The average conversion rate for retail affiliate programs rose in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 9.07% from 8.45% in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to a study released Monday.
Revenue for retailers participating in an affiliate program grew 42.1% during the same time period and accounted for 36.2% of total revenue for the affiliate sector, according to Acceleration Partners, a global performance partnerships agency.
Analysts at Acceleration Partners estimate the average commission rate for the quarter rose 24.6% YoY. And the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend drove 7% of total 2017 revenue.
November saw the strongest growth over last year of more than 55%, followed by December at more than 47.92% and October at more than 11.61%. There were plenty of last-minute shoppers, but many didn't wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to find a good deal.
This year Acceleration Partners' annual affiliate program benchmark report examines data from more than 11,000 retailer and affiliate partnerships. The report analyzes insights between fourth-quarter 2016 and fourth-quarter 2017 -- outlining channel growth, affiliate revenue, commission rates and more for brands, as well the top 20 partners in the content, coupon and deal, and loyalty categories.
In Overall, the study suggests the performance marketing sector will take 40% of all digital marketing spend in the next few years, according to Robert Glazer, the company's founder and managing director.
Retailers saw higher new customer rates in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the first three quarters in the year. Acceleration Partners attributes the uptick to a substantial increase in consumer shopping activity during the holiday season.
Content publishers experienced positive results too, the study notes. In the final quarter of 2017, this partner segment rose 98.8%. The average order value for publishers fell 18.41% YoY, although coupons and deals rose 4.39% and offers from loyalty campaigns rose 3.67%.