11 June 2018

COMMENT: Does Affiliate Marketing Still Work in 2018?

Image: Pixabay.com
As the years tick by, increasing numbers of digital marketers have often wondered when the affiliate marketing "bubble" will burst. You may have heard stories of how “affiliate marketing is dead” or articles titled “it’s not possible to make money from affiliate marketing in 2017” (or 2016, 2015 and so on). So, as we come to within 18 months of the end of the decade, it’s a good opportunity to review the concept of affiliate marketing as it stands today and its long-term viability.

There is one impressive statistic that demonstrates affiliate marketing is alive and kicking in 2018. According to Extra Paycheck, four-fifths (80%) of all American retailers operate some kind of affiliate program. Some $5.3 billion was spent on affiliate marketing in 2017, up from $4.7 billion in the previous year. Annual spending is also set to reach $7 billion by the turn of the next decade. How can it be possible that affiliate marketing is “dead” if brands are spending so much money on it? There’s an easy answer to that – it’s actually not dead. The opportunity to profit from affiliate marketing exists just as much today as it did ten years ago. One thing that has changed, though, is the way in which affiliates work.
Bloggers and content marketers that can become an expert or build a brand in their niche are far more likely to attract the attention of the most profitable affiliate marketing agencies and programs. The power of the written word and the influence bloggers now have on a company’s reputation means that affiliate programs need affiliates more than ever to broaden brand exposure in front of the right audience. You only have to look at failed retail giants such as Sears and Toys R Us to see why affiliate programs are so important. Neither of these corporations operated an affiliate program and their resulting online retail experience diminished as a result.
Affiliate marketing is going incredibly social in 2018. Affiliates are not just using blogs or websites to write their news and reviews, they are taking to YouTube and Facebook to create timely and useful video content. Becoming a social media affiliate and a personality is another good way of building your affiliate brand and enticing bigger companies to reach out to you. What hasn’t changed in affiliate marketing is the ability to scale up your profits if you can provide companies with a steady stream of customers. Take the Mr Green affiliate program for instance, which gives affiliates a 25% revenue share of all money spent by the first new customer they can get to sign up. This increases on a sliding scale to 45% revenue share for enticing more than 30 new customers a month, receiving lifelong commission on their revenue in the process.
The founding principles of affiliate marketing remain the same in 2018 as ever. Provide effective solutions to common problems that your readers or viewers encounter; giving them a compelling reason to sign up to your affiliate programs. With more content platforms for consumers to digest than ever before, it’s never been easier to disseminate your affiliate marketing messages.

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