It is December 31, and on the last day of 2014 I can think of no better topic to blog about than review the year that is coming to an end, outlining the key trends we have witnessed in the course of the year.
The following five stood out most prominently for me:
1. New Mergers & Acquisitions
2014 was certainly a year of some big affiliate marketing acquisitions! In February 2014 ValueClick family of businesses re-branded into Conversant with Commission Junction affiliate network turning into CJ Affiliate by Conversant and in September of the same year Conversant was sold to Alliance Data for $2.3B.
In August 2014 Rakuten Marketing, owners of LinkShare affiliate network, acquired PopShops, and already in September they also paid $1B for eBates (the largest amount ever paid for an affiliate website!).
In November VigLink acquired LinkSmart.
2. Continued Industry Recognition
The year started with Affiliate Summit beating the attendance record (gathering some 5,500 attendees in Las Vegas) attracting companies from an array of digital marketing areas beyond pure affiliate marketing.
Also in January, we then saw the second IAB / PwC Online Performance Marketing study come out in the UK, an important research which validates the industry (I wish we saw these conducted in the U.S. as well).
Finally, later in the year, for the first time ever, we saw two Small Business Influencer of the Year awards handed out specifically for affiliate marketing efforts: one to Abe’s Market and another one to yours truly.
3. Further Growth
Forrester projected affiliate marketing spend to reach some $3.5B by the end of 2014.
4. International Developments
New affiliate marketing-oriented conferences sprung up globally: with the first CPA Day held in Kiev, Ukraine, first CPA Life in St. Petersburg, Russia, Affiliate Konference in Prague, and The Affiliate Blogger Conference in Highland, Utah, USA.
5. New Educational Opportunities
In 2014 I have launched an affiliate program management workshop the first of which was held in San Francisco in March.
Later that Spring I compiled, recorded, and published (with Lynda.com) a video course for aspiring affiliates — “Affiliate Marketing Fundamentals.” In under six months, the latter has trained nearly 4,500 people from 109 countries becoming one of the top 10 “most popular” Online Marketing courses on Lynda.com.
It’s been another great year for affiliate marketing.
If I have missed something that stood out for you, please do chime in via the “Comments” area below.
And Happy New Year to everyone (inside and outside the affiliate marketing industry)!!