20 Affiliate Marketing Trends to Look out for
We have already seen that the affiliate marketing industry has had a bit of a boom over the past couple of years due to the covid-19 pandemic, and the need for businesses to innovate and get more eyes on their products or services. But what about the future? Looking forward, what trends in affiliate marketing and for the affiliate industry do we expect?
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Brands will go more data-driven
- Increase in budgets for 2022
- Micro and nano influencers explode in popularity
- AI and automation will transform the industry
- Loyalty marketing will be part of the affiliate mix
- Live shopping will become more mainstream
- Innovation with affiliates
- Crypto will become more mainstream
- Comarketing between affiliates to benefit brands
- More competition than ever before for brands and affiliates
Brands will go more data-driven than ever before
Data will be the keyword for the foreseeable future. With more and more businesses looking for campaigns that deliver real results, companies will start to focus more on data in their campaigns than ever before, particularly in light of third-party cookies being phased out.
Data-driven decisions = informed decisions.
Brands will measure campaign results in terms of return on investment and actual sales. Their focus will be on getting results and optimizing campaigns for success. They will become much more strategic as a result, both with who they work with and the content that the partners produce, and we are not just talking about influencers.
With each affiliate marketing campaign, trial and error will be a significant part of this strategy until they find the right mix to get the return on investment and revenue they are looking for.
Image soure: Tapfiliate
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2. Highlight your brand, not just your products
Brands that highlight who they are, not just their products, will thrive in the affiliate industry and continue to do so.
Consumers want to buy from brands they like.
87% of consumers say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause.
They want to feel good about who they are buying from and where they are spending their money. They care about brands being environmentally conscious. They like to read stories about employee wellbeing. They find it important to see diversity and inclusion.
Blogger The Eco Hub shares articles including products that align with her goals of zero waste, sustainable living, green beauty, and natural cleaning.
Featuring products like shampoo bars, the blog provides a detailed description of how the product uses less single-use plastic and why this is important for the environment. This offers a new angle and appeals to readers who care about this issue.
Share any brand-related content with your affiliates so they can use them as part of their promotions. You can send this in your newsletter, affiliate marketing materials (such as images or graphics), and on your website.
Great brand-related content for affiliate marketing includes:
- Company initiatives
- Social Issues (i.e. Black Lives Matter)
- Non-profit sponsorships
- Local outreach efforts (i.e. volunteering at Food Banks)
- Company backstory and founding
- Office culture (i.e. paid paternity leave)
3. Increase in affiliate marketing budgets
With more and more companies diving into affiliate marketing over the past years due to the covid-19 pandemic, we will see another big increase in budgets for the affiliate marketing industry.
Statista estimates that spending on affiliate marketing will reach $8.2 billion in 2022 in it’s highest jump since 2015. This is partly due to the increase in popularity of influencer marketing and influencers using the commission payment model and partly because affiliate marketing and the creation of affiliate networks are becoming more and more popular as a whole because of the global covid-19 pandemic.
Image source: Statista
Last year, Instagram was responsible for bringing influencer affiliate marketing into the mainstream by trialing affiliate marketing for itself with a select number of brands and influencers who have been given access.
This has paved the way for more brands to discover affiliate marketing and use the commission payment model to increase revenue for their business, despite them announcing that they will shut it down.
4. Use social media to educate instead of influence
Used by 93% of brands and showing no signs of slowing down, influencers will continue to play a major role in affiliate marketing. But as the industry continues to grow and evolve, you can expect new things for influencer-led promotions in the coming year.
Trends like video and micro-influencers will remain strong for any affiliate marketing business and its affiliate campaigns.
The big shift will come in the type of influencer content used for influencer marketing trends. Given the dramatic societal changes of late and the audience’s ability to spot paid promotions, highly-curated influencer content will no longer have the same effect as it previously did.
Discover more about how to choose the best social media platform for affiliate marketing channels.
Audiences want to see more authentic, real content that provides value from their beloved content creators.
Image source: Tiara Willis/Instagram
Cerave achieved this by partnering with top estheticians like @makeupforwomenofcolor to create content around their skincare products. Despite having large niche audiences, the partners are not simply holding up a product and telling their followers to buy it.
Instead, they use their position as industry leaders to create in-depth, educational content around the products they are promoting. They discuss how to use the product, what skin conditions they target, and why the ingredients work.
The focus is less on their popularity and more on their expertise.
This type of content has become increasingly popular on social media platforms like Tik-Tok and Instagram Reels. This content is also fitting for Live streaming, Q&A sessions, and blog content (both onsite and offsite).
