Affiliate Marketing is now out of date

Good marketing is varied, surprising and customer-oriented - this applies to all types of marketing. Affiliate marketing not excluded. However, this well-tried discipline is increasingly coming under criticism, and there is even repeated talk of this branch of industry becoming extinct. But dead people live longer, which is why we have not (yet) given up affiliate marketing, but have collected examples of its future potential.

Affiliate Marketing for Your Own Marketing Strategy?

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Affiliate Marketing originally comes from the USA and describes an internet-supported type of sales through sales partners. Basically a classic partner program, but because it doesn't sound modern enough, the English version has become common among marketers. This type of sales marketing is based on agency commissions. The deal behind this is quite simple: Affiliate partners create content through which they redirect users from their website to the sales partner's shop. The so-called affiliate link contains a special code that shows the shop owner which affiliate partner the customer came from. The affiliate partner receives the commission if the previously agreed marketing goal has been achieved. Some examples of affiliate marketing models are:

  • Pay per Click (PPC): The commission is paid for each click on the affiliate link. The link can be stored behind an advertising medium such as a classic advertisement, a banner or in the editorial content itself. An IP block, for example, prevents multiple clicks by a single user. Problem: The quality of the clicks is relatively low as there is no further action associated with it, such as buying a product or subscribing to a newsletter. However, this marketing measure is an example of gaining reach.
  • Pay per lead: The point here is that the affiliate partner generates leads who do not necessarily buy something immediately, but who contact the sales partner, for example requesting information material. So it is high quality traffic that is directed to the side of the distributor. The affiliate partner only receives the commission if the call to action is followed.
  • Pay by SignUp: A sub-category of Pay per Lead is Pay per SignUp. The referenced user must register on the distributor's website, only then will the affiliate partner be remunerated.
  • Pay per sale: With the pay per sale model, remuneration is only paid once the customer has generated sales. Originally, the commission was paid for a one-time purchase by the new customer. However, many affiliate programs want to bind the partners more closely (the competition is sometimes very high and this is to prevent migration.) And therefore compensate for all sales of the referred customer, for example within a specified period of time or even for life.
  • Pay by link: One of the simplest variants of affiliate marketing, in which only the display of the link on the partner page is remunerated. Again, there is no further call to action and the quality of the clicks is low. But you achieve reach for the respective provider.
  • Pay per view: In this model, tracking is focused on the frequency of clicks on the advertising medium. Formerly a lucrative business due to the numerous pop-up advertisements, today it is more of a negligible model and an example of affiliate marketing measures that are definitely out of date.
  • Pay per install: Similar to pay per sale, the customer should purchase something here. However, these are mostly free demo versions that can be downloaded. The actual purchase is ideally made after

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Changing: Examples of changes in affiliate marketing

Cookies can no longer be tracked in the third-party environment, especially due to the stricter ePrivacy Regulation, but also due to Intelligent Tracking Prevention, as is already used in the Safari browser. Experts predict that blocking trackers will soon become the standard on other browsers as well. Not an easy situation for affiliate marketing, which is also forced to change and modernize. What used to be very simple has to be rethought today. But: This is not the famous fatal blow, but an opportunity for further development. Technical solutions already exist, according to OMR as early as January 2019, "80 percent of customers on the Awin platform used the Awin master day, which guarantees first-party cookies." Modern tracking is necessary, not only if you want to continue doing affiliate marketing, but for any data-based sales marketing.

Another example of why affiliate marketing is being declared dead can be seen in the massive cuts in digital advertising budgets, such as at Procter & Gamble. The company is one of the world's largest advertisers, but has been shifting its marketing strategy away from its previous partner programs for several years. “Cut out the middleman” is the motto, not only of the industry giant but also of many brands that want to address the target group directly. However, it will certainly take some time before the reach of affiliate marketing is reached, which is why the affiliate programs are still important. As far as content is concerned, they have learned a lot in the past and thus also remain close to the end consumer, serve their user intent and deliver exciting content that goes far beyond simple click generation.

