As the online advertising industry battles with GDPR, fraud, transparency issues, and spiraling costs of technology, affiliate marketing is enjoying something of a renaissance. Underpinning this trend are a number of factors that are carving out a new future for affiliate marketing. However, many brands and publishers are failing to update their affiliate marketing strategy in line with these changes.
Location, location, location!
The success of any marketing campaign depends on three things: the brand, the publishers, and consumers – and the characteristics of each vary on a country by country basis.
Unlike search and display advertising where the model is the same across the globe, affiliate marketing is highly localized which means that campaigns can and should be tailored to each market’s unique characteristics. For example, consumers in one market might have a higher propensity to convert via voucher codes, in another market consumers may prefer detailed feature comparisons.
Rolling out a standardized, global, affiliate marketing strategy will still drive sales but will leave behind a huge lost opportunity. Localised partnerships, content, and incentives will maximize sales and also build long-term relationships with consumers.
In 2007, Apple unveiled the very first iPhone and marketing campaigns had to adapt to meet the needs of “always on” consumers. It’s now commonplace to hear brands and publishers talk about being “mobile first” when designing websites and ads but not when designing affiliate marketing campaigns.
The problem is that too many marketers see affiliate marketing as a secondary channel and it gets somewhat forgotten about. Failing to ensure that all aspects of a campaign are optimized for mobile creates a frustrating consumer experience. Given that affiliate marketing comes at a time when consumers are in purchase mode, the cost of this is going to be losing that potential customer to a competitor.
Word of mouth has long been considered the best form of marketing. Today, with the rise of social media, word of mouth is more than the old-fashioned recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues – influencers have been added to that list.
Influencer affiliate marketing is one of the biggest trends right now and many brands are
lagging behind, or have dabbled but had their fingers burnt. The techniques required to run an impactful influencer affiliate program are different from traditional methods. It’s important to thoroughly research influencers and their followers and ensure that their content mirrors your brand values and that their following is genuine and engaged. Social also requires different forms of content which must be original in order to stand out.
Finally, remember that influencers are widespread – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn are all homes to influencers and finding the right approach and blending influencer affiliates into the wider media mix is key.