Tips for creating this type of content for affiliate campaigns & promotions include:
- Finding top influencers in your specific niche — the more specific, the better
- Looking beyond just follower counts, more on expertise
- Providing influencers with free samples or product previews to review
- Allowing influencers to have more control over their promotions
It’s important to keep in mind that the influencers you partner with may not necessarily be the proto-type “influencers”. But don’t limit yourself. Audiences want to see real people and quality content. Accredited professionals, industry analysts, brand employees, and niche experts can all be excellent influencers.
Explosion of micro and nano influencers
I know we keep harping on about influencers, but that’s because they are so popular. This popularity will reach new heights, and micro and nano influencers will dominate the affiliate marketing industry as a whole.
Affiliate and influencer marketing are perfectly matched.
Micro-influencers are social media influencers and content creators on a smaller scale, with somewhere between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. They tend to be more niche focused with expertise in interests like health, design, cooking, travel, gaming, beauty, etc.
Micro-influencers tend to have a more engaged following and, therefore, a bigger influence over buying decisions.
[Markerly found] that(https://markerly.com/blog/instagram-marketing-does-influencer-size-matter/) when an influencer’s follower total rises, the rate of engagement (likes and comments) with followers decreases. Higher engagement rates mean more visibility, and a micro-influencer’s post is more likely at the top of their follower’s feed.
On top of that, they can be perceived as authentic and genuine.
It’s likely that a micro-influencer is actually a consumer of that product, and most people don’t question this. In contrast, do we really believe that celebrity influencers are using $20 Proactive skincare? Most on Twitter say no.
Brands that are on a budget will seek out micro-influencers and nano influencers to work with on an affiliate basis to maximize their return on investment. More budget will be put aside for influencer campaigns, and a large chunk of that will be for micro and nano influencers who are experts in their fields.
Want to start an influencer marketing campaign? Try all the features: 👉get a 14-day free trial here
6. Explore communities
Online communities can be found all over the place, and generally they have much more engaged users. People are always searching for authentic communities that provide value for them. Think Facebook groups, Reddit, Quora, Medium, Discord, Mighty Networks - these give you a new way to share affiliate content and promotions (and increase purchase decisions in your favor.)
These platforms tend to be more niche-focused, with communities built around a common interest, so you have a better chance of reaching your target audience. Additionally, much as we talked about before, this content is highly-educational and a resource for many potential customers.
This is also a great opportunity to put your brand at the center of the conversation. This could be affiliates providing reviews and links to your products. Or it could be a way to find high-qualified affiliates to join your program. Either way, you can spark interest in your brand and build brand awareness.
As an added bonus, this will help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts and expand your online presence.
AI and automation will transform affiliate marketing
Artificial intelligence will change the affiliate marketing industry. It will save brands time, energy, and resources and enable companies to increase their sales. It could be anything from helping you find an influencer or affiliate for your campaign, automatically filtering your potential affiliate list, or having an AI affiliate that helps your brand increase your basket value. Either way, it looks set to change how brands work on affiliate marketing.
One type of Artificial Intelligence technology that can be used for affiliate marketing campaigns is something called ‘rule-based optimization”. So what can rule-based optimization do for you? You can use this technology to set up rules by which your campaign automatically runs.
Another advantageous type of AI is A/B testing. A/B testing allows you to test two variants of an affiliate marketing campaign against each other so that you can make sure that you go with the most effective variant. You can test specific elements to find the combination which ultimately leads to the highest conversion rate.
Loyalty marketing as part of the affiliate marketing mix
Loyalty marketing refers to a way of marketing that focuses solely on retaining your existing customer base and making sure that they are as satisfied as they can be. This kind of marketing is all about building trust with your customers so that they engage and buy with you repeatedly.
The easiest form of loyalty marketing is to offer a loyalty program. Loyalty programs target high-value customers and offer them a reward for returning and purchasing from your business again. There is even another benefit for affiliate marketing businesses, and that is that through loyalty programs, you can gather valuable insights about your customer base that can then help you to create a personalized shopping experience.
Loyalty marketing will become part of the affiliate marketing mix to encourage shoppers to keep coming back again and again. Incentives will be allocated to customers easily using the same tech as your affiliate marketing software.
Incentives like cashback, charity donations, or points will enable the advertisers to form closer relationships with their customers. They will be able to reward customers more than a cashback website because the customers will be shopping directly with the brand.
Image source: The Container Store
Live shopping will become more popular and mainstream on social
Already a booming industry in China, live shopping (or virtual shopping) will increase in popularity in other markets.
Livestream shopping will be something that influencers get into more and more - it’s already gaining some popularity on platforms such as Twitch, where gamers will play a game and then issue a coupon code to drive online sales. In November, YouTube hosted a live shopping week for the first time, and it will become an increasingly popular channel as more and more influencers jump onto the bandwagon.
