The world of partner or affiliate marketing represents a unique combination of opportunities and challenges in 2020. As more and more affiliates, bloggers and content creators attempt to engage their markets, it’s never been more challenging to simply get noticed.
Nonetheless, with the right strategies, there remains tremendous opportunity for partner marketers due to affiliate spending on the up, as well as the 81% of brands using affiliate programmes. The current affiliate market has a global value of over $12 billion USD, and revenue from affiliate schemes has been rising consistently by 10% since 2015 — a trend that’s expected to carry on until 2021.
For partner marketers who are prepared to innovate, identify new opportunities and adapt to industry trends, there’s everything to play for in 2020. Let’s look at the trends and strategies that will keep you ahead of the curve.
Put away the Black Hat
Black Hat marketing has never been about sustainability, but with social platforms (especially Facebook) getting increasingly tough on Black Hat marketers, it’s becoming increasingly clear that scalable white hat advertising strategies are the only way to get consistent results in 2020 and beyond.
Besides, no partner really wants to associate their brand with spammy black hat techniques like link farming, baiting and switching, or keyword stuffing.
Yes, it takes a while to build your infrastructure, see results and grow profits, but quick fixes seldom take us on the path to sustainable success in business.
Rethink your push notifications
Browser-based push notifications create an opportunity for partners to remain engaged with their audience. Prompting users with a push notification inviting them to subscribe to your site can be a fantastic way to ensure that your audience never misses out on valuable content.
However, it’s important to note that browsers like Google and Firefox will be making changes this year to how they handle push notifications. If too many of a site’s visitors are opting to “Block” rather than “Subscribe”, future visitors will see a message telling them that “Chrome automatically blocks notifications requests from sites with a low acceptance rate”.
This may be frustrating for partners who lean heavily on push traffic, but by no means does it spell doom and gloom for partners. It just means that they might want to rethink their reliance on push traffic and supplement it with other strategies like pop traffic to target mobile customers. Speaking of whom…
Time to go mobile
As 5G internet begins to roll out, we can expect more and more prospective customers to access the internet mostly or exclusively through their mobile devices. Last year there were almost 4 billion mobile internet users worldwide. And with the ability to get lightning fast downloads and incredible bandwidth on the go, this is likely to increase exponentially by the end of this year.
As such, partners should focus their efforts on visual and video platforms. The kind that lend themselves well to mobile use.
Short but sweet videos
Speaking of videos, many partner marketers get a little nervous about the prospect of video. They may worry that their content isn’t to a high enough standard or relevant enough, or that they won’t be able to come up with a content strategy that gives them enough quality video content.
However, when we look at the use of video in partner marketing, the biggest growth seems to be coming from short form video platforms like TikTok. If you’re trying to corner the younger Gen Z market, these are the places you should be looking. Short, punchy and organic feeling ad copy can really resonate with audiences on these platforms.
The impact of AI
AI is nothing new in the world of partner marketing. However, we can expect a significant rise in automation and AI influencing publisher models. We can expect AI-based marketing technologies to place a sophisticated and comprehensive focus on the analysis of consumer behaviour.
Because AI is able to perform tasks faster and more efficiently than any human, we can expect AI to be able to leverage a range of user behaviours including emotional behaviours to select highly targeted audiences in real-time.
Stay on good terms with influencers
Partners who incorporate influencer marketing into their lead generation strategies will want to double down on their relationships with social influencers while also looking in new places for creative influencers with whom to associate their brand.
Again, TikTok is a potential goldmine in this regard. Today’s current crop of TikTok creators will be tomorrow’s influencers, with loyal followings who like and trust them. Many of the biggest names in partner marketing believe that influencers will be crucial in engaging audiences in 2020, so it’s vital that you have a strategy to engage them.
One way in which you can do this is by giving up-and-coming influencers their own unique voucher code to share with their audience. It will give them a discount on your products while also generating incentives for the influencer and introducing your brand to a new audience.
Leveraging voucher codes
Getting influencers on board isn’t the only means by which partner marketers can gain momentum by offering discounts. When they find a reliable voucher code partner that allows them to generate unique, single-use promotional codes, they can engage their audience across a number of channels with irresistible offers, without needing to worry about promo misuse eating into their profits.
Voucher codes aren’t just about gaming the last-click attribution model. They’re about generating value. Value in the brand, value in the affiliate and value in the product. Over 60% of consumers not only expect discounts but ultra-relevant personalised discounts. With the right software, partner marketers can give them what they want and provide just the value-added they need to make headway in an increasingly competitive space.
Inventive uses for single-use voucher codes
Unique promo codes can be used to generate unique offerings for consumers based on their previous interactions with the brand, or unique promotions for different partners depending on the demographic makeup of their followings.
They can also be used to gamify discounts and make a fun game of affiliate shopping and collecting or spotting discounts. They can be used to leverage scarcity marketing tactics like limited availability or diminishing discounts. These are the perfect way to get reluctant shoppers off the fence.
The mobile age allows endless opportunity for frictionless delivery of promotions, giving consumers access to amazing deals through partners no matter where they are.
Success in partner marketing means staying ahead of the curve
Whichever of these trends and strategies you choose to implement, one thing you can’t afford to do is get complacent. Keep leveraging all that useful data from partners, keep on embracing innovation and investing in new technologies. Most importantly, continue to find new ways to add value for the consumer. Otherwise, you can expect to lose serious ground to your more proactive competitors.