29 october 2018 0 comments reading time: 10 minutes

Affiliate marketing in 2018. Changes in the market and what works efficiently. Opinions from leaders of the industry.

In 2018, there’s a lot of talk about affiliate marketing having some troubles. Wherever you look, there are people saying that working has gotten more difficult, and earning money even more so. Is that the truth? In what ways did affiliate marketing change? How are things really going? Which offers arised, and which ones died out? What’s the determining traffic in 2018? And more importantly, is this year worse for affiliates than the previous one? All of these questions have answers, and we got them from top affiliates in the industry, professionals that work with traffic on a daily basis and reach enviable results.

People participating in the poll: Pavel Nekrasov — director of the Saint Petersburg branch of lucky-team.ru. Artem Kravchenko — PR manager in the affiliate network AdCombo. Wildo — owner of the partnership program Wildo.Click. Aleksander Chekulaev — Top affiliate, founder of the fb-killa.pro forum. Artem Smolyaninov — Top affiliate, founder of the SMOL.online forum. Servando Silva — Affiliate marketing expert, AffiliateFix forum Moderator. Erik Gyepes — STM moderator, affiliate marketing expert.

Read this if you want to have an objective picture of the state of the market in 2018, and to form your own money earning strategy.

Pavel Nekrasov — director of the Saint Petersburg branch of lucky-team.ru.

For starters, Facebook completely tightened the screws. Secondly push notifications can be seen as an analogy for Pops, in a sense that once again there’s an easy and cheap way for beginner affiliates to get involved. And I see white hat trend ,even if isn’t total and all-consuming, still exists.

As always, traffic from google and facebook is the determining factor.

When it comes to offers, subscriptions are doing worse than others, especially when it comes to aggressive flows. Other ones remain on the same level, more or less. Some people say nutra is not what it used to be. We don’t think so 🙂

Personally, I find things to be going better in 2018 than they were in 2017.

Artem Kravchenko — PR manager in the affiliate network AdCombo.

Cryptocurrency came to the end of its term. No more traffic on bitcoin and ICO.

It’s all about gambling now. Everyone suddenly went to casinos.

Also, dating’s making a reappearance in anticipation of Facebook starting its dating program.

Ecommerce is getting more white hat. They’re making products that are more within the rules of the traffic sources

Things are definitely going better than in 2017.

Wildo — Owner of the partnership program Wildo.Click.

There are less and less obvious working flows left. You can’t just get a pack of creatives, simply test them and get sensible ROI. Almost all flows are specific and private, depending on the traffic source / partnership program / advertiser/ technical moments — you can’t just repeat them. And if in some case you’re reading something understandable and straightforward, there’s a good chance there’s more information that’s kept from you.

Social traffic definitely sank, especially on FB. Focus shifted towards native. Context is doing well, just as before. As for new trends — push notifications, and also Google Play traffic fully went public (especially its affiliate marketing).

In my opinion, there’s much more gambling and betting, at least in CIS countries. Partially that’s due to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final. Even more, they’re inventive and sneaky about it — pack it into apps, etc.

The interest in dating definitely increased, and even 20% of stands in the last MAC conference in Kiev can attest to that.

But even with all this I can’t say that it’s really bad.

Things are good for those who are working. We’re working and for us everything’s better than it was last year.

Aleksander Chekulaev — Top affiliate, founder of the fb-killa.pro forum.

Can only comment on Facebook, since at the moment I work with it exclusively.

There aren’t any distinctly new features. With each year the work becomes consistently more difficult, and that only makes it more interesting. The weak leave, the strong remain  — that’s how it always was and will be.

Native traffic is the deciding factor, but where and more importantly how you’ll get it is another question entirely. I get it from facebook, someone gets it from push notifications, but the source isn’t as important as the approach.

In terms of verticals, nothing was added that was drastically new. There are more mentions of gambling, betting and sweepstakes, more talk about nutra death, but that’s something I see every year and can confidently say that there’s no massive stagnation or growth in relation to any of the verticals. Everything’s moving at a steady pace, and if it ever fluctuates it’s never critical.