So what is live shopping?
Live shopping is the act of influencers, or anybody else, selling products online through digital platforms in real-time. This allows consumers to ask questions or make comments that the host of the video can then address for them then and there. This kind of shopping has increased levels of engagement and can be coupled with promotions, discounts, or affiliate links!
More diverse affiliates for advertisers than ever before
There are several different affiliate types that advertisers can work with, but every year innovation gives advertisers more options to diversify their revenue. The next years will be no exception. Whether that’s innovations with AI affiliates, to new groundbreaking apps, or employees, it will offer advertisers more opportunities to grow their affiliate marketing business and get in front of new audiences.
Between blogs, social media, and even word-of-mouth, there are a lot of opportunities to promote your brand in different online spaces. And with a pay-for-performance marketing model, why would you limit yourself?
Make it a goal to recruit new affiliates. Find affiliates that are different from those you typically work with on your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Affiliates can be anyone from existing customers, bloggers, vloggers, influencers, website owners, review sites, other businesses, and even professional affiliate marketers.
Seek out affiliates on a variety of channels and platforms. Having a wide range of affiliates means more diverse content to showcase your products & service, and your brand will be seen in new spaces by untapped audiences.
If most of your affiliates are bloggers, think about being more active in inviting your existing customers for more personalized promotion. If the majority of your referrals come from social media, try partnering with review sites to reach new audiences and gain better search engine rankings.
Crypto to become more mainstream
Cryptocurrencies have become more and more mainstream over the past couple of years. Since bitcoin launched in 2009, the industry as a whole has grown tenfold thanks to multiple businesses recognizing them as a valid currency and accepting them as payment.
More and more people are investing in altcoins, and last year, NFTs exploded onto the scene. This opens the door for more crypto advertisers and affiliates to partner up and maximize their revenue as it becomes more mainstream and governments and banks start to accept and invest in the industry.
So why not start a crypto affiliate program? Of course, only do this if the target audience of your affiliate marketing campaigns is people who are already part of the cryptocurrency world.
Start your crypto affiliate marketing program. Try all the features: 👉get a 14-day free trial here
Comarketing partnerships between affiliates to benefit everyone
Comarketing partnerships between affiliates will start to gain popularity, which will be a great opportunity for advertisers to earn more revenue and get a more diverse audience in front of their products or services.
For affiliates, the opportunities for co-marketing are endless - content affiliates could collaborate with one another, or different affiliate types could work together to maximize their revenue.
In terms of comarketing and commissions, it could look like a revenue share agreement between the two, or each keeping the commissions their site referred, depending on the partnership, or passing on a percentage of their own commission to the other.
More competition for brands and affiliates - more people looking to stand out
We will see increased competition in the affiliate marketing world. Affiliates and advertisers will look to Quora to find new niches and offerings that will help them stand out, help people, and increase their revenue. Why? Because Quora is often a last resort where people go to find answers they can’t find on Google.
For brands looking to increase their revenue, finding those key product and service niches is essential - it means you can stock up on a product and start an affiliate marketing campaign around it to generate more online sales. For affiliates, being able to provide an answer to those questions on your website or in any other form can provide a valuable additional revenue stream.
With more and more brands turning to affiliate marketing, attracting affiliates can be tough.
Bonus commissions will help you stand out among your competitors. This gives you an extra edge and provides an extra incentive to affiliates to promote your product.
Image source: Mashable
As a way to promote its affiliate program, Coursera highlights its bonus offer. They give baseline commissions between 10% – 45% on any eligible online purchases users make within 30 days of clicking a qualified link, then include bonuses for strong performance.
Some instances where bonuses would be useful include:
- New product or features launches
- Holiday and seasonal trends in online sales
- Decreased sales periods
- End of the fiscal quarter or year
👉 Tapfiliate’s Pro Plan lets you customize bonuses around target goals, bonus amounts, bonus periods, and bonus tiers.
14. Feature more affiliate content
For years, brands have tried to hide paid promotions, but things have completely flipped. Affiliate disclaimers and paid promotions are now required to be labeled in many jurisdictions. Affiliate marketing has skyrocketed, even in the past year.
When you add in top affiliate marketing tracking softwares, affiliate marketing is now a fixture in marketing strategies, just as much as email campaigns or display ads.
There’s no longer the need to shy away from your affiliate-driven promotions.
- Feature your affiliate partners.
- Leverage affiliate-generated content on your site.
- Promote your affiliate program and highlight your offers.
- Attract more affiliates and get more people promoting your brand.
Image source: Amazon: Madison LeCroy
Amazon partnered with creators as part of their Amazon Associates/Influencer Program to create content that is featured directly on their site. Using live stream videos, the affiliates promote products specific to their niche and include links to buy the featured products in the Amazon marketplace.
