No one can truly predict how affiliate marketing will change year after year. The only thing you can be sure of is when it is done right it can be very beneficial for every party involved.
Here is what 2014 is bring to the table for affiliate marketing so far this year:
1. Attribution: “The process of identifying a set of user actions (“events) that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome. It’s important to this industry because the affiliate channel tends to be under-represented in the office, outgunned by other channels and have no ammunition to show their value. This concept is going to be a much larger focus and our industry needs to get a better handle on it, both on the advertiser side and the affiliate side.
2. Transparency: Related to the concept above, the move towards transparency should take hold this year. Transparency between partner and advertiser to drive better incremental sales, increased new customer acquisition and over profitability of the channel. In the past, there hasn’t been a whole lot of transparency from the advertiser to the affiliate. Data needs to go both ways in order for these partnerships to achieve more specific and targeted goals, like higher lifetime value, profitability and new customer acquisition.
3. Stronger Industry Association: The Performance Marketing Association is leading the charge in so many different ways. They have been instrumental in many different states’ battle to reverse the nexus tax. Their work will continue to be vital to the health of our industry. If you haven’t joined, you should!
4. Better Equipped to Fight for Validity: If you haven’t had to prove the value of this channel to a supervisor, fellow channel manager or a client, you probably haven’t been in the industry that long or you are one of the lucky few. Many of us have had to fight for this channel for the entirety of our careers. New strategies, technology (yeah ShareASale!), transparency and fraud protections allow us to be much more confident that the actions we are driving are true to this channel and the costs associated with it are necessary ones. We haven’t had these in the past, and I think you’ll see more of this from the networks, agencies like us and definitely from the PMA.
5. Huge Leap in Mobile: Doesn’t this go without saying? Just this past holiday, 21% of the sales we drove for our clients were driven through mobile devices. 2013 saw this trend really emerge and as advertisers become more saavy, devices become more functional and networks become more advanced, you’ll see this continue to climb.
6. Greater International Movement: Yes, it is a small world after all. So many clients come to looking to broaden their reach globally that we had to start a division to focus just on that. The world is getting smaller and the opportunities to reach the farthest part of the globe are within reach. If you aren’t thinking of extra-domestic markets you are going to be left behind. There are hundreds of millions of people that could be looking for your products. Knowing how to navigate the country specific financial, regulatory and cultural environment in ecommerce and affiliate marketing is going to prove incredible vital to the health of your company.
What are your opinions, thoughts and predictions of how we will see affiliate marketing continue to play out for the remainder of 2014?