Things always changed quite often in the digital marketing world. Is not that new, is it? Yes, because since 1999 you have to stay up-to-date to the latest developments, and now like more than ever.
Ok Marco, I got it, but which are the trends and which are the opinion of experts for 2018? I can tell you they are not specific and targeted only to the affiliate world.
Why this? Simply because more and more people from different niches of marketing started using affiliate marketing as another source of income. Influencers, bloggers, industries and companies. Everyone out there is starting using this type of field and this is only the beginning.
Instagram is opening up with Igtv, against youtube. Youtube has recently launched youtube music for his users, against Spotify. I think there are quite a lot of news out there, both for every marketers and affiliates.
What are you waiting for? Read below to check out the new trends out there.
What's going on for affiliates right now?
If you read my recent article about affiliate networks, you’ll know which one are the best networks to start on as a newbie.
Nowadays, more and more Chinese create their own networks to promote products. Office spaces and workers are cheaper then NYC or LA. In this way they can pay you affiliate more. This is only at your advantage, given you know how to promote.
Niches, niches, niches.
Today you cannot build anymore more and more small websites around different niches without no authority at all. Google does not want this anymore for his visitors ( and yours). Big G wants authority, helpful and informative contents.
Going in this way, you will want to build a great website around one niche, focusing on highly targeted traffic, given by credible and popular influencers. Do not have a catch-all approach, but start small then expand at your own pace.
Increase in influencer affiliates
I think more and more people in marketing world are starting to hate influencers and their form of passive income from silly photos.
However, the reality is influencers turned out affiliates are increasing in the last years. At the end, they could post only one photo about a digital product, and the advertisers would end getting more and more sales from it.
If you cannot beat them, join them. This is one of your biggest opportunity to promote your products through them.
What's new in advertising?
Many times experts spoke about videos as the greatest source of traffic, and income. Videos are easy to digest and they entertain people a lot. You really have nothing to lose.
According to Cisco,
- Videos will create the 82% of all online traffic by 2021.
- Live Internet video will account for 13 percent of Internet video traffic by 2021.
- Virtual reality and augmented reality traffic will increase 20-fold between 2016 and 2021, at a CAGR of 82 percent.
- Video-on-Demand (VoD) traffic will nearly double by 2021.
As you can see, you have great opportunities through these channels. Ig has been expanded with his section Igtv, made all by live videos. You know what? Bring value to your customers giving advices every day. They are years ahead of Youtube and the platform is really simple and fast.
EPC payments are going up.
Well, before starting, what is EPC?
In few words, is an affiliate payment model built around the rate of commission you get for the achieved click-throughs or the necessary activity performed on your affiliate links. It is a major type of payment used even by some of the affiliate networks out there.
Why is it so important?
Because it provides a lot of insights both for advertisers and affiliates, correcting what it is going wrong and what it’s not. You should consider to start joining those affiliate programs who make wide use of them.
Safety and transparency
Privacy and safety are getting more and more complicated. In the last couple of years, influencers like the Kardashians came under scrutiny for failing to disclose paid advertisements. Along with the net neutrality, GDPR has recently arrived in Europe to bring the greatest transparency to customers.
As Reported by Payoneer, transparency is pushing affiliates beyond their own ethics. They must be honest with their customers, including a disclosure of all relevant info your visitors to make informed decisions about what you are selling.
Net neutrality and the jeopardization of affiliates.
Since WWW was invented in 1990 by Tim-Berners Lee, the main purpose was to be free for everyone, without any limitations. This is quite true yet but the recent decision taken by the FCC in the US to repeal the neutrality changed the rules.
Historically ISPs provided equal internet access to all website regardless of their sizes, obviously having different plans based on different requirements.
Now, with this new regulation, they could start to charge websites for higher speed access with additional fees. Great businesses have the opportunity to afford that, but no small start-ups like affiliates, attempting to grow any time. In this way you are obliged to pay if you want to monetize and drive traffic to your website.
It could seem quite worrying, but hosting are highly unlikely to take on with this opportunity. Why? Because they earn the most through small websites and affiliate programs. People won’t buy with additional fees, so their income would start decreasing.
