Top Affiliate Marketing Trends to Leverage
In only two years, retailers are expected to spend an estimated $4 billion on affiliate marketing, according to Forrester. Here are some trends to watch for to stay ahead of the competition as get you ready for 2014.
Mobile Traffic Optimization
Smartphones, tablets, laptops, iPads and gaming consoles are going to play a bigger role in the affiliate marketing space. There will be many new developments as the space keeps growing rapidly. So rapidly in fact that this might be the most important year for mobile affiliate marketing. What does this mean for advertisers and affiliates?
Advertisers have been trying to catch up with the mobile trend, yet many aren't ready to develop landing pages, payment methods and creative suitable for mobile phones. They need to provide more material optimized for devices on the go. Advertisers are working hard to create more opportunities to reach consumers on their preferred device.
More mobile devices have overcome limitations in memory capacity and processing power, which has catapulted the adoption of cloud applications such as Netflix, YouTube,Pandora and Spotify. Advertisers need to stay ahead of the game to see return on investment on ad spend, which requires finding new ways to use mobile traffic — e.g., the use of affiliates for in-store redemptions.
For affiliates, it's important to know what type of mobile traffic converts. The top mobile conversions are downloads, then enrollments followed by videos. It's important for affiliates to test different promotional methods. Having success with mobile conversions requires a good amount of trial and error. It's important to start preparing and working with mobile campaigns early to stay ahead of the increasing competition.
Explosion of Online Video Consumption
According to a forecast by Cisco, two-thirds of the world's mobile data traffic will come from video by 2016. Mobile video will account for more than 70 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period. This means a big opportunity for merchants and affiliates to incorporate video into their marketing mix. Think about creating YouTube videos with compelling call to actions or promoting an offer during or after a video.
Shifting Trends in Social Media
Social media outlets have given advertisers another platform to reach prospects. Social media offers affiliates another platform to drive traffic and make money. YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and blogs are already important players in the industry, but what's important to follow is the rapidly changing trends, such as how affiliates can leverage Pinterest. The changing social media space also requires close monitoring for advertisers and networks in order to detect fraud and spamming as well as to stay compliant with new legal regulations.
Companies are looking for ways to diversify their revenue streams, especially in an economic downturn. U.S.-based companies are increasingly expanding to other countries, and companies outside the U.S. are looking for international users and customers as well. Since the internet is as global as you can get, many companies will use affiliate marketing to reach a global audience.
This trend requires advertisers to not only create landing pages and creative that targets different audiences in different languages, but also to change strategies and distribution methods. It requires affiliates to know what works in each country or be willing to experiment with new offers and new audiences. It requires networks to be able to communicate with and appeal to a diverse group of international advertisers and clients. It creates a huge opportunity for all parties involved to reach new prospects and partners. We're only in the early stage of cross-border affiliate and consumer targeting; this year will show great advances in international affiliate marketing.
Mariska Roodenrijs is the marketing manager and affiliate manager at the sterkly Affiliate and Bundling Network.