How to Ride the Wave of Innovation in Affiliate Marketing
According to Stephanie Harris, affiliate marketing is nearing – or actually in – maturation phase after twenty years as an industry. To avoid stagnation and present unique solutions, she believes that continuous innovation is key. Indeed, affiliate marketing has evolved over the years and it has embraced innovation, such as increased focus on utilizing high-quality content marketing and further optimizing the mobile experience. However, in order to continue to seize the profit opportunities available in affiliate marketing world, stagnation in innovation should be avoided.
In this blog, I will first show what three affiliate marketing experts think the future holds for affiliate marketing and, as a publisher regularly hired by companies, I will then comment on their ideas. Finally, I will list seven habits of successful affiliate marketers, so that you can ride that wave of affiliate marketing innovation in the future too.
The future of affiliate marketing according to three experts
If what the experts say is true, affiliate marketing’s future is bright. They do not always see affiliate marketing starting from the same spot (some say it has already evolved much and some say it is just “coming out of the shadows”), but they do see it heading in a promising direction.
1. Growth driven by ongoing retail apocalypse
David Vogelpohl, the VP of Web Strategy at WP Engine, thinks that the future of affiliate marketing over the next 10-15 years will be dominated by the evolution of multi-touch attribution and that its growth will be driven by the ongoing retail apocalypse.
Marketing departments target more touch-points and analytics platforms provide more visibility into multi-touch attribution. Therefore, affiliate advertisers will rethink their affiliate commission models and offer more variable commissions based on the weight of attribution.
The retail apocalypse forces more companies to focus on their digital presence versus their physical one. Consequently, the affiliate landscape will expand and grow thanks to the increased competition between these online brands and Amazon.
In short, advertisers will be smarter about commissions and publishers will benefit from an ever-expanding list of advertisers vying for their attention.
2. Booming opportunity
Cole Hernandez, the founder of Pink Graffiti, believes that it is a booming opportunity, especially considering the rise of freelancers and solopreneurs with online businesses.
As we look ahead, the millennials and post-millennials, who are actively benefitting from the sharing economy, understand the power of passive income. As businesses are formed, they are actively integrating affiliate marketing into their business models.
3. Out of the shadows
Yonatan Dotan, the co-founder of Affluent Analytics, notices that the affiliate marketing industry is growing and coming out of the shadows. Where it was once reserved for gambling sites, today major international brands from every market rely on affiliation as part of their marketing mix. Still, it is a far way off.
Unfortunately, right now, CMOs admit that affiliate marketing is their least mastered area of marketing. This is, in part, due to a severe lack of technology and a heavily fragmented industry, split across thousands of affiliate networks and software.
Dotan predicts a significant consolidation of affiliate networks, much more widespread adoption of affiliation among publishers ranging from the largest of content sites to the smallest of bloggers, and that it will grow to become one of the top areas of expertise for CMOs.
Publishers require innovation from affiliate marketing networks and programs
As a publisher, you aim to earn an income by publishing about products or services that you genuinely endorse. The first thing you obviously need is such a product or service, but other requirements matter too. It is increasingly harder for companies to reach their target audience but the same goes for publishers. Innovation is, therefore, a key requirement when selecting affiliate marketing programs or networks.
Tools and support
As a publisher on my Dutch parenting blog Meemoeder.com, I do not need the fanciest visuals or fonts in my account at your affiliate marketing program, although those are highly appreciated, of course. I feel great tools and support are more important. I want my questions answered quickly and I want the tools offered to work and surprise me with how user-friendly and effective they are.
I have joined several affiliate marketing programs. Some belong directly to the company and some are networks that offer affiliate marketing options for several companies. For example, one program that belongs directly to the company looks a bit simple at first, but it offers me a wide range of promoting options and a wide product range in my niche. What more do I need?
A small innovation can go a long way
Another program that I have joined is LinkPizza, a big native advertising platform in the Netherlands, and what this platform has surprised me with is a simple-looking innovation. Do you know those long affiliate marketing links, sometimes including ‘partner,’ ‘affiliate’ or ‘campaign’? Those are no fun because readers do not like clicking on them.
So, you have written an entire blog post and your readers do not want to click on the one thing that pays you for your writing efforts. LinkPizza has solved that problem for me by allowing me to post normal links, which it then automatically transforms into an affiliate link after the reader has clicked on it. Such a small innovation can make a publisher’s life so much easier!
Seven habits of successful affiliate marketers
Tahha Ashraf has compiled a list of common habits found in some of the most effective affiliate marketers. Take these into account when deciding what innovation comes in handy for your personal affiliate marketing strategy.
1. Thinking long-term
Build a long-term model that will not likely die out with campaigns over time. Keep plans that are not competition dependent. Stick to one kind of audience and develop resources for it. Create a set of metrics that can help you better judge your plans.
2. Networking is everything
Networking is significant when it comes to affiliate marketing.
3. Keeping check on competition
Keep an eye on what your competition is up to and what innovation they have to offer.
4. Being a Jack-of-all-trades
Have a basic understanding of all the technicalities involved in your business. You do not have to be an expert in writing coded script, but you ought to have a basic understanding of marketing products and services.
5. Consistency is the key
Do not consider your affiliate work as a secondary source of income that you can look up during spare time.
6. Always keep an email list
Generate an email list rather than simply forwarding traffic to vendors without keeping track of email addresses. Do not miss out on the opportunity to reach out to users who have previously visited your website.
7. Never rely on one traffic source
Run your business on multiple sources of traffic, including social media, YouTube, an email list, etc.
Affiliate marketing trends and myths
Are you looking for more information on what we can expect from affiliate marketing? Earlier this year, I published a blog called ‘12 Fascinating Affiliate Marketing Trends and Myths,’ which gives you seven trends to watch out for and five myths that you should not buy. Hope that helps!
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