2013 Digital Trends Reveal Affiliate Marketing Opportunities

Having just returned from Search Marketing Day 2013, which took place in Poznań, Poland, I have decided to put together this post recapping my experience at the show, as well as the main part of my presentation.

This was my first SEO conference to attend, and I must admit: I have been thoroughly impressed with the caliber of both speakers and attendees. Of course, there were a number black hat folks at the show, but sifting through the content, anyone could easily decide what they want to replicate and what to stay away from (unless, of course, they were looking at making a quick buck by exploiting vulnerabilities of this or that system).

Search Marketing Day 2013The conference was split into two tracks: “SEO Heroes” and “SEO Alternatives.” The latter was the track in which I presented, speaking on the topic: “Is Affiliate Marketing an ‘Alternative’? Opportunities & Trends in 2013.” The key premise of my presentation was that for an online advertiser an affiliate marketing program is neither a “marketing channel,” nor an “alternative.” Representing a marketing context (within which a free marketer promotes a merchant’s service/product, being compensated only when performance/conversion happens), and existing on the crossroads of all online marketing channels, affiliate marketing is not just an alternative. It should be an integral part of every merchant’s marketing mix.

Also, since an affiliate program may encompass literally every online marketing channel available (with merchants, basically, outsourcing certain marketing activities to affiliates), when speaking of affiliate marketing opportunities we can’t help but look at the current trends in the overall digital marketing industry, highlighting those that represent most opportunities for affiliates. I narrowed these down to three. Here are the bullet points straight from my slide deck:

Opportunity #1: Mobile

From Morgan Stanley, Skava, Branding Brand, and eMarketer we know that:

  • [tweetherder]Mobile Internet is set to eclipse desktop Internet by 2014[/tweetherder]

Mobile Internet vs Desktop Internet

  • [tweetherder]71% of smartphone owners shop on mobile[/tweetherder]
  • [tweetherder]By 2015 over 60% of traffic (to the Top 500 e-retailers) will stem from smartphones[/tweetherder]

Smartphone shoppers forecast

  • [tweetherder]Mobile sales = 11% of e-commerce sales (2012), 15% (2013), 18% (2014) 21% (2015), 24% (2016)[/tweetherder]

Opportunity #2: Social

  • Per BIA/Kelsey [tweetherder]U.S. social ad revenues are set to grow from $6.1 bn in 2012 to $11 bn in 2017[/tweetherder]

US Social Media Advertising Revenues

  • Affiliate marketing opportunities abound in:
    • Social shopping
    • Social gaming
    • Podcasting
    • Q&A and review websites (in US: disclose relationship)
    • Social media ads
    • Proactive conversation design

Opportunity #3: Local

  • Per Berg Insight the total value of the global real-time [tweetherder]location-based marketing spend will grow €526 million in 2012 to €6.5 billion in 2017[/tweetherder]
  • Affiliates should explore such areas as:
    • Offline performance marketing (e.g. via PPCall, app-to-store campaigns)
    • Local search
    • Geo-targeted advertising
    • Mobile- and social-related opportunities (e.g. proximity-based location marketing, check-in services)

The key to making the most of the above three opportunities is to be relevant to the end-consumer. Only then and by adding value (in the process) you will be able to make these channels work for you.

3 thoughts on “2013 Digital Trends Reveal Affiliate Marketing Opportunities”

  1. Pingback: Marketing Day: July 1, 2013

  2. Hi Geno,
    Great overview of current digital trends not just for affiliate marketing but for all online marketing these days. I’m wondering whether you feel these trends determine the success of some products over others. (That is, will some products work better than others given these trends?) Or is it just a matter of what channels affiliate marketers are likely to find the most effective given these trends?

    1. Glad you have enjoyed my post/thoughts, Heather; and thank you for commenting.

      Certainly, different products and services are sold (and pre-sold) differently. And yes, some of these channels will be more effective for B2C retail, others for B2B services, and so on… However, I do believe that opportunity exists in every one of these three; and all are worth exploring.

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