Affiliates are left wondering what the New Year will hold, what with all the turmoil that occurred in the industry last year. First there was the closing of the Google Affiliate Network and then there was the aptly named Cookiegate, which came about when Mozilla announced that Firefox would block certain cookies. If you happened to be one of the affiliates who were blindsided by one of those changes, you might want to study current affiliate marketing trends so that you’re never caught off guard by any changes ever again. No matter what happens, with proper preparation, you will be more likely to succeed when you know what’s about to happen. So stare into our crystal ball and grab a cup of coffee; here are the 2014 affiliate marketing trends to watch in the coming year.
Mobile Has Gone Mainstream
2014 affiliate marketing trends will favor mobile in a big way. It’s said that mobile commerce will reach $100 billion by 2017, yet many affiliates still fail to make their campaigns mobile-friendly. Don’t just think smartphones; think tablets also. To ride these affiliate marketing trends into the sunset, you need to offer your prospects and customers faster downloads, easy and secure checkout processes and finger-friendly interfaces that work on all current devices. Don’t alienate mobile users and instead embrace them and tailor your campaigns for them if you want more success this year.
The Luxury Market
2014 affiliate marketing trends also see strong growth in luxury items, which up until now have largely been closed off to affiliates. Be prepared for strict brand compliance requirements and a heavy vetting process if you want to enter this market for higher profits in 2014.
Niche Publishers and Content Marketing
Content still rules for driving traffic and security sales and affiliates are expected to increase their content marketing budgets by 60% in the coming months. Affiliates will need to provide fresh, engaging content for highly-specified audiences if they want to be successful with today’s savvy consumers.
Testing Grounds for New Markets
Global ecommerce trends exceeded $1.2 trillion last year and this year promises to grow even bigger. Online retailers are going to be interested in entering all new markets and they will be looking at affiliates using a pay-per-performance models to bridge the gap and test the waters. This may prove to be a very lucky opportunity for a few select go-getters.
The Big Cookie Debate
Mozilla seems to also be aware of affiliate marketing trends, as the company has agreed to halt all cookie-blocking efforts for now. This is largely in part to a massive online backlash. Mozilla agreed to back off, but there may be something up the company’s sleeve. The company is said to be working with Stanford University’s Cookie Clearinghouse in an effort to find a better way to track third-party cookies. The plan is slated for 2014, so we will be watching the company along with 2014 affiliate marketing trends very closely.
Affiliate Nexus Tax and the Internet Tax Freedom Act
The Internet Tax Freedom Act was passed back in 1998 and it effectively barred governments at every level from imposing multiple taxes on electronic commerce. In 2007 the act was extended and it is set to expire on November 1, 2014, though there are plans currently in place to extend the act indefinitely.
Then there is the Affiliate Nexus Tax, which led to 200 merchants terminating their affiliate programs in the State of New York over unfair sales tax collection processes.
Both taxes could threaten the way affiliates do business, so we will be watching all developments as they occur at the federal, state and local levels.
The last of the 2014 affiliate marketing trends to watch includes a consolidation in the affiliate industry. Though this may appear to be a sign that the industry as a whole is slowing down, many experts disagree. In fact, the industry is expected to hit $4.5 billion by the year 2016.
Now that you are aware of these affiliate marketing trends, you will be more prepared to weather any major storms; unlike the many affiliates who were affected by the drastic changes to the industry in 2013. What do you think will happen with affiliate marketing in the coming year? If 2014 affiliate marketing trends continue, this year could end up being a very good year for everyone involved; retailers, affiliates, consumers and the networks that keep the entire business running as usual. Yes, it will definitely be interesting to see what happens next in this exciting and lucrative industry.