Recent research suggests that the affiliate marketing industry will soar to nearly $7 billion in the next four years, with upward of 90% of marketers indicating that affiliate programs were either important or very important to their advertising strategies.
Continued Interest and Usage
A quick examination on Google Trends reveals that terms related to affiliate marketing continue to rise in interest- with some keywords spiking up to 60%.
More and more advertisers are turning towards affiliate marketing to drive organic traffic, increase buzz and interest, and solidify that interest into loyal consumers.
In fact, research suggests that over 80% of companies at any given time utilize affiliate marketing strategies in their digital marketing plans.
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The movement toward niche and video
While we saw marketers cast a wide net to their consumers in their past, many affiliate programs are now focused on niche markets and specific demographics when choosing their influencers. This obviously is a two-fold phenomenon: with more competition driving up affiliate marketing, it's harder than ever to stand out in the industry.
Furthermore, more and more consumers are seeking to know the face, personality, and opinions behind each brand. Niche marketing makes for a dynamic and unique marketing experience, all of which enhances the consumer's user experience.
Honing in a niche reigns supreme in affiliate marketing strategies like pay-per-call, where human engagement is the coveted skill.
Furthermore, affiliate programs are also moving towards live approaches. This goes hand-in-hand with the Business Insider estimating that video will account for upwards of 82% of all Internet traffic within the next three years.
Ruthless and refreshing Honesty
When affiliate marketing first took the stage on digital platforms, it was far more, well, shady, in the sense that numerous high-profile celebrities and companies failed to disclose their paid endorsements.
Today, new guidelines under the General Protection Data Regulation (GDPR) ensure that all marketers comply with transparency in their marketing efforts. This means utilizing the appropriate disclosures and consents when processing and sharing data.
While there will always be shortcuts, we expect that marketing — on a whole — will continue to move towards increased societal scrutiny. The reason for this is simple: many consumers are already skeptical about different companies promises and endorsements. With marketing transforming to such instantaneous access via social media, it will be more essential than ever to distinguish reality from fantasy.
Looking Into net neutrality
The FCC's decision to repeal the net neutrality could absolutely impact the shifting of affiliate marketing and online business growth.
If ISPs begin varied, tiered charging for website access, it can undoubtedly create a toxic environment for new start-ups struggling to generate traffic competing with the bigger fish in the Internet ocean.