It’s been here for years! The Affiliate Marketing channel has had a wild journey. Its path to legitimacy hasn’t always been straight, but a very long and winding road. Now more than ever there are vast opportunities in the Affiliate Marketing channel, enabling brands to chart their own course for success.
We want to draw attention to some of the trends in Affiliate Marketing that are elevating and advancing the channel.
- Partnership Marketing – Affiliate programs that rely on coupon and loyalty partners are so yesterday. Enter Partnership Marketing. Brands need to expand their definition of an affiliate or publisher to non-traditional partners such as content publishers to recognize the potential growth of their Affiliate Marketing channels. It’s much, much more than working with affiliates to feature their brand on a homepage banner or include in an email newsletter. It’s more of a Business Development or Partnership Marketing function with huge potential for brand impact.
- Attribution – Affiliates may have a broader definition in 2017, but being able to see where specific affiliates are engaging with customers in their shopping journey is critical to understand the true value of an affiliate partnership. Objective, third-party attribution partners provide the best insights yet require an investment in time and costs from the brands themselves. The affiliate networks are in a race to provide pixel technology allowing to commission on different steps along the purchase path. Right now, Affiliate Window is the closest with their “assist” reporting and commissioning.
- Cross-Device Tracking – As more and more customers are shopping on their mobile devices, tracking across mobile devices is a must-have for any affiliate program. Taking it to the next level with cross-device tracking will be adopted by more brands in 2017. Cross-device tracking goes hand-in-hand with attribution, providing insights into how customers are engaging with the Affiliate channel along their shopping journey.
- Transparency – With attribution and cross-device tracking at the fingertips of most marketers, transparency in the Affiliate channel will become increasingly important. Sharing data between brands and partners creates favorable business relationships and constructive strategies. Not sharing or withholding data often leads to reckless decisions, and creates confusion and frustration on both sides.
- Mergers & Acquisitions – There have been many recent mergers and acquisitions in the Affiliate channel. Who will be next? And, what does this mean for affiliates? From Ziff Davis acquiring Offers.com, Groupon acquiring LivingSocial, Affiliate Window acquiring ShareASale, and the most recent of Ebates acquiring Cartera Commerce, I think this is just the beginning of this consolidation trend. Please comment on who you think is next!
These are just a few of the major trends shaking up the Affiliate Marketing space today, and what an exciting time to take part. We love hearing from brands, drop us a line and let us know what trends are advancing your program, or if you’re in need of a reboot.