Affiliate marketing is predicted to be more than a 6.8 billion dollar industry by the end of 2020. That’s partially why it’s possibly one of the most exciting segments of digital marketing overall.
In the past search traffic used to be dominant, but today we see new trends establishing themselves in the ever-changing world of affiliate marketing. To be successful in this industry, you’ll need to stay on top of these trends and try to anticipate the next hottest trend. For 2020 as well as for 2019 experts have witnessed four main trends: mobile device domination, influencer marketing, the growth of voice search and data-driven insights.
Mobile Device Domination
The rise of mobile isn’t really new, but it’s still the most underestimated part of affiliate marketing or digital marketing business. Mobile has been around for over 10 years, but it’s often not used to its full potential for digital marketing campaigns. More importantly, you need to have the right mobile strategy, it’s not just about tracking mobile access. Online shopping continues to be a preferred and convenient option for many people these days, but if people do go into a store, it’s very common for them to research the products in the store and then compare prices on their phones. You’ll need to have a thought out approach that includes an offline and online mobile strategy. If you do it right, there’s a lot of opportunities to be gained and more importantly, profits to be made.
Influencer marketing is growing rapidly and has almost established itself as it’s own vertical. When it comes to the term influencer marketing Google searches, the keyword has been searched about 325% more now than it was a year ago. Influencer marketing has become a powerful force and has had a big influence on affiliate marketing. 74% of all digital users say that they trust social networks, and around 50% say that they trust online influencers. Also, 40% of Twitter users say that they’ve already purchased something because of a Tweet from an influencer. As of now, 75% of all marketers claim to have allocated money to influencer marketing.
So why has influencer marketing risen so quickly now? There are most likely four main reasons:
- Change of role
In the past influencer marketing had been part of the branding budget. Companies had fixed branding or CPM budgets, and all influencers and bloggers were treated in the same way as part of a branding campaign. This has changed quickly, especially with the rise of social platforms, where influencers and bloggers themselves have gotten much more self-confident and have begun to realize their power. They’ve started to be brand ambassadors, posting about their shopping behavior and their unique style. Brands have even started speaking with bloggers and influencers directly.
- User journey
All marketers now have the ability to analyze user behavior in digital marketing through user journey reporting. Every marketer now understands what big impact influencers have on different user journeys. This includes initiating the sale and, participating in a user journey or influencing the sale conversion itself. This builds trust, and marketers are now much more willing to spend money on paying influencers directly.
- Mobile usage
Influencers are also very mobile savvy and mainly work on social platforms, which are frequently accessed on mobile devices. As a result, the push of mobile usage pushes influencer marketing as well.
- Commission model
Many influencers these days want to be paid on performance, CPC or even CPO, and marketers are obviously willing to invest more into this channel.
84% of all marketers claim to work with influencers. So what’s the best way to manage influencer campaigns? There are four things that are really important.
- Define the objectives for your influencer campaigns
What do you actually want to achieve? Do you want to do branding, do you want to have exposure of your products, do you want to drive traffic to your shop, do you want to have conversions? It’s very important that you know what you want to achieve while working with influencers, in order to give the right content to them.
- Develop relationships
29% of all influencers have never used a tracking link in affiliate marketing or they don’t even know what affiliate marketing is. Furthermore, influencers are very different characters, from youtube stars to Instagram models, but you need to engage. Imagine how to make an influencer a brand ambassador. You can offer them product samples, incentive offers or invite them to tour your company. You need to understand the influencer, and you need to make the influencer understands your brand. Relationship building is key.
- Get the content right
There’s a difference between influencers who write a blog and influencers who are famous for their use of social media. You need to have content available to them in a format that they can work with. They’ll usually not adapt to you, so you’ll need to adapt to make your content it user-friendly to them. If you can’t, they’ll probably be more likely to work with someone else.
- Have a set budget
You need to be willing to invest, but it’s very important that you can measure how influencer marketing is working out (or not working out) for you. Everyone is different so you’ll need different tests with different kinds of influencers for different kinds of campaigns, at different times.
Voice search is a rather new player, but with a massive push from big players like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. That seems to indicate that it will have a big impact on our life in the future, on the life of our customers, and on affiliate marketing.
50% of all searches, according to ComScore, will be done on voice searches by 2020. Around 30% of searches will be done without a screen, via third-party tools. It also won’t only be using Alexa or Echo devices, but also your smartphone, your iPad and other devices that will more and more use voice commands. We’re in a similar situation with voice search that we were with smartphones 10 years ago. Everybody was aware of smartphones, but only very few people were able to predict the exponential rise that we saw many years after. According to Activate in 2020 21.4 million smart speakers will be used on a regular basis in the US. If we assume around 160 million US households, 20 million in two years is a massive number. Already by next year, the voice recognition market is predicted to be around $601 million.
How to leverage voice search for your business:
- Content optimization
Most of the searches are local queries. So you’ll need to think about the content of your website, about SEO and about your Q&A section. Is it local? Is it relevant? Does that match?
- Considering intent
When you type a search into your computer, you’re usually quite specific. For example, when you’re looking for a pair of shoes, you type in the brand, the color, and the size. With voice search, you might say ‘I’m looking for a pair of fancy brown shoes’. However, fancy is a very subjective term, so you’ll probably want to focus on long-tail search terms in a completely different way. How will your users speak about your products and how will they search?
Voice search doesn’t require a computer and will most likely be linked to mobile devices. You’ll need to make sure that all your mobile content will be voice search friendly.
Data-driven Digital Strategies
There’s a report that states 90% of all the data that was generated in the lifetime of mankind was generated in the last two years. What does that mean for our affiliate marketing programs? How do we reach actionable insights that will impact the results of our campaigns?
Think of a pyramid – consisting of data, information, and insights. Data is just raw information. For example, “8000 recorded steps” without context is meaningless. If I have a fitness watch saying you did 8000 steps in one day, that’s information. Still, we need more info. Why goals are those steps tied to? Is it just for fun or do I have a weight loss goal in mind? Do I have a training plan? 8000 steps could be a lot for someone who just looking to be more active, but for somebody training for a marathon, maybe 8000 steps isn’t that much.
You need to add all those aspects in order to make data understandable and get to actionable insights.
And the same is true for your campaigns. Here are some tips on how to get to actionable insights and how to maximize them:
When you look at the data you need to align it to your KPIs. Your company, your department, your marketing campaigns all have targets. When you look at these numbers you’ll need to make sure that you have the right KPIs. If you have a performance campaign, you won’t want to look at impressions, but more likely it will be clicks, leads or sales.
If you track 1500 leads a day that could be good or bad, depending on what you usually do on average. If you usually do 10 000 on average, you might want to look at what went wrong. Maybe the publisher isn’t working on your program.
For example, if you have a two-week-old campaign, and you’re sending all the details of that campaign to your CEO, he might be completely overwhelmed, because it’s too much detail for such a tiny campaign. You’ll need to have the right information at the right time packaged in a way the is relevant to the intended audience.
You should aim to look at the data from different angles. If you’re always looking at the same patterns, you’ll get sloppy. You need to look at it from another dimension to get new insights and to draw new conclusions.
Some may prefer graphs, while others might prefer tables to get their insights. Think about the best ways to visualize your data.
If you bear these four digital marketing trends in mind and adapt your business to these changes, we believe you are well-prepared for a successful 2020!