LinkShare is holding its Symposium event here in San Francisco this week and the opening keynote by Forrester senior analyst, Andy Hoar, contained some terrific insights into the state of the performance marketing industry. I picked out five that look at coupons, social marketing, and growth opportunities:

1. Affiliate Marketing Growing 16% p.a.

Affiliate marketing in the USA is now estimated to be worth around $3 billion a year. This means that it has been growing at a compound growth rate of 16% a year for the last four years, and as anyone who understands compound growth rates will tell you, 16% is fast. Affiliate marketing is still gaining in popularity with CMOs.

2. Consumers Ready To Buy Internationally

27% of online adults in the U.K. have bought from a website in the USA. This holds huge implications for the globalization of performance marketing as it indicates that brand, trust and security concerns can be overcome on an international basis. If you develop a trusted brand as a publisher, we now know it can open the door to worldwide sales.

3. Affiliate Marketing Is Good For Brand Perception

Concerns about the affect of affiliate marketing on brand perception are going away, effectively becoming legacy issues. CMOs now understand that these issues can be managed effectively and that affiliate marketing is an essential tool to grow the top line.

4. Coupons Are Crazy Valuable For Brand CMOs

Coupons are growing fast and will only become more important as online shoppers’ awareness increase. Forrester research shows that online coupons have three identifiable effects: shoppers tend to spend more, to try new brands and to switch brands more readily. Marketing approaches that can persuade consumers to switch brands have always been a Holy Grail for CMOs so look for coupon sites to go from strength to strength.

5. Social Drives Engagement Not Transactions

Social media is at 90% market penetration everywhere in the world, including China, South America and Africa. There is nobody left to recruit. And what is becoming clear is that social media doesn’t drive purchases. Forrester reports that they consistently find that while customer engagement with brands and products increases, actual transactions are not driven in the same way. My takeaways: social media is a great way to grow traffic and brand awareness but that’s all, and Facebook will never be as valuable as Google.