What new innovations and technologies being used in affiliate marketing?
On the contrary to popular belief, the art of marketing is a very subtle one. It’s not always neon signs that catch your eyes but also the sweet smells wafting out of a bakery which make you salivate and jingles that get stuck in your head. However, the advent of technology and the rise of e-commerce has pushed ‘traditional marketing’ strategies to reinvent and put forth more technical versions of themselves to match up with the world. One of these is affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing in the digital arena works on the principle wherein a person A refers someone to any online product and when that person buys the product based on their recommendation, they receive a commission. Therefore, not only this kind of marketing is heavily performance based but, it also uses revenue sharing as its base.
Over the years businesses have prioritized their affiliate marketing techniques and 2017 saw many innovations being made in the same field, rendering it with a more humanized approach making it more accrediting for the publishers as well as the advertisers by giving them more freedom to optimize and perfect their strategies and create better and more engaging (and rewarding) interactions.
With tools like deeplink generators, sub-id and postback URLs publishers are now able to generate partner links which direct their visitors to the target advertiser page and, get better and quicker feedback and statistics on their visitors’ activity, thus a better outlook on their own performance. Even the advertisers are making use of tools like cart tracking and retargeting to learn what the customer is and isn’t buying. This information further helps publishers to create better advertising plans to increase their efficiency.
The affiliate industry has come a long way from simple clicks, sales or revenue targets to more data-sharing and assess the value of conversions. As it matures, it has become important for companies to venture into otherwise uncharted territories of digital marketing to find newer (and more) traffic for themselves. The users are diversifying, their digital footprint is all over and focusing solely on e-commerce websites will not cut it anymore in the next few years. In order to keep growing, one needs to change as per the changing behaviors of the consumers with new and advanced technologies like Mobile SDK, magneto plugin, brand guard tool to check the fraud activities through the publishers and to keep a control on marketing practices.
One such trend in AM that has popped up is research and focus on the traffic generated via mobile phone browsers and apps. This is due to the fact that more and more customers enjoy the flexibility provided by their mobile devices and also are able to find better deals and discounts on official applications, which are promoted by the partners. One can expect more innovations in this field through technology and tools like link checking, extensions for browsers, cookie checking and even app tracking in the future.
Another trend that AM might capitalize on is micro-blogging. People like to share on social media and this is a habit that is here to stay. The fashion industry is known to use influencers from the blogging world to get more traffic and big companies can do the same as well. By making affiliate links more inherent to social media, companies can actually cash in at every mention of their product and create a bigger traffic for themselves. The trend of ‘paid promotions’ can actually pay off really well. Services like broken links and link checker are some of the unique provisions offered by rare affiliate marketing platforms.
However, as new players in the sector grow day by day, the competition is getting tough. There are, now, a thousand sites providing the exact same information about the product they are affiliated with. This in turns frustrates Google, who only wants to provide the best search results and, in an attempt, to do so will weed out many such sites. Therefore, investing in new areas and exploring new avenues with new technologies like traffic control department one its designed tool; brand guard to monitor key queries of search engines and protect from brand bidding and is the need of an hour for brands heavily depend on Google rankings to make money.
AM in the year 2018 will be subject to many creative approaches and new business models and ideas. Brands and companies now understand the threat their competitors pose and are pushing both their IT and Creative cells to find ways to divert traffic towards themselves for it is the lifetime value of the customers driven by affiliates that gives a true insight into their most effective partnerships. One of the best option for this is the brand guard tool which is a brand-new launch in affiliate marketing industry and is a great tool to gauge traffic.
(The Author is Neha Kulwal, CEO, Admitad India. Admitad is an affiliate network that provides the technical and organizational tools to carry out advertising campaigns involving a large number of publishers.)