The Future of Affiliate Marketing: How businesses can adapt

2024 is going to be an exciting year for affiliate marketers. The affiliate marketing industry is set to grow to approximately $15.7 Billion in 2024. Brands are increasing their spending on influencers promoting their products with more than 80% of advertisers using affiliate marketing in their marketing strategies. The growth of influencers has played a big part in every industry in affiliate marketing. They are offering a more genuine and reliable way to promote products.

We have seen 2023 taking a huge leap in technological advancements. We can expect the same in 2024 as well, with AI taking the front seat. With this advancement, changing market demands, and consumer behavior, there is so much more that affiliates can learn and build strategies around it. In this article, we are going to discuss the latest trends in affiliate marketing in 2024 and actionable steps that you can use to build marketing strategies.

But before moving towards the future of affiliate marketing, let’s talk about the current state of affiliate marketing in numbers.

👉 Current state of affiliate marketing in numbers #

  • Around 16% of all online orders in the US are placed using affiliate links.
  • As of January 2024, Google Trends shows an interest in the keyword “affiliate marketing” a solid 92 out of 100. It shows a rising interest in the affiliate marketing industry
  • The income of affiliate marketers is growing with 80%, making commissions in the range of $0 to $80K a year
  • Approximately 65% of retailers report a yearly revenue increase of up to 20% through affiliate marketing. Additionally, close to 60% of merchants earn $5 million or more, indicating significant revenue potential with effective affiliate marketing strategies.
  • More than 1.5 billion dollar was raised by affiliate marketing companies in 2023, which is an increase of 15.38% compared to the previous year.
  • More than 80% of brands are using affiliate marketing in their marketing strategy.
  • 69% of affiliate marketers rely on SEO to bring traffic
  • CPA is the most common payment model for affiliates, with 99% of brands using it.

These states clearly shows the upward trend in affiliate marketing and a big opportunity coming up for both new and seasoned affiliates. Now, let’s look at the latest affiliate marketing trends in 2024.

👉 Affiliate marketing trends in 2024 #

➢ Rise of AI, ML, and blockchain technology #

AI is being introduced in every product, and it is changing the way affiliate marketers work. Affiliate marketers are using AI to be more productive and efficient. Whether it’s generating content or brainstorming new marketing ideas, AI is helping affiliate marketers do everything at 10X speed.

On the other hand, Blockchain is helping affiliates be more transparent and eliminate middlemen. It lets customers securely pay for the products, which increases trust and helps marketers grow their conversions.

➢ Growing importance of video content #

Since TikTok launched, social media has changed forever. From image and text content to short videos, video content is becoming increasingly popular. The TikTok trend that started with short videos is now moving towards video content with Instagram Reels.

Since more and more platforms like YouTube and Snapchat are adapting it, it is important for affiliates to create video reviews, and promote their products through video content. This content is more engaging and can help affiliate marketers sell more. It is becoming more cost-effective for affiliates. Algorithms are boosting impressions on engaging videos automatically which lets marketers reach out to a wide range of audiences without spending any money on ads.

Also, reviewing products on YouTube is not something new, every affiliate is doing it. The audience loves to see details of what they are buying, so it is helpful to give them the details they need and educate them.

➢ Shifting towards mobile-first marketing strategies #

There is no doubt that mobile phones are a big part of daily life. There are a total of 5.61 billion mobile phone users in the market who spend an average of 3hr and 15min on their phones. Most of this time is spent on social media. 

Think about this🙄 : When at home, which is the first app you open when you unlock your phone? It will most likely be YouTube or some social media app. Affiliate marketers can build their marketing strategies for social media to boost their sales. 

This trend is growing upwards with more people browsing and shopping on their mobile phones. So, by optimizing the content and landing pages for mobile phones, affiliate marketers can leverage this opportunity and provide a seamless shopping experience for users. 