Things are better in 2018 since we now have the experience from 2017. Therefore 2019 will be even better. 
At least for those who worked in 2018.

Artem Smolyaninov — Top affiliate. Founder of the SMOL.online forum

I work exclusively with Facebook & Google Adwords, recently with Google Play too, and it always had complications. But for the past half a year they’ve been only increasing. And this tendency will continue.

Facebook traffic is the determining factor.

Nothing changes with the offers themselves, rather with the approach. Every vertical has people providing amazing results. Thus it all depends on the attitude and the desire to succeed. Every vertical and every source will work, if approached with enough effort.

This year has been better with profits, because at least my market gets rid of the loners and weak players. But there have been more complications, and it’s still the same bans on Facebook and Google.

Servando Silva AffiliateFix affiliate marketing forum moderator

AM has certainly changed this year as a tendency that kind of continues with last year’s trend.

For affiliates running BH on FB I know a lot of them are having hard times as FB continues to make everything more difficult for them. I’ve seen a lot of people flock to eComm but not being able to make it work when using the strategies everybody uses (dropshipping and low quality customer service). However there are guys killing it in both fronts for sure.

As for other types of traffic, Native has had changes first half of the year with some traffic sources losing quality or adding new guidelines for banners/prelanders that also make things more difficult.

As for pop traffic Google made several updates this year, and it seems the volume available was barely affected, yet the performance of both the traffic and the offers available for it took a small hit.

On the other side, we’ve been focused on building businesses and doing most of the things as WH as we can (according to each traffic source) and that front end is paying well in the back end after a few weeks or months. I kinda like a lot the traditional white hat marketing that’s less spammy and requires more work but at the end you build a business of your own which is worth a lot.

FB is still a great traffic source and has been killing it in many fronts. Native is quite strong if you use the right networks and I’d like to add push traffic here as it’s kinda new and old at the same time.

Push notifications came back a few months ago and now every traffic source is adding it to their SSPs. While it’s not as killer as other sources (more like a mix between pop and native) there’s good many to be made from a “new” source like that if you master it.

I haven’t noticed any new type offers that are doing super well recently. If any, a lot of networks tried eComm but for a lot of them isn’t working as expected. Some networks have more experience here and obviously they have better offers, funnels, etc. but the ones who are just trying to take a chunk of the dropshipping Shopify model are finding it hard as far as I know.

As for offers that are kinda dead, I’d say mobile content while it still works, has every day less volume and more restrictions. But who knows if they’ll make a comeback soon.

We started a switch in 2017 to running AM in a WH way so we could build better campaigns and businesses as well. This is a process that took us almost 6 months and we also had 2 failed projects but this year we’ve been focused  on the projects that worked and I’m happy with the way things are working so far. 2019 is going to be a very interesting year!

Erik GyepesModerator from STM

As everyone already noticed there was a huge downtrend in mobile. Especially mobile subscription offers. Most of the geos that were doing well were regulated and the flows have changed, so it’s harder to make them work and convert. There is still some money to make though as I know some people are still doing OK in this field.

I can definitely say that push notification is traffic is now “mainstream”, every week new push network pops up or this format is added to existing networks. So it’s something to watch out for and experimenting.

As I said above, mobile content offers are now not doing so well. I personally see switch to other monetization as COD offers which are breaking from RU and other Eastern European countries and dominating the world.

Ecommerce is still also on the rise, but gone are the easy days of simple drop shipping, at least from what I’ve heard.

Evergreen verticals like sweepstakes and dating are still doing good. Crypto offers are something that appeared due to last years crypto craze. I heard they are doing well.

2018 is a big year that filtered out lot of affiliates from the industry and even the strongest are suffering.

As the saying goes, adapt or die, is getting more and more real this year.

I personally cannot wait what the future will bring for this ever changing industry.

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