So the holidays are in full effect and Christmas is upon us, 2015 has been a doozy?! Here at AIM we have made some great strides, and are very much looking forward to everything the New Year has in store. So with 2016 looming I thought a prediction of potential affiliate marketing trends to help your business prepare for the year ahead was in order.
1. ARE WE SICK OF HEARING ABOUT MOBILE YET?
Well get used to it because the user growth of this trend isn’t slowing anytime soon. In the next few years experts estimate that consumers will complete more than $170 billion in sales through mobile devices. So along with this there comes opportunities to explore mobile advertising with a variety of different methods.
We’ve all heard how important mobile is to any digital marketing strategy, of course affiliate marketing is no exception. In 2014 interestingly enough the growth of mobile commerce outpaced the overall growth of ecommerce, and in 2015 mobile traffic is set to exceed even desktop traffic. So how does this affect ecommerce? During 2014 ShareASale, one of the major affiliate networks accounted 25-30% of traffic and 15-18% of orders on Cyber Monday were from mobile. These segments are growing and due to the current limitations of certain networks attribution models both merchants and their affiliate programs are missing out on revenue.
Mobile can open up a variety of new performance methods, text messages for example have a far higher open rate than emails do. People access social media, online videos and email in different ways that they would on a desktop, there is a new playing field to better target your audience. Large companies like Starbucks have made it possible for customers to pay for their coffee using mobile devices and the evidence suggests that mobile payments are going to be a major trend for 2016.
Mobile adoption is fueling changes in mobile ad spend too. According to the IAB, in 2013 UK mobile ad spend increased 68% year on year, with mobile now accounting for 20% of all digital advertising, fueled by mobile display, which is growing the fastest at 116%. Brands are embracing this medium with many advertisers only accepting sales from mobile apps, rather than the desktop route, suggesting the future could be a mobile only one.
2. KING CONTENT
In an industry where automation is increasingly prevalent the need for high quality content just keeps getting stronger. Reasons why you should be on top of this for 2016:
- Establishes credibility (Quality dependent) of your business by engaging audience with relevant content.
- Gives comprehensive insight of the product, educating the customer, building relationships and ultimately increasing conversion rates.
- Syncs well with social media, blogging, email marketing, SEO
- Highlights your brand as a quality product, increases visibility, and increases over site traffic.
Regardless of whether or not you are good at writing, you can still produce successful blog or website advertising different products. If you’re not suitably confident that you can create regular engaging content look into content writing services that are readily available to you.
3. WHY IT’S OK TO TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY
In a world of increasing autonomy personalized contact is increasingly relevant and can also be highly rewarding, see below for some reason why both account managers and publishers should both be on top of this.
- Activation/Reactivation – Speaking directly to your affiliates helps them to get started within the program, keeping you top of mind when you are able to answer any questions or provide additional assets that the affiliate may require.
- Relationship Building – Once a activation has been successful maintaining this relationship will be crucial to the longevity and success of the affiliate within your program. There may also be other programs that your affiliate might be interested in promoting too so the more relationships you create the better.
- Security and Fraud prevention – On the flipside of good behavior taking an overall personal approach can deter affiliates from trying to abuse the program. A more engaged Account Manager will pick up on any problems at just the right time before any serious damage occurs.
- By introducing special discount coupons codes visible only to those visitors who come at your host’s website via your Unique Affiliate URL you are offering a step above what most other affiliates within the program are. Of course account managers aren’t just going to give these codes away for free, a strong history or performance within the account or any other relevant programs will be necessary.
- Create a separate landing page for your account containing your logo, name and other branding elements that shows you as a premium partner of your host. This type of promotion is great for increasing your credibility when promoting an offer. For example yourblogname.brandname.com is a very effective way to promote an offer.
- Use special pre-built banners for your site or blog. These may be co branded or custom designs relevant to your site.
4. KEY IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY – ATTRIBUTION
Given the complexities of the industry attribution is a hot topic in the affiliate space. An increasing amount of merchants are developing a system of attribution they use internally to evaluate which partnerships are creating value and which aren’t delivering at all. These models are becoming increasingly complex, multi-touch, time-decay attribution, and position-based attribution are to name just a few. So with each affiliate network using different attribution models things become more and more complex.
Unfortunately existing tracking configurations aren’t fit for purpose in a multi-device world; managing channel ‘de-duplication’, across multiple devices isn’t easy. The performance marketing industry must address this through policies that ensure fair and consistent channel de-duplication. Since publishers driving traffic on one device don’t necessarily get rewarded for the sale on another, effectively having their sales cannibalised by other channels. It will be key for digital to master multi channel attribution, especially within the affiliate marketing world.
5. THE RISE OF AFFILIATE MARKETING
I know I talk about this a lot, but I tell you the numbers don’t lie! I also work in affiliate marketing so get off my back. There are many factors at play within the growth of the performance marketing space. Technology has certainly had a part to play, enabling marketers to drive large volumes of ad sales using different methods. On the flipside increased regulatory measures of governing bodies such as the FTC, and organizations such as the PMA have also helped keep the industry in check. In turn boosting the reputation of affiliate marketing as a viable marketing solution for businesses.
Additionally, Forrester forecasts U.S. affiliate marketing spending will increase by a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 17 percent between 2011-2016, growing to $4.5 billion.
Gone are the days when merchants treat affiliate marketing as a second-class channel. Smart marketers are managing their affiliate programs more effectively, identifying high-value partners and rewarding those that bring new customers to the table.
Rather than a hands-off approach, marketers get the best results when they work closely with their affiliate counterparts to create strategies that work for their brand. This means providing affiliates with the content, incentives, and direction to ensure your target customers find your products.
Relevant AIM Posts
- Procrastinators Beware Google Goes Mobile April 21st
- The History of Content Marketing With Joe Pulizzi
- 3 Steps to Creating Quality Content for Your Brand
- Rethinking Attribution In A Complex Shopping Environment
- Online Marketing In 2015