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Top 14 Affiliate Marketing Trends in 2024 You Should Know

The affiliate marketing industry continues defying doomsayers with its phenomenal growth and industry-shaking affiliate marketing trends. They will only push this market segment to even greater heights. AI, machine learning, and other advanced technologies are at ...

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14 min read
Trends affiliate programs

The affiliate marketing industry continues defying doomsayers with its phenomenal growth and industry-shaking affiliate marketing trends. They will only push this market segment to even greater heights.

AI, machine learning, and other advanced technologies are at the forefront of these 21st-century digital marketing movements. They allow affiliate marketing professionals to fine-tune their craft and generate more income.

So, what marketing trends should you expect in 2024 and beyond? Hang tight because we bring you 14 inclinations that will rock the marketing world.

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Top 14 Growing Trends in Affiliate Marketing 

Influencer marketing (nano & micro-influencers) becomes more popular

People know it as product endorsements, but affiliates and brands call it influencer marketing. It’s a strategy employed by big-name brands. These include hiring an A-lister (i.e., Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes, business tycoons, and more) to promote their products.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the budget to pay for these high-profile individuals to promote products. So, budget-strapped small and medium-sized companies turn to nano- and micro-influencers.

The number of followers differentiate these two influencer types. For example, nano-influencers have less than 10,000 followers, while micro types have between 10,000 and 100,000.

Did you know nano-influencers with less than 10,000 followers have higher engagement rates? Micro- and nano-influencers have a 5% average engagement rate. Macro- and mega- types only gain 2%.

Fewer followers mean you’ll have more time answering their queries and interacting with them meaningfully.

Unsurprisingly, seven out of ten brands work with micro- and nano-influencers because they’re more effective in driving traffic and better customer engagement. They are more willing to become affiliate partners because the engagement is authentic and the content personable.

So, your social media followers might be small now, but the future looks promising!

Voice search SEO is about to increase

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Who doesn’t love Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and other voice assistants? These technologies are heaven-sent, freeing your hands to do other “more important” tasks.

And that extends to voice search!

It’s a technology driving folks crazy, but in a good way.

Imagine a mobile user driving on the highway, searching for the nearest motel to rest for the night. Instead of pulling over to type the search word, the driver can say the query out loud.

Did you know nearly three in five (58%) customers use voice assistants to find local businesses? More than a quarter of consumers use voice assistants on mobile devices.

And here’s the real kicker!

Voice assistant usage will reach 8.4 billion next year from 2023’s 4.2 billion, for a staggering 100% increase.

The implications for affiliate marketing is immense.

You must create searchable content for voice search. It’s like leveraging SEO techniques to rank high on Google, Bing, and other engines.

Affiliates must also optimize their websites and blogs for voice requests. They must use precise keywords and long-tails. Maximizing content for mobile devices should also boost your affiliate marketing performance.

AI & automation tools are leveraged

The rise of the machines is looming over the horizon!

But instead of packing bags and mounting a solid defense, brands and marketers are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) and its related technologies (i.e., machine learning, automation tools, and natural language processing).

And why not?

You could create content in minutes with ChatGPT and other AI tools, leveraging the technology’s complex algorithm to improve SERP rankings. Of course, you must evaluate the output because errors and biases can damage your reputation.

Repetitive tasks are never an issue with automation tools. Tracking affiliate traffic and marketing campaign performance are also not a problem.

Brands can use these tools to discover talented affiliates. They allow them to form mutually beneficial relationships. AI and related technologies help companies personalize customer experiences and develop more robust affiliate support.

And get this.

Over a quarter (26%) of companies use AI for sales and marketing, while nearly a third (29%) use natural language processing. Sixteen out of 100 organizations analyze customer sentiments using AI.

If more brands use AI, affiliates should, too!

Live shopping on social media will become even more common

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More and more people are heading to social media platforms to buy and sell stuff. And live-selling is one of the most effective solutions for brands and affiliates to create interpersonally-driven and dynamic experiences to audiences or potential customers.

Besides Facebook, people shop “live” on YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, and other platforms with live-shopping features.

