‘Tried, tested and took up’ – that’s the best possible advertisement a brand can hope for. Especially when we as Indian consumers are bombarded with nearly 3000 ad messages in a single day. This new world, powered by that phrase, is the world of affiliate marketing. It’s also a clarion call for the strategy which fits most brand needs, budgets and expectations for 2020.
Affiliate marketing is positioned to be the preferred mode for brand adoption for 2020, with Forrester Consulting even predicting an annual growth rate of 10 per cent for it. And why shouldn’t be? We as Indian customers are price and value-conscious during the current socio-economic climate and require at least 200% assurance that they we’re getting full worth for our buck.
The new consumer seeks value propositions over promises, reviews over promotions. So, a review-based recommendation is better at lead conversion than click-bait links.
Our efforts on Google ads, unfortunately, have been more of the latter – attractive coupons, discounts, massive sales and even covert / disguised messaging. Using influencers, running crowd-based affiliate marketing campaigns and usage videos, blogs and articles is the next step and we’ve seen it work – again and again, and again.
Here are five affiliate marketing trends I can foresee for 2020:
- Experiential, Do-able content:
We all know that content is king, but’s its high time to make the process of content curation dynamically better. Not just blogs and vlogs, it’s time to take promotion through views, reviews, tutorials and how-to’s to the next level.
While beauty, living, food and decor have already created a fabulous business proposition by partnering with influencers and bloggers, more consumer brands are expected to join the bandwagon in the coming year. Crowd-sourced review campaigns, where users are awarded points or free samples are also on the rise with many networks setting up their latent affiliate channels. Momspresso’s My Money, MomJunction’s Mommy Influencers are just two that I can recall at the top of my mind.
- Affiliate-channelled discounts:
Find your favourite Instagrammers & YouTubers offering you select discounts for a product or service in their description below? Yes, that’s intelligent affiliate marketing at play.
Ever since the demise of direct discounting from online platforms, affiliate channels are driving binge sales, specific product sales or amp lead conversions for a range. It is shared with the paying partner as commissions on referral traffic. There are also offers for cashback to preferred influencers or users which fall in this category.
- Driving niche conversions:
Niche conversions are the best way forward for affiliate marketing channels, as the collective ecosystem experiences an overindulgence in beauty, lifestyle, travel and food influencers. This is the ideal focus area for smart campaigners like us, as we plan our brand calendars ahead of 2020.
Imagine weaving a soundtrack into a podcast, a medicine platform into a senior citizens’ network or an organic food line into a YouTube channel for healthy eating – the options are limitless.
- AI-enable affiliate platforms:
Yes, WebGains roped in Watson IBM to identify the right-fit users for specific campaigns. Are other platforms far behind? No. Toluna, e-research global, flex offers are all trying to fit the right user base for each of their campaigns.
Chatbots and Web flows are directing users to the right campaigns using intuitive programming. I believe its time that we invest in our apps and services to achieve groundbreaking results from such activities.
- Voice, IoT & the way forward:
What about nascent technology horizons, that are expected to explode over 2020, in terms of affiliate marketing? Yes, we’ve used the human touch and built programs with AI – the next step is to integrate them with IoT and smart home systems on a larger scale.
These changes can occur with voice integrations as well as specific product initiatives for smart systems like the Google Dot and Alexa.
Affiliate marketing has proven its worth over 2019, clubbing intelligent consumers with smarter conversion campaigns. It’s time that we use these learnings and establish the next noteworthy campaigns for 2020.