How did 2014 change affiliate marketing strategy? Here you may find the list of 10 trends which will influence the industry in the year of 2015.
1. Life will become easier for affiliates.
Affiliate marketing itself is very simple, but it is complicated with enormous amount of acronyms, unintuitive interfaces, inability to convey data in an easily accessible way. 2015 has to become a year when the established networks will explain the world how easy it is to cooperate with affiliate marketing, there is no barriers to start and to go through. Maybe it is necessary to overview the fundamentals of affiliate marketing in an effort to understand where is the key to changeover.
2. The changing part of affiliates.
Nowadays almost all networks are in search of the new methods and ways of the selling the performance products. Does this mean the lack of effective affiliate marketing methods? With the new approach will we face the changes in the affiliate traffic now existing? We saw the strong growth of the affiliate marketing industry in 2014 and it was the proof that affiliating business is rapidly growing. There can be no doubts that we are on the threshold of major changes. Moreover, we can see inoperability of the consensual network approach which was popular on the UK market some time ago. All these items are calls to action, the signals of coming changes.
3. Usage of the overseas possibilities.
UK retailers have all opportunities to sell their products abroad as they are in demand among the overseas customers. As a recent study shows us, UK online sales have the largest surplus comparing with all other countries throughout the world and this specialty opens great opportunities for the affiliates. Many of the UK companies popular abroad don’t demonstrate local presence, but can be easily found over the web, because they use local networks to build effective affiliate marketing strategy. Today high-quality traffic is easy to find, and the brands have to think how they can use the outstanding opportunities which open in front of them. The great part of the success of affiliate channel lies in the area of the unlocked data which is easy to use in order to identify the affiliate itself as well as to determine its significance. When we know that customers from the US spend much money online than British consumers, we have to find out the reasons of such situation, the causes which lead to the specific product selection. Such knowledge will give the opportunity to the marketers to correct their marketing strategy according to the reasons of any particular sales.
4. The growth of the traffic quality.
Quality and compliance of network’s traffic is usually omitted by the users. Maybe it is because of the complicated technologies one doesn’t want to bogged down or maybe it is the way to avoid thoughts of the risk inherent to the affiliate marketing business. Nevertheless, we often face with unpleasant sides of the affiliate marketing and are forced to deal with them. 2015 has to become the year when most companies will care much more about high quality of the traffic they use. Companies, which will not follow the progress, will not get the benefits of the high-quality networks’ usage. The opportunities of the affiliate marketing are expanding like never before and there should be a visible progress if this industry wants to stay on top. There are still no standards and special demands to the quality of the network traffic for affiliates in UK. In 2015 companies have to defend more productive approach to the channels they use, facing the fact that external and internal regulators will explore the industry looking for a weak spot.
5. The appearance of regulations and standards in the industry.
During the previous 2-3 years we face the interference of the external regulations into the functioning of the digital world. There is no surprise: the growth of the certain industry causes the appearance of the internal and external regulations intended to control it. With the increasing of the customer awareness of offered products and services, some affiliate marketing models appear under the spotlight of the public. We saw the reaction of the telecoms industry some years ago on the consumer questions regarding the appearance of product and price data on the websites. Now in 2015 we see the growing pressure from the finance and utility sectors. It is obvious that the body of industry regulator will be created with the aim to analyze customer demands and expectations and related issues of the industry. Previously we deal only with the individual regulators, but in 2015 there will be more coordinated external and internal interposal in the sphere of the affiliate marketing.
6. The growth of affiliating data value.
The area is shifting towards the embracing data. It is becoming as important as high-quality traffic and the usage of multi-channel approach to the marketing strategy. Some advertisers saw different stages of data development and now they understand true value of data for affiliates and affiliate programs. There will be continued investments in business tools accompanied with the hiring of data analysts who will cooperate with account managers with the aim to better understand and fetch out the value of affiliate marketing business. Such approach will push the networks to use the data of high-quality only received from affiliates and advertisers.
7. The appearance of new commercial models.
2014 was the year when we were eager to understand the influence of the traffic (clicks and views) on the sales growth. We have to face the fact that clicks are not still good enough to measure the value properly. We still do not understand the meaning and the point of clicking, for example, whether it is an intent or an insight. It is important that we have such information as it goes to both sides – to affiliates and to advertisers. 2015 will be the year of the wider contribution decisions. Every CPA click will be looked through in order to measure its value for the affiliates. We are already sharing more information with the affiliates so that they can create more effective cooperation with the advertisers. The other aspect of progress is the possibility to find alternative payment solutions. We do not think that the latest CPA click model is not good enough, but we need to admit that it serves to the certain parts of the industry only. 2015 has to become the year for search of the alternative commercial models, which will suit both sides and can contribute to the affiliate marketing progress.
8. The necessity of incentivized traffic.
Incentivisation is a typical activity that incentivizes the customer to participate. It is now a required and a very important part of every channel. But with the progress of industry the affiliates and the advertisers will ask for more information according to its value. We are sure that sites of the retailers will continue to prosper in 2015, because they have the opportunity to cooperate with the customer at each stage of the deal, especially in the multi-channel and multi-device conditions. But still every channel has to demonstrate the value and the volume of traffic it delivers.
9. 2015 is not a mobile year.
We can admit that this year will not be the year of mobile as it was predicted by many other experts. We have many different devices in the modern world, including, but not limiting, smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops and so on. Customers use all of them and we need to offer them an opportunity to connect their activity on all devices. We are not trying to decrease the concern of the separate traffic running through each device. But from now we have to think about common traffic, not separate as it was before. Nowadays customers fear no new technologies and they are always ready to explore them. Today we have more than 50 percent of traffic for smartphones and tablets, but we have thousands of companies throughout the web which are in search for the decisions for the new devices. We have to combine all the knowledge and experience and to use it with the aim to combine networks for all available devices as well as we have to be sure that such system will work effectively.
10. Combining all aspects.
In 2015 we can open the whole new world for affiliate marketing. All we need is to lose our fear and begin to explore it and invest in it. Such attitude will influence everything from promotion to commercial models. Previously everybody who worked in the industry faced poor-quality or incomplete data. We missed a lot of chances. We even didn’t have the possibility to track customer’s activity on different devices. It is of high importance to use 2015 in order to combine networks and make them multi-device for all possible devices customers can use. Recent researches show us that at least 30 percent of sales begin on one device and end on the other. We would like to make the buying process easier for the customers. Affiliate marketing has great potential, but still we have to analyze all factors and possibilities if we want to make the best decisions.