7 Affiliate Marketing Trends to Look Forward to in 2018

2018 affiliate marketing trends

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to look ahead. What are the 2018 affiliate marketing trends that will dominate in the new year? Here are our predictions:

1: Increased focus on customer engagement.

As our CPO, Brad Primavera, said while speaking on a panel at ADSUM (watch the video), affiliate marketers need to shift from a focus on customer acquisition to a focus on customer engagement in order to set themselves up for long-term success. Nate Lind added that creating a definitive brand for your product, and putting thought into your customers’ buyer’s journey is a good way to get started.

2: Mobile, mobile, mobile.

With 87% of internet users accessing the internet via their mobile phones, and mobile advertising revenue surpassing TV, there’s no question that mobile is on the rise and will continue to grow. We may be seeing some creative innovations like mobile advertising that incorporates augmented and virtual reality, and more use of haptic mobile advertising. Affiliate marketers will definitely want to make sure they’re making full use of their mobile advertising toolkit in 2018.

That said, mobile advertising fraud is projected to cost advertisers $19 billion next year (9% of total digital advertising spend,) and a recent survey found that only 19% of marketers surveyed had fraud prevention measures in place, so next year, we recommend looking into mobile fraud protection.

3: AI, AI, AI.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are muscling their way into the advertising space, and it’s time to get onboard. Although it’s still early days, with technology that can predict click-through-rates or buy media efficiently, we predict that artificial intelligence is going to start affecting how you market your business sooner than you may think.

4: Diversification of revenue streams.

When we interviewed Nate Lind, performance marketer and founder of ADSUM, he made his own predictions for the future of affiliate marketing. In relation to mixing straight-sale products with subscription offers, he said:

Well, in talking with a number of the ADSUM attendees before the event, I see a significant amount of diversification coming. I know there are many challenges in the industry that can be solved by diversifying revenue streams into eCommerce. Finding niche products, creating interesting stories around them to engage customers in a more fulfilling way and delivering that product and excellent service to them.”

5: New Facebook technologies.

Facebook is always rolling out new features, and 2018 will be no exception, Facebook just recently released Life Event Targeting, which is just what it sounds like: a method to target, and is testing pre-roll ads before videos, and a mass-messaging feature over Messenger for business owners. You’ll want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of these new features over the course of 2018.

6: Video advertising.

Unsurprisingly, it looks like digital video advertising is going to continue its meteoric rise. One prediction estimates that spending on digital video advertising will increase by 14.2% in 2018, from 11.72 billion to 13.39 billion. Also unsurprisingly, Google/YouTube and Facebook are the two main outlets for video advertising. With video continuing to be an advertising juggernaut, you’d have to be out of your mind to let it pass you by in 2018.

7: Net Neutrality.

While the recent decision by the FCC to overturn net neutrality has yet to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget, and lawsuits and legislation are being drafted up to delay or prevent net neutrality being repealed, marketers should prepare for the possibility of net neutrality hanging the face of the internet. Small websites are most likely to be slowed down, which means affiliate marketers with lots of small publishers spread out over many small websites will see a decrease in traffic. Display and video advertising will be affected as well; with fewer websites receiving a fast connection, the number of available advertising outlets will decrease, driving up prices. Ads on smaller, slower websites will see less traffic, and video ads in particular may have difficulty loading.

The year ahead looks to be full of change – these include both daunting challenges and exciting trends and technologies. One thing is for sure the 2018 Affiliate marketing Trends are sure to keep us all on our toes and bring new opportunities for revenue and growth.

Thoughts from a few of our partners

“Fraud isn’t going away and it’s nasty for everyone. Far too often ecommerce sellers think of Chargebacks as the only issue with fraud, but False Positives is a much bigger problem. They’re a quadruple whammy because they result in immediate revenue loss, lost customer lifetime value, wasted acquisition spend, and degraded brand image.”– Ben Cornett, Kount

“I predict that a lot of affiliates will pivot towards emerging markets. Especially with the growth in popularity of Shopify and drop shipping services, there are many opportunities to make great ROI in Asia, South America and Europe. Definitely, the cryptocurrency rush will dominate as a hot topic until it normalizes or pops like the dot-com bubble in 2001.” – Taras Kiseliuk, Clickdealer

2018 affiliate marketing trends

“The performance-based marketing industry is uniquely dynamic and forward-thinking.  In 2017, advertisers benefitted from considerable improvements in traffic segmentation, resulting in more channel-focused campaigns and improved value alignment.  In the coming year, performance marketers will recognize the introduction of innovative solutions to improve lifetime value predictability and accelerate traffic insights.  Overall, improvements in data-based decisioning will lead to smarter campaign strategies in 2018”. – Lee Aho, Clickbooth

Happy New Year!  Here’s to a great 2018!