Contrary to what you may have heard, affiliate marketing is not dead. In fact, it’s alive, evolving and very exciting.
Affiliate Marketing is predicted to be a $6.8 billion dollar industry in 2020. It’s constantly evolving and new trends are emerging every day. If you want to be successful in this industry, you need to stay on top of these trends and decide what’s going to be hot and what not.
Today, we’d like to share with you 4 trends we expect to see throughout 2019.
1. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is perhaps the most rapidly growing addition to affiliate marketing. The search term “Influencer Marketing” has increased by 325% in the last year alone.
Influencer marketing works perfectly in a digital landscape because it builds trust and 74% of all users say that they trust social networks.
Of that 74%, roughly half of them say that they trust what influencers say online and what they endorse. This is a very significant number and supports the fact that marketers are allocating larger portions of their ad budget to influencer marketing.
This shift in ad budget allocation is a big move. In the past, companies used to pay influencers a fixed price through their CPM budgets. In the eyes of the companies, everyone was of equal value and were just part of their branding campaigns.
This has changed though, in large part due to social platforms. Influencers have become brand ambassadors. This extra level of exposure and confidence has made it so they get a bigger stake when promoting and posting about their shopping behaviors, their likes and what interests them. For companies, what was once a part of a branding campaign is now the campaign itself.
“Influencer marketing is growing because it’s a great way to get your products in front of an audience with an authentic voice. Many brands are seeing top-of-the-funnel value by getting more eyeballs on their brand’s offering. There’s power in putting the right products in front of the right audience — with an authentic voice.”
– Nii Ahene, COO of CPC Strategy [now part of Elite SEM]
Influencers are also valuable to brands because marketers can actually use the digital landscape to analyze customer behavior and trace their exact journey. This offers a direct glimpse into how influencers have a big impact on the customer journey.
They can see when an influencer triggers a customer to start a journey, or even if they influence a sale later on. This level of transparency is a big reason that marketers are much more willing to spend money to pay influencers directly, unlike in the past.
Increases in consumer mobile usage is also a big reason that Influencer marketing is growing so rapidly. Social platforms lend themselves to a mobile environment. Influencers have mastered these social platforms. This offers a perfect intersection for marketers that wish to engage with as many consumers as possible.
A great example of this is Instagram’s ‘Swipe Up’ functionality which gives browsers the opportunity to visit their favorite online store directly from the app.
While transparency and a mobile-first structure are very attractive to marketers, the way that influencers wish to be paid is attractive as well. What was in the past a fixed price as part of an advertisers CPM budget has changed. Influencers now want to be paid on performance. Marketers are obviously willing to invest more in this channel.
2. Voice search
Voice search, perhaps the newest technology to hit the scene has seen a massive push and rise in popularity. Everyone from Amazon to Facebook and Apple to Google has bet big on voice, putting forth massive investments in technology. As a result, voice search is going to have a big impact on customer behavior and affiliate marketing.
According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be done by voice search by the year 2020. The tools will continue to develop. You’ll not only have tools like Echo or Google Home, but also more tools on your smartphone, tablet, and even desktop device.
Leveraging this great technology can really help your business. It is important to point out that there are some things you must consider when optimizing your website for voice search.
For instance, consider intent. When you go to Google and type in a search phrase for a pair of pants you are looking for, you might type something like, “blue dress slacks”. When you search by voice though, you speak to the devices much like you would speak to other people. So your search would change. It would be something more like, “I want a pair of dressy blue slacks with tapered legs”.
“Dressy” is a subjective term. The trick to this is focusing on long tail search terms in a different way that will accommodate this new method of search.
This may seem redundant, but because voice search doesn’t require a computer, the chances that people will be interacting with your website via a mobile device are even greater. Because of this, you need to make sure that your website is completely mobile optimized and that your tracking pixels and analytics are set up and working.
“Voice first devices can gather user data to create a richer profile for advertisers to leverage downstream,” says LaBroi Walton, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy [now part of Elite SEM].
“For example: If I ask my Google Home to purchase a particular branded product, I may be retargeted by that brand with ads on a different device–mobile or desktop–later on.”
3. Mobile Is Still Dominant
It’s important to note that mobile has been around for nearly a dozen years, however, it is going to continue to dominate search.
As technology changes and smartphone manufacturers continue to change the ways you can track user journeys, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of the changes as they can impact your ability to manage your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Having the right mobile strategy expands beyond tracking or having a mobile-optimized website. You also have to make sure that your brand strategy is consistent across all your online properties, your offline properties, and your mobile strategy. If any of these are out of alignment, it can lead to consumers losing trust in your brand.
For instance, if someone is shopping at a mall, they may go to a store and try on a pair of shoes. While there, it’s not uncommon for them to search for the shoes on their smartphone and compare prices and look for home delivery options.
If they were to find that you have one price in the store and different pricing on your website, this could irritate them and leave them with a bad impression of your brand. Because of this, it’s important to consider emerging mobile trends and position yourself to maximize user experience.
4. Coupon & Deal Sites
Coupons work and can be a great addition to an omni-channel marketing strategy. They are hands down, one of the best ways to introduce your brand to new customers and entice them to try your product with a deal they can’t resist.
However, the world of coupon websites can be tricky to navigate. If you’re considering adding coupon sites to your brand’s marketing mix, here are a few things you should know before getting started.
“If your brand’s other marketing channels have flatlined or you’re wanting to shake up your marketing model, coupons may be the way to go. Do your research, steer clear of shady sites, maximize a small network of partners, and you’ll be well on your way to building (and profiting from) a successful coupon marketing strategy.”
– Ann Hand, Senior Affiliate Marketing Manager at Elite SEM
Although the coupon industry has been around for what seems like forever, it still continues to prove itself a valuable marketing channel for brands. Its digital presence is most promising and continues to grow exponentially YoY with digital coupon redemptions estimated to surge to $91 billion by 2022, up from $47 billion in 2017.
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