➢ Growth of micro-influencers #

As discussed above, social media and mobile-first approaches are becoming popular in affiliate marketing. With social media, the growth of micro-influencers is also on the rise. About 23% of brands spend more than 40% of their marketing budget on influencer marketing. The key driving factor for this is Google’s rising Cost-per-click ad prices in mid-2022.

Affiliate marketers can partner with micro-influencers in their specific niche, and they can help marketers promote their product with content like product reviews, how to use it, and its benefits. This approach is becoming increasingly effective than ads since it involves the face of a real person telling you to do something rather than just a text or creative banner. This approach can help marketers build more genuine connections with the audience and higher engagement rates.

This approach is effective for one more reason. If a brand is paying a celebrity $10M a year to promote their product, they are limiting their reach to one influencer only. But if they pay $100K each to 100 micro-influencers, their collective reach will be higher than the celebrity and will help them generate more revenue for their business. 

For example, a travel influencer who actually goes to places around the world and promotes products like backpacks, trekking shoes, or any other travel gear. It makes more than looking at a celebrity’s face in the Ad because he is actually going places and using products. It feels more genuine in the eyes of the users.

➢ More focus on content marketing #

Content is the king in the age of internet marketing. Creative, valuable content that resonates with the audience is the key factor in building an online presence for affiliate marketers. We have already discussed the importance of social media content above. But that is not the only source for generating revenue for affiliates.

Affiliates are focusing more on SEO-optimized content to enhance visibility. With the rise of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, affiliate marketers are more focused on delivering personalized content. It enables them to analyze their audience preferences and predict future market trends to keep their audience engaged with fresh and relevant content.

It helps them rank higher on the Google SERP and attract organic traffic to their landing pages. This increased visibility can help them get more clicks on affiliate links, which eventually convert into customers. It will help them generate more revenue for their business.

➢ Adapting subscription models in affiliate marketing #

Affiliate marketers are looking for ways to generate recurring revenue so they don’t have to go out into the market every month to build strategies and promote their products. Especially the affiliates in the SaaS industry are getting hugely benefited from this model. Look at the affiliate revenue sharing model of NordVPN mentioned below.

As you can see they pay their affiliates on renewals also, unlike many other affiliate programs. This model is quite common in SaaS and affiliates are looking for ways to incorporate this in other industries as well. This makes the flow of money keep coming to them every month/year so they can budget their marketing spending and profits to optimize their marketing strategies.

➢ Commissions based on performance #

Affiliate networks are shifting towards the commission model, where affiliates only get paid if they bring sales. That means no commission for impressions, clicks, or traffic you bring to the website.

It is beneficial for brands and affiliate networks since they are only paying for the results. This shift reduces the financial risk for brands and encourages the affiliates to focus more on sales and build marketing strategies around that. 

➢ SEO for voice search #

People are using voice search more than ever before. There are around 8.4 Billion digital voice assistants in use. It’s more than the total count of the human population, and these assistants are getting better every day.

It will impact SEO strategy a lot since voice searches are not the same as text searches. People usually use phrases, unlike text searches, where they search with just the keywords. People ask questions when they use voice searches. Add FAQs with long-tail keywords to get better voice search results. 

It is mainly used on mobile phones, so make sure your website and content are responsive and well-structured. 

When using voice search, it is most likely that they will be redirected to a platform when they want to buy something. However, consumers are now becoming more aware and looking for product reviews before purchasing. So, if affiliates create a product review with affiliate links, they are most likely to earn a commission.

➢ Bid Farewell to third-party cookies #

Third-party cookies are increasing the risk of being tracked across multiple websites. With Google set to sundown third-party cookies in 2024, it is a clear message for affiliates that this is not a viable option.

Thankfully, there are many affiliate platforms that use other tracking methods, like first-party cookies. There are other alternatives like custom tracking domains, server-to-server tracking, etc. However, affiliates are still trying to figure out the best option for tracking. It is recommended to check the privacy measures taken by the affiliate platform before signing up on it. 