Did you know live shopping is a $500 billion industry, with an impressive 10% market penetration attracting 260 million viewers every single day?

And it will only grow from here.

Unsurprisingly, social media influencers leverage live shopping’s phenomenal reach to engage viewers and improve affiliate wealth generation.

You could showcase a product on Facebook Live, highlight the features, and tell your audience to click on the affiliate link. Now that’s potential income!

Live selling is more appealing than video blogging because it’s in real-time. No editing. No filters. People get what they see! They can also engage with the live seller, building credibility.

Hence, affiliates must put their game faces on and be ready for the spotlight with high-quality affiliate products and a guide for delivering the selling points.

Image of a young woman preparing to sell on Facebook Live by George Milton on Pexels.

Akin to live selling, making video content is more structured. This allows the content creator to produce the most compelling visual presentation to deliver a message (i.e., getting viewers to buy).

It’s the same with podcasts, although it’s more like listening to the radio on your smartphone.

Video content comes in different forms. Some are explainers, while others are product demos. You can have short-form and long-form or user-generated content.

But why are videos becoming the go-to of brands and affiliate marketers?

Forbes says message retention is higher in videos than texts (95% vs. 10%). Hence, viewers (88%) are more likely to buy a product they saw on videos than on print. Unsurprisingly, over 90% of companies use video in marketing and sales campaigns.

As for podcasts, did you know over 82 million Americans tune in to their favorite podcasters? And over half of them (51%) pay more attention to podcast ads.

So, affiliates must never downplay this invaluable affiliate marketing tool.

You can embed referral links, brand thumbnails, promo codes, and other marketing resources in your videos. For podcasts, affiliates can create meaningful ads to play at the podcast’s start, midway, and end.

CPA, CPL, CPS, and other hybrid affiliate models will grow in popularity

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Running a business is never easy. You must ensure at least a modest return on investment to survive in a competitive market.

As a rule, expenditure must be lower than revenues to register a profit.

And that’s why four out of five brands focus on performance marketing – paying only for verifiable affiliate marketing efforts.

All companies have performance metrics, allowing them to evaluate a strategy’s effectiveness.

For example, two out of five e-commerce  brands observe a cost- or commission-per-action (CPA) model.

Companies can “break CPA down” into CPS (commission-per-sale) or CPL (commission-per-lead).

CPS requires the affiliate to drive a potential customer to the company’s website and buy a product. Only when the customer buys (with the affiliate-attributable link) will the company pay the affiliate the commission.

Meanwhile, CPL credits a commission to the affiliate only when the potential customer completes a lead-generation questionnaire or similar form.

The point is these affiliate commission models are more cost-effective than traditional methods.

And more companies realize that now!

So, affiliates must also up their game to improve marketing performance and earn more.

Affiliate marketing is more common on emerging platforms like TikTok

We mentioned the rise of social platforms with the increasing popularity of influencer-based marketing strategies.

We didn’t mention emerging platforms are taking the internet world by storm.

Take TikTok, for example.

TikTok affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote an affiliate product and ensure better-than-usual conversion rates (1.1% versus the affiliate industry average of 0.5% to 1%).

It’s unsurprising, considering over 1.7 billion people use TikTok across 75 languages in 155 countries. The US alone has 80 million active TikTokers.

And get this!

TikTok users spend an hour 35 minutes watching TikTok videos daily or about six hours weekly. And the app’s features (TikTok Shop and TikTok Live), virality, engagement rates (17.96% vs. Instagram’s 3.86%), and convenient link swap make TikTok perfect for affiliate marketing.

These figures translate to more promotional opportunities for affiliate marketing professionals, especially if they fine-tune their target audience (i.e., Gen-Zers).

And get this.

Only about three in ten marketers use TikTok for their campaigns. You can grab this opportunity by creating viral TikTok videos to promote affiliate products, drive traffic, and gain a wider audience.

Competition on affiliate networks becomes more intense

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Brands are hungrier than ever to retain and grow their customer base. Traditional marketing methods are no longer cost-effective solutions.

