Online marketing ‘generated £9bn last year’

British businesses raked in more than £9bn from affiliate marketing and lead generation activities last year, according to a new study.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which conducted the survey on behalf of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), said British firms spent £814 million on internet advertising last year.

The growth of online performance marketing (OPM) saw many companies only pay once someone completed a purchase (affiliate marketing) or submitted their contact details (lead generation).

More than 100 million British consumers used affiliate marketing to fuel transactions worth around £8bn last year, while 70 million enquiries produced £1bn-worth of lead generated sales.

The study claimed that OPM accounted for up to 6% of all British e-commerce retail sales in 2012, with plenty of potential for more companies to jump on the bandwagon in the future.

Tim Elkington, director of research and strategy at the IAB, said: “Despite around 3,500 advertisers and 10,000 publishers engaging in OPM, it still has the air of a best-kept secret.”