2024 will see an increase in brand and creator partnerships in affiliate marketing, competition from TikTok and Amazon, programmatic opportunities, and more, says Rob Davinson, global head of content at Awin.
Affiliate marketing reflects the broader digital environment, with macro-level trends resonating in our microcosm. In 2024, we will see new trends impacting affiliate marketers, including artificial intelligence (AI), social commerce, and retail media, just to name a few.
Here, we break down the major changes (and challenges) affiliate marketing is likely to encounter this year and what they mean for the industry.
1. A sense of belonging to brand creators increases amid the slowdown of social media
Growth in global digital ad spending is slowing (Dentsu forecasts growth of just 6.5% in 2024, after historically low growth in 2023), and social media is emerging. Brands can counter this by partnering directly with creators, as they face a similar slowdown in user growth. Because influencer marketing has proven to be more resilient than paid social.
Major brands such as The Body Shop and Walmart launched large-scale creator affiliate programs last year, examples of how to link social visibility to managed marketing results. This trend is likely to develop further in 2024, as it not only counters the risks of platform dependence, but also benefits influencers looking for a stable income.
Awin’s platform saw a surge in registered influencers (over 10,000) in 2023, foreshadowing continued growth in 2024.
2. TikTok vs. Amazon: The value of affiliate models amid new competition
As big tech companies mature, Amazon has moved from a shopping marketplace to an advertising space, and TikTok has evolved from an entertainment to a product-buying platform. TikTok has an affiliate-type model that mirrors Amazon's commerce flywheel, which could increase competition as they encroach on each other's territory.
Both platforms that employ affiliate strategies have verified their effectiveness. Brands could direct more of their advertising budgets to these tech giants, and may have to choose between entering new markets and driving more traffic to their e-commerce sites.
To choose the latter, enhance the shopper experience with the support of affiliate technology partners, such as Nike's livestream shopping collaboration with Contesters, and engage with the cyber age with engaging content on your site. needs to be strengthened.
3. Programmatic challenges drive growth in affiliate ad spend
The programmatic advertising industry faced serious challenges in 2023, as reported in ANA's Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study. The findings included the fact that there is $22 billion in waste from the $88 billion programmatic supply chain.
Advertisers often prioritize cost over value and engage in unbalanced incentives, resulting in poor advertising quality. In contrast, affiliate marketing performance models that tie ad spend to tangible outcomes such as sales have proven more valuable.
Global spending on affiliate marketing last year was estimated at around $14 billion, and the fact that less than a third of spend was wasted on programmatic speaks volumes. As senior marketers consider this year's budgets, data suggests that affiliate marketing should receive further consideration for its effectiveness.
4. News and media publishers leverage affiliate commerce content
2024 will see a record number of global elections, including the US presidential election and 40 national elections, and political interest is expected to drive traffic to news media sites.
Despite rising ad spend forecasts, past challenges with programmatic display advertising may prevent news publishers from seeing increased revenue. Affiliate channels offer a solution for publishers facing declining ad monetization and brand blocklisting.
In addition, major sporting events such as the European Football Championships and the Paris Olympics promise increased traffic, supplementing advertising revenue challenges and creating opportunities for affiliate efforts to increase the value of our journalism as demand grows.
5. The AI revolution in search threatens the affiliate long tail
When it comes to online, high Google search rankings have always been the most important thing. As the old adage (meme caption) goes, “The best place to hide a dead body is on his second page of Google search results.”
Google's Search Console, which has shaped our online information search behavior for two decades, is facing challenges from Google's monetization motive and emerging AI-powered search consoles like ChatGPT. These AI consoles provide instant answers, reduce dependence on external links, and transform the traditional internet ecosystem.
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Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE) introduces AI-generated responses that can potentially reduce organic traffic to publishers' websites. Publishers face limited choices, such as allowing SGE to crawl or excluding risk from Google Search. Adherence to his EEAT values by SEO will be critical for publishers to navigate this transformative change, highlighting the need for the affiliate industry to adapt and maintain audience-centric effects.
6. The resurgence of travel will spur growth in pop culture-inspired travel and affiliate marketing.
Some predicted the travel industry would all but disappear after the 2019 lockdowns, but as 2024 begins, the travel industry is booming.
IATA predicts that this year will surpass 2019's travel record, with 4.7 billion people flying on airlines in 2024. Awin said affiliate-driven travel bookings are surging and expects this trend to continue as consumer confidence increases, airlines expand capacity and large-scale events take place. Drive demand.
Expedia and Amadeus predict a big year for experiential tourism (such as set jets and music festivals). Affiliates play a key role in complex shoppers' shopping journeys, providing inspiration, comparisons, and personalized options.
Brand partnerships, where one advertiser promotes another complementary advertiser as part of a customer's booking experience, flourished in 2023. Travel brands are poised to take full advantage of this growth, as there are a number of potential partnerships with other brands looking to capitalize on the consumer recovery. Appetite for travel.
7. Green affiliates rise as cheap fashion challenges sustainability efforts
Despite Cop28's pivotal agreement to transition away from fossil fuels, inertia continues on climate change. In 2024, the rise of ultra-fast fashion platforms like Shein and Temu, fueled by his TikTok trend of buying cheap camo, will contribute to the growth of landfill fashion.
It's also affecting Amazon, where Teemu users spend nearly twice as much time on Amazon as compared to Amazon, prompting the e-commerce giant to lower fees on clothing items under $20. However, some affiliates continue to innovate and promote consumer-friendly choices. Examples include tree planting for site visits and Axon Mobile to encourage green commuting. And another new and promising solution for 2024 is being led by Birl, which is bringing a circular economy to e-commerce through its smart resale system.
Visit Awin for more market insights and trends.