If you are still following tips on affiliate marketing from 2013, then you are doing it wrong. Affiliate Marketing trends come and go all the time and while some principles remain true, if you ignore the changing current of the affiliate marketing world, you can find yourself suddenly lost at sea.
Today we’re going to cover the most important affiliate marketing trends of 2019 so you can stay ahead of the curve and boost your sales this year.
1. Influencer Marketing Is Taking Off
Influencer marketing is the current hotness. With the rise of YouTube and Instagram stars who are looking for opportunities to monetize their audience and the money is following. Last year 39% of ad agencies reported plans to increase their influencer marketing spend compared to only 5% planning to decrease their spend.
The idea is simple, an influencer is someone who has an audience who listen to them. They team up with marketers to promote products or services via collaboration, promotions, or even just wearing items.
While this might seem like a brand marketers dream, it’s not just limited to this field. By placing links in bio or the comment section, influencers can drive traffic to specific landing pages.
Affiliate marketers can get in on the act by teaming up with influencers and providing their own links to products.
2. Mobile Is Still Growing
In 2015, mobile was just edging desktop as the way that most internet content was consumed with 52.7% of all views. In 2018, mobile made up 61.2% of all online views. This trend is even more pronounced in Asia and developing markets where a mobile device is more likely to be a users only internet browsing tool.
While this trend isn’t growing as fast as in the past, the lesson of moving to a mobile-focused strategy still hasn’t been learned by every advertiser.
Make sure your landing pages are mobile-friendly and optimized so that you avoid clickloss when traffic comes to your landing pages. Also look out for offers that have carrier billing to make it easy to convert.
To help optimize, look into tools to redirect mobile traffic to specific mobile landing pages, you can optimize for different OS versions.
There are other trends that are caused, at least in part, by the continued dominance and growth of mobile.
3. Push Traffic Is Kind of a Big Deal
One of the ways you can take advantage of the increased presence of mobile devices is push traffic. It’s one of the affiliate marketing trends that started late in 2018 and is predicted to gain even more momentum this year.
Push traffic is delivered by instant, interactive messages.
These can be delivered to desktop devices too, but are more common with smartphones and tablets. You know those little messages you receive from an app or website? That’s a push notification.
Due to a user opting-in to receive these notifications, they show pre-existing user intent. When combined with push ads’ interactive and engaging nature, this has lead to some high click and conversion rates.
Check out a case study how one Zeropark customer saw a winning start in his first push campaign.
4. Video Content
Video has been a rising trend since the internet began thanks to gradually increasing internet speeds and user bandwidth provision.
Zenith recently reported predictions for daily video content consumption to increase by 9 minutes per user until 2020. This would mean an average of 84 minutes of online video content watched per day.
Video ad formats include pre-roll, banner, pop, in video ads and more. All of these can be directed to an affiliate offer or lander.
5. Audio Content
But video isn’t alone here. Audio content’s recent revival — growing 24% in 2017 and predicted to double in total time by 2020 — is worth noting too. While it also owes a lot to the previously mentioned factors helping video, audio’s rebirth is thanks to an increase in high-quality program and smart speakers which help deliver micro audio content.
It’s worth noting that both text and video require more attention than audio. Audio can be on in the background, which means more audio content can be consumed but this can be more difficult to grab attention.
Affiliate advertising with audio, things are more tricky as you can’t click a sound (at least not yet) but that doesn’t mean you can’t run affiliate campaigns. Podcasts often have show notes which do have clickable links and you can create easy to explain URL with redirects to send traffic.
6. GDPR Aftermath, Privacy, and Data
The GDPR came into effect last year and its impact is still resonating around affiliate marketing. Certain campaign types and tactics became impractical overnight, as well as further issues for EU centered campaigns and companies. But it wasn’t a death stroke to affiliate marketing.
Concerns over privacy and data use online are growing among many segments of the market and web users are more wary of giving over personal details.
If you have a website or landing page then you need to make sure it doesn’t trigger a visitors privacy fears.
SSL has become a must-have unless you want a users browsers to display warning signs as soon as they land on your site and although cookie notices are annoying, they can provide a sense of trustworthiness.
7. AI Tools Are Coming to Affiliate Marketing
Artificial intelligence is a hot topic but it’s also a broad one that is changing every facet of our lives. This is true of affiliate marketing as well as medical research.
There is a wide range of AI tools emerging for affiliate advertisers. The main trend is automating basic functions or running programmatic rules that marketers set. For example, in Zeropark we’ve introduced Rule-based optimization.
The industry-leading measurement and analytics tool, Voluum, has rapidly innovated its Traffic Distribution AI product which analyzes the performance of offers, landers, and paths and then redistributes traffic accordingly. This provides a more rapid response than a human could achieve and can be used in addition to human smarts for far more optimization than would be possible otherwise.
Google Ads are now using AI to automatically make creatives for ads using available data (such as photos in Google Maps reviews or content on landing pages) providing access to search ads for small businesses without marketing departments.
AI is also emerging in other areas of affiliate marketing which are helping to solve other problems than A/B testing and optimization.
Chatbots are getting both more advanced and more common as the technology behind them advances and easier for companies to implement.
IBM estimates that 80% of customer service enquires could be handled by chatbots and customers approve with 53% of customers preferring to start with online chat before calling a customer service number.
Chatbots can provide a way to deliver traffic as well as interacting with users on landing pages to help address concerns.
These interactions can also help you identify what common concerns keep coming up and ways to optimize your sales pages further.
9. Ad Fraud and Anti-Fraud Tools
Ad fraud continues to grow, with Pixalate estimating that invalid traffic currently makes up 16.6% of all online traffic. This lead to an estimated $19bn wasted due to ad fraud in 2018.
Just as AI can be a cause of Ad Fraud, it can also provide the antidote. Analyzing bot behavior and identifying near invisible patterns from huge data sets as well as taking instant action on suspicious.
When choosing a traffic source or a tracker, make sure it’s well-equipped for the battle against ad fraud.
10. More People Are Using Voice Search
Let’s look at our final of the top 10 affiliate marketing trends.
With improvements in speech recognition, the growth in sales of smart speakers (24% of US households already own one), and the proliferation of voice assistance on devices users already have, voice searches are growing.
In fact, one recent report suggested that by 2020 half of all searches will be initiated by voice.
But this has an impact on affiliate marketers.
Although search results may be used to get an instant answer, they are also used to pull up data and web pages for further reading. To get that traffic, you need to change your SEO approach for voice but there is the question as to whether a provider will start selling sponsored search results too.
That could have huge potential for savvy early-adopter affiliates.
Take Advantage of These Affiliate Marketing Trends in 2019
So what does this mean for you as an affiliate marketer? There are some clear action points that you should at least research if not implement, as soon as you can.
- Investigate new traffic sources including push, influencers, video, and audio
- Make sure you are aware of regulations over offers and geos you target
- Experiment with new AI features and tools to help you get more for your ad spend
- Use Anti-fraud solutions to avoid wasting your ad budget on bot traffic.