➢ Rise of Virtual Shopping #

If you look at the past decade, virtual environments have improved dramatically. It is not just virtual environments; augmented reality is on the rise, too. With the launch of advanced headsets like Microsoft Hololens, Meta Quest, and Apple Vision Pro, brands are trying to figure out ways to promote their products on MetaVerse and other related platforms.

A huge opportunity is building up in a virtual space, and affiliate marketers can leverage this by creating their affiliate marketing programs on virtual platforms. Early adopters will benefit greatly since there won’t be much competition when brands start advertising their products in a virtual environment.

It might sound like a thing of the future, but we are closer than we think to make this a reality. 

👉 How Business Can Adapt: Strategies and Actionable Steps #

➢ Leverage automation tools to boost productivity #

Affiliate marketing is not easy. It requires time and strategies to start earning. Marketers can not spend their time doing repetitive or mundane tasks. By using automation tools, they can automate tasks like email campaigns, social media posting, and analyzing data sets to build strategies. 

The good thing is that automation is getting better with Generative AI tools. Marketers can now personalize their email campaigns and ad copies and come up with new ideas for promoting products with AI.

We at EnactSoft have built a solution marketers can use to boost their productivity by focusing on what’s important. With 11 years of experience in the affiliate industry, we have built solutions that can be deployed in less than ten days, and we have included automation that helps affiliate marketers be more productive.

Contact the EnactSoft team today for a quick demo call.

➢ Focus on interactive content for better engagement #

It is an undeniable fact that generating engaging content is a must for every marketer today. Now, with all the tools and features that marketers have available, creating content has become easier than ever. Content like quizzes, polls, and interactive live sessions can boost engagement dramatically. It makes users participate more and spend more time on content. 

By adding interactive content, affiliates can create a better experience for the audience. It can build brand loyalty, resulting in higher conversion rates.

➢ Focus on emerging niches and the global market #

With all the dropshipping and inventory rentals, it has never been easier for affiliates to go global. This makes it much better for affiliates who want to focus on emerging niches. By leveraging these services, affiliates can easily access and promote their products around the globe.

For example, if an affiliate is an influencer in the fitness industry, they must have noticed a trend in increased sales of plant protein. Not just that, there is a rise of influencers promoting plant-based products. Netflix even made a documentary about it. 

Affiliates can focus on such emerging niches and promote them to stay ahead of the competition.

➢ Diversify product offerings #

Diversifying product offerings helps a lot in generating different sources of revenue, and it’s a smart move because we live in uncertain times. Imagine this: there is an affiliate marketer A promoting yoga mats and affiliate marketer B promoting yoga mats and digital yoga courses.

Assume it is 2020, when COVID hits and everything is closed. Who do you think will be on the safer side here? Marketer B, right! It’s not just COVID that can cause this; it can be anything like a change in trends, preferences, etc. For example, so many people now are moving towards plant protein instead of Whey.

So, it is always better to diversify product offerings!

➢ Take a data-driven approach. #

The days are gone when affiliates could take a random trending product and build a massive business out of it. If a business wants to survive in the long term, it has to make data-driven decisions to keep generating revenue and staying competitive.

Insights like buying patterns and trends help affiliates identify which marketing channels are working and which need modifications. The data-driven approach ensures that affiliates get the maximum return on their investments. 

These are the few approaches you can take to be competitive and drive results for your affiliate marketing strategies.

➢ The future of affiliate marketing

As we look ahead to the future of affiliate marketing in 2024, it’s evident that the industry is changing. The dynamic nature of the industry demands creativity, innovation in ideas, and growth. With every technological change, affiliate marketers are getting new opportunities to redefine their marketing strategies and excel in their niche. 

Affiliate marketers should embrace these changes with strategies that deliver the results they need. Keep up with the trends mentioned above and take steps that can actually bring you the results.

Our affiliate marketing solutions at EnactSoft can help you stay ahead of the competitors. With the tools and automation that we deliver, our solutions can help you grow your affiliate marketing business by attracting more customers with our coupons and cashback. Contact our experts today to build your own coupon and cashback platform.