Affiliate marketing is far from being a new trend. It’s been around since the beginning of eCommerce. In fact, it’s one of the pillars of eCommerce, along with online advertising, email direct marketing, and search engine optimization.
So why are we talking about it in 2021?
Because affiliate marketing has grown by 20% since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, and spending on affiliate marketing is projected to reach $8.2 billion by 2022.
So let’s take a closer look at the current state of this classic online marketing technique with 4 FAQs below!
Q: What’s driving affiliate marketing’s growth?
A: The internet is becoming more “social”, even more so than it has been in the two previous decades. The growth of influencer marketing, live streaming, and the sharing of promotional events on various platforms is turning eCommerce into social commerce. And what’s more social than affiliate marketing?
Q: What type of role do creators play in affiliate marketing?
A: Top affiliates today are creators - musicians, chefs, experts, comedians, and other original content creators. Through the content they create, they are touching different demographics and building relationships that affiliates of old could only dream of.
Whereas affiliates used to create subpar landing pages stuffed full of irrelevant keywords, creators only promote a product when they believe in it. If a niche micro-influencer (somebody with more than 50k followers) says they love a product, you might be more inclined to try it out than if, for example, a random blog page with tons of links has an almost nonsensical raving review about the same product.
Q: How do you manage affiliates in your affiliate marketing network?
A: In the past, affiliate sales were more likely than not from links to your purchase page from a website that doesn’t have much of an overlap with your demographic and deal in return customers only rarely. In the current creator economy, since affiliates are able to build lasting relationships with their customers, it only makes sense for you to help them cultivate that connection through affiliate marketing tools that allow affiliates to send post-purchase messages to the buyer via the seller.
Affiliate marketing management tools also help sellers optimize the purchase journey from their existing affiliates and map out specific plans for potential future affiliate programs. Whereas affiliates in the past only knew whether a sale was made, affiliate marketing management tools now have dashboards that can show you (and your affiliate) customer lifetime value, overlapping purchases, activity on your platform, and much more.
Q: What’s affiliate marketing again?
A: Affiliate marketing is basically when an affiliate earns a commission for helping to sell or market another person’s product or services. The affiliate simply has to seek out or come across a product that they enjoy and help to sell it. As long as the company or individual offering that product and/or service has an affiliate program i.e. structure in place to pay people to market their product, then an affiliate with a significant online following is ready to earn. Affiliates can get paid for every sale, every lead, or every click that they generate through their affiliate link - provided by the company selling the product they help to promote.
So is affiliate marketing nowadays basically influencer marketing? Yes and no.
Influencers come and go, but affiliate marketing is here to stay. Affiliate marketing success depends on an ever-growing roster of affiliates that can bring leads and sales. Influencers are fickle characters, they love your product one day, then they are trashing you on social media the next day. Therefore, it’s more accurate to say that affiliate marketing increasingly overlaps with the most organic part of influencer marketing.
As long as they love your product and can bring their friends or followers on board, then they can be your affiliate.