Dropbox, a leading online file storage company implemented a referral marketing program for its subscribers in 2009. In referral marketing program, those who signed up and those who referred got free space. Within a year, referral accounted for more than 35% of the new business for Dropbox. There are several examples from industry all over the world that have employed referral marketing –AT&T gives customers an opportunity to earn up to $575 per year through referrals.
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Dropbox offered free storage to both new subscribers and those who had referred new users. In 15 months, Dropbox grew from 100,000 registered users to 4 million, with 2.8 million referral invites. The company went public in 2018 and today is valued at over $12 billion. Its referral program—which gives 16 GB of free Dropbox space to both referrer and referee—continues to be successful, with 35 percent of new users coming from referrals.
Now, to increase access to new markets and to new customer base, ABC Inc. starts a partnership program wherein they commit to paying a commission for a certain sales target achieved by independent vendors who join the program. These vendors (who could be bloggers and other digital marketing professionals) build websites and marketing campaigns that sell the products of ABC Inc. to their customers.
In the past, large affiliates were the mainstay, as catch-all coupon and media sites gave traffic to hundreds or thousands of advertisers. This is not so much the case anymore. With consumers using long-tail keywords and searching for very specific products and services, influencers can leverage their hyper-focused niche for affiliate marketing success. Influencers may not send advertisers huge amounts of traffic, but the audience they do send is credible, targeted, and has higher conversion rates.
Not long ago, reach of the average reach of a typical consumer was limited. For the most part it was contained to the number of people they saw in person each day or talked to on the phone. In this day and age though, the average consumers' reach is much larger and for many people with strong social followings, it can be enormous. Some consumers now have the power to make or break a business by what they say about it online.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, consumers spent $453.46 billion on the web for retail purchases in 2017, a 16.0% increase compared with $390.99 billion in 2016. That’s the highest growth rate since 2011, when online sales grew 17.5% over 2010. Forrester predicts that online sales will account for 17% of all US retail sales by 2022. And digital advertising is also growing strongly; According to Strategy Analytics, in 2017 digital advertising was up 12%, accounting for approximately 38% of overall spending on advertising, or $207.44 billion.