Where is Affiliate Marketing Headed?

Today I’m missing an event that I’ve always wanted to go to — Google Affiliate Network Client Summit, an invitation-only event which traditionally takes place in Chicago every summer. This year, unlike before, I received an invitation to speak at the event. However, numerous circumstances made it impossible for me to participate. Instead, we’ve worked out what I think to be a good compromise — I recorded a series of 1-minute videos for Google Affiliate Network; and today they are going to show them at the conference, mixed with opinions of other affiliate marketing experts too. The videos are on the state of affiliate marketing today, and where we believe the industry is headed.

I have shot four videos for this (note: in three different countries!); and today I’d like to bring you the one where I answer the question of where, in my opinion, affiliate marketing is headed in the coming year(s). This one comes from the coziness my living room in St. Petersburg, Russia:

The 4 things that I not envisage happening in the next year or so — even though more and more attention is being devoted to these questions (and rightfully so!) — are:

  1. We are not going to go away from the last-cookie-wins rule;
  2. We’re not going to go away from cookies as the primary method of tracking affiliate referrals;
  3. We’re not going to see a substantial decline in the usage of coupon websites (neither by consumers, nor by affiliate programs);
  4. We’re not going to see channel attribution go mainstream.

Of course, all of these must end with just yet. All of these are tendencies are gradually taking root, but it may take a little more time for them to truly bloom and bear fruit.

The 3 things that I’m certain we are going to witness are:

  1. Program management is going to become more sophisticated (merchants and affiliate managers will steer their affiliate programs in more educated ways — from effective compliance policing to active employment of competitive intelligence techniques to optimize their programs, learning from the successes in conversion rate optimization, email marketing, and other related/applicable areas);
  2. We are going to see more and better tools (created both for affiliates, and for affiliate managers);
  3. More OPM agencies and affiliate networks are going to emerge.

With all of the above three, and especially when it comes to latter, always remember Benjamin Franklin’s “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” and choose your partners wisely.

3 thoughts on “Where is Affiliate Marketing Headed?”

  1. The just yet, is a wise addition.
    But for the EU and especially the Netherlands cookies will have had there best time, due to legislation ans privacy issues.

  2. Pingback: Marketing Day: July 13, 2012

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