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Affiliate marketing has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. You’d be hard pressed to find a well-known blogger or social media influencer who doesn’t use one affiliate marketing platform or another.
However, this doesn’t mean that the trends haven’t changed. While those large, well-known internet personalities still matter, you’ll find that the trend has moved towards smaller, more authentic personalities. They may not have the following of the popular ones, but they have a dedicated band of followers who will buy things from them.
This is just one of the many things that will change in the affiliate marketing world in 2019.
Here are some of the other trends as discussed.
We’ve already mentioned the power of influencers and the role that they play in affiliate marketing. In 2019, they’ll only get bigger. You’ll find more influencers out there – and the ones that have been around for years yield more influence (hence the name “influencer” than ever).
It’s important to note that the influencer’s size and stature may change slightly, as smaller influencers get into the game, alongside B2B influencers. With that said, the number of companies that utilize them to promote their goods will change in a very positive way, as more and more decide to hire influencers. This means that this segment of the market will grow in size.
Right now, affiliate marketing is still designed primarily for computers. Those influencers may be sending out posts on a variety of apps, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but the main platforms where they receive links and determine which items to push are computer-based.
This will change in 2019, as more and more of these platforms develop in a responsive way. Influencers and affiliate marketers will be able to access more information from their phones, rendering the need for a computer obsolete. Technology is changing and affiliate marketing will be on board.
Many influencers and affiliate marketers (there’s a need to differentiate between the two, even though they do the same thing) utilize SEO keywords. The main issue is that many people are using devices like Siri, Google Home, and even Amazon Alexa in order to search for products. This means that the keywords have changed.
People aren’t saying things like “purple sweatshirt” into their smart home devices. They’re saying “find me a purple sweatshirt.” The search terms are different. They are longer and consist of a question, not just two words strung together.
Here’s a recent video by Web Profits wherein they talk about what voice search means for the future of digital marketing.
As a result, the keywords that affiliate marketers use must change as well.
“Content is still king,” as they say. Sure, the ways in which people approach to content has changed, as they have moved away from things like blogs and website to social media apps. However, content still matters.
Without good content, affiliate marketing means nothing. You can show off the latest and greatest items on the market and link to them accordingly, but you also need to point out just how useful they are and what’s good about them.
And that needs to be done in a natural setting. There’s more at play here than just selling items and partnering with brands. The whole package must be considered.
The people who are selling the products need to pay attention to what their audience is buying. This doesn’t mean that they need to keep pushing the same sweatshirt over and over, because it’s what people are purchasing from their links.
That would just lead to tired content. Instead, they need to look at who is buying those items. What demographics do they represent? Where do they live? How old are they? How much money do they make?
From there, the affiliate marketers can put out content that is data-driven. They’ll find that this content allows them to sell more items and make more money because they are directly targeting their audiences. It makes the process easier.
There are a number of large affiliate marketing networks out there. Some, like "Like To Know It", or "Reward Style", are still taking up some space on the web. They have plenty of users (also known as affiliate marketers) and you’ll find that many of the links that these users put out there belong to one of those very popular companies.
However, in 2019, many of these larger companies will see some competition in the form of smaller networks. Sure, these smaller networks lack the power and prestige of the larger ones, and they certainly don’t have the same number of users, but this doesn’t mean much when they have the products that people want to buy.
You’ll find that many of these smaller networks represent a certain niche of goods and have plenty of pull. People will buy what they’re selling.
Push notifications are a good way for affiliate marketers to reach their audiences. Now, they no longer have to rely on things like social media and blog posts. They can send out notifications to their followers’ smartphones in the form of text messages. Sure, some people may find this annoying, but others will look forward to getting immediate notification of something that they find interesting.
Well-crafted and properly sent push notifications will change the ways in which these affiliate marketers and influencers do business because it’s a bit harder to get lost in the changing algorithm shuffle with them.
