Affiliate marketing is constantly changing and evolving and 2018 is going to be another year when we can expect some incremental shifts, and some more radical shifts. I am going to spend a bit here explaining where I see affiliate marketing in 2018 heading and hopefully shed some light on the industry as a whole.
Before I get started, I want to clear your mind of ONE thing. Affiliate Marketing is not going anywhere. The opportunity to build a full time business through affiliate marketing is still as possible as it has ever been.
In fact, there is becoming a greater shift of investment by large companies into their affiliate programs and their affiliates. You can expect more of this in the year ahead.
There are 5 main shifts/changes that you can expect in the year ahead within the AM world.
1. Affiliate Programs Need Affiliates More Than Ever.
I am sensing a bit of desperation in the commerce world. Very successful retailers of the "offline" world are losing their grasp of their overall market because of the "progressive online" companies that have focused primarily in the online retail space.
You have the likes of Etsy, EBay, Amazon, AliExpress that have truly invested a great deal of their energies into affiliates and their online retail experience. They are continuing to thrive and grow and will do so in 2018.
Then you have companies like Sears, Toys R Us (as well as several others) that are going completely out of business because they didn't focus on affiliates and their overall online retail experience.
We are going to see more of this. There will be more retailers that will go bankrupt in 2018. There will be a much greater focus by existing retailers in their online experience, affiliate programs, and working at a higher rate with affiliate marketers.
Those that continue to invest in this manner will see positive growth in their businesses in 2018. Those that don't, are unfortunately going to experience the same demise as many other "offline focused" retailers that simply do not get the new economy.
2. Authority Bloggers Will Continue to Reap the Rewards.
One thing that you can be assured about is that those that focus on OWNING their niche in 2018, are going to continue to attract the attention of larger affiliate marketing agencies, networks, and affiliate programs.
As an affiliate, you have a lot of power as you start to accrue a brand in the industry. The same way celebrities attract huge contracts for selling contracts through commercials, if you focus on building your brand in your given niche/industry you are going to continue to attract these types of partnerships.
Often times as you gain true branding in your niche. Affiliate programs consider offering you more incentives or better commission (like our all-expense-paid Super Affiliate Conference).
So embrace your niche, work to become the best within it, and don't try to diversify and wear too many hats within the online world. It only takes ONE niche to be very successful online (as in millions in revenue per year).
Also, help as many people as you can in your niche. Make it a goal of 2018. If you can help 100% more people this year, you can expect 100% growth. If you can help 500% more people this year, you can expect 500% growth in your affiliate revenues.
If you haven't already had the opportunity to check out my Live Class on "Insights into Efficiently Becoming an Expert in 2018", I recommend you do so. All Premium members have access and it is going to give you some unique perspective on building a brand through the course of a year. It CAN be done.
WATCH LIVE CLASS: Insights into Efficiently Becoming an Expert in 2018
3. More People Online = More Affiliate Marketing Opportunity
Every year the world population grows. Ever year access to the Internet continues to grow. Every year more people are more active on the Internet than ever, through more devices.
There was a point in time when people were fearing the demise of desktop computing and people actually using anything but a mobile device. It was a big fear, in particular in the SEO space and with affiliate marketers.
What has happened though is that people now are online more than ever, people often times have 3-4 devices they can connect to the internet with and consume information with (desktop, laptop, iPad, smartphone, now home enabled devices), and people are now spending more money than ever as a result.
People also have ramped up their search habits.
Offline constructs like libraries, books, newspapers and offline retailers are continuing to become obsolete, meanwhile anything online is only gaining more popularity.
This is a good thing for affiliate marketers. In fact, the opportunity has never been so big and the affiliate marketing snowball is going to continue to grow in size in 2018.
4. E-commerce is Thriving, More Hybrid Opportunities
Affiliate marketing is great. But it certainly is not the only way to monetize website traffic and if there are greater profits outside of affiliate marketing within certain pages on your website, then authority sites are going to continue to leverage these.
For example, if you are selling something that is not branded (a wooden clock), there are many opportunities to drop ship through companies like AliExpress where you can ship products at a much lower cost than you can charge for them, sometimes you can make 100% plus on the actual price of the product.
If you take a $15 clock like the one above, you sell it for $30, you double your money. This is a logic that has been in place, but where the "brand" isn't as sensitive (like a generic clock), you are going to see more opportunities in this space. There is much more administration and costs associated with accepting payment, dealing with returns, and managing product support. But accepting payment and hosting a store on your website through plugins like WooCommerce can be a great opportunity.
We have some existing training on this, but we are going to be exploring facets in the direct "e-commerce" space through more live classes and training in 2018.
Affiliate marketing is definitely going to remain our focus with the largest share of our training, but we also feel there are going to be new opportunities arising out of the e-commerce side of things that conventional affiliate-based sites will be able to leverage (as technology continues to improve).
The ability to operate a hybrid website where you recommend products through affiliate programs, as well as other means like drop shipping, and owning your own products/services are going to become more of a reality in 2018 and beyond.
5. Lots of Opportunity Outside of Amazon
Amazon is eating a disproportionate piece of the pie, the most we have ever seen. They are blowing away sales records and one thing that can be said about Amazon in the last 10 years is that they have invested in their affiliate program, their affiliates (associates) and maximizing revenue.
During Black Friday of 2017 it was stated that Amazon took anywhere between 45-50% of all online sales. That is a big deal, but this certainly does not mean that Amazon should be viewed as your only option. Online sales broke records once again in 2017, and will do so again in 2018.
Affiliate programs are going to continue to pop up. Networks continue to recruit brand new merchants and continue to expand their offerings. And often times you can find much better commission share (% wise) outside of Amazon.
There are 100,000's of affiliate programs out there across every industry offering a wide range of commission rates (1-75%), so explore your options and be strategic about what you promote on your sites. There is likely a greater windfall of revenue if you do your due diligence and you seek affiliate programs outside of just Amazon's.
Cookie life (the time in which you get credit for an affiliate commission) are typically better than Amazon as well through other affiliate programs and networks. Some like Wealthy Affiliate, offer affiliates LIFETIME cookies, meaning you get a commission if someone goes through your affiliate link and joins at any time, forever. Compare this to shorter cycle cookies like Amazon (which are only 24 hours).
Successful merchants on Amazon and other mass shopping agencies are going to become more privy to the benefits of having their own independent affiliate programs and either join affiliate networks or set-up their own independent affiliate programs. They will earn the merchants larger profit margins this way and they will also be able to pay affiliate more than commissions. A win/win.
There you have it.
Those are some trends I see either taking place, or evolving in 2018. The affiliate marketing industry has never been more exciting in my opinion and you can expect the most affiliate opportunities we have ever seen in the year ahead.
I would love to hear your feedback though. Where do you see the affiliate marketing industry heading in 2018? What are some trends you have noticed in your own niches? Do you have any questions or personal feedback? Drop a comment below!
Here is to a successful a brilliant 2018 ahead!