Is Affiliate Marketing Dead? Here's The Truth You Need to KnowAffiliate marketing began in 1989 and has been steadily gaining steam ever since. Today, it is a widespread revenue sharing trend that has opened up various channels through blogs, forums, social media websites, and big associate programs like Amazon Associate. But while many people have found success with affiliate programs over the years, things have changed significantly, and many marketers find themselves wondering if this marketing technique is dead. According to Statista, affiliate marketing spend in the U.S. has been steadily growing and is set to reach 6.82 billion this year, and 8.2 billion dollars by 2022 (up from 5.4 billion in 2017). A recent study by VigLink also shows that over 77% of affiliates experienced an increase in revenue every year since 2016. These eye-opening statistics clearly show that affiliate marketing is far from dead. In this article, we are going to take a look at how the trends for this type of marketing have changed over the years. We’ll also look at how the successful affiliate marketers are doing it, as well as how you, too, can capitalize on it. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Affiliate Marketing Trends (And How They Have Evolved Over Time)Affiliate marketing has been steadily growing since its inception over three decades ago. In recent years, as the world began to shift toward a digital era, this technique became even more popular. When looking at the trends, it’s easy to see that affiliate marketing is not dying any time soon. a. Affiliate marketing accounts for 30% of sales for advertisers. b. It’s responsible for 16% of eCommerce in the U.S. and Canada. c. 81% of all brands depend on this channel to generate sales. d. This global industry is worth over 12 billion and continues to grow. Affiliate marketing isn’t dead or dying - but it certainly has changed! What worked five years ago may not work today. That’s why many marketers who haven’t adapted to a better way of doing things find themselves faced with consistent failures.
Here Are 3 Ways in Which Affiliate Marketing Has Changed:
1. Increasing CompetitionThe idea of working from home is extremely appealing, and there are more people going into affiliate marketing than ever before. Businesses are also realizing how lucrative this form of marketing is for their bottom line. With an increase in competition, and so many people all doing the same thing, tactics that used to work may not be as effective anymore. (Image Source)
2. InclusivityWith more people jumping on the affiliate marketing bandwagon, big companies are becoming more selective about who they accept into their affiliate programs. They are vetting people more and putting stricter requirements like having a successful blog, website, email list, and so on.
5. Brands RisingThe future of affiliate marketing lies in brands. Facebook and Google have always favored brands, and that is not going to stop now. Big, trusted brands like the New York Times have entered into the affiliate marketing space and others have followed.
Changes to Amazon’s Affiliate ProgramAmazon is the world’s leading online marketplace and eCommerce platform. This massive retailer boasts an affiliate program (Amazon Associates) with a 39.30% market share. The associate's program recently underwent some changes that negatively impacted a lot of marketers. From April 21st, 2020, Amazon slashed affiliate commissions in a variety of categories, which left many people wondering whether affiliate marketing is still worth it. The reduction in commissions was upsetting for a lot of businesses and turned out to be nothing short of catastrophic for many others. However, as with everything else in life, there are always opportunities hidden in even the toughest hardships. And this is no different. The truth is that even with all of this going on, there are still countless marketers making it in the world of affiliate marketing. In fact, there are a lot of affiliate marketers who have proved their mettle again and again! If you want to join their ranks, I’ve listed some of the steps you need to follow to become a successful affiliate marketer in 2020.
How to Become Successful in Affiliate MarketingIn this section, we’ll look at a step-by-step process to help you take advantage of the opportunities that are currently available to you: (Image Source)
Step #1: Choose a platform to promote your products.You can either start a blog (which is my recommended method), or a youtube channel. Alternatively, you can create a Facebook or Instagram page. Basically, any platform will do where you can start building an audience. This video is a prime example of using YouTube to promote affiliate links. While it’s a little more difficult on YouTube to use affiliate links because it’s not on the video itself, you can see in the video description a list of affiliate links that they encourage users to click.
Step #2: Brainstorm some ideas for your niche.What is your platform going to be about? For instance, you could start a sports blog and review different sports equipment, or you could create a youtube channel and focus on wedding photography. Choose a niche that you are knowledgeable or passionate about. It can also be a topic that you want to learn more about. Whatever niche you choose, it should also be one that is in high-demand, with lots of people you can provide value or solutions to. As an example, this blog post discusses different kitchen wine bar ideas and many of the items on the post itself are affiliate links. The niche is focused on everything related to the home, but wine bar ideas are an idea within that niche. This website is full of examples like this.
Step #3: Find products to promote.Now that you have your niche, it’s time to decide on which products you’ll be promoting. I recommend that you promote only products that you have used personally or that you totally believe in. Trust is one of the major factors in determining your success as an affiliate marketer, and you need to be sure of your products’ benefit and value to your audience. Pat Flynn, from Smart Passive Income, is a champion of this affiliate marketing method. Throughout his website, you’ll see the only recommends software and products that he personally uses.
Step #4: Market your products and start earning commissions.The fourth step is to start promoting your products. There are several different ways to do this, including: a. Social media marketing b. Search engine optimization c. Blogging d. Emails and newsletters e. Helpful YouTube videos f. Ad banners and links on your site g. Offer promos, coupons, and loyalty rewards However, content creation for search engines is one of the best and most effective ways of promoting products. It also allows you to provide your audience with immense value. You can create a lot of helpful content, including product reviews, review roundups, comparisons, tutorials, and so on. You can also share your own personal experiences with any of the products you’re promoting which will increase trust. For instance, OutdoorGearLab uses its website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote their reviews. The key to marketing your affiliate products is to create content on various platforms and convince your audience to click to purchase the items you’re discussing.
Step #5: Optimize Your Affiliate OffersThe final step is once you’ve already seen some success as an affiliate. Oftentimes, amateur affiliate marketers will make a few bucks, get excited, and leave an article as it is in hopes that it’ll continue to bring in revenue on autopilot. But that’s not actually the best way to go. The great affiliate marketers find something that works, then optimize the page using testing software to increase their conversions even further. As an example, a website may create a piece of content about a particular product, and 10% of the people who visit that page convert to a customer. That’s great! The business is able to make affiliate income from what they’ve written. But what if that same brand used A/B testing tools to increase that conversion to 20% on the exact same page? Now, with a little extra effort, they are essentially doubling their income from the page by optimizing what they’ve already written. This is how great affiliate marketers work. They don’t stop with a few commissions, they find ways to increase their conversions (and revenue) by optimizing content as best as they possibly can. This page has a ton of examples of using A/B or multivariate testing to increase conversions. While I don’t think any of them are specifically related to affiliate marketing, all of these give insight into the best practices companies use.
SummaryAffiliate marketing is not dead - it’s simply changing, and that is great news. Sure, Coronavirus, Amazon commission changes, and Google algorithms can sometimes turn the affiliate marketing universe upside-down, but it’s still worth pursuing for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort necessary to build a trusted brand and provide value to their audience. So if you are ready to set off on this exciting journey, use the information in this article to help you get started right now!
About The AuthorRon Stefanski is a website entrepreneur and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market their own online business. You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com You can also connect with him on YouTube or Linkedin.
Antara Agarwal is a full time marketing consultant at Outgrow. She can be found packing her bags for her next trip, often to the mountains. And in one of those bags you will always find a half finished book she’s been struggling with for months.