To mark the new year and to take a closer look at marketing trends, ZorbasMedia team has interviewed the representatives of affiliate and advertising networks, affiliate services, and media buying teams, as well as affiliate marketing experts.
We have analyzed the answers and isolated several trends that will be powerful this year.
Table of Contents
White-hat offers, applications, and marketing approaches have become one of the biggest trends in 2021. This is a universal disposition across the industry. Many marketers who have gained at least some stature by 2021 note that it’s getting extremely difficult to go against the current. The market has grown significantly, it’s gone a long way from where it was 3–5 years ago. The focus has shifted from hit-and-run money-making (first bill scheming is bad for your Karma!) to running long-term campaigns that stay predictably profitable over time. And what is even better, you can run seasonal white-hat campaigns every year with the same set-up and only minor adjustments. The CR will be rather stable, because you have studied the audience and the product, have adjusted the funnel and creatives, etc.
And this leaning towards white-hat marketing is prominent not only among marketers, but also in affiliate networks. They develop and introduce more white-hat offers to cater to any taste.
Bigger media buying teams
Being a solo affiliate has been extremely popular at the dawn of the affiliate marketing industry. Even now we see much admiration going to those affiliates who have managed to make it without a team. However, the market has changed. You could calmly make your dime by running campaigns with only one account and a couple of creatives in the past, but it’s a no-go nowadays. You need hundreds of accounts daily, bigger budgets, and a knack for dodging bans. Automation does help, but it’s not almighty. You need more capable hands, preferably a couple of dozens more.
Another side to this trend is bigger teams. You have two buyers — find a farmer and a designer. Then you join another media buying team to form a company, and maybe later you will create an affiliate marketing conglomerate. Hoping that you will succeed working solo becomes a tad unrealistic. This is why we hear that to succeed, you should gain some experience, build expertise (check out the “For beginners” section on our website) — and join a team. Experience is crucial because no good team needs total noobs.
There is life beyond gambling and nutra
There is a class of super-profitable affiliate verticals that we call the evergreen ones. Nutra and gambling are two of them and, boy, don’t we love them. You will find an ocean full of offers and case studies for these two, not to speak of high profits. But seeing that popularity, it’s easy to guess that these verticals are also highly competitive. Affiliates crave them as if the rest of affiliate marketing has gone extinct. In the meantime, there are other verticals that are no less profitable and maybe less difficult to enter: subscriptions, lead gen, info products, insurance, etc. Don’t get fixated on nutra and gambling, look around and find something new, test new offers, and work with trusted and experienced affiliate networks.
Over the past two years, the subscription model has become extremely popular while the rest of the world has been crumbling under the weight of pandemic restrictions and moving to live online. The old-timers include games, software, movies, and educational courses. Nowadays, the subscription model is applicable to almost anything from food and cosmetics, to board games and car maintenance. The biggest advantage of subscriptions is the repeated monetization of the same lead. You attract them, monetize them once, and then keep warming up until the next subscription payment.
We have all heard about the Facebook’s hysteria, useless updates on Instagram, and the ever-tougher regulations in Google. These traffic sources are great and loved by many, even though users, influencers, advertisers, and affiliate marketers all find it hard to work with them. Against such a background, a fresh and cheerful TikTok has gained momentum really fast and even toppled FB from the most downloaded app pedestal.
Nevertheless, this media platform is still a new unknown entity for the affiliate marketing industry. The moderation in TikTok seems to be more lenient than on Facebook, but if something annoys TT — whole verticals get banned. It’s not yet clear whether TikTok is capable of becoming the all-time best traffic source, or it will become a smaller niche source in time.
The benefits of running campaigns with diverse GEOs are old news. Europe and the US have high payout rates; India, Asia, and LATAM have bigger volumes and a fresh audience. Still, many Russian marketers prefer the CIS market because they are familiar with the approaches, the audience and its mindset.
However, now it is not so much the marketers who are talking about going fully international, but affiliate programs and networks. Sure, foreign GEOs are more demanding: you need more data, a thorough analysis of the market and the audience, etc. — but there’s much to be had with a wider GEO coverage.
Long story short:
- If you are tired of bans and want to turn to the white side of affiliate marketing — that’s great, and the market is on your side.
- Being a “lonely sea wolf” of affiliate marketing is only cool if you can make it work, which is hard. Find a great media buying team and become a top marketer.
- Casino and goji will always be in-demand. But these are not the only marketing niches that have money and appeal. Find something that you fancy and give it a go.
- YouTube tutorials and a feed full of duckface are not the only things your audience can subscribe to in 2022. The subscription model covers a wider range of products and services. So, go take a look and pick an offer to promote.
- In case you have spent the past year under a rock — TikTok is the top traffic source. But this does not mean that you should abandon all the other sources because this time-consuming meme machine is tougher than it looks.
- Think about or better start working with foreign GEOs. Domestic market is easier and closer to heart, but there are loads of profitable GEOs accessible even for newbies.