These 6 Affiliate Marketing Trends Will Dominate 2020

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Nothing is sure but death and taxes. 

Everyone knows that, right?
Well, we can add one more certainty: affiliate marketing.

2019 was an AMAZING year for affiliate marketing. After years of making businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires, no brand is left outside the affiliate marketing space—even those that were highly skeptical about it now have affiliate marketing deeply incorporated into their marketing strategy. 

Companies realize today that affiliate marketing is more budget-friendly and ROI-beneficial than any other marketing channel. And the fact that they only have to spend money when they make money makes it a clear win-win situation. 

So it’s been proven: affiliate marketing is here to stay. 

This huge industry creates income for thousands of website owners, drives sales for advertisers of all sizes, and keeps growing at a steady pace with no end in sight. 

Once and once again, it has shown that anything can be monetized

Let’s take a look at some numbers: 

Currently, 81% of brands worldwide participate in affiliate marketing to some degree, generating 16% of all eCommerce sales in the USA and Canada. 

It’s been growing at nearly 10% each year and is on pace to become a 6.8 billion dollar industry during 2020 in the USA alone. 

Not half bad, is it?

So how did we get this far?

When it comes to the CFD trading industry, it is no secret that affiliation has become the main marketing strategy of most online brokers. 

Neil Patel, SEO genius and a mega affiliate, has stated that “Affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity if you truly believe in the value of the product you’re selling. Because many times, you can make money off of something you would probably recommend anyway.”

CFD affiliates today enjoy personal account management, better performance tracking, state-of-the-art marketing tools, and super-competitive commission plans.

Another perfect industry for affiliation activities is the lottery and casino space. With rising sums of jackpot money (up to 1.6 billion dollars), the commissions you can earn are always on the uptrend, and the payouts are permanent. Each company owns multiple brands, allowing you to maximize your traffic monetization potential.

Here’s a super-brief history of affiliate marketing 

  • The informal “founding father” of affiliation is William J. Tobin. 

His small company PC Flowers & Gifts sold bouquets online since 1989, mainly through an affiliate program. By 1991 it had driven over $6m in sales, and by 1998 it had almost 3,000 affiliate-marketing partners.

1991 was the finest hour for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Or, in the words of Tobin himself: “If you are going to make it, you’re going to have to make it on your own, as the entrepreneur of your life.”

  • Enter: Amazon. The Amazon Associates system was launched in 1996 and basically allowed people to sign up, showcase Amazon links on their website or blogs, and get paid a small commission for each referral. This became the model for many affiliate networks that followed.
  • In 1998, students from California founded Commission Junction (now CJ Affiliate), the first (and biggest) affiliate marketing provider. It allowed smaller companies unrelated to Amazon to join the affiliate marketing game. 

1998 was also the year when Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads were born, enabling people to bid for higher placement on search engine results pages (SERP). 

  • In 2002 Google introduced AdWords and became the most popular advertising platform for affiliates. 

This brings us up to speed to today, where affiliates have managed to outlive the lifetime of other much more well-known ad channels.

Today, affiliate marketing opportunities appear in almost every market out there, especially in the lucrative CFD trading industry, casino, and lottery—where affiliates enjoy higher CPAs and longer customer lifetime value.

Making it big in the affiliate marketing sphere doesn’t require hard work, and it can pay off BIG TIME. There are hundreds of success stories to back it up.

Affiliates Who Made It BIG

History is full of stories about regular people who spotted the right affiliate marketing niche and made huge sums of money. 

Here are 3 examples: 

Brian Kelly 

You’ve probably heard about The Points Guy one way or the other. He turned his obsession with flying premium for points into a full-time gig, earning him millions of greenbacks. 

From a small blog where he shared his wisdom about the best credit cards to collect miles, Brian has built a mega-successful lifestyle website, attracting over 4 million monthly uniques (he gets $50-$400 per credit card a user signs up for). 

While he keeps traveling the world in the most extravagant first-class flights, Brian’s main source of income stays the same—affiliate commissions. 

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner 

Michelle created the blog Making Sense of Cents to pay off her $38,000 student loan debt when she was only 22. Low and behold—the debt was gone in just 7 months. 

Schroeder-Gardner is now making a staggering average of $159,000 per month off her personal finance, which initially started as a side project.

Adam Freedman

After multiple failing online ventures, Adam Freedman founded the geeky online magazine This Is Why I’m Broke (TIWIB) in 2011. He was just looking to share his curated list of cool random stuff he found on Amazon, but it didn’t remain a side hobby for long. 

Fast-forward: Freeman is now an Amazon super affiliate earning +$20,000 a month and overseeing 3 other geeks that work for him. The formula: great interface, cool stuff, images, and a mega-short description. That’s it!

Making it big in affiliation today is all about perseverance and keeping up with the ever-changing trends.

So, as 2020 begins, the most important question you should ask yourself is:

What Trends Will Dominate Affiliate Marketing in 2020

A Shift from Retail to Online Services

The subscription economy has conquered the world, paving the way for streaming companies (music, entertainment, etc.), online trading brokers, lotteries, and casinos to thrive. 

Recent studies have confirmed that subscription businesses grew revenues about 5 times faster than S&P 500 company revenues. This means that affiliates who focus on online-based service providers will enjoy the lion’s share of the revenue pool.

While most casino and lottery affiliates are not keen to release their data, it is well known that the big ones make approximately $100,000 per month in revenues. 

Moreover, we’ve heard through the grapevine about a one-man affiliate who ranked just about all the lucrative keywords in Google and earned $500,000 per month.

DATA is King

Analytics and tracking technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and companies can study the metrics better to determine if their affiliate strategies are actually working.

Follow the graphs, analyze your stats, and draw smart conclusions. It’s the best way to grow your business month after month. 

Voice Search Changes the Game

According to forecasts, over 55% of households will own a smart speaker device by the year 2022. Voice-activated searches via mobile devices and smartwatches are also on the rise. This trend means that the content and SEO strategy should now be optimized to voice search, aiming to follow natural speech patterns instead of written ones.

Make sure you write as you speak: short sentences, talkative tone, and (always) to the point.

Influencers Will Keep Influencing

Influencer marketing has done nothing but grow in recent years, and it will only get stronger. 

So the smart thing for you to do would be to ramp up their influencer game and focus on their social media following. 

To win today’s most significant economic force—millennials—micro-influencers should be your strategy of choice. The latest data ‎shows that millennials relate to ‎reviews by influencers conveying expertise in the product they’re promoting much more than ‎traditional celebrity endorsements.

Go Native

Banner ads and other traditional means of advertising don’t cut it anymore. The more organic native ads are usually based on high-quality content, which is much more effective as it engages the reader and has value in and out of itself.

Plus, it’s much more trustworthy than a flashy popup that screams: BUY NOW!

The Next Frontier: Mobile-First

In 2019 over 63.4% of people used their phones to access the internet. 

The next step for mobile apps (after paid apps and monetization through in-app purchases) will be generating ad sales with unique content. This means there’s going to be a serious need for marketing that’s mobile responsive (AKA mobile-friendly) or content explicitly designed for use on mobile platforms.

Think about nice on-the-go interactions like quizzes, questionnaires, calculators, etc.

So we’ve concluded that affiliate marketing is the driving force that helps brands grow while empowering people of all walks of life to gain financial freedom, and sometimes earn substantial wealth.

What are you waiting for? Gear up and make 2020 your affiliate marketing breakthrough year!

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