Anyway, a torrent of petitions flowed to FTC, trying to appeal the decision and fight this legislative change.
To be taken into account, the President should give their assent, highly unlikely at this point.
Being in Europe, I can tell you the last may was not easy for us. Being worried about what this new legislation could bring with her, we started to look for possible changes to our website.
Private data has changed with GDPR and us affiliates will have to justify our use of visitors data to keep building and relationships and being trusted by them.
Which elements should we have to consider?
Despite all the chaos created, they have been given few guidelines about. Tons and tons of information are given not on unified basis, and everything out there seems characterized by individual speculation.
The nature of this law is so far from being clear that we will know for sure with a prosecution somewhen in the future. One thin is certain, education and communication are not abilities of European law.
Consequently, the entire industry of affiliate marketing does not know exactly how to deliver a straight-forward message to their visitors telling them how data is necessary for their business.
Which are the intentions here? Trying to shock online businesses or generate a lot of headaches?
Technologies you should consider.
Yes, I know. It is really unusual speaking about a vault in the marketing world, but, you know what? Cryptocurrency are a whole new world to discover and this is only the beginning. They are growing like hell and as an affiliate you can have really great opportunities to make money promoting them.
I do not speak about bitcoin. They are really volatile indeed. I am speaking about different cryptos, which can be promoted quite easily, like digital products. I will make an article on this in the future for you.
As Charles Ngo reported in his article , It’s hard to ignore the entire blockchain system. There are really great companies out there that would pay for your promotion, such as:
- OysterPRL, to monetize a website without ads
- BasicAttentionToken, that pays you for someone attention ( or engagement) rather than their click.
- HoQu, able to create decentralizing affiliate networks.
However, these projects are quite in beta testing. If they succeed in their goals, the world of advertising will change forever, affiliates’ too.
Artificial Intelligence? Not yet.
Everyone, both affiliate and digital ad world, was caught on surprise by talking about artificial intelligence and his own way to revolutionize this business model.
There are many more tools out there like chatbots , able to deliver content to your social media platforms and answering your visitors question.
According to Google, the integration between AI and physical world will create new interactions for consumers, even more instantaneous and simple.
However, it is quite early to speak about great automation. Networks would have to start with simple products, just like validation of sales and processing of new applications. In this way, our future will be much more safe and strategic, freeing up hours of unnecessary work, directing them towards valuable purposes.
Stunning mobile growth due to Google.
Desktop is getting more and more ignored and usurped for traffic. Today people loves reading posts on their mobile phones or tablets.
For these reasons, Google’s SERPs increased the ranking value of mobile websites over the last years, and this trend is not going to an end. Instead, since 2016, big G has been gradually rolling testings on a small scale. This year Google is expected to change his algorithm to favor mobile. Mobile devices will take even more traffic and sales in the affiliate industry.
If you do not know where to start to change your website for mobile, look up these links below:
- How Does Mobile-First Indexing Work, and How Does It Impact SEO ?
- Mobile Optimization: 12 Best Practices for the Mobile-First Era
- How to Improve Your Rankings with Mobile-First Indexing
- Best practices for mobile-first indexing
Apple safari tracking prevention
Releasing iOS 11, Apple impaired retargeting techniques, impacting advertising revenue and analytics.
The application of tracking prevention has been set to prevent that, and advertisers do not have now the ability to track a return on ad spend through Safari and I-devices.
In this way cookies after 24 hours cannot be used anymore in a third party context. Maybe you are thinking why should not ignoring safari users, but the truth is that Safari holds a little over 20% in browsers usage.
As advised by Neil Patel, ask your vendors which measurements and changes they have put into place to mitigate the issues around safari users.
Growth of Voice Search.
In 2016, a report from MindMeld found that over 60% of U.S. smartphone users interacted with voice search once during that year.
In this way what you would want to do is adapting your own keyword research to speech-like patterns to increase your traffic along the way. This means a diversification of affiliate programs based on this type of users, that’s why should you have multiple traffic sources for your website.
Here are some resources and posts to help you out understanding this topic deeper:
What The Experts Are Saying?