While the battle for the lowest price and the lowest discounts rages on, affiliate marketing allows companies to focus on different things. An example: Promotions like Black Friday break all records and attract customers worldwide, but only for a limited period of time. Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, enables long-term customer relationships to be built on several websites that target users according to their respective intent. The users and potential new customers discover the company not only because of the enormous discount, but also because of the good advice, the range, the quality, etc., for the long term.

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This is what makes affiliate websites successful

Of course you can do marketing somehow and hope that a lot of videos, rankings, interactive content or large advertising budgets will somehow bear fruit. Such an approach is more than unsuitable as a marketing strategy. The main thing is to know the target group and what interests them. For successful affiliate marketing, for example, the choice of topic is the basis for any further measure. Good affiliate websites are mostly product-related. This means that no extravagant content is created, but content that revolves around products that have a large search volume, the lowest possible competition and great monetization potential. The content responds to the wishes, questions and intentions of the user and offers solutions with the right products. Not dry and cerebral, but with heart and passion for the topic. Simply copying product texts from the partner shop does not help. The content must be of high quality and unique, not just in terms of the wording, but the entire preparation. This includes, for example, suitable image and video content that introduces, tests and evaluates the product.

Marketing itself should of course include SEO. Because what is the point of a good site with interesting content if it cannot be found? On-page optimization and yes, SEO keywords are also essential. In more competitive niches in particular, solid and clean work on the SEO basis can make all the difference. But, as we all know, search engine optimization does not guarantee high traffic by a long way. This is why other traffic sources such as social networks, newsletters or advertisements are also important in order to attract the right users, i.e. the target group, to yourself. This not only applies to brand pages, but also to affiliate websites. The users and Google like good design, error-free technology with short loading times and high usability. (Most pages are still optimized for the market leader today, after all.)

So far, all the basics for a successful affiliate site, but how do you make money with it? It is important that the partner side and the sales side fit together, this applies to the look, but also to storytelling. Only newbies to marketing use the same affiliate banner on different affiliate sites. Professionals use the entire range of advertising materials and work primarily with text links that lead from the content into the shop. Native advertising if you will. The most important point is honesty. Customers want to find out more about a product, that is, they want to be shown the pros and cons. No QVC advertising bubble in which everything is perfect and, of course, unbeatably cheap. If users trust a brand, they also bind themselves to it and buy. In addition to product presentations, formats such as product comparisons, reviews, price comparisons, bestseller lists, testimonials and background articles are helpful in order to build trust and arouse interest in the brand. The content remains close to the user's interest.

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Affiliate Marketing Examples: YouTube, Facebook and classic topic pages

Classic affiliate marketing uses niche sites that deal with a specific product or product category. For example, the main page is optimized for the higher-level keyword “wireless headphones”. The sub-pages optimize for other related search terms such as "Bluetooth headphones" or "Buy wireless headphones". Of course, this also works with longtails such as “What does XYZ cost?” Or “What is the best wireless headphones?”

But influencers are also making their mark in affiliate marketing. Any number of affiliate links can be placed in the video description and, in the case of a broad topic area, several videos can be created on a topic that set different focuses and thus process the search queries and the user intent. Product tests in particular are a popular format.

The third example of affiliate marketing is Facebook Ads. Unlike Google, Facebook allows an affiliate link as a placed landing page. However, the risk for operators of affiliate sites is that they spend more on social media ads than they earn with the commission. Since the success of the ads is not guaranteed, you should approach slowly.

A final example of affiliate marketing are large platforms that generate customers through coupons and discounts. The development of the last few years has shown that consolidation in the affiliate industry can also open up new perspectives. Through mergers of major players such as GoCompare.com and MyVoucherCodes as well as Groupon and Cloud Saving, the influential publishers are centered, but offer enormous potential for attractive collaborations that support collaboration within the industry.

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60 second summary

Affiliate marketing comes under constant criticism due to current developments such as GDPR and ePrivacy regulations. It is no longer up-to-date and effective. However, if this classic form of marketing continues to develop based on the new requirements, it still has great potential. Important: content close to the customer and his needs. And: away from pure sales to long-term customer loyalty through trustworthy content.

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