The 6 hottest affiliate marketing trends right now
Like the technology and electronic marketplace that power it, affiliate marketing constantly evolves. People who achieve the greatest long-term success in this endeavor stay up on trends that affect performance.
The following is a look at some of the hottest current trends in affiliate marketing and some tips on how to leverage them in your affiliate marketing business!
1. Increased influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has been a fast-developing trend in Internet marketing and eCommerce in the last few years. The emergence of millennials with buying power has contributed, as this generation has extended the impact of word-of-mouth marketing. A recent AdWeek study showed that 92% of the population trusts product referrals from peers more than brands themselves. The logical move; get influencers on your side.
As affiliate marketers, you can leverage the influencer trend in a number of ways, including:
- Partnering or aligning your message with strong influencers across all major social channels
- Inviting guests posts or include social posts or brand commentary from users on social media. You could embed a user’s Tweet supporting a positive experience with a product you market, for instance
- Including relevant data from third-party affiliate programs or other sources that support the consumer or business support of the products you market
2. More emphasis on performance tracking
In line with marketing in general, top affiliate marketers have become data hounds. Affiliate marketing is too competitive to take chances on promotional strategies. Conceive a full marketing plan that outlines your targeted prospects; then create landing pages and promotional strategies that offer benefits your target market desires.
Over time, track the effectiveness of your campaign messages and delivery mechanisms. Look at the return on investment for different channels. You might discover that sponsored ads serve you well on one social channel over others, or that particular AdWords or Bing campaign strategies achieve the best results.
Track product results as well. Don’t waste your time and energy creating content and promoting products that don’t efficiently convert. Rely on third-party affiliate data and your own results tracking to figure out which products generate the greatest demand on your site.
3. Cross-device marketing and tracking
Another major trend that affiliate marketers can tap into is cross-device retargeting and tracking. While this had already become a big deal, Google’s move to allow cross-device retargeting on AdWords strengthened interest in this marketing strategy.
Typical consumers and business buyers research products online before contacting a provider or making a purchase decision. In many cases, the path toward a purchase involves multiple device engagements. A buyer might research on a mobile device while out of home, for instance, but then complete the purchase process at home.
To capture window shoppers and people who look at products without commitment, implement retargeting campaigns that drive people back so they follow through with a conversion.
4. Content and affiliate marketing convergence
Five to ten years ago, “affiliate marketing” was often viewed in a negative light in the court of public opinion. While some still hold to this perception, younger generations increasingly accept this eCommerce format in line with traditional online retail setups.
One reason for increased acceptance of affiliate marketing is the rise of content marketing. Companies produce content that is intended to drive online searchers to their websites. This evolution has converged effectively with affiliate marketers who have relied on quality landing pages to attract readers looking for products and services.
Now, you can continue to do what you’ve done, with renewed enthusiasm. However, this convergence means it is more important than ever that you stay up on best practices in content marketing and search engine optimization. To appear prominently in search engine results placement, you need to implement SEO that is favorable to Google when compared to other companies and content creators.
5. Discounts as drivers
Affiliate marketers have also benefited from the huge influx in discount hunting over the last several years, largely inspired by the introduction of Groupon and daily deals to the marketplace. Now, consumers are trained to seek out deals and promotional incentives to get greater value on the products they love.
Many third-party affiliate services allow merchants to load banners and text ads promoting temporary or long-term promotional offers. When you share a quality banner offering a solid “limited time” discount to your readers, they are more likely to pay attention than they might for a conventional product-driven display ad.
People also turn to social media and e-mails to solicit promotional opportunities. If you demonstrate the capacity to source great offers for your readers, they are more likely to follow you on these channels and pay attention to the messages you send.
6. More rules and regulations
A trend that some affiliate marketers consider a negative is increased emphasis on compliance from the Federal Trade Commission. As eCommerce has become a dominant shopping platform, the FTC wants to protect consumers from fraudulent or misleading promotional tactics. Therefore, it is critical that you protect your users with privacy statements and conflict disclosures.
The FTC wants affiliate marketers and other eCommerce providers to make it clear to readers when you are sharing products and resources for commercial purposes. For affiliate marketers who brand themselves as reputable and of utmost integrity, clear and thorough disclosures demonstrate that commitment to visitors.
Affiliate marketing has become more competitive and viable in 2017 thanks to its natural alignment with many trends in the broader marketing landscape. The benefit to affiliate marketers is the ability to achieve results by doing many of the same things you’ve done before. The challenge, however, is to do it even better. You must produce quality content, products, and deals that discerning customers rely on.
There are also opportunities to get a leg up on your competition by leveraging some newer trends such as influencer marketing, performance tracking and cross-device retargeting. Take the lead in these areas, execute effective and efficient content strategies, and attract and retain the profitable audience you desire for your business!