Affiliate Marketing Trends

15 Affiliate Marketing Trends That Will Transform Affiliate Marketing in 2023

15 Affiliate Marketing Trends That Will Transform Affiliate Marketing in 2023

The affiliate marketing industry has been incessantly growing over the past years, and as it expands, new affiliate marketing trends also continue to emerge.

In fact, affiliate marketing platforms are projected to flourish to a USD 27.88 billion market by 2027 – a big leap from its reported USD 15.77 billion value in 2021. Furthermore, the affiliate marketing industry is predicted to become USD15.7 billion in size by 2024.

Monitoring and studying the latest affiliate marketing trends can help you stay ahead of the game. By remaining updated, you can spot new opportunities for growth. You can also optimize your affiliate marketing program to obtain the best possible results.

You won’t only be able to keep in step with the competition, but you’d also get to establish your brand as an industry leader. Additionally, keeping a close watch on the latest affiliate marketing trends will equip you better for making data-driven forecasts and informed business decisions.

What trends will most likely impact the industry, and how can brands and their affiliate partners incorporate them to gain a competitive edge? Below are the top 15 affiliate marketing trends that are worth looking into.

15 Affiliate Marketing Trends for 2023

As we prepare to enter the second half of 2023, below are some of the key trends that will continue to shape affiliate marketing in the coming years. Discover these key trends and how to leverage them to optimize your affiliate marketing program.

Focus Will Be on First-Party Data

The growing concerns over consumer privacy have brought about the slow death of third-party cookies and identifiers. But, with third-party cookies gone, how else will marketers, ad agencies, and publishers get valuable behavioral and demographic insights about their target audience?

While the demise of third-party cookies might spell the end of an era for marketers, it does offer a new opportunity for marketers to rethink their personalization and consumer engagement efforts. For instance, because marketers used to rely heavily on third-party cookies, they might not have well-defined means in place to collect first-party data. With third-party cookies gone, marketers can devise strategies to leverage or bolster how they collect and utilize first-party data. It’s also likely that advertisers and publishers will start looking into creating experiences that will be worthwhile to their target audiences.

Contextual targeting is an alternative approach to reaching a broader audience and collecting valuable data. With it, advertisers can choose the type of sponsored content they want displayed on the user’s screen based on their behavior. Doing so ensures that their ads are more accurate and relevant to their target audience. Furthermore, contextual targeting doesn’t collect personal data, which helps protect user privacy.

One other thing that marketers and affiliate publishers should pay attention to is transparency, which helps them earn their audience’s trust. As more and more consumers opt not to share their data with brands, marketers need to step up efforts to show their target audience the value of collecting their data. For instance, marketers can start by asking their audience clear consent questions or showing them how they can benefit from such exchanges.

AI Will Take Center Stage

Artificial intelligence and its related technologies, such as natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, are already making waves in a number of industries, including affiliate marketing.

As AI-powered automation tools become more accessible, marketers can leverage them to automate repetitive tasks and boost efficiency. Aside from helping brands save time and other resources, AI can help them optimize their affiliate marketing campaigns. There are many affiliate tracking solutions that enable intelligent affiliate discovery, helping brands discover and form new relationships with affiliates who are the right fit for them.

Aside from helping you find the best affiliates for your brand, AI can enable you to improve your affiliate marketing strategy by optimizing keyword research, leveraging data to create personalized experiences, offering more robust customer support levels, and protecting your brand and reputation against fraudulent activities.

Advertisers Will Focus on Other Content Types and Long-Tail Search

In 2023, brands and affiliates will continue promoting other content types while leveraging long-tail search. It’s likely that more affiliate marketing efforts will lean into creating video content, which is gaining popularity primarily because it’s more engaging and interactive compared to static content like text or photos.

According to a Wyzowl report, this year alone, 91% of businesses are using video as a marketing tool. Furthermore, the majority of marketers reported that video marketing helped them enjoy benefits such as increased brand awareness (95%), increased traffic (91%), more leads (90%), and a growth in sales (87%). Moreover, according to 92% of marketers, videos have helped them achieve better ROI.

