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6 Affiliate Marketing Trends to Watch in 2024

By Dustin Howes
August 7, 2023

As we enter the back half of the 2023 affiliate year, many companies are looking for what affiliate marketing trends are going to catch fire. The majority of internet marketing strategies are progressively using affiliate marketing as a key component. US companies expended $9.1 billion on affiliate marketing in 2021. With a median return on advertising spending (ROAS) of $12 in sales for each dollar invested, that investment resulted in returns of $71 billion in the form of e-commerce sales.

The narrative is not exclusive to America; major international markets show comparable patterns, according to global affiliate marketing trends. The industry is expected to increase by $1.4 billion in 2023–2024, and the trend does not appear to be slowing down at all. Actually, the global affiliate marketing market is expected to reach $14.3 billion in 2023 and $15.7 billion in 2024, based on Influencer Marketing Hub. This is due to the usefulness affiliate marketing continues to provide to businesses and affiliates, especially in light of the issues the global economy will be facing in 2023.

The high return on investment (ROI) provided by affiliate marketing has become a cost-effective approach for firms with limited finances to continue their marketing efforts. In a time of layoffs and wage reductions, an affiliate program tempts ambitious people with the promise of a reliable income and adaptable working hours.

Nevertheless, despite the predicted double-digit expansion, the affiliate marketing sector will soon encounter many difficulties. Real-time influences on this industry’s quick expansion include the elimination of third-party cookies, the emergence of virtual shopping, live social media shopping on social networking sites, and artificial intelligence (AI).

In this article, we examine the six key trends in affiliate marketing that will shape the industry in 2024.

AI is About to Become More Noticeable. 

In 2023, an AI revolution is well underway. Generic AI technologies like ChatGPT, Dall-e, and Midjourney have made it possible for people to be as creative and productive as ever before. Dall-e and Midjourney can produce graphics from natural language prompting while ChatGPT uses the processing of natural language to produce conversational text that sounds like it was created by a human.

According to Goldman Sachs, the first surge of generative AI might automate 300 million jobs globally and increase the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 7% over the following ten years. Affiliate marketing trends are not exempt from AI’s influence. Nothing will be left undisturbed in the upcoming years, including website design – which somehow has not yet been overtaken by AI in the scope like some other IT sectors and still has a plethora of options for creating, such as via several (including no-cost) greatest membership builders for this year – link building, content generation, and large-scale campaign development.

With the development of Google’s Performance Max, we are already observing the first indications of AI infiltration throughout the field of advertising and marketing. It makes use of a variety of campaign optimization tools and Google’s unique keyword-free AI technology to maximize conversions in voice search. Advantage+ is what Facebook’s equivalent is named.

In the short run, generative AI might have a more significant impact on the affiliate partner industry. Affiliate networks give skilled people with a huge following on social media or a website a simple method to make a consistent income. In the upcoming months and years, there is a strong prospect for the emergence of a brand-new generation of creative, highly productive, and inventive influencers and high-caliber content producers. Therefore, brands should prepare for their affiliate partners to produce more AI-generated content.

But it is still unclear how AI will impact firms’ affiliate marketing strategies.

Third-Party Cookies Will be Abandoned by Affiliate Marketers. 

Platforms are able to follow consumers across numerous websites thanks to third-party cookies. However, its indiscriminate use gave rise to legitimate worries about the privacy of online data. In light of Google’s affiliate marketing trends and intention to completely phase out cookies from third parties by 2024, affiliate marketers should prepare to say goodbye to third-party cookies.

Thankfully, this will not have a significant impact on affiliate monitoring because most significant affiliate systems rely on alternative tracking techniques, such as first-party cookies, for that purpose. It will be far more difficult for affiliate marketing businesses that extensively rely on third-party cookies to track user information for the generation of targeted adverts that are highly effective.

There are many solutions, including privacy-compliant extensions, server-to-server tracking, client-side tracking working in tandem with server-side tracking, and personalized tracking domains.

For their own affiliate marketing initiatives, affiliate marketers continue to experiment with various options in an effort to identify the greatest option or the best combination of several technologies. The ramifications for companies looking to work with a platform on a brand-to-brand basis are simple: give consideration to the affiliate marketing resources they use and ensure that data privacy is a top priority.

Affiliate Marketing Trends Require Fresh Eyes on Your Program.

Having “fresh eyes” on your affiliate program refers to bringing in consultants or agencies to create new strategies for the growth of the affiliate program. This practice is often recommended for several reasons:

      1. Objectivity: People who have been working on a project for a long time can become too close to it, leading to biases and tunnel vision. Fresh eyes bring an objective perspective, allowing them to identify potential flaws, gaps, or missed opportunities that those close to the program might overlook.

      1. Innovation: Affiliate marketing trends are created by newcomers can bring fresh ideas and innovative solutions to the table. They may have experiences or insights from other contexts that can be applied to improve the affiliate program in ways that the existing team may not have considered.

      1. Identification of Issues: Fresh eyes can spot problems that might have become normalized or accepted within the existing team. These issues could range from technical glitches in the program to ineffective strategies that need revision.

      1. User-Centric Approach: Individuals who are new to the program can provide valuable feedback from the perspective of potential affiliates or customers. This helps ensure that the program is user-friendly and appealing to the target audience.

      1. Quality Assurance: A new set of eyes can perform a thorough review and quality assurance process. They can ensure that all aspects of the affiliate program are aligned with the company's goals and industry best practices.
      1. Adaptation to Changes: The business environment is constantly evolving. Fresh eyes can bring in insights about changes in the market, industry trends, or technological advancements that might necessitate adjustments to the affiliate program.

