This past year has come with a lot of uncertainty for all industries around the globe. Many companies have had to adapt to the constantly changing environment including the affiliate industry. As 2021 approaches I find myself looking ahead at how digital marketing will change the way we do things as Affiliate Managers.
Below are some of the key trends I think will influence Affiliate Marketing in the coming year…
1) Influencers will drive content engagement
Influencer marketing has been on the rise for quite some time now, and it’s still a highly valuable traffic source to be explored within affiliate programs. The truth is traditional content marketing is no longer enough to engage consumers – but influencers can help you overcome this as they have diverse ways of curating content to audiences that are already engaged – with them. Like in days of past, voucher code and offer sites grew out of a necessity to nab a bargain – many actually look towards influencers for discount codes, product recommendations and offers especially with the now larger increase in online spending. In 2021, we’ll see the use of influencer marketing shift more towards micro-influencing and product management tools that already exist to track influencers and their marketing campaigns to track performance delivery.
A micro-influencer is someone that has 10k followers or less; essentially influencers that aren’t buried under piles of advertising offers.
SIDE NOTE #1 : If that definition is legit – I’m now officially a micro influencer with my social media following across my personal and business brand channels.
Although micro-influencers tend to have a smaller following than big influencers, they are much more relevant and engaged within their niche and have more credibility giving them a huge advantage in reaching and maintaining closer relationships with their followers to direct them to spend. In 2021 – we are going to worry more about quality and less on quantity to ensure our marketing budget is spent to achieve the best possible outcome.
SIDE NOTE #2: In January we’ll launch my brand new #AffiliateDriveTime series, the first of which covers setting the right outcomes (not goals) for Affiliate Managers so don’t miss it!
2) More Video Content – please!
It’s no surprise that video content is among the top increasing trends for affiliates to drive traffic and user engagement in 2021. But I’ve yet to see affiliate managers using this medium to connect themselves to new affiliates. I’m afraid to say that it’s’ unlikely we’ll be going to physical events anytime soon, and if we do they certainly won’t be as full of random footfall as they used to.
Video is an extremely effective tool that grabs a viewers’ attention much quicker with the call-to-action than a blog would. So how are you going to use this to engage new affiliates to join your program? What can your content team create to help promote your program more effectively and build rapport with affiliates you’ve never met?
As the whole world has been hit with a new “normal” , informing and connecting with new affiliates has been the biggest challenge we faced in 2020, which is why video creation has been a wonderful solution to tackle these challenges. You don’t need a lot of money and you can create great content on an iphone, so what’s really holding you back?
It’s been predicted by Cisco that by 2022, more than 80% of all created content will be created as video according to this article on Tubularlabs.com. This information provides enough insight for affiliates within the iGaming space to focus on creating more quality video content within the next year and beyond and gives affiliate managers more to ponder too.
3) Voice Search + SEO – everything is changing!
SEO has been a big part of content marketing strategies for several years now, with the use of relevant keywords and unique content. However, this strategy is also ever-changing, and affiliates need to remain up to date on the latest trends. Same goes for affiliate managers too.
No sense chasing more SEO content sites if your customers just aren’t searching the web the same way they used to. You need to understand your target audience first, then tailor the affiliate recruitment you require for your program – based on that.
One of the growing trends we are likely to see in 2021 get better utilised to drive new customers is “voice search”. This is fast becoming more mainstream as part of a digital marketers content strategy. It’s no secret that Siri has the ability to answer questions for us within just seconds with a simple voice search. A short question asked to Siri is also asked to Google which means that the search results that best answer the questions will appear first. Google values when specific words are used within a search. For example, something like, “how many online casinos in London”, will offer a better chance for the content to show up in the top three.
As an affiliate manager – how many of your affiliates are looking at voice search right now as part of their content and website strategies? Are you able to leverage your partnerships with those who are, to capitalise and rank first on this new channel source?
4) Affiliate Marketing – the right place to be!
Marketing strategy constantly changes, as audiences adapt to new challenges or product innovations. I’m happy to report that Affiliate marketing will remain trendy in 2021. There is no sign this channel is slowing in the way it develops and supports brand marketing and business growth.
I predict that if you’re working as an affiliate manager – or – affiliate, you’re currently in the right job and should seek to get better at it!
If you’re not yet an affiliate program manager and you really want to be, consider checking out my AMPP training course. It’s a sure fire way to get the knowledge you need about affiliate marketing to make a career change and it definitely helps you get the strategic side of program management licked!
Don’t just take my word for it – check out what one of my previous delegates, Rasmus Ekström said about his experience as one of our first AMPP Training Alumni here.
No doubt, 2021 is going to be filled with new challenges, but one thing is clear – I know where we (Affiliate Industry Review) will be focusing our energy to help grow affiliate best practices and support more clients and affiliates to thrive in their businesses.