by smartphone users and app shoppers. Retailers with in-app monitoring enabled were able to double and exploit this increased demand for app users and loyal customers.

The benefit of the smartphone, that users are gaining

There are several well-known reasons to allow customers to shop in-app. Brands should expect 4x more product views, 1.5x higher Average Order Value, and 3x higher conversion rates from app users. 

However, the most important benefit for retailers to invest in their business app is loyalty. Compared to mobile web, apps stay on a user’s phone, making users spend much more time on them than they do on mobile web pages. The design of apps has been interesting over time. 

Originally seen as gimmicky in their early days, they have now become robust software systems. Modern apps deliver various features and advantages to consumers, such as remembering product preferences, payment details, shipping address, reward points, and gamification for others, not to mention targeted sales and discounts. Both of these features make the app value proposition attractive to the user. There is no need to log in and sign in for every visit, as would usually be the case for mobile web stores.

amazon - Why Global Retailers Need to Pay Attention to In-App Affiliate Marketing

No online retailer will dispute that loyalty is the Holy Grail of e-commerce. In a world of intensified online rivalry, creating a loyal customer base is the secret to long-term success. One of the fundamentals for a loyal client base is the sticky app and the people who help it.

Getting started with in-app affiliate marketing

Taking advantage of the affiliate marketing platform for app users’ acquisition should be a logical move for any retailer. There are reasons why market giants like Walmart, Amazon, and eBay have long leveraged this platform to broaden their apps: effective and affordable.

The fundamental reason behind affiliate in-app marketing being so successful is the ability to track sales created by publishing partners in your e-commerce app. In-app monitoring enables retailers to pay publishers for advertising their applications and move users to and from the app. Since the channel is performance-based, the advertiser pays only when the consumer finalizes the order.

Getting started with in-app affiliate marketing is much simpler than most marketers would expect. If you read this post, it is very likely that you are already operating with an affiliate network.

Most of the larger affiliate networks, including effect, Partnerize, AWIN, and Rakuten, have all built-in integrations with the common Mobile Measurement Partners (MMPs). These include brands such as Branch, Appsflyer, Change, Button, and Scaleo. By name, MMPs calculate, organize, and standardize user events and data in the app. Even better, most e-commerce apps already have an MMP installed, which means that the basics to get started with affiliate in-app marketing are already in place. 

Why Global Retailers Need to Pay Attention to In-App Affiliate Marketing

It’s really as easy as allowing your affiliate network to be incorporated into your MMP platform, and you’re ready to launch your affiliate in-app marketing.

Get out to your partner network, and they will help you set up your network.

Not too late to launch in-app affiliate marketing.

Apps are the fastest-growing e-commerce platform, and our forecast is that the growth trend will continue. Leading brands have already acknowledged that affiliate marketing is an effective and inexpensive way to expand and generate app sales. 

And despite a remarkable rise in in-app follow-up in 2020, most retailers have yet to discover the strength of in-app affiliate marketing that has led early adopters to achieve substantial strategic leadership. That said, it’s not too late to start affiliate in-app marketing, and with the leading affiliate networks already promoting easy integration of in-app monitoring, it’s a low effort and a high reward to get started.

Last Updated on April 10, 2024


Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.