Amazon uses this content from the Amazon Associates throughout its site on product, category, and holiday promotional pages.
Some affiliate content ideas to feature on your site includes:
- Livestreams with Q&A sessions about products
- Video tutorials and how-to guides
- Curated product feeds such as a gift guide or wish list
- In-depth product reviews and testimonials
Given that this original content is being used as part of your site, consider using different commission structures. You can offer a higher commission or bonus incentive for affiliates that create content for your site.
15. Social Proof has more importance
This is one the most exciting trends for affiliate marketers as it is easy to implement. Why? It is easy to implement.
As consumers lose trust in brands and begin to turn to other consumers for insights into products and services, using social proof in marketing content and even affiliate website copy because increasingly important.
Online reviews and community forms are the go-to places for consumers to turn to when looking for purchasing advice. Once your business starts racking up good reviews, your affiliate marketers can include screenshots of these reviews in their affiliate marketing campaigns so potential customers and potential affiliate partners can see the true value that you offer.
16. Include more video content
More and more, video is becoming the preferred content for consumers and one of the fastest growing trends for affiliate marketers to quickly jump on board.
And there are a lot of stats that show how powerful video can be:
72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service. (Wyzowl)
Viewers are 95% more likely to remember a call to action after watching a video compared to 10 percent when reading it in text format. (Forbes)
Video searches for “which product should I buy” have doubled. (Google)
88% of consumers have bought something after watching a video. (Wyzowl)
There are a few ways you can add video to your affiliate marketing strategy.
Find and partner with affiliates that are familiar with video. This can be vloggers, YouTubers, live streamers, influencers on Instagram Stories and Facebook Live, etc.
It’s important to note that although YouTube is king - video can still be very effective as blog and website content.
Popular video content includes:
- Tutorial & How-To videos
- Product Reviews
- Favorites & Best Features
- Unboxing Videos
- Styling Sessions
For example, an e-commerce store could partner with a fashion vlogger for a styling video on how they wear their product. Or, a software company could work with a YouTuber to make a tutorial video, going step-by-step how to use certain functions and the end outcome.
For more collaborative content, consider doing an interview or giving sample products that can be used in the video.
This is also a great way to create hype around new products. Provide affiliates with materials beforehand, and then they can create videos with “insider” details and be used for promotion prior to a product launch.
Marketing materials you should prepare for video promotions include:
- Referral links and promo codes
- Brand logo for thumbnails
- Accurate pricing/sale information
Affiliate links can be placed in the video caption, directing traffic to the products shown in the video. Another option is coupon codes that can be promoted in the video and in the caption.
Video promotions are more in-depth and, in some cases, more time-consuming to create. Really take time to seek out affiliates that you can create a strong partnership with, and prepare to have more involvement in the process (especially with product samples & demos).
17. Affiliate marketing in the metaverse
If you missed our article on this topic, it’s time to listen up. The metaverse is a network of different digital 3D worlds that are all integrated together and can be accessed through virtual reality. This whole new world offers a whole new world of opportunities to marketers, advertisers, and businesses.
You can now launch your affiliate marketing campaign into the metaverse. If gamers and augmented reality or virtual reality users are your target market then it shouldn’t be hard to quickly find affiliate partners in this universe (as long as your commission offering is strong).
The metaverse is only set to grow in its’ size and popularity so now is the time to get started with your metaverse affiliate marketing, before the market becomes too saturated.
18. Voice Search is increasingly used
Our method of primary search as consumers is changing.
Some people find typing time-consuming. Luckily for them, with the improvements that have been made to voice recognition technology, you now no longer have to type things out; you can just speak to your mobile device and let it do the hard work for you.
You can also search for anything using your voice. Phrases like “Alexa, please search for….” or “Siri, what’s….?” becoming increasingly heard around town. This means that affiliate marketers need to optimize their ads, their affiliate marketing program, and their affiliate landing pages for this kind of searching so that they are brought up as a suggestion for the relevant keywords.
Some best practices for voice search optimization include:
- Use long-tail and question keywords in your copy
- Have an FAQ page or section on your affiliate landing page
- Include sections in your content that could be ‘Featured Snippets’
- Keep your content relevant, fresh, and SEO optimized
Get ahead of the competition
With new technology and awesome features from Tapfiliate, there are plenty of opportunities to grow your affiliate program into a profitable business opportunity in the new year.
But, as we all know, technology and interests change fast. It’s essential to know the trends and adapt to ensure you’re engaging audiences and continuing to grow your affiliate marketing business.
So, watch out for these biggest affiliate marketing trends and stay ahead of your competition by implementing the aspects that work for you, your affiliate partnerships, and your affiliate campaigns.