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What’s The Future Of Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing (AM) – for some, it seems reminiscent of a ponzi scheme or other scam – for others, it’s a way of life. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, AM is an integral part of the digital marketing landscape. When it comes to the future of AM, it’s all about who can dominate the mobile market.

Forrester predicts that affiliate marketing spending in the US will grow to $6.8 billion by 2020 (a 10.1% increase from 2015). The earning potential is enormous for those marketers who can rise to the top of the industry. For more on that and what else is on the way, we asked a group of industry experts…

What’s The Future Of Affiliate Marketing?

Here’s what they had to say…

David Vogelpohl, VP of Web Strategy at WP Engine

“The future of affiliate marketing over the next 10-15 years will be dominated by the evolution of multi-touch attribution and its growth will be driven by the ongoing retail apocalypse. As marketing departments target more touch-points and analytics platforms provide more visibility into multi-touch attribution, affiliate advertisers will rethink their affiliate commission models and offer more variable commissions based on the weight of attribution. Additionally, as the retail apocalypse forces more companies to focus on their digital presence versus their physical one, the affiliate landscape will expand and grow thanks to the increased competition between these online brands and Amazon. In short, advertisers will be smarter about commissions and publishers will benefit from an ever expanding list of advertisers vying for their attention.”


David Tile, Founder & Director of Nimble Media & Article-Writing.Co

“The future of affiliate marketing is without a doubt in the hands of micro-influencers. People love to share their favorite products or the most recent purchases on social media. This isn’t going to change. What will change is that big companies will try to cash in on every mention of their product, pushing the flow of traffic through affiliates back to their digital properties.

This means that affiliate links will become inherent to social media, giving everyone the chance to become an affiliate. Coupled with advancement in mobile tech, people will be working affiliate angles from every moment they share online. It will become hyper-localized with people integrating geo-localization. Purchases don’t need to be made online. If someone checks-in at a local shop, promotes it online, and others come in-store after interacting with that share, this will be the future of affiliate marketing.”


Devon Kirk, Marketing Manager for GetPayroll & Simon Payroll App

“I believe that affiliate marketing will slowly and then more rapidly decline in the years to come. With the creation of search and site retargeting there isn’t the need to spend time building relationships with other businesses to gain leads through affiliate marketing. Instead, I think the focus will shift heavier to retarget marketing and redirect email marketing – if you visit a site and leave without completing a transaction or form, you’ll get an email. Additionally, social media marketing through paid ads, pages and groups will play a role in the slow death of affiliate marketing. With social media likes, follows, shares and retweets, information about a business spreads like wildfire, leaving affiliate marketing behind to wonder what happened.”


Adam White, Founder at SEOJetLink

“As more and more users of SEOJet are actively participating in affiliate marketing, we have seen an over saturation of affiliate sites that essentially provide exactly the same information on the products they are affiliated with. This hurts Google because they want to provide the best search results and listing sites that have basically the same information makes for a bad user experience on Google.

My prediction is that the majority of affiliate sites will be weeded out of Google’s search results over the next 10 years and that in order to effectively run an affiliate campaign you will need to think way outside the box. A typical reviews website will have a much harder time getting traction in Google. You will most likely see a few authority review sites that have extreme brand trust with Google that dominate review based searches and very few other affiliate sites in the top 10.”


Cole Hernandez, Founder of Pink Graffiti

“It is a booming opportunity, especially considering the rise of freelancers and solopreneurs with online businesses. As we look ahead, the millennials and post-millennials, who are actively benefitting from the sharing economy, understand the power of passive income, and as businesses are formed, they are actively integrating affiliate marketing into their business models. Why? Simply because the numbers make sense. Ten voices vs. one voice actively sharing and promoting a product leads to accelerates awareness and profit.”


Yonatan Dotan, Co-founder of Affluent Analytics

“The affiliate marketing industry is growing and coming out of the shadows. Where it was once reserved for gambling sites and shadier niches, today major international brands from every market rely on affiliation as part of their marketing mix, but it is still a far way off.

While over 15% of digital media revenue comes from Affiliate Marketing and 80% of brands use it as channel, nearly 80% of CMOs admit that it is their least mastered area of marketing. This is, in part, due to a severe lack of technology and a heavily fragmented industry, split across thousands of affiliate networks and softwares.
As affiliate marketing grows and becomes more legitimate, we predict there will be significant consolidation of affiliate networks, much more widespread adoption of affiliation among publishers ranging from the largest of content sites to the smallest of bloggers, and that it will grow to become one of the top areas of expertise for CMOs.”

About the author

Nick Hastreiter

I write about the future of business. I approach this by interviewing founders, CEO's, and other game changers to share their vision for the future of their industry.

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