The answer? Affiliate marketing!

In the US alone, companies invest $13 billion in affiliate marketing, with 84% of organizations having affiliate marketing plans. Although these plans are on paper, businesses are ready to boost their affiliate marketing investment by 58%.

Most companies would partner with an affiliate network rather than mounting their own program.

And this is where stiff competition among affiliate networks starts!

ClickBank, CJ Affiliate, Impact, and other affiliate networks must improve their affiliate management systems to stay ahead of the competition, attract merchants, and find perfect-fitting affiliates.

Some will enhance their tracking technologies (i.e., cookie- and pixel-tracking) to deliver real-time analytics, while others will improve user interfaces to ensure more efficient affiliate performance monitoring.

Affiliate programs are more personalized to niche audiences

In 2021, McKinsey & Company reported that seven in ten (71%) customers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions.

And here’s the kicker about that report!

Over three-quarters (76%) of customers will bail out of the consumer-business relationship if the brand fails in customizing customer experiences.

What do these numbers imply?

Affiliates and brands must determine customer preferences, behaviors, and interests. These pieces of information can help companies create experiences and offerings specific to their niche or target audiences.

The whole point is to build trustworthy relationships, encouraging customers to buy. It requires developing and strengthening people connections.

Such a requirement works best with niche audiences because their interests and passions align with affiliates and brands. Establishing and reinforcing the connection is more natural because there is shared passion.

Affiliates on niche markets will produce better results because of the “connection,” which ads-to-conversion affiliates don’t enjoy.

Affiliate marketing in the Metaverse will start.

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Imagine a world far different from what you know, including the cyber world.

Experts say the Metaverse is the next step in the internet world’s evolution. It’s like a virtual world with digital representations of everything in the physical world (including you, me, everyone we know, and everything we have).

More brands will start affiliate marketing in the Metaverse affiliate space this year, allowing them to leverage the integrated digital 3D world’s immense capabilities.

If you’ve been playing Fortnite, Horizon Worlds, or Roblox, you’ll appreciate the potential of the Metaverse. Other platforms that use virtual reality and augmented reality also fall under this category.

Some global brands are now partners with these Metaverse platforms (i.e., Balenciaga with Fortnite). Nike and L’Oreal are examples.

So, how can you leverage this trend?

You can promote high-quality affiliate products, create avatars, develop virtual worlds, and place them in prime Metaverse territories. These innovations can animate the character dialogues to stimulate brand interest and boost customer engagement.

You’re delivering a different experience to your customers!

Indeed, Metaverse marketing is an effective affiliate marketing strategy.

Real-time tracking helps gain better customer insights

Real-time tracking (i.e., pixel, affiliate fingerprint, cookie, and postback RL) ensures affiliate marketing success. Brands and affiliates can make the necessary adjustments before issues worsen because data is in real-time.

Third-party cookies allow brands to collect customer information to validate and credit a commission. More importantly, cookies offer deep insights into consumer behaviors.

Unfortunately, privacy concerns are an issue. And that’s why more than a third (36%) of internet users deactivated or limited their browser’s cookie settings.

Contextual targeting can help affiliate marketing programs collect valuable insights into customer demographics and behaviors and reach a broader audience.

Cookie-less tracking (i.e., postback URL and affiliate fingerprint) offers a more secure method for detecting and preventing affiliate fraud. It also ensures more precise conversion data.

Meanwhile, pixel tracking is perfect for email marketing strategies, giving publishers a more comprehensive understanding of the affiliate campaigns.

More and more affiliate marketing programs use these tracking technologies to gain better customer insights, while preventing affiliate fraud.

Cross-device monitoring will be focused.

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Did you know nearly 6.85 billion smartphones exist globally? Add to this figure the millions of smart TVs, tablets, laptops, and other mobile devices in the Internet of Things (IoT), and you have an intricate web of technologies.

Unsurprisingly, half (52%) of Americans use at least two internet-connected technologies in daily activities, including shopping.

It goes without saying that businesses want to know customers’ buying behaviors and preferences across devices to create targeted, pertinent, customized ads.

