Affiliate Marketing in 2024: Key Challenges and Tactics You Need to Know

Recently, the affiliate marketing industry has been facing several challenges. Want to know the two top worries keeping affiliate marketers up at night in 2024? Followed by the affiliate marketing tactics 2024 has brought forward?

Here goes:

  • The market is heavily saturated, and competition has never been so fierce.
  • The traditional favored traffic sources for affiliate marketers – SEO and social media – are becoming more demanding every day. 

Let’s explore these themes in more depth.

Affiliate Marketing Challenges in 2024

SEO marketing is becoming increasingly difficult

More than ever before, Google algorithms value quality. The latest E-E-A-T algorithm confirms it. Your content must reflect genuine Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. 

The temptation to use generative AI tools to create content for affiliate campaigns has been immense. However, it is proving very difficult to achieve high rankings. There is no getting around it: although AI tools can help, high-performing SEO content always requires human input to show established authorship, unique viewpoints, originality, and factual accuracy.  

Turbulence in paid social media advertising

Paid social media – especially Meta Ads (formerly Facebook Ads) – has long been a favorite traffic source for many affiliates. Unfortunately, social media ad prices (CPMs and CPCs) have increased year-over-year. Over-reliance on these channels has proven to be potentially damaging to affiliates. For instance, when Facebook and Instagram suffered a global outage, many affiliate marketers felt the pinch of lost sales. 

So what’s the solution to increased competition, and tougher conditions for SEO and paid social campaigns?

Our affiliate clients tell us that building a healthy traffic source mix has been the key.

Affiliate Marketing Tactics 2024: Add Native to Your Traffic Source Mix

A user searches Google for tickets to the local music festival. They then check Instagram for updates from friends. A bit later, they feel inspired to kick off their home improvement project, so they read an article about tips for home repairs on a news website. While consuming the content about DIY, an affiliate native ad about solar panels catches their eye. They click through and visit the affiliate landing page, which provides interesting information about how much money they can save if they switch to solar – so they click through from the affiliate’s landing page to the website of the solar panel company to request a quote.

Online consumer behaviors are in a constant state of flux. People interact with various platforms and ad types in different ways. They also have diverse preferences and interests, which change depending on the moment.

The scenario above demonstrates how different ads and content resonate with users differently at various times. The user would not have been responsive to a solar panel ad while searching for concert tickets, nor when checking in on their friends on Instagram. 

But the native ad came along at just the right time and place.

Expand your advertising channel strategy

The best affiliate tactic to face the turbulence in the digital marketing industry is to avoid focusing solely on a single channel or advertising platform, like search or social media.

Rather, understand the various interactions, interests, and intents of your audience across the entire digital landscape, and leverage the right channels at the right time.

For example, Google is powered by what users search. Facebook is powered by what users post, like, or follow. And native advertising on Outbrain is powered by what consumers find interesting. 

Shift outside social media to the open web

Social media is undeniably significant in the lives of consumers and their purchase decisions. Yet it is only one component among many that make up the digital experience. 

Moreover, social media is a closed ecosystem. Advertisers on social media are only getting exposure to people who are on the social network at the time. Outside social media is the ‘open internet’, the diverse collection of websites that make up the World Wide Web, including premium publishers, specialized publishers, apps, platforms, and more. 

Besides display ads and social ads, successful affiliates include native advertising platforms like Outbrain in their traffic mix. This way, they can reach billions of consumers who spend time on news sites, entertainment sites, and all kinds of websites about topics of interest to them. 

Don’t fear: there is nothing wrong with audiences seeing your ads on multiple platforms. After all, people use different channels for different purposes and intents. Using multiple channels only increases the chance they will interact with the ad. 

Repurpose social ads for native channels

There are so many affiliate offers that work great on multiple channels. You can easily re-use your Meta or YouTube ad creatives to fit native ad formats, but you must make sure the strategy behind the native campaign is right.

Here are some tips for creating successful native ads:

  • Craft a compelling, personalized story. 
  • Ensure coherence between your ad and landing page.
  • Address specific pain points and offer compelling reasons why the product is the best solution for them.
  • Consider using advertorials or VSLs (video sales letters). 
  • Our experience with affiliate clients shows YouTube ad funnels translate well to native, while adjustments may be needed for Facebook or TikTok funnels.

Popular Affiliate Verticals on Native in 2024

In 2024, we are noticing affiliates gravitating towards several key verticals, such as:

  • E-commerce products around the holidays (especially listicles of top products)
  • Health and fitness (especially in the summer)
  • Lead generation (specifically in the medical and home improvement verticals).

In 2024, affiliates should consider the increasing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products. For example, performance marketers can explore niches related to sustainability, renewable energy, or eco-conscious lifestyles (ie. solar energy in the home improvement vertical). 

In addition, Medicare’s open enrollment season means new seniors are looking for better healthcare, and there is no better way to reach this demographic than through native advertising.

Understanding and taking advantage of the seasonal element is also important. In summer, consumers seek out travel essentials, outdoor gear or equipment, and gardening items. There is also a heightened focus on achieving fitness goals and maintaining healthy skin.

Tools to Help You Succeed in Affiliate Marketing in 2024

If you are not already doing so, we recommend using several tools to elevate your affiliate marketing tactics 2024. With these tools, you can get more and better campaign insights, save time and money, optimize your campaigns, and improve your results.

For comprehensive keyword research, SEO insights, competitor analysis, and performance tracking, we recommend tools such as:

  • SEMrush
  • WordStream
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Spyfu
  • Ahrefs
  • SE Ranking

To manage and optimize social media campaigns, try out:

  • Hootsuite
  • Sprout Social
  • Buffer
  • Sprinklr

If you want to better understand user behavior and improve website conversion rates, you might want to use Hotjar.

For content creation, the most popular AI tools are: 

  • Grok, Gemini, Chat GPT: for AI content ideation and writing
  • Jasper ( formerly Jarvis): for AI blog post writing and product descriptions
  • for AI ad and social media copy
  • Canva (PRO), DALL-E, Midjourney: for AI image creation
  • Synthesia, Veed: for AI video generation

Generative AI tools are now available within advertising platforms themselves, making it easier to leverage AI during campaign setup. 

For example, Outbrain’s AI-powered Title Generator helps you create numerous variations of ad headlines in just moments. This makes it so much easier and efficient to A/B test the performance of your headlines and boost your CTR.

Do Succeed, Don’t Hold Back with Native Affiliate Ads in 2024

In 2024, affiliate marketers should exercise caution when engaging with specific traffic sources, particularly those dependent on incentivized traffic or susceptible to fraudulent practices. Emphasizing quality over quantity is essential, alongside cultivating enduring relationships with reputable partners, such as Outbrain, to ensure sustainability in the long term.

Carefully evaluate the risk-reward balance for each traffic type and align it with your expertise, resources, and goals. 

Perseverance and resilience are crucial, as initial attempts may not yield the desired results. Success depends on thorough analysis and relentless testing of strategies, so stay curious, learn from mistakes, be willing to learn, and make an effort to constantly improve. Those are the most important “dos” of affiliate marketing in 2024.

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