Are you wondering which affiliate marketing trends are set to explode this year? How will machine learning affect SEO? Or content marketing be influenced by voice search? As we head into the coming year, it’s crucial to keep your finger on the pulse and understand how you can catch the rising waves. Creating quality content is always going to be a winning strategy but what else should you be looking at? In this article, we share our predictions for the top affiliate marketing trends to watch in 2019.
#1 – The Power of Voice Search Will Increase
Last year, we saw voice search go mainstream. Almost two-thirds of 25-49-year-olds use it on a daily basis. And this is predicted to rise even further in the coming year. As the usage of smartphones, devices like Google Home, and wearable tech continues to grow, voice search looks set to be one of the top trends for 2019.
This poses a challenge for affiliate marketers. Instead of ranking on the first page of Google, they’ll need to rank in the coveted number one spot. Users will no longer scan the top ten for the most appropriate option – they’ll be served up whatever ranks highest as a voice search result. And how will cookies be tracked for commissions to be correctly awarded?
The good news is, many affiliate marketers are currently ignoring voice-related affiliate marketing trends. This presents a unique opportunity for you to optimize your content for voice search ahead of your competition. Start by targeting long-tail keyword phrases and frequently asked questions. By optimizing for voice search first, you’ll secure your spot at the top and ride the wave from the very beginning.
#2 – Influencer Marketing Will Become Regulated
Influencer marketing has gained huge traction with Instagram influencer posts doubling year on year. It’s proving to deliver impressive results for businesses targeting Millennial customers. This demographic is set to overtake Baby Boomers in 2019, both in terms of size and spending power. For companies looking to target people in this age-group, leveraging marketing strategies that appeal to them is a no brainer.
Affiliate programs are increasingly looking to recruit influencers with an engaged audience. It’s no longer enough to have a wide reach – performance marketing requires that your audience take action. Brands want to partner with affiliates who have credibility with consumers and can sway their opinion towards purchasing.
Advertising watchdogs have also caught onto digital marketing trends like these. The FTC has set guidelines for influencers and affiliates on how to disclose that recommendations have been paid for. They have also stepped up efforts to prosecute celebrities and bloggers who fail to comply. So, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re following all of the rules in 2019 as this sector looks set to become more regulated.
#3 – Planning for Mobile-First Will Be Essential
Last year, Google rolled out an algorithm update that showed preference to mobile-friendly sites. In the past, it had used the desktop version to determine rankings but this was turned on its head and many sites suffered as a result. Usage of mobile phones has continued to rise since then, so it’s essential that businesses plan for this in 2019.
In practical terms, this means adapting your content to be mobile friendly. A responsive website is essential so that your pages automatically adapt to fit different screen sizes. But tapping into mobile affiliate marketing trends means thinking about your content too.
Comparison charts are a mainstay of affiliate reviews but these can be difficult to read on mobile devices. Likewise, long paragraphs are hard to digest when scrolling so they should include no more than 3 sentences to be mobile-friendly. Making mobile central to your digital marketing strategy instead of an afterthought will ensure you can take full advantage of the trend.
#4 – Diversifying Beyond Google and Facebook
Google and Facebook have dominated the internet landscape since the beginning. But the tide may be starting to shift as people become increasingly concerned over data privacy. Security breaches and questions over native advertising have led to some people ditching the platforms entirely. Facebook has been hit particularly hard, with 44% of younger users deleting its app from their phone.
In terms of affiliate marketing trends, this one is likely to be a slow burn. Neither of these platforms is going to disappear overnight. But as people become warier of the data that they’re collecting, there will be a shift towards other search engines and social media sites. So, it’s important to start diversifying your approach now in order to stay ahead of the game.
Many affiliate marketers rely on Google and Facebook advertising for lead generation. But there are plenty of other options that can also be more cost-effective. Yahoo and Bing both offer search advertising, often at more competitive rates than Google. Instagram and Pinterest have both stepped up their ad offerings and provide alternative channels to generate traffic.
#5 – Expanding Into Visual and Audio Content
Most affiliate marketers rely on written content for their traffic. From a technical standpoint, it’s easy to create and simple to include affiliate links. But consumers are increasingly drawn to visual and audio content so it’s vital to meet their needs if you want to increase conversion rates.
The popularity of video continued to rise throughout 2018 and doesn’t look set to slow down soon. Podcasts have now become mainstream with half of American households listening to them. These channels offer a unique ability to build relationships with your audience and establish trust more quickly than text articles.
Affiliate marketers are now using infographics, video demonstrations, and online courses as ways of educating audiences. As people become more distrustful of banners and mobile advertising, creating value-packed content offers a promising alternative. Live-video and webinars also enable you to interact in real time, answer questions, and address objections to purchasing. Audio and visual content offers huge affiliate opportunities and will be one of the biggest trends in 2019.
Tapping Into Affiliate Marketing Trends
Harnessing the power of voice search and taking a mobile-first approach will ensure you stay ahead of the SEO game. Adhering to influencer marketing regulations will help you avoid falling foul of the rules. Diversifying beyond Google and Facebook will allow you to prepare for future shifts and protect yourself from their negative effects. Incorporating audio and visual content into your marketing strategy will help you appeal to more consumers and drive qualified traffic to merchants. By tapping into these affiliate marketing trends, you can stay ahead of your competition and evolve with changing needs.
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