Affiliate Marketing Trends 2020
Matthias Stadelmeyer, CEO Tradedoubler
In 2019 we already saw a very exciting development of affiliate marketing not only in the business directly, but as well in the number of new topics that are linked to affiliate marketing. 2020 has the potential for some of these ideas to become real stars and push affiliate marketing further as the fastest growing digital marketing. For 2020 we see four main trends: service-focus, transparency, mobile and video as well as new ad formats.
Service-focus in Affiliate Marketing: After years of optimizing and focus on efficiencies, we see affiliate clients having a bigger focus on expanding their affiliate marketing activities again. This means new opportunities with new traffic channels and new inventory like media content or influencers, cooperation with branding and traffic acquisition which meets in the user journey analysis affiliate network provides and a focus on service beyond pure CPA/ROI optimization but on managing the whole acquisition funnel.
Collaboration and transparency: Affiliate marketing is becoming even more collaborative in the relationship between advertisers, publishers, and networks. Open platform concepts, the share of data and complete transparency across the whole user journey are must-haves nowadays and will become even more important as the expectation levels rise.
Mobile and Video: With performance marketing and branding slowly but surely moving closer mobile and video advertising are getting back into the focus of affiliate marketing. The technical capabilities to run efficient performance campaigns are there and we see significant budgets for them being allocated to affiliate marketing activities and programs.
New ad formats: New ad formats are rising, some of them being smartly integrated into content, video or graphics with artificial intelligence for automation and increase of relevance. In the general discussion about non-intrusive, natural advertising is becoming more and more important to find ways to communicate with consumers that are not seen as being intrusive.
Claudia Batschi-Rota, Country Manager DACH
2020 Affiliate Marketing will significantly increase its relevance in the marketing mix due to the strong performance trends of the industry. This will be a year of AI, automatization and valuable content. All under the label of a high-quality quantity in the mobile and app space and with a very strong focus on performance.
Tracking: Reliable, automated, trend-dynamic and GDPR conform tracking technologies will become mandatory. The pressure of the fast-changing trends and the data privacy debate will bring more standards into the industry and select the quality players. Mobile, In-App and App to App tracking will definitely get a relevant shift, due to the massive pressure of publishers.
Automation & AI in publisher models & delivery: You will observe an exponential growth of automation and machine learning in the publisher landscape. AI-based marketing technologies focused on consumer behaviour analyses will continue to take rapid speed into the market. Of course, not all technologies will be scalable – as it always is, but the massive trend will bring us some very valuable ones. Performing faster and for many tasks more efficient than humans, highly targeted audiences will be selected in real-time and for much lower prices.
Targeting: The shift goes from general audience targeting into much deeper targeting of specific touchpoints. User journey tracking will continue to be very significant.
Emotional behaviour: And not only costumer behaviour generically but much more digging into emotional behaviour combined with machine learning will disclose new potentials for marketers.
TikTok: TikTok capturing the fleeting attention of generation Z, is one of the best examples, as already using some of these technologies, will continue to grow on relevance and confirm one more time the trend.
Shoppable content: Will be another strong trend that started to be already 2019 very visible and will continue to grow massively. As the antipode of AI, or in the combination with it, human-generated shoppable content, seeded in social influencer and magazines or news portals, opens marketers’ new perspectives. Brands can get to the target through enormous reach and high-quality content that for instance Microsoft News or Yahoo provides on their platforms.
Multiple Platforms over Affiliate Channel: Not only Google and Facebook – 2020 will switch the attention towards new options that give the chance of reaching millions of customers newly over the affiliate channel. LinkedIn Ads or Bing will double their success this year.
Lukasz Szymula, Country Manager CEE & Poland
The most important trends in 2020 are worth paying attention to and observing:
Data and privacy: Even more important is data analysis (big data), making the right decisions based on data, automation of analytical processes. In other words, the intelligent use of available data in the decision-making process. This is accompanied by increasing challenges for data protection and GDPR procedures.
Tracking: Very accurate tracking and measuring of the purchase path as good support in the marketing decision-making process.
Mobile: Further increase in the share of mobile advertising in Performance Marketing
Performance activities: Increase the role of content marketing and native forms in performance activities. New tools are being developed to automate the combination of content and advertising, allowing media and content creators to monetize their content more and more effectively, including in performance models. From the perspective of performing activities, the rapid development and importance of influencer marketing and the growing role of influencer marketing in these activities should also be mentioned.
Voice search and Image recognition: Using voice search in affiliate activities and image recognition in online sales activities – According to experts, in 2020 at least 50% of all searches on the internet will be voice-based. Gartner said that 30% of all searches will be done on a device without a screen in 2020.
Growth of Cross Boarding in e-commerce: experts estimate that in 2020, more than 2 billion e-buyers (60% of the global population target) will make 13.5% of their total online retail purchases, corresponding to the market value of Accenture’s $3.4 billion). Cross-border e-commerce must be taken into account as part of the development strategy for e-commerce. Within this mega-trend, legislation and the removal of legal and economic barriers will be important.
This year there will be further consolidation of the affiliate industry, particularly in the area of publishers. But above all, I do estimate the further dynamic growth of affiliate marketing. An interesting phenomenon will probably be an increase in the share of affiliate marketing in such geographical areas as APAC or Africa.
Derek Grant, Country Manager UK & IE
I see the following being a major influence in 2020:
Influencer marketing: although already an established part of affiliate marketing I can see this continuing to grow and play a more significant part within affiliate programs.
Tracking: This will continue to be a hot topic and networks and advertisers will need to be able to respond and adapt to market trends quickly.
Tech partners: Can see their influence within affiliate marketing continue to increase as advertisers look for new partner opportunities leading to more diverse programs.
Data and Privacy: GDPR won’t be going away and Publishers, Networks, and Advertisers need to ensure they are fully compliant.
Networks: developing their technology and systems so that advertisers have more control over the management of their programs.
Nick Morris, Product Director
End of Third party cookies?: As expected 2019 came with a raft of privacy focused browser updates that impact the ability to track conversions using third party cookies. The big surprise was Chrome announcing a two year phase out of support for third party cookies – given that Chrome has a market share of at least 56%, this has a wider implication for the entire ad tech ecosystem. As I predicted last year, 1st party tracking will, therefore, be a basic requirement for networks and tracking providers.
Self Service and Automation: Last year we announced our Open Platform strategy where Tradedoubler would rebuild its platform to enable far easier integration and transparency between all parties in our network. We will continue this work in 2020 and also focus on product updates enabling greater self-service to allow marketers and publishers to focus on building relationships and growing the channel.
Kristoffer Klockare, Regional Director Nordics
Native Advertising will still be a very important channel to reach your audience 2020, it engages the reader and showcases how your brand authentically fits into the lifestyle of the content creator and still links to your brand and will drive sales.
That is why we have launched the Chrome Extension to all of our publishers so they will have quick access to a comprehensive overview of total earnings, statistics and integrated detection of Tradedoubler programs. In addition to that, publishers can easily apply to programs and generate a deep link directly in the tool.
For content creators, this will be the key to success in 2020.