This article was updated on 29th March, 2020.
There are plenty of myths surrounding the affiliate marketing industry, but if there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that affiliate marketing is always changing – and fast. Just last year, we had a look at what were the latest trends that affiliate marketers should watch out for (scroll below to see affiliate marketing trends in 2019). In affiliate marketing terms, that’s practically a lifetime ago! With the industry always evolving and changing, and with so much competition to contend with, there’s no choice but to identify new trends and be among the first to take advantage of them.
So, here are our top picks for affiliate trends expected to take the lead in 2020:
1. Seasonal campaigns
The days of ever-lasting campaigns and evergreen products are far from gone. But we are now seeing more and more affiliates working on specific campaigns aimed at specific events or special seasons. For example, as summer approaches, there’s a surge of interest in fitness apps and other outdoors-y products. Another good example is nutrition offers going up whenever there is a new diet trend. So, make sure to keep ahead of the popular seasonal shifts in consumer interests and optimize your strategy accordingly.
It’s always a good idea to stick to the platforms and channels that are working for you as a media source. But, keeping your eyes and ears open for new supply channels can make a huge difference. Unless you’ve been hibernating for the past six months, you already know that TikTok is all-the-rage among the younger demographic segment. If you’re looking to reach a young audience, go for the platform they love to be a part of. Make no mistake, this hot new channel is a huge growth opportunity for many affiliate marketers.
3. Stay Focused
Affiliate marketing is all about experimenting and optimizing to get better and better results. If you know how to convert and scale e-comm campaigns, do what you can to become even more professional and successful. Don’t lose focus by trying to replicate this success on completely different verticals. Yes, a good portfolio is a diverse one, but that shouldn’t stop you from first trying to become the absolute best in the the business at what you are already doing (or you risk someone else taking the top spot before you do).
4. B2B Rising
We are already seeing more and more affiliates running B2B campaigns, and not just B2C. More and more traffic channels are now allowing you to target industry professionals (BTW, Outbrain allows it too!). With more options open to reach B2B audiences and win those highly lucrative campaigns, there is no longer any reason for affiliate marketers not to take advantage of everything the B2B world has to offer.
We’ve got the entire world at our fingertips at the click of the mouse. Ironically, for affiliate marketers, going local is a growing trend, and one that can’t be ignored. Localization is much more than just translating a web page to another language for a specific offer. It means learning about the interests and behaviors of users from various cultures, with different mindsets, lifestyles and priorities. A good affiliate marketer is not just trying to reach users in different locations; you are trying to reach different states of mind. This is what will help you find the best way to sell them what they want or need – that’s the true meaning of localization.
So that’s our wrap-up of the trends to follow in affiliate marketing this year. In the meantime, keep optimizing, keep trend-watching, and we’ll see you again for next year’s affiliate marketing trends!
Affiliate Marketing Trends 2019
If you are wondering whether affiliate marketing is changing, get a hold of this: in 2016, retailers in the US spent $4.7 billion on affiliate advertising. By 2020, the number is expected to reach $6.8 billion. In 2016, affiliate marketing was already being used by over 80% of brands and publishers.
Any way you look at it, affiliate marketing is not just here to stay – it’s ruling the online roost.
That’s why every affiliate marketer should stay up to date with the latest and upcoming trends, and keep track of the way affiliate marketing is changing today. Check out these affiliate marketing trends for 2019:
- Smarter product testing
- Less of the same
- Comparing similar products
- Voice search rising
- Reviews, reviews and more reviews
1. Smarter product testing
In the past, affiliate marketers relied heavily on the advertiser’s opinion about what might work to increase sales. They also often leaned on their own intuition or gut feeling as to what kind of approach would bring the biggest payoff. Those days are over, with more and more affiliates using spy tools to monitor which products are working best on which traffic sources. Affiliate marketing is getting wiser, with data-based tools surging in popularity as the most efficient and accurate way to develop winning affiliate strategies.
As more spy tools are developed and the software becomes even more sophisticated, affiliate marketers can expect to get even more benefits from spy tools: smarter product testing and better results.
2. Less of the same
The increased use of spy tools and data-based strategies are giving affiliate marketers a much clearer idea of which direction to go. And this means we are seeing less copying of landing pages and creative, and more original content being generated by affiliate marketers.
Affiliate marketers now have much more knowledge at their fingertips about what converts and for which audiences. This empowers them with the ability to customize their ads and content for the audience segment they want to target. At the end of the day, a product can be marketed in a thousand different ways, depending on the end user, their pain points and needs. Data-driven affiliate strategies are giving rise to much more focused and original campaigns – which is good news for everyone.
3. Comparing similar products
Affiliate marketers have often focused their campaign efforts to one product per web page. This seems natural, as it gives the proper “soapbox” for the product or service, with plenty of room to talk about its benefits. Today, though we are seeing this less and less.
There is a definite move towards advertising seemingly disparate products on the same web page, if the products are connected in some way to the target audience. For example, an affiliate marketer may advertise a particular travel gadget alongside products for seniors, as this mature population spends more of their retirement time traveling. A common affiliate marketing practice today is running a listicle showing or comparing these different services and products, with the aim of grabbing the attention of the target audience to multiple products – and hopefully achieving multiple conversions.
4. Voice search rising
Voice assistants are on the rise. By 2020, it is expected that 50% of all online searches will be voice search. And that means more and more affiliate marketers are having to optimize their campaign keywords for voice search. The time is now for affiliate marketers to adjust their approach to SEO for more conversational, long-tail keywords that match people’s natural speech patterns.
Affiliate marketers can start with the basics and use some simple strategies to optimize for voice search. This will form the base for more sophisticated strategies that will be sure to come with the development of more advanced voice assistants in the future.
5. Reviews, reviews and more reviews
While some things in affiliate marketing are changing, others stay the same. One of the trends in affiliate marketing 2019 is not new, but it is definitely getting stronger. More than ever, affiliate marketers are using keyword-based reviews to capture their target audience’s attention.
One of the key drivers to conversions is online reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations – which also at times falls under the umbrella of influencer marketing. This marketing tactic has a heavy influence on building brand awareness, trust and conversions. A high quality, honest and comprehensive product review is a powerful way to draw the audience in. In addition, when a person is reading a review, they are already very interested and possibly very close to the purchase stage. A review is the ideal opportunity for affiliate marketers to engage the target audience when they are primed to convert.