Since 2021 is now behind us and 2022 ahead of us, it is that time of the year when we focus more on reflecting and setting goals for the year ahead. So, as an affiliate marketer, your biggest concern is to figure out where the industry is headed so you can realign your strategies and focus on generating more income.

But one question that has always cropped at the start of almost every year is; where is the future of affiliate marketing headed. Will the industry still be around in the next 10, 15, or 20 years? If so, how will things be like then? Will current strategies still work?

While no one can say for sure that they know what the future holds for affiliate marketers, we can look at past data and evaluate current trends to get a clue on how things may look like several years from now.

For instance, we have seen affiliate marketing grow into a $12 billion industry in 2021. It means that this form of marketing and lead generation is becoming increasingly important to businesses.

We have also witnessed a sharp growth in the number of blogs and affiliate sites on the internet over the past few years. It means that a lot of people out there still see unexploited opportunities within the industry and are ready to grab them.

Even if you have been in the industry for a long time and know all there is to know about the industry; you still need to know what the future holds.

So, what is the future of affiliate marketing? Read this post to the end to understand what has changed about the industry and where it is headed.

What Are the Past Few Years’ Affiliate Marketing Trends?

The number of blogs and bloggers has grown tremendously in the past few years, increasing the demand for affiliate marketing.

This can be attributed to the fact that affiliate marketing remains one of the best ways to monetize a blog since publishers are at liberty to choose the brands they want to promote. This plays a critical role in establishing authenticity and building trust among their followers and readers.

Social media also continues to record immense growth making it one of the most important marketing channels for brands. The growth of social media has provided affiliate marketers with more ways to promote products.

Today, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are all popular channels for affiliate promotions.

the future of affiliate marketing

Mobile affiliate marketing has also grown immensely to become an important part of affiliate marketing. As of 2021, approximately 59.5% of the world’s population had access to a mobile phone and the internet. As the number grows, brands and affiliate marketers are shifting their attention on mobile-friendly content and ads.

We have also witnessed great improvement in analytics and tracking technology over the past few years. This has made it even easier for companies to analyze and scrutinize the details of their affiliate marketing strategies to achieve the best possible return on investment.

Interest in affiliate marketing has been growing consistently over the past ten years. Even some of the companies that used to be skeptical about it have embraced it. Currently, approximately 82% of businesses participate in affiliate marketing.

What Are Some of the Pros and Cons Facing Affiliate Marketing Right Now?

One of the biggest challenges facing affiliate marketing is the old and outdated bad reputation that has always been associated with the industry. Some people still believe that there is nothing transparent about the industry even though a lot of changes have taken place to make every player transparent and accountable.

To some extent, pay-per-call affiliates have overcome this reputation by embracing new technology that makes it hard to play games. Today, affiliates can easily create brand-friendly strategies that prioritize transparency with multiple touchpoints and accountability reports from start to finish.

affiliate marketing

The other challenge that is facing the industry is compliance and performance. Today, ad monitoring and legal regulations are changing pretty quickly.

Therefore, brands and affiliates need to adopt a strategy that allows them to quickly respond to the changes to remain fully compliant. Without proper strategies in place, it can be pretty difficult to overcome these challenges.

Where Will Affiliate Marketing Be in the Next Five Years?

The digital marketing space as a whole is seeing a higher amount of dollars than ever before. This is because digital acceleration is taking place all over the world, partly due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has significantly altered user behavior pushing more people to embrace online shopping and spending. As a result, the digital marketing space as a whole, including affiliate marketing, has recorded exponential growth. There are a lot of opportunities for brands operating in this space.

Today, almost all brands, no matter their size, want constant access to consumer data and edge-cutting technology. These two entities power the most successful businesses worldwide since they control how marketers reach consumers in the current environment.

affiliate marketing

Several changes across different industries fuel the development of new technology that affiliate marketers can use to achieve better results. The new tools are geared towards helping affiliates be flexible to address their different needs.

While leveraging first-party data is crucial, businesses and affiliates also need to keep user privacy and data protection laws in mind.

Other than technology, data, and privacy laws, here is a quick summary of some of the other changes we expect to see in the affiliate marketing space in the next few years:

  • Voice searches will increase drastically.
  • Influencers will be more crucial to the success of marketing campaigns.
  • Push traffic may slow down.
  • There will be increased demand for mobile-friendly content and ads.
  • Ecommerce retailers are going to expand their current affiliate marketing programs.
  • More affiliate marketing agencies and networks will come up.
  • Affiliate marketing programs will most probably get an increased share of marketing dollars.

What Can Be Done to Get CMOs to Embrace Affiliate Marketing More?

The overall affiliate marketing trends landscape has changed drastically, and chief marketing officers (CMOs) have realized that they no longer have to pay for maintenance. They only need to pay for results.

Everything in the Affiliate marketing world is performance-based since marketing teams have to drive measurable returns on investment.

For a long time, affiliate marketing has been one of the best-kept secrets in the digital marketing space. Most affiliate professionals are hidden behind agencies that still use outdated practices, such as charging a retainer fee.

future of affiliate marketing

Therefore, the easiest way to get CMOs into the game is for affiliate professionals to go directly to the CMOs and hit them with solid numbers demonstrating expenditure vs. return on investment.

This way, the CMOs will see that they will only be required to pay for measurable results and nothing else. If the affiliate professionals focus on performance and only charge for measurable results, no CMO will refuse such a deal.

Suddenly, it is no longer about how much the company is willing to spend but how many leads or inbound calls they can take from the affiliate.

Expect to See More Growth in the Affiliate Marketing Space

As affiliate marketing grows and becomes popular, more and more brands are poised to embrace it as part of their marketing strategy. Therefore, understanding affiliate marketing pros and cons is vital for both affiliates and brands.

If you are just starting and want to learn more about affiliate marketing, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter for tips and high-value information from our experts.