Top 5 Affiliate Marketing Trends for 2018
28 Nov 2017
Affiliate marketing is currently one of the most sought after and viable channels which is helping millions of brands grow sales and improve conversions. When used correctly, this cost effective performance marketing channel has a lot to offer to not just small and medium sized businesses but specifically to startups.
Because this is an extremely accountable channel where the players are paid on a cost-per-action basis and receive commission for every lead and sale driven to the advertiser’s website, it generally offers a higher return on ad spend. Our Definitive Guide to Affiliate Marketing offers more details regarding the nitty gritty of affiliate marketing (in case you need more in-depth understanding).
The affiliate marketing industry has been booming and is expected to grow to $6.8 billion within the next five years as more and more businesses around the world continue to invest in it and marketers continue to monetize their content. I just recently finished reading ‘Traction: How any Startup can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth’ by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. In it, they have a whole chapter dedicated to this ambitious traction channel, discussing various affiliate program tactics and strategies which can enable business owners to take complete advantage of this amazing marketing model.
Currently this marketing model is the ONLY one to have rolled out at such a massive scale around the world.
This model has transposed onto the quickly escalating ecommerce culture too. Almost 15% of the digital marketing industry’s revenue is said to come from affiliate marketing. To top it off, publishers and advertisers aren’t the only ones that rely on affiliate marketing as many shoppers now have also started to see the affiliates as a trustworthy source of information.
So where is affiliate marketing going from here?
Here are 5 Affiliate Marketing Trends we’re taking into the New Year
To maximize your ROI from affiliate marketing, here are 5 affiliate marketing trends you need to be aware of as you prepare to welcome 2018:
Using Content as Engagement Fuel
Content remains the king as it continues to power up all digital communications from search to website experience, social and email marketing which converts. It keeps growing in importance as businesses continue to rely on it more and more. You will find content marketing at the top of the charts because to-date it remains the best affiliate marketing strategy that leads to exponential revenue and income.
While it is a bit of an expensive strategy (given the increase content modes) it offers long term benefits specifically when coupled with search engine optimization. Content marketing can get your business quality traffic which is both, organic as well as super targeted. Content that is search engine optimized will also get you better quality traffic when used for paid advertisement. However, don’t limit yourself to just written stuff when talking about content because today content has multiple forms, many of which work well for targeting specific consumers. From video to influencer marketing and social media – everything falls under content, opt for the kind which is captivates your niche consumers more. This affiliate marketing trend is expected to continue blossoming in the coming year.
Reliance on Cross Device Tracking
We live in the age of the mobile technology where Smartphones and similar devices have radically altered the way affiliates track and attribute value. As the ecommerce industry prospers and more consumers prefer shopping online, it is only natural for affiliates to want to track their campaigns over a wide array of devices.
Affiliate marketers no longer want to just get by with legacy data and metrics to optimize their campaigns and have increasingly started relying on cross-device tracking. It is not unusual for consumers to review a product through an affiliate link on one device and then return later on another to make the purchase. This is why affiliates not only want to track their campaign performance but also want to use the remarketing technology to serve ads to the right consumers on the right device. All this is not possible without cross device tracking. This year we saw more affiliate marketing programs shift their focus to cross-device tracking and this affiliate marketing trend is expected to continue in 2018.
In-depth Tracking and Reporting
While most affiliate programs are fairly small and simple, there are those which are larger and offer more data which requires better analysis and more powerful reporting tools. The past year saw affiliates demanding better tools that deliver real-time data and help predict future performance. This shift led to the creation of many organized and free affiliate marketing tools.
However, affiliates are gradually preferring to opt for affiliate marketing platforms that offer a reliable tracking tool within its umbrella like Bevo Media which not only caters to affiliates through their large network but also provides their users an ad tracker which enables them to track every aspect of their campaign from various traffic sources and even supports a huge number of networks. You will be hearing a lot more of this affiliate marketing trend in the coming year as more affiliates demand better tracking and in-depth reporting for their campaigns.
Promotion of Global Retail Events
Another emerging affiliate marketing trend that’s definitely going into the next year is the annual expulsion of online sales and discount offers that are promoted during global retail events. Events like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year and even some global sports events like FIFA or Olympics are catered to in most countries and resonate well specifically with the market in US, UK and Brazil.
As adoption of such events continue around the world, retailers have noticed a massive increase in revenue within the past 2 years. Brands and business globally are now more aware of the importance of affiliate marketing and have made it an integral part of their digital marketing strategies. During global events affiliate programs are the most sought after and brands everywhere readily use this model to promote their products and services.
Rise of Influencer Activity
Within the last few years, influencer marketing has become a growing trend, shaping the world of advertising at large. Affiliate marketers have readily accepted this new mode of marketing into their performance marketing strategies. Today, almost all major brands use influencer marketing to captivate consumers and 77% marketers have reported that this new kind of interactive content has brought results in repeat visitors and multiple exposure.
Influence marketing has had a huge impact on performance marketing as it has enabled all big and small brands to improve social interaction with their consumers. Influencers bring a unique set of capabilities to the mix with traditional affiliate marketing techniques by connecting with contemporary users and bringing them natural leads. Consider this new affiliate marketing trend to only rise with time along with other modes of interactive content including games, 360 degree videos, heat maps, virtual reality overlays and infographics etc.
Affiliate Marketing Trends: What’s Next?
Affiliate marketing is expected to explode over the next couple of years as interactive content continues to take lead and consumer behavior becomes more evident. From big to medium sized and small companies, everyone is more interested in creating an increasingly unbranded content that resonates well with the audience. Businesses today are more interested in shareable content and the demand for creative content creators is on the rise. The affiliate marketing trends discussed above are the major ones which are definitely going into the next year and something which all affiliate marketers should stay ahead of.
Which affiliate marketing trend do you think will continue in the coming year? Share your thoughts with us.