Cross-device tracking lets you do that!

Affiliates can leverage this technology to observe customer experiences across the sales funnel. What first-party data can affiliates leverage? How does the brand treat them? Do customers derive real value from their purchases?

Cross-device monitoring empowers you to understand and appreciate your target audience’s thinking and behavior, allowing you to customize promotions and interactions.

Brand-to-brand partnerships open new opportunities

According to the Deloitte 2021 Global Marketing Trends, brand-to-brand marketing partnership is a fast-growing and evolving segment. It describes a mutually beneficial relationship between two companies to help people better and generate more revenues for both partners.

This strategy is gaining steam in why not?

Brand partnerships open products and services in 2023! And whices to aligned and new audiences, strengthens brand awareness, and promotes meaningful customer engagements.

Examples of these include Lil Nas X’s collaboration with Mischief for the Devil Show, the China National Postal Adminstration-Mixue’s partnership to increase stores to over 70,000, and Maodai-Luckin Coffee arrangement that saw the brands selling a million cups on the first day.

Brand-to-brand empowers partners to develop and mount more creative messaging, endearing them to consumers.

Affiliates have an important role to play!

A successful affiliate partnership enables brands to find their perfect match – someone who understands and appreciates the business and its objectives while ready to help nurture and strengthen the relationship.

Affiliates play matchmakers in this dynamic, promoting the brand to other companies willing to enter a mutually beneficial relationship.

Link building is essential in promotional content, almost similar to finding the right talent for a job.

That’s another opportunity for affiliates to showcase their marketing prowess in 2024 and beyond.

Cryptocurrencies have become increasingly mainstream. 

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Despite the uncertainties of cryptocurrencies, more and more people are venturing into blockchain technologies.

Besides Bitcoin, Tether, and Etherium, over 20,000 cryptocurrencies exist globally.

And get this,

About 200 thousand Bitcoin transactions transpire daily, painting a robust picture for a market worth $10 billion. And it will continue to grow at an average CAGR of 68.4%, reaching $67 billion by 2026.

So, who’s to say cryptocurrencies have not yet infiltrated the mainstream?

Not convinced?

How about the increasing number of crypto affiliate programs, such as CoinLedger, Coinbase, HaasOnline, and Paxful? These crypto affiliate platforms offer generous commissions from 25% (CoinLedger and CoinRule) to 50% (Coinbase, Paxful, Bybit, and Changellly).

Unsurprisingly, thousands of crypto advertisers are becoming wealthy because of these platforms.

So, don’t be left out.

You can start earning more with these cryptocurrency affiliate programs in 2024.

Why is it Important to Monitor Affiliate Marketing Trends in 2024?

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Seasoned marketers know the value of monitoring trends in affiliate marketing, regardless of year, but even more so this year.

It’s worth remembering EVERYTHING is connected.

A trend shows the general direction of a particular affiliate marketing component, philosophy, ideal, or activity’s changing or developing nature.

More importantly, trends reflect changing consumer attitudes, beliefs, and values.

And since we all “work” for the customer (we promote high-quality products from trustworthy brands), listening to them is vital to survive in this competitive business.

Hence, trends are “signals” from customers.

Trends empower you to REACT! Do you listen to the “signals” and modify your affiliate marketing approach? Or do you remain steadfast in your strategies?

For example, we know more and more global brands are embracing social media. They recognize this channel’s massive reach, leveraging human connections and interpersonal dynamics.

So, what will you do as an affiliate marketer?

Beginner affiliates might ditch conventional website ownership and blogging and switch to social media. On the other hand, super affiliates will continue with their blogging while strengthening their social media presence.

Monitoring trends in any sector has the same fundamental purpose – what to do next!

It can spell whether your affiliate marketing journey will be fruitful or dry.

More importantly, monitoring and reacting positively to trends lets you keep your distance ahead of the pack.

How to Leverage Affiliate Marketing Trends to Improve Your Campaign? 

How you react to trends can impact your affiliate marketing campaign. Maximizing these trends can help boost your lead-generation performance and improve your chances of earning more. But how?