Email and sales funnels are another thing that some affiliate marketers tend to overlook. They don’t pay attention to this incredibly useful tool, and some may not have the experience needed to set one up.
However, all of that will change as these funnels become the best way to capture new clients and make those important sales. It all stems from setting up the right recorded sequence and sending out emails that make people want to buy things. There are programs that can talk you right through the process. Every tool counts when you’re an affiliate marketer.
One type of product that really hasn’t appeared much in the affiliate marketing world are SaaS-based products. SaaS stands for Software as a service. It’s the process of marketing software and apps to companies and people that need them.
Since this software tends to stay on the creating company’s servers (not on the buyer’s) it’s a bit of a tough sell. However, these products will become more popular in 2019 as people begin to realize just how useful they are.
You’ll see more of them enter the affiliate marketplace this year, and consumers will begin to purchase them from marketers.
You’ve probably heard that reviews are on their way out. So-called experts proclaim that they are tainted since some companies are straight-up buying positive reviews from consumers. They exchange free products for reviews or even cash. However, reviews still matter.
People are beginning to be able to see through the fake reviews in order to focus on the real ones. The more positive reviews of something – honest ones at that – the more likely it is that people will buy the product. You need to make sure that the products that you’re marketing have plenty of these honest reviews and few or no fake ones.
The more authentic you are, the more you’ll sell. People have caught on to the fact that influencers, bloggers, and affiliate marketers tout a “perfect” lifestyle. They’re afraid to be imperfect. They want you to buy the things that they’re pitching but refuse to be realistic about it. They face a lot of criticism because of this.
Now, the more authentic and real you are, the better you’ll be. People want to see your “warts and all” lifestyle. They’ll be able to relate to you. When you show them something that you want to sell them, be real about it. You’ll be rewarded with sales.
In addition to authenticity, you need to diversify your content. People expect to see more than words on a page or text under a photo. They want to see videos. There are multiple ways to record these videos, thanks to things like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories.
YouTube remains the clear winner here as well. Take advantage of these platforms and the diversity that they offer and create the content that people want. The more that you expand and switch things up, the better. Plus, video gives you a good way to show something from all angles, which helps the sales process.
In the past, many influencers and marketers simply focused on one of two affiliate companies. They chose larger ones that had plenty of different products. This was just the way that it was done. However, times have changed.
You now need to diversify those affiliates if you want to be a success. You can’t rely on the same ones all of the time. Also, thanks to the rise in smaller and niche-focused affiliates (more on that shortly) you’ll have an easier time finding the products that you truly want to pitch to your customers and followers. It’s good to diversify if you haven’t done already.
How many affiliate markets or influencers have signed with an agency? Why does this matter? Easy, because agencies are one of the rising trends in 2019. There are plenty of these influencer marketing agencies already in business. They’ve been connecting bloggers and influencers to brands for years.
Now, they’re expanding and taking on new clients on both sides of the aisle – they find brands that want influencers and locate the perfect influencers (from their client pool) for them. The results make everyone look good and make it much easier to make money in this modern era.
We already mentioned that smaller affiliates will pop up and people will flock to them. However, it’s important to point out that some of the niche focused affiliates will become popular in 2019 as well. What do we mean by this? Well, these affiliates focus on very specific things.
For example, you’ll find ones that represent stationery companies, or even those that represent sellers who make handmade goods. These small niches are important because they prevent smaller companies from getting lost in the crowd. It’s too easy to disappear when you’re being representing by a large company with thousands of products to link to. These niches have a very important purpose.
So, with 3 months already into 2019, what surprises does the rest of the year hold for you as an affiliate marketer? While affiliate marketing is a great way to push your products and services to a wider audience, it makes sense to keep up with the trends discussed above and adapt them as needed to make it big.
Sameer Panjwani is the Founder & CEO of Mondovo, an online marketing toolset that helps you track your rankings, monitor your site stats, and research your competitors. A man of many talents, Sameer is currently on a mission to help 1 million businesses grow organically through his products and services.
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