Are you ready for the year ahead?

Over the last two weeks I’ve looked back at my experiences of launching and running Affiverse. 
This week I want to look forward at what 2019 has in store for the wider affiliate and performance marketing channel. 
It looks set to be another year of change and transformation, and affiliates and affiliate managers must be aware of the factors that will shape the industry. 
I am of the opinion that affiliate marketing is on the cusp of another revolutionary change.
As decentralisation and technology advances, we’ll be seeing this specialism morph into something more sophisticated, becoming a vitally important part of the marketing mix and (finally) being recognised as a specialist marketing skill. 
Being aware of what’s happening in the industry allows you to overcome challenges with a better perspective. 
Here are some of the things that will impact the channel this year and that affiliates and affiliate marketers must be aware of: 

1) Brexit 

Brexit will impact all businesses, not just affiliates. 
In all likelihood, things will cost more so the pressure will be on all of us to make sure we are getting the maximum return on our marketing investment in this channel. 
Affiliates should focus on value not volume while affiliate managers should look to stretch their budgets as far as possible. 
We’ll need to move away from bonus incentive marketing, and actually add value and principal to what we do – the days of 80% revenue share are over. 
We’ll need to keep it real, we’ll need to be more transparent on costs and prioritise education to ensure the business remuneration models remain profitable.
It’s going to be more important to focus not just on the financials but on relationships, too.
This remains an industry that revolves around relationships and it is vital for both sides to continue to engage with each other openly – ultimately, this drives revenues for everyone. 

2) Forget Millennials, 2019 is all about Generation Z

A lot of noise has been made about the importance of tapping into the psyche of Millennials, but this year will see the rise of Generation Z. 
As they mature into adults, they present a huge target market for affiliates. In order to engage this demographic, you must understand their characteristics, which are: 

  • They are less focused than Millennials 
  • They are multi-taskers 
  • They are bargain hunters 
  • They are constantly connected to digital devices 

In terms of content, this audience lends itself to video, influencer and viral marketing. With this in mind, reassess your content strategy to make sure it meets their preferences. 

3) New technologies will change the way we reach audiences 

Content will still be king, but new technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation will change the way content reaches audiences. 
Device marketing will become super specific. For example, the recent UK ban on in-play sports betting ads on television means that operators will have to target players elsewhere. 
By working with affiliates, they can push in-play messaging via channels such as WhatsApp and Messenger – although this will require a highly collaborative approach. 
When it comes to AI, bots can help with the day to day running of your business, but you need to learn how to use the technology to leverage its full potential. 
Take time to do this in 2019 as those that do will free up time to focus on growth and driving revenues. 

4) Regulation will continue to force innovation 

Regulation and compliance are forcing affiliates to clean up their acts and to play by the rules. This is a good thing as it is leading to a surge in creativity and innovation. 
Those that take into account the different rules in different markets, and build their strategies around those guidelines, will have a bright and successful future. 
Next week I’ll be looking at how your mindset affects your affiliate business success. 
Make sure to read the last part of this series as it will tell you how to grow your affiliate business, expand your affiliate reach and get access to the support you need to boost revenues in 2019 and beyond. 

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