Analyze the trend and how it can fit in your campaign.

Because you have these trends doesn’t automatically mean you should incorporate ALL in your campaign.

You might want to pick trends that are a perfect fit to your marketing strategy.

Analyzing each trend’s implications on your affiliate campaign is vital because it allows you to “envision” the outcomes. You can “ditch” anything that doesn’t produce the desired result.

Strengthen your audience relationships.

Trend or no trend, your focus should be your target audience, whether website visitors, blog post readers, social media followers, podcast listeners, or email contacts.

The only difference now is you have a “roadmap” of ongoing consumer attitudes, behaviors, and practices. Trends reflect these.

You can write more meaningful blog content, videos, podcasts, social media posts, and website articles that “pinch” the heart and address readers’ pain points.

Engage your audiences every chance you get. After all, people value “meaningful interactions,” allowing them to feel more confident about and build trust in you.

Be honest and objective in your product reviews. Modern customers know when you’re talking bull or not. More importantly, you can offer real-life situations where affiliate products can improve people’s lives or address problems.

Invest in technology.

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We’re so much closer to a world John Connor is trying to prevent in the Terminator series.

But that doesn’t mean we’re in Judgment Day already.

You can still invest in safe and secure digital technologies to boost affiliate marketing campaigns.

Voice-assisted programs, user-friendly affiliate tracking software, affiliate performance dashboards, and machine learning-integrated technologies can improve your chances of earning more as an affiliate.

FAQs

Q: Is it too late now to start affiliate marketing in 2024?

Becoming an affiliate marketer is never too late. On the contrary, now is the best time to embark on a wealth-generating adventure.

More companies are opening, giving the masses more products to choose from. Competition is fierce, and many businesses don’t have the budget for a dedicated marketing department.

Affiliates are the answer!

And with technological advancements rolling out of software companies like a well-oiled machine, affiliate marketing has never been this exciting.

And rewarding!

Here’s another reason why it’s never too late to start affiliate marketing in 2024.

Experts predict the industry will be worth $39.9 billion by 2031, posting a compound annual growth rate of 7.9%.

Don’t wait! Join a reputable affiliate marketing program today!

Q: What are the best channels to implement your affiliate marketing ideas in 2024?

The best channels to implement your affiliate marketing ideas depend on the affiliate program and your existing platform.

For example, if you’re an influencer with tens of thousands of followers, social media platforms can be your bread-and-butter. However, this channel is only effective if the affiliate program allows it.

We must reiterate that affiliate programs vary in marketable channels. Most require websites and blogs. Others allow social media, emails, podcasts, SMS, and in-person word-of-mouth marketing.

However, social media channels are fast-becoming the affiliate channel of choice of many marketers. These platforms have exceptional reach.

And seasoned affiliates know this!

Q: How is the future of affiliate marketing in 2025?

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The future of affiliate marketing in 2025 looks rosy! Consider the following figures.

  • The global affiliate marketing sector will see a robust 10% growth rate annually.
  • One in five affiliate searches will be voice-activated.
  • Revenue-sharing commission models will overtake flat-rate schemes.
  • Affiliate marketing will be a $25.6 billion industry, following the 2003-3031 7.9% CAGR.

Conclusion

Some people dismiss these affiliate marketing trends, saying they will change. They seem to forget that trend IS changing! It’s constantly evolving.

Trends reflect the changing attitudes, practices, beliefs, and values of a consumer market that is growing more knowledgeable about their rights and wants. And they are more vigilant about these things than ever before.

Failing to recognize these trends and their implications in one’s affiliate marketing practice can make the adventure plummet from the sky or refuse to take off.

Learn these trends because they represent your customers’ mindset and the key to staying ahead of other affiliates.

Joan, a creative mind and author behind UpPromote blog. Writing has always been my sanctuary, a place where I can explore my imagination and share my unique perspective on the world of eCommerce. Through my words, I strive to explain the complexities of the digital world and showcase its potential for innovation, growth, and limitless opportunities.