Tricia Meyer of Affiliate Marketing Consultant
“2018 will bring opportunities to better blend affiliate marketing and influencer marketing into one channel. It’s an exciting time to see both brands and influencers understanding that the two can work hand in hand. The attribution methods and cross-device tracking we have been cultivating the last several years will play into the compensation models.
FTC disclosure rules can be interpreted to apply to both equally. More influencers will become affiliates, and more affiliates will become influencers. Brands will have more reason to join the affiliate channel and an even broader range of affiliates to choose to work with in varied ways.”
David Naffziger of BrandVerity
- Affiliate marketing will be increasingly brand-friendly. Everything now turns around incremental revenue, which leads to promote resources on various levels of the value ladder.
- Monitoring and compliance automation will continue to be a force for greater transparency. Automated monitoring tools are much better than humans at detecting and crawling thousands of ads and web pages.
- Influencers will be under increasing regulatory scrutiny. In 2017, the FTC took its first-ever legal action against individual online influencers for deceptively endorsing an online gambling site without disclosing that they owned the company. The FTC also sent more than 90 educational letters to influencers and brands and updated their official guidance for influencers and marketers. Stay alert on how you are managing your company.
Paul Tibbitt of CJ Affiliate
Affiliate marketing has generally been misunderstood by the C-suite. However, perception has begun to change and in 2018, affiliates will get the credit it deserves as a strategic and valuable channel in the marketing mix.
This shift is given by their ability to understand consumers across multiple dimensions. Moreover, they are promoting high-ticked products and repeating it over time, things that seem to be interesting for senior marketers.
In 2018, we will see a trend of shifting budgets from less productive channels to affiliate, as marketing leaders recognize that affiliate is one of the best performing and more efficient channels out there.
Zac Johnson of Blogging.org
For Zac, the business will continue to be focused around relevant review terms and rankings on Google.
Could seem something simple and old, but it is still one of the best ways to make money through referrals. People searching for products reviews are ready to buy from you. As always, affiliates who put in effort to build authority sites now will make more and more money in 2018 and beyond!
iAmAttila Founder of iAmAttila.com
In iAmAttila’s opinion, E-com and Lead Generation are the two big trends. E-com is now trusted.People are more favourable to use their credit cards around the world to buy products.
Lead generation is something businesses need every day, because clients are the core of them. Internet marketers, so you, will get a piece of pie out of that. In which way? Charging on CPAs, asking for more money than needed to make the lead happen.
David Alexander of Mazepress
As we reported in this section before, blockchain technology will bring more space to the affiliate marketing later on. Adbank is a new entire system based on that, able to manage payments between publishers and advertisers, cutting out middlemen who often eats large amounts of budgets. In this way you will be paid more for your work as an affiliate.
Moreover, using this new tool has the benefit of being able to tackle ad fraud caused by the vast number of bots on the internet.
Trey Lewellen of Trey Lewellen Mastermind
For Trey, affiliates are showcasing a trend:
They all love the recurring pieces and they want more money. They know that it’s easier to actually build the funnel and to effectively sell the product than it is to run an offer.
However, they even want the independence from advertisers, and some are ready to build their own companies, since they know how to create traffic to intelligently make money from their own offers.
Should you start affiliate marketing this year?
It seems quite a obvious topic to cover. I put it in the end because it helps you guys choose the right path.
Since I started, I heard the same thing every time I speak with some newbies. They do not know why they would have to start, when and where. Do you know that you can work out of nowhere, on a paradise island with wifi only? This is the truth, because you have all what you need online, both for education and experience. Try, test, change new approach and you will never fail.
Moreover, most people think affiliate marketing is dead or is going to, maybe because Facebook hates affiliates or they got these words somewhere.
Although this could seem so fearful, affiliate marketing is one of the best chances out there to start with to the one who has eyes to see clearly. You will have so many technologies and automation chatbots in the future that you will never work anymore, maybe even less than 4 hour-workweek.
In addition to this, people always want to lose weight, to find games to play, to find something that can entertain them, a book to learn, or a digital course to make money online.
Look with attention at your surroundings, there are more opportunities than ever for you and much less competition.