It’s hard to believe it but for more than a decade, AM Navigator has been publishing affiliate marketing predictions for new years. It started with my personal predictions for 2010, followed by ten years of me compiling predictions of other experts besides myself, and for 2021 I published this one on LinkedIn Pulse.
For 2022 (which is going to be here in less than two days), I’ve once again reached out to a number of my industry friends and long-time affiliate marketing veterans, and today I bring you the list of their thoughts for the year to come.
The “Comments” area under this post is wide-open to your thoughts and comments. Don’t be shy, and let the industry know what you think. In the meantime, enjoy the below:
2022 Affiliate Marketing Trends and Predictions
As more merchants embrace e-commerce and, consequently, affiliate marketing, there will be more opportunities for smaller niche affiliates and influencers. As larger affiliates and influencers are commanding bigger placement fees and hybrid payment models, there will be an opening for small businesses on both sides of affiliate marketing to work together more. Small merchants will need to leverage third-party tools and network/platform capabilities to find them, but they will find these smaller affiliates eager to work with them when they offer favorable terms in regard to commissions, cookie lengths, and exclusive deals. Without as much administrative red tape as larger companies, the merchants and affiliates will be able to broker deals quickly to take advantage of market trends, pop culture, and pandemic era anomalies.
It’s been a bittersweet year with so much of the accelerated growth of affiliate being a legacy of Covid. Conventional wisdom holds that the gains of e-commerce shall be consolidated with more to come after travel and events fully recovers. This seems correct.
As more and more partners enter the space, the networks’ collective inability to deliver all program information by API will continue to strain smaller merchant players, who will have to seek workarounds.
Barring unpredictable circumstances, impact going public will mark the end of another chapter in affiliate marketing’s history with its second unicorn after Honey. As is typically the case, the full vestiture that comes with an exit will free up some of the channel’s top talent for other ventures.
Finally, the programmatic advertising camp will start to take more potshots at affiliate marketing in an attempt to keep the budget for itself, so affiliate needs to make a better case for itself.
We will continue to see partnerships grow and evolve in 2022. New partnerships growth will be a key driver for the industry.
We will see even more content commerce type partners as well as new distribution channels — all helping to create more authenticity and value for consumers.
Over the past 24 years, I have never been more excited or bullish about this industry than I am now.
With an omnichannel approach more important (and challenging) than ever for e-commerce merchants in 2022, affiliate marketing will be a growing and vital asset for online retailers to meet their potential customers in as many places as possible. One segment of affiliate partners that I expect we’ll see notable demand for and growth from is the nano and micro social influencers — those with a smaller yet engaging number of followers. These partners are a powerful source for merchants to build brand intimacy, stand out from their competition and increase revenue through trusted product recommendations. Merchants investing in these social influencer relationships as part of their affiliate program will not only benefit from increased brand reach but also from increased bottom-line results.
In the last decade, tremendous progress has been made by networks and SaaS platforms in policing affiliate behavior to ensure an even playing field for all affiliates and partners in paid search. However, it continues to be a game of whack a mole, with the same bad actors moving their devious techniques from place to place where they can most easily avoid detection. In 2022, I believe that we are going to see the first efforts to systematically root out bad actors in a way that keeps them from continually appearing elsewhere in the ecosystem. While achieving that end goal won’t be complete in a single year, the steps taken in 2022 will put us in a position to achieve the holy grail of compliance — a clean ecosystem — in the years to follow.
As mentioned above, if you have your own predictions to make, please be my guest and do so via the “Comments” area under this post. No comment will be left unanswered.