Some of the popular types of video content include tutorials, guides, product reviews, and unboxing videos. Aside from videos, brands and affiliates are looking to leverage podcasts, as well as long-tail search through SEO. It’s likely that brands will look into working with affiliates who rank for long-tail search terms.

It’s All About (Affiliate) Performance

This year, the focus will be on performance-based marketing. Aside from vanity metrics, brands will look into affiliate performance, which means they’ll also focus on sales figures to drive revenue. In addition, they will also be using affiliate tracking solutions to measure affiliate sales performance. This all means that, in 2023, it’s highly likely that brands will focus more on working with affiliates or influencers who are capable of driving more revenue.

Brands Will Start Future-Proofing Affiliate Channels

In 2023, more brands will focus on pouring more budget and resources to future-proof their affiliate partners and channels. Economic challenges, such as a potential recession, will push marketers to look for new opportunities that will allow them to thrive even in trying times, such as when consumers are becoming more discerning shoppers due to financial restraints. Future-proofing measures will enable brands and marketers to maintain buying interest while still being at the top of their target audience’s minds.

Affiliate Marketers to Prioritize Cross-Device Tracking

Nowadays, it’s becoming more common for consumers to make purchases online using their smartphones. In particular, influencers are playing a more significant role in shaping consumers’ purchasing decisions, particularly those of young adults. A 2022 Pew Research Center survey highlights that 76% of US adults buy things online using their phones. Breaking the numbers down, you’ll see that this figure is comprised of 87% of young adults (18-29 years old) and 92% of older adults (30-49 years old). That’s around nine-in-ten in Americans aged 18 to 49 who make purchases online using their smartphones.

As more consumers use their smartphones to shop online, brands will increasingly look into how they can take advantage of cross-device tracking, which would allow them to create and deliver relevant and targeted content to specific customer segments. With cross-device tracking, brands can identify the best channels for conversion.

The Spotlight Will Be on Voice Search

Voice search will continue to grow in popularity primarily because of its accessibility and ease of use. The number of homes with smart devices is set to increase in the next five years, jumping from 130 million households to a whopping 335 million.

What does this trend mean for affiliate marketers? First, it may be high time for you to focus on optimizing your content for voice search. This includes optimizing your website for voice search queries and leveraging long-tail keywords to improve your ranking on SERPs. One way to go about this is to incorporate FAQs and guides that incorporate precise or long-tail keywords. It also helps if you optimize your website or content for mobile and make it more responsive to voice search queries.

Brands to Pay More Attention to Nano- and Micro-Influencers

While micro- and nano-influencers may have a smaller following compared to their mega- and macro-influencer counterparts, working with them for your affiliate program can bring plenty of benefits. These “smaller” influencers are more likely to resonate with your audiences primarily because they’re everyday people with whom your audiences can relate. They also tend to have better engagement rates owing to their more dedicated following.

According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, working with just 10 micro-influencers with an average engagement rate of 5% can drive more engagement for your brand compared to working with one macro-influencer with a 2% engagement rate. Furthermore, working with nano- and micro-influencers can prove to be a more cost-effective move for brands looking to maximize their reach without compromising their budget.

What’s more, by working with nano- and micro-influencers, you’re more likely to reach a specific target audience because they often have a hyperlocal reach. This means that you’ll be better able to reach your target audience at a local or more niche scale. Another advantage to working with nano- and micro-influencers is that their followers tend to have particular interests, which gives you access and data to niche communities. Doing so allows you to expand your reach and helps you test out campaign or outreach tactics to see whether or not they’re effective.

Moreover, despite operating on a smaller scale, micro- and nano-influencers are more than capable of delivering great on-brand content. Aside from generating professional content, they can also leverage user-generated content from their followers, which helps build brand awareness, boost your brand’s reach, drive traffic to your website, and build up customer engagement.

The Continued Popularity of Coupons and Cashback Programs

While coupons and cashback incentives may seem like passé tactics, they’re still solid marketing tools that can nurture customer loyalty, attract new customers, and drive engagement and conversions. Furthermore, these incentives help future-proof brands by opening them up to new audiences, particularly those who are looking to save money. These programs also allow brands to reward not only their affiliates but also their audiences. Doing so can help affiliate marketers grow their customer base, drive sales, and build customer loyalty.

