New affiliate marketing trends of 201730.1.2017Reading Time: 4 minutes
As we move forward with a new year filled with new possibilities, it’s important to examine where the affiliate marketing industry is headed. By staying on top of the new trends of 2017, you can make sure that you don’t get left behind.
1. Influencer Marketing
While it is still perfectly viable to earn a very healthy living as a mostly anonymous affiliate marketer, a lot of money is moving toward the realm of influencer marketing. Brands, companies and advertisers are increasingly recognizing the strength of so-called online celebrities, because of their natural, organic reach and increasingly enthusiastic audience base.
Trying to get through to prospective consumers through more traditional means of advertising is getting harder by the day. Internet users might not respond to traditional advertising the way they once did, but they will fervently follow their favorite personalities on social media.
2. Big Opportunities for Smaller Fish
It may be true that influencer marketing isn’t completely new, but what you may have noticed in the past year and a trend that will continue through 2017 is that brands are reaching out to small and medium-sized publishers and influencers too.
Rather than spend their entire budget pursuing one larger influencer, they may spread the marketing budget across a larger number of smaller influencers. That’s great news for so-called “small fish”. The reverse is also true, as smaller companies and advertisers are really starting to recognize the opportunities that affiliate marketing can provide an increase in their incremental revenue potential. It’s not just big brands anymore.
3. Cross-Device Tracking
Internet users are accessing the web on an increasingly large number of devices, from their laptops desktops, smart TVs, smartphones and their tablets. They might start looking for information on a convertible PC at home, continuing on a traditional desktop PC at work, before completing the buying decision on the phone during the commute home on the train.
Conventional tracking might view that process as three completely separate sessions from potentially three completely different individuals, but we know that’s not actually the case. Advances in cross-device tracking will continue to improve through 2017, creating new opportunities for improved user targeting and ensuring that all affiliates get credited for all the leads they generate.
4. Mainstream Acceptance
For years, affiliate marketing existed under a shroud of secrecy. Unless you were an active participant yourself, either as a publisher or as an advertiser, you may not have even known of its existence, how it works, or just how prevalent it is on the web.
That’s changing. Now, more and more “regular” users of the Internet have a better fundamental understanding of affiliate marketing and they are more regarding it as a legitimate form of monetization. They may have been more skeptical in the past and that’s getting a lot better.
5. Continued Growth of Video
Just as websites overcrowded with nothing more than giant blocks of text typically do not perform very well, Internet users are demanding more in terms of rich media content. Pictures and animations still have their place, but to ignore video can be a lethal mistake.
A video format is more accessible than ever and it is taking on a myriad of different forms. Native, embedded videos — like tutorials or reviews — can do great on landing pages. Leveraging networks like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook are also going to be huge in 2017.
6. Mobile App Installs and DLC
To assert than an increased focus on mobile is a new trend for 2017 would be terribly misleading. Of course, we all already know that more and more people are spending more and more time on their mobile devices and it is positively prudent for affiliate marketers to go where the audience is. Your website needs to be mobile optimized or, better yet, offer a fully responsive design.
Where there has been some movement is in the realm of the mobile apps themselves. Publishers are seeking new and more engaging ways to monetize their apps, not only through straight purchases but also through add-ons and DLC, as well as through promoting app installs from other publishers.
7. Native Advertising
As traditional advertising continues to be less effective, advertisers are seeking new and more engaging ways to reach their prospective customers. A quickly rising trend that doesn’t show any sign of slowing down is native advertising.
In the context of affiliate marketing, this also integrates seamlessly with the upward trend toward influencer marketing and longer term partnerships, collaborations, and brand ambassadorships. Readers seek authenticity and native advertising can be a channel to achieve that.
8. The Value of Free
As much as things might change over time, some things will remain the same… only slightly tweaked, adjusted and optimized. A prime example of this is the notion of giving away free products on the Internet. A free report, a free e-book, a free online course, these all provide opportunities for publishers to work in a value-add proposition.
Let’s say, for instance, that a blogger publishes a free e-book to give away to his readers. The e-book itself may be free, but it includes affiliate links and coupon codes, a web hosting provider, a web design company, an SEO company, a branding expert, e-courses to learn more… the list goes on and on.
9. Focus on Non-Compliance
Especially for publishers based in the United States, but still applicable to international affiliates, the increased focus on disclosure and proper compliance will increase through 2017. The FTC guidelines and regulations are expected to be enforced more stringently.
This is important for both advertisers and publishers to note, as it can affect how certain offers are promoted and whether or not they would still be reasonably effective.
10. Local Going Global
The Internet has this tremendous ability to level the playing field. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, young or old, everyone can have much of the same opportunities. This refers to geographic restrictions too.
Instead of or in addition to working with more globally or nationally-oriented offers, affiliates are moving more and more toward localized niches and localized offers, because these can provide far higher click-thru rates, conversion rates, and ROI.
What’s even more intriguing here is that more “out of area” affiliates are focusing the majority of their efforts on localized niches. The New York affiliate may be experiencing his greatest growth marketing in Belarus, for instance. Leave no stone unturned. Think global, but focus locally.