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Blog Articel - COVID-19-and-the-Future-of-Affiliate-Marketing

The Future of Affiliate Marketing in Our Current Climate


COVID-19 is an imperative topic right now and there is a good reason for that.  For the past year, it has influenced our daily lives through our thought process and decision-making in more ways than one.  From the way we work, our social lives, our eating habits, and of course our shopping habits.  

In America more than 8,700 stores closed last year, says Coresight Research, a data firm.  In Britain, 16,000 stores shut and 183,000 retail jobs were lost.

If retail stores continue to close and our shopping habits are changing wouldn’t that impact the future of affiliate marketing?  Absolutely!

According to Forbes, the affiliate marketing space was greatly impacted by the pandemic.  Some industries took off while others declined.

The question is, what changed in the affiliate space? How will 2020 impact 2021 and our future?

During 2020 half of our population experienced situations where we were required to stay at home and bound to spend more time on the internet.  From online learning, employment from home, quarantine, we are creatures of habit and the duration of time we spend online has increased in 2021 more than ever before.

Since many shops were closed and many of us preferring to stay out of the public, those that were hesitant to shop online became more comfortable with the idea.  According to The Economist, Amazon exceeded $100 billion in quarterly revenues for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2020.  

As a result in 2021, our community is grasping the convenience of online living. 

Competition is growing, trends are changing and as affiliates, we need to be mindful of that.  In order to soar above our competitors, we need to know our audience and their new habits/mindset.

What can we do to really understand our audience, support their needs, solve problems and drive the future of our business? 

“There are some massive changes. Traditional offers are not working because people are trying to save money and won’t be spending it on things they won’t need.”  KJ Rocker, Affiliate Marketing Expert

Customers will continue to have an interest in finding ways to save money.  They will become more familiar with online offers and consumers will search for saving opportunities.  

Here are a few tips:

  • Make it a practice to include free-shipping codes, flash sales, and limited-time offers.
  • Build trust with your audience by ensuring excellent customer service and by showcasing testimonials/reviews.  Try using gift cards, cashback, or other loyalty programs.
  • Stay away from evergreen offers and make it a point to speak to your audience as per our current demands.  Ex. Christmas, Spring, birthday offers.

How is your audience spending their time?

The largest transformation we will continue to see is the change in conversion rates.  With many people having lost their jobs or fearing that their jobs may be lost there has been a physiological change when it comes to how they are spending their money.  

With continued habits of online activity, we will find that most people will spend more time scrolling and viewing ads.  Because of this advertisers will see an increase in CPC. Although CPC will increase, our marketing initiatives will remain online due to performance.  Online ads target shoppers more accurately than any broadcast jingle or billboard.  On another note, due to financial struggles, more people will sit in the “decision making” stage (mid-funnel) for a longer period of time before they make their buying decision and proceed with their purchase.  

COVID-19-and-the-Future-of-Affiliate-Marketing

How do we drive our viewers to the purchase stage? 

We need to speak to our audience according to their needs.  This is where we can strive as affiliate marketers.  Moving forward it is important to be less intrusive.  Avoid product-focused advertising and provide value that speaks to their pain points.  Avoid pop-ups or gated content that might drive away potential visitors. 

“Conversions are definitely down in this pandemic.  I think people will rethink how to adjust their offers and campaigns according to the needs of the current situation.”  Ian F., Affiliate Marketing Expert

What does your audience need?

Remember, in every challenge we can embrace an opportunity. As our lives change, so do our priorities.  Although some verticals may still be suffering right now we have actually seen an increase in sales within a collection of specific categories.  

These are the top 5 search categories: 

  1. Health and Wellness
  2. Games and Entertainment
  3. Online Education
  4. Fitness Equipment
  5. Meals

It is important to speak to your audience in a relatable way.  Will your offer help their current needs? Does your landing page provide the best message that will help decrease your bounce rate and support conversions?  

Here is an example of a great landing page message: Make more time for the work that matters the most.- Asana.

It is also important to advertise in a way that does not take advantage of the situation or underestimate your viewers.  Trust me they will notice and it can drive them away. Be honest and be real.  As an example, you wouldn’t say “Enjoy this amazing Coronavirus fitness bundle.” Instead, you can say “Enjoy this fitness package. Providing everything you need to stay in shape at home.”

Also, take a moment to analyze your data prior to COVID-19, as well as during 2020. Every audience is different, so by taking this step you will gain a clearer picture of how your audience is reacting to our times and it will provide you with clearer insight when planning your next steps.

What does the future of affiliate marketing really look like?

The affiliate industry actually performs better than other industries during these unique times and this is because more people than ever are at home and they are looking to make extra income.  In fact, Google Trends data suggests that the number of searches for affiliate marketing has grown significantly.  With a new wave of competition, we must stay informed, educated, and adapt to the changes that take place in the industry to stay ahead of the game.  Adapt, be proactive and see the pandemic as an opportunity for growth, and improvement. With that being said the future of affiliate marketing is bright and holds substantial growth potential and amazing opportunities.

For more insights into the affiliate marketing space or assistance with your own program, talk to an expert today.


Joining AIM in 2021, Natalie’s dedicated and results-driven attitude has guided her journey of over fifteen years in the retail and digital marketing space. She has contributed to revenue growth for leading retailers through a combination of data analysis, innovative problem-solving, and exceptional team leadership skills. Natalie is passionate about affiliate marketing and believes in the importance of living a balanced lifestyle.

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