The Continued Popularity of Social Selling

Social selling is on the rise as social media platforms continue to position themselves as digital marketplaces where users can do their research before making a purchase and placing an order. Given that 71% of sales professionals are already leveraging social selling tools that help them outsell their peers, social selling is something that affiliate marketers should keep an eye out for.

This year, affiliate marketers should look into social selling to expand their reach and build stronger relationships not only with their existing audience but also with potential clients. To leverage social selling as an affiliate marketing tool, you need to work on engaging your audience. This means coming up with original, creative content and establishing a genuine connection with them. It also means paying attention to what your target audience has to say. For instance, if they’re ranting on social media, use this to position your brand as a solution.

Aside from focusing on garnering a new audience, don’t forget to continue nurturing your relationships with your existing customers. That’s because existing customers are more likely to spend more, and retaining them allows you to increase their lifetime value. Plus, existing customers can become affiliates or brand advocates who can refer your business to others.

Growing Focus on Social Proof

Incorporating social proof in your content allows you to strengthen consumer trust in your brand. This means making use of reviews and ratings to build trust and credibility among your audience, which are factors that can benefit your affiliate marketing efforts. For instance, if your product or service is getting plenty of positive reviews from buyers, it’s more likely for people to trust your brand and, therefore, make a purchase.

Aside from driving sales and conversions, focusing on growing your social proof helps attract more people to your brand while allowing you to strengthen your reputation.

The Emergence of Entertainment Apps for Affiliate Marketing

Using entertainment apps for affiliate marketing is an emerging niche because they can rake in a massive following. For instance, brands and affiliates can leverage live-streaming platforms like Bigo to multiply their advertising efforts. Furthermore, many entertainment apps offer sizeable commission rates, which can further incentivize affiliates to promote them.

Zeroing in on Local Link Building

In 2023, brands and affiliate marketers will likely focus on diversifying their link-building approaches. This entails measures such as delivering valuable and relevant content, guest posting, and collaboration with other content creators to create high-quality content that encourages high-quality backlinks. Aside from these efforts, more focus will be poured into local link building, with brands and affiliates looking to make an impact on local searches instead of solely focusing on ranking globally.

That’s because bolstering your local SEO efforts can help you rank better on organic search results. At the same time, it opens up opportunities for brands to work with affiliates who embody their brand values and vision, which, in turn, can be a valuable asset for generating engagement from your target audience.

Bolstering Personalization Efforts for Enhanced Customer Experiences

One of the best ways to optimize and grow your affiliate marketing program in 2023 is to prioritize creating personalized customer experiences.

It’s no surprise that consumers want personalized experiences. According to a McKinsey report, 71% of consumers expect brands to give them customized interactions. What’s even more surprising is that 76% of consumers get frustrated when companies fail to deliver such experiences. If consumers don’t get what they want from your brand, they’ll likely switch to your competitors instead, as what three-quarters of consumers are doing.

What can brands do to offer personalized content to their audiences? Aside from leveraging first-party data, brands and affiliates need to deeply understand each customer’s preferences, interests, and behaviors. Affiliates can then use this data to develop engaging, highly relevant, and valuable content that will translate to better engagement and conversion rates.

Increasing Importance of Transparency and Trust

The majority of consumers (96%) distrust traditional advertisements. Moreover, over three-quarters of respondents from the US, UK, and Spain are becoming more skeptical of brands. It doesn’t help that for 67% of adults, once their trust is lost, it’s difficult and even impossible to regain it.

If your target audience doesn’t trust you, it’s likely that they won’t purchase your product or service despite being promoted by affiliates. Given this situation, how can brands and affiliate marketers build better relationships with their customers?

The key here is to focus on cultivating transparency and trust. Affiliates need to be transparent with their audience and make sure that they let the latter know that they’re receiving commissions from purchases made using their affiliate links. Disclosing their affiliate status from the get-go also helps establish trust.

For brands, it’s equally important to be selective when choosing affiliates they want to work with. Aside from looking at their follower count, you should make sure that the affiliate’s values align with yours. You should also work on verifying their influence and engagement rate, as well as monitoring their promotional activities to ensure that they’re promoting your brand according to your guidelines and in keeping with industry regulations.

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