We have witnessed a lot of changes in affiliate marketing during 2018 and it seems that the whole process has matured, with companies approaching the matter much more seriously – and are willing to invest more. Here Victor T Miller takes a look at four key trends to shape that investment
If we take into account that together with email marketing, affiliate marketing is one of the largest sources of online income, accounting for more than 16% of all e-commerce orders in the USA and Canada, it is quite clear why it is only going to become more relevant in 2019.
Now, the question is what would be the right course of action for your company, as well as which affiliate marketing trends you should focus on in the business year ahead. Here are the four that you really should be focussed on.
The continuation of influencer marketing growth
Influencer marketing has seen substantial growth in relevance in 2018, as it has been one of the trends to rake in the biggest return on investment. Just to give you a clearer picture, according to recent reports, businesses are receiving $7.65 on average for each $1 they spend on influencer marketing.
This sevenfold ROI is not a small thing and it is one of the main reasons why this trend will continue to flourish in 2019, and is sure to be one of the main topics at the upcoming TES conference in Lisbon.
To explore this topic even further, we need to mention the value of non-influencers seeding the information you want your customers to get. A recent study at Stanford University has shown that randomly seeding regular people, the non-Influencers with information was just as effective as seeding the most optimal ones, the so-called big influencers. Now this might bring the investment costs even further down resulting in far greater ROIs throughout 2019.
The importance of reviews is still on the rise
There is little that can break a company’s reputation as quickly as a bad review, so it is important to focus on obtaining a positive review. Let’s be honest, anyone looking to buy is first going to google your product together with the word review, and it is the content of those reviews that is going to get them to actually buy something.
A recent study shows that 67.7% of buyers will read reviews about the products they intend to buy before committing to a decision, and that trend is only likely to continue. Now this is something that franchise companies can benefit from, as large franchises tend to get far more reviews, and in most cases, the good by far outweighs the bad. So, by simply opting to be a part of a franchise you will be able to benefit from reviews that particular brand gets on the daily level.
Avoiding social media is not an option
Social media is still one of the greatest tools affiliate marketing has in its arsenal, and this is a trend that shows no stopping in the near future. Of course, you need to choose your platforms carefully, being present at all can be time-consuming and overwhelming and is simply not necessary.
So the first step is to determine which ones your target customer group uses the most and focus on them.
The second important factor is to remember is that, for example, Facebook, has no restrictions regarding affiliate links, just don’t forget to disclose the fact that you’re an affiliate, otherwise you could get into some trouble. You can do this easily by writing it at the end of the post. And considering that up to a third of US social media users engage with content and other users up to 10 times a day, there will be no shortage of prospects.
Now Instagram has a whole other range of benefits as a lot of businesses are using it as virtual storefronts, and when they want to buy a product customer still have to click on the company’s website link in order to make the purchase. So it is similar to browning the shop windows and then entering and getting the item that you want. The better-looking the window is, the more likely you are to enter. So this is why it is essential to invest in social media. And when it comes to Instagram, video is the way to go. In just a year video views on Instagram are up 80%, so there is no doubt when it comes to trends we can expect in 2019.
Mobile phones as the main access point are still on the rise
Mobile phone affiliate marketing is something you can’t afford to overlook. We shouldn’t be surprised if mobile makes up to 80% of all online traffic in the upcoming few years, and so the marketing programs need to adjust and be mobile friendly. Mobile affiliate marketing is the process of using offers, tactics and tools tuned specifically for the mobile audience, and it should be one of the main trends to implement in 2019.
Of course the first step is to check the number of purchases that have originated from a mobile device, this will provide you with a clear idea of how much you should be investing. Next, you could try to harness the power of mobile are the in-app ads, while not very loved by users they are more than effective, and should be in your arsenal.
Finally, make sure that your web ads and social ads translate well to mobile users and that your site is always mobile friendly, no one will be interested in seeing a distorted image on their small screen. And not to mention that statistics show that 57% of users surfing your website from mobile devices will leave your website if it does not load in less than 3 seconds. So there is no excuse not to invest in this aspect of your marketing efforts.
There you have it, all the necessary trends you need to stick to in order to have the most productive of years when it comes to your company’s affiliate marketing efforts. Of course, you also need to follow closely everything that is happening in the industry so that you can make the necessary changes in real time and get the best possible results, thus making 2019 the most productive one so far.
Victor T. Miller is a Sydney-based business and marketing specialist