I recently came across an industry report talking about the future of affiliate marketing that got me excited. (well excited for me).
The report is predicting the affiliate marketing spend to grow 10% year on year to 2020 to a $6.8m spend per year.
One of the key factors identified driving that increase is the changing demands of the customer for information when buying online. You can see the full report here: Networks Help Drive Affiliate Marketing Into The Mainstream
Looking at this from content driven and ranking in the search engines: affiliate marketing has moved to being more informative already. The changes Google has really forced this (not always successfully) with its changes to its algorithm getting rid of spam and thin affiliate sites. So even the SEO backlinkers have had to improve their content from keyword stuffed gibberish.
Even those people with email lists are finding I think that they can no longer just effectively spam their subscribers email boxes – they have to be building a relationship with valuable content.
Customers are wanting more and go to more sources on the internet to get the information they need to make their buying decision. They want more than marketing speak, they want valuable content.
The report says “Valuable, unique content wins a consumer’s heart and mind and differentiates the affiliate channel from other digital advertising channels. The reason is that quality content delivers real value to the consumer and results in better audience engagement for a publisher’s advertising partners. ”
(Note: Publisher is the merchant, advertiser is affiliate marketer.)
Not specifically mentioned in the report is customers becoming wary of reviews as evidenced by Amazon trying to clean up its’ own customer reviews. It has been trying to get rid of paid for fake reviews.
With this in mind customers are going to look for other sources of credible information.
Both of these are good news I think for the future of affiliate marketing for us affiliates using blogging and other content methods to attract and convert visitors. Well, those that are trying to add value to the customer experience.
Customers want to be properly informed and are expecting more from the people providing the content. Merchants are probably going to want more too – as can be seen with Amazon checking sites and removing their “affiliation” if they feel an affiliate isn’t providing value for new affiliates, in some cases.
What is valuable content will depend on what the customer is looking for exactly but it does seem to me to be more than they can get just by going to the merchant account – it can mean detailed reviews with full explanations, or seeing the product in action, giving people your own personal thoughts on using the product or a combination, as well as comparisons, how a product can solve a problem and so on.
The future therefore seems bright for affiliate marketers that are providing the best content they can for their visitors – with Google, the merchants and customers all seeming to want quality and unique value (merchants also want “vertical” expertise).
Looks like there are exciting times ahead to 2020 at least!
I’d love to hear what you think is ahead for the future of affiliate marketing?