ADOTAS – As a publicist working predominantly in the online advertising space, a good indication I get regarding what’s happening in the industry is from the new business prospects that come my way. First of all, good things are happening in the industry, based on the quantity of leads my peers and I are receiving. Beyond this, one trend that is clearly growing is affiliate marketing.
A decade ago, the affiliate marketing industry had a reputation of being the response-based, sales-driven, “non-creative” end of the online advertising world. But as more and more established brand marketers embrace affiliate marketing, the industry’s reputation (and share of the ad budget) has improved. Add to this all of the niche-based ad opportunities which social media and the blogosphere have provided for affiliate-based advertising – where affiliate-based ads for a fast moving consumer goods products make perfect sense on a Mommy blog – and you have an industry that is gaining strength.
And here are a few trends which are contributing to the growth of affiliate marketing:
1. The rise of social networking functionality like Facebook’s new Sponsored Stories, which enable an advertiser to sponsor a users ‘Like’ OR check-in, are basically turning all of us into affiliate marketers for the brands which choose to support. Couple that with the growth of Word-of-Mouth marketing, and we’re starting to experience a new and more personalized form affiliate marketing, not unlike one envisioned by Heather Locklear in this commercial for Faberge Organics commercial from the 1980s.
2. The increased acceptance of activity-based compensation, including revenue share deals and cost per action, has made it more acceptable to work with affiliate marketers who work almost exclusively with activity-based compensation.
3. Affiliate marketing is sometimes referred to as performance marketing. After 2009, who doesn’t want a campaign that can be monitored and measured on a performance basis (well, accept for the creative director)?
4. A final trend I’m seeing which is impacting affiliate marketing is re-targeting. With re-targeting all about converting shoppers who previously visited a website, arming affiliates with the ability to retarget was a logical conclusion. Today, companies like myThings (disclosure: myThings is a client) are bringing affiliate marketing to affiliate networks and their affiliates (publishers) and merchants (advertisers).
This isn’t the death of the 30-second TV commercial (or the Internet banner ad), but affiliate marketing tactics are going to be implemented more and more in online (and offline) advertising campaigns.