    1. Skill Diversity: By involving individuals from diverse backgrounds and skill sets, you can tap into a wider range of talents and perspectives, ultimately enhancing the program's overall effectiveness with better affiliate managers.

Bringing fresh eyes to your affiliate program doesn't necessarily mean disregarding the expertise of your existing team; rather, it complements their knowledge with new viewpoints and ideas. It's a way to ensure continuous improvement and maintain competitiveness in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Growing Voice Search. 

In 2024, affiliate marketing will experience a commensurate change as a result of the rapid growth of voice search. Between 2020 and 2024, the total number of voice-based digital assistants is anticipated to double globally. More voice assistants are predicted to be in use by the year’s end of 2024 than there are people on the planet, or 8.4 billion.

As a result, it is anticipated that voice assistants would be used more frequently in eCommerce purchases. The value of voice assistant transactions for e-commerce is anticipated to climb by 400% between 2021 and 2023, from $4.6 billion to $19.4 billion.

The way customers look for information and make decisions is changing quickly as more people use smart speakers and virtual assistants. With voice searching, users are more inclined to ask more detailed and conversational questions and anticipate quick, precise answers. Due to this shift in behavior, affiliate marketing trends will need to focus on natural language, featured snippets, and long-tail phrases in order to voice-search-optimize their content.

Voice-activated devices may also make direct product recommendations or orders, potentially omitting conventional affiliate links. Affiliate marketers need to change their tactics, adjust their content for voice searches, and build relationships with voice platforms if they want to succeed in this new era. This will ensure that their offers appear prominently in voice search results.

Cashback, Codes, and Coupons Will Still Have a Place. 

In the affiliate marketing sector, cashback and coupons have long been a fixture, and this affiliate marketing trend will continue in 2024 and beyond.

These are used by affiliate marketers to entice their audience to purchase a brand’s goods. As they do not rely on cookies, they are also among the simplest methods for attribution of sales. Affiliates frequently have unique coupons or discount codes, which make it simple for businesses to credit the sale to the relevant affiliate when a customer uses the code to shop online.

Given the generally recessionary indications coming from the global economy in 2023, discounts and cashback also gain increased relevance. Both large corporations and average customers are feeling the effects of inflation and a prolonged period of economic stagnation. For instance, US inflation in the second half of 2022 reached levels not seen at least since the 1980s.

The consequences on consumer prices are expected to last for the following year or longer, according to experts, as a result of the higher trend in inflation continuing into the first quarter of 2023 as well. Reduced purchasing power and rising costs on everything from food to gasoline are hitting consumers like a double whammy.

Budget cuts prompt a natural desire to shop around for lower pricing, which drives rising demand for rebates and discount coupons. For example, remember that during the most recent severe financial crisis in 2008, consumer appetite for coupons skyrocketed to the point where Groupon, a website that specializes in discount offers, became a rare breed in just 16 months.

What impact will this have in 2023 on a brand looking for potential affiliates on an affiliate marketing program?

While discounts are a crucial strategy in a cutthroat market characterized by increasing living expenses and decreased disposable incomes, firms must also be careful to safeguard their profit margins. Additionally, it is crucial for brands to work with reliable and honest affiliate partners. When internet discounts are commonplace, shoppers always prefer reputable retailers. As a result, advertisers must take care to only work with affiliates whom clients regard as reliable.

Increased Attention Toward Nano/Micro-Influencers.

Maybe the biggest of affiliate marketing trends is the utilization of social media users who have 1,000–50,000 followers on their accounts are considered micro and nano-influencers. A nano/micro-influencer is, to put it simply, a person with more followers than the average person but less than a star or a mega-influencer.

Brands have been paying attention to nano/micro-influencers for a while now. This is due to the fact that they have more influence over and interaction with their followers. This can then lead to a higher conversion rate in comparison to larger accounts that can have trouble converting. Influencers frequently lose that air of relatability and genuineness when they gain millions of followers and ascend to the status of celebrities. The fact that they are merely pushing numerous things like sports, models, or celebrities in the movie industry is quickly realized by audiences. For instance, audience engagement levels on Instagram plummet as the quantity of sponsored posts rises.

According to Shopify’s Instagram influencer price manual, campaigns for influencer marketing involving micro-influencers are much more affordable than those involving mega-influencers; for example, a single post with a micro-influencer costs $500 as opposed to $5,000+ with an influencer with at least half million followers. This further encourages companies to invest more in cost-effective micro-influencers given how the economy is affecting ad spending.

Instagram affiliate marketing strategies receive approximately the same amount of funding as TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube, put together, given the platform’s popularity and reach. In the US alone in 2022, $2.23 billion was expended on Instagram influencers. The cumulative revenue for the other three major platforms was $2.46 billion.

In the end, the growth of affiliate marketing is beneficial to all parties involved. Influencers with large following audiences and engagement are a more reliable way to sustain high conversion rates while data tracking gets more difficult than ever.

More businesses are reaping the rewards of collaborations with reputable, highly authentic influencers that operate in particular areas. As a result, in 2023, affiliate traffic quality will be more important than affiliate traffic volume.

Wrap it up Dustin.

Affiliate marketing has its fair share of obstacles on the way forward, including those connected to data collection and monitoring in addition to a generally predicted economic recession. Although we can anticipate major affiliate marketing trends to evolve, it is now impossible to assess AI’s real impact on affiliate marketing.

Despite these reservations, the ability of an affiliate marketing company to increase lead generation and boost sales is still unquestionable. The affiliate marketing industry is predicted to keep evolving and adapting in 2023 in response to the most recent set of issues it faces.

If you want to keep up with the latest affiliate maketing trends, join the Performance Marketing Manager community and learn what is working for affiliate program growth in 2024.


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