Affiliate and Influencer Marketing Trends to Keep an Eye On in 2019
Affiliate marketing evolves quickly, and it’s important to keep an eye on the new trends on the horizon. Some of these trends may or may not be a good fit for your business, but it’s helpful to be aware of other avenues your competitors may be using.
We’ll help you narrow these down into manageable approaches and some guidance on whether they’re a good fit.
Which trends should I be aware of?
Some trends are difficult to predict, while others have been forecasted with growing popularity for years. We’ll go over some of the top trends for 2019 you should have on your radar.
Top trends included:
- Influencer marketing
- Sponsored Video Content
- Voice Search
- Artificial Intelligence
While influencer marketing isn’t a new trend for 2019, it’s continuing to grow and is likely to develop more of its own trends.
If you haven’t already seen the Klear report for the The State of Influencer Marketing 2019, you can download it here (after an email signup.) The report is focused on Instagram posts, which is the most popular platform for influencer marketing. They reportedly reviewed 2,133,007 Instagram sponsored posts to provide this data. According to the report, “Instagram influencer marketing grew by over 39% in 2018”, and “84% of sponsored posts were posted by micro-influencers”.
Unsurprisingly to most marketers, or anyone using Instagram, lifestyle and fashion are still the top two verticals. This isn’t to say that no other verticals have success with influencer marketing — you may just have to reach harder to find the right influencer partners.
Sponsored Video Content
Video has been growing in 2018 and is expected to continue to increase during the next year. According to Social Report, “65% of ad impressions on Instagram were the result of video content.” YouTube and Instagram are popular platforms for hosting video-based content.
Influencers who don’t focus heavily on video content will likely want to incorporate more of it into their channels. Not only will it increase engagement from the audience, but it can enhance their appeal to brands looking to sponsor video content.
Earning Money on Twitch As An Affiliate
We mentioned how sponsored video content is highly popular on YouTube and Instagram, which is no surprise. However, Twitch is becoming a popular platform for influencers and affiliates as well.
What is Twitch, exactly? It’s a streaming service for gamers owned by Amazon. According to their website, they are “a global community of millions who come together each day to create their own entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable, never-to-be repeated experiences created by the magical interactions of the many.”
Twitch also offers an affiliate program. For users who qualify, they offer earnings with subscriptions, bits, and more.
Twitch streamers can include other affiliate links and coupon codes on their profile. Since Amazon owns Twitch, it’s no surprise their affiliate program is a popular and easy way for affiliates to make money. Other times, brands will sponsor a streamer. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, “if a brand feels they have a natural affinity with a particular streamer’s audience, then it makes sense for them to sponsor the streamer on Twitch and engage in influencer marketing.”
Research from Bright Local shares some interesting data from April, 2018. A panel of over 1,000 US-based consumers were asked some questions about voice search. The results? 58% of consumers used voice to find information on a local business in the last 12 months.
Neil Patel shares some valuable examples, as well as more assurance that voice search is not, in fact, a passing fad (just in case you were worried!) The article states that “Whether it’s by visiting the business or contacting them by phone, a combined 47% of consumers get in touch with a business after making a local voice search.”
How to Optimize Voice Search for SEO?
So now that we know how popular voice search is, how do we optimize it for SEO? Surprisingly, Neil Patel also says that “Keyword research tools generally won’t find phrases that people speak while using mobile assistants.” Unfortunately, your carefully-honed Google Ads phrases may not help you as well with voice search.
What do people want from voice search? The article says that “what consumers want most: to be able to use voice search to make reservations, to hear business prices, and to find out which products businesses have.”
An article from The Hoth explains that when users voice search, it’s typically asked as a question rather than dropping a few keywords. Typically, they’re looking for quick answers rather than a long article. As a summary, the article says “people use voice search when they want a quick answer. This is why content that’s optimized for voice needs to give people direct answers to their specific questions.”
Additionally, they recommend using “natural language keywords”. This phrase means language one would use in a casual conversation, rather than a few keywords plus “definition” at the end, for example. To explain this further, the Hoth says “…you might type “natural language keywords definition,” but you’d say “what are natural language keywords?”
So, there are a couple things to keep in mind here. Make sure you create content with quick answers to common questions, and use keywords you’d hear in a normal layperson’s conversation.
Better ROI Tracking Abilities for Influencer Marketing
Since the inception of influencer marketing, a significant pain point has been tracking ROI. Brands have struggled to justify large spends on influencer marketing when they can’t access the data to back it up. Additionally, a lack of detailed tracking capabilities leaves the advertiser blind in regards to where the best place to spend money in the future is. This problem leads to vague campaign goals such as “building brand awareness,” making it harder to define a successful campaign.
With the growth of influencer marketing, however, these tracking capabilities have increased.
They will continue to grow as brands demand the ability to track campaigns more accurately. Sources such as Linkfluence recommend adding UTM parameters or assigning unique coupon codes. Influencer marketing platforms such as Webfluential offer interactive tracking and reporting for influencers on many channels.
Artificial intelligence is a growing part of all digital marketing, and affiliate marketing is no exception.
Affiliate network Webgains has partnered with IBM Watson to bring AI to affiliate marketing. Not only do they offer a chatbot, they promise to make intelligent predictions on future consumer behavior. “Using Watson’s big data processing and artificial intelligence, we’ll be building a suite of cognitive advertising products. Drawing on multiple data sources we’ll be building a real-time picture of market conditions to help you get ahead of the curve with intelligent predictions for what will sell and when.”
Affiliate marketing’s younger sibling, influencer marketing, is reaping the benefits of AI as well. According to Single Grain, “True AI platforms move beyond image processing and analyze years of influencer content in order to determine the topics and brands that influencers are talking about, audience sentiment, aesthetic style and, most importantly, how effective their content is at driving traffic, engagement and product sales.”
What else is on the horizon?
Some of these trends aren’t new, but they continue to increase in value to marketers. Trends that are continuing to evolve are always important to keep an eye on.
Have you tried any of these and found them to be unsuccessful? Any tips to share with the rest of our readers about what worked best for you? Feel free to let us know on Twitter.