The affiliate marketing industry is rich with opportunities. Unfortunately, it’s also fraught with competition. That’s why gaining a solid footing in the industry often feels like a steep uphill battle, especially if you’re a beginner.
The affiliate marketing industry is expected to surpass $30 billion by 2025. Staying updated with and adapting to the latest trends can help you stay relevant, maintain your competitive edge, stand out, and eventually climb to the top.
In this article, I’ll share with you the top affiliate marketing trends that’ll be shaping the landscape not just in 2023, but in the years to come as well.
Let’s dive right in.
Top Affiliate Marketing Trends for 2023 and Beyond
1. The Explosion of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Affiliate marketers are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline their operations and maximize revenue, all the while investing a lot less time, effort, and money.
As a matter of fact, according to a survey conducted by Authority Hacker, 75.7% of marketers are currently leveraging AI to perform all kinds of tasks including, but not limited to:
- Personalization: AI can create personalized product suggestions tailored to individual interests and needs. This can significantly boost conversion rates.
- Chatbots & Virtual Assistants: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can engage with website visitors, guiding them to relevant affiliate products they might have otherwise missed.
- Content Creation: AI can be used to generate content including articles, page copy, social media posts, etc. This can help affiliate marketers save tons of time and effort.
- Search Engine Optimization: There are many AI tools that focus on performing comprehensive SEO audits to identify site issues, locate relevant keywords, suggest backlink opportunities, provide internal linking recommendations, and more.
- A/B Testing: AI can help with split testing by automatically identifying which variations of content or landing pages lead to better conversions, enabling affiliates to optimize their campaigns more efficiently.
- Email Marketing: Email automation software can optimize email marketing campaigns by segmenting audiences, delivering personalized content, and determining the best times to send emails for maximum engagement and conversions.
- Social Media Posting: AI tools can schedule and automate social media posts, ensuring a consistent flow of content without requiring manual intervention.
- Competitive Analysis: AI can help zero in on tactics that could help affiliate marketers outrank and outperform their competitors.
- Voice Search Optimization: With the rise of voice-activated devices, AI can help affiliate marketers optimize their content for voice search to capture new audiences.
If you’re still skeptical about this evolving AI trend, keep in mind that adapting to it is crucial for staying competitive – failing to do so will probably lead to eventually being outcompeted by those who were smart enough to embrace it before you.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you need to seriously consider investing in AI tools as well as gaining the necessary knowledge to properly use them as soon as possible.
AI is not just here to stay – it’s expected to have an increasingly significant impact on affiliate marketing in the years to come.
2. Unique & Valuable Content
Every up has its down…
As already mentioned artificial intelligence will play a crucial role in affiliate marketing in the future. However, AI comes with its own innate drawbacks.
Based on this Authority Hacker report, AI tools are currently being used by 79.3% of affiliate marketers to produce content.
So, what’s the caveat to this?
Well, since AI is trained on very specific datasets, it can’t produce truly unique content. If a thousand people ask an AI tool to write an article on a specific topic, chances are that most, if not all generated articles would turn out quite similar, if not nearly identical.
The prevalence of unoriginal AI-produced content is already quite evident across multiple industries.
You might not have realized it yet, but as an affiliate marketer conducting daily research on a vast range of subjects, I constantly observe it all over the internet.
Google’s search results for about 70% of the topics I explore seem to be AI-generated rehashed versions of one another. Unsurprisingly enough, most of the articles served by Google for the keyword I target in this blog post, “affiliate marketing trends,” appear to be almost exact replicas of one another.
At some point, probably not too far in the future, the internet will become so diluted and saturated with rehashed duplicate AI-sourced material, that most users will be left starving for a small piece of unique content written by an actual human being.
And in such a world, filled with worthless artificial noise, the only ones who’ll manage to stand out and thrive will be those who are able to craft original content that delivers value, inspires trust, and fosters meaningful connections with their audience.
At the same time, harnessing AI’s efficiency is essential to preserving your competitive advantage.
Therefore, the pivotal factor in achieving affiliate success will be establishing and maintaining a symbiotic relationship between AI and the irreplaceable uniqueness of the human touch.
3. Voice Search Optimization
With the proliferation of voice-activated devices like smartphones, smart speakers, and virtual assistants, it’s crystal clear that voice search is swiftly carving out a significant slice of the search query pie.
As a matter of fact, statistics reveal that 50% of US consumers use voice search daily. And the adoption of voice search will keep rising for the years to come.
This shift in user behavior has significant implications for affiliate marketing.
For example, voice searches tend to be more conversational and natural, reflecting the way people speak. This means affiliate marketers must optimize their content for long-tail keywords that reflect the way people frame their queries, rather than traditional short-tail keywords.
Some other things affiliate marketers will have to do to ensure that they adapt to these changing search behaviors to stay relevant and succeed in this evolving landscape include:
A few additional steps affiliate marketers should take to ensure they adapt to these changing search behaviors and stay relevant in this evolving landscape include:
- Creating Voice-Friendly Content: Incorporate natural language and FAQs into your content to align with voice search queries
- Optimizing for Local Searches: Make sure your affiliate content is geographically relevant to capture local audiences by including phrases like “near me”
- Leveraging Structured Data: Implement schema markup to make your content more understandable to voice-based search engines
4. Mobile Responsiveness
According to Statista, as of the first quarter of 2023, mobile devices accounted for approximately 74% of retail site traffic and generated 63% of online shopping orders worldwide. Given the fact that mobile device usage is rising exponentially year in and year out, mobile optimization can be considered an indispensable affiliate marketing trend.
The importance of mobile optimization in affiliate marketing is underscored by the high risk of missing out on a substantial chunk of potential commissions. Mobile users are much less patient compared to desktop users, swiftly abandoning sites that aren’t responsive, take forever to load, and provide a subpar user experience.
This can lead to high bounce rates and missed conversion opportunities.
So, “how” can affiliate marketers adapt to this trend?
Well, things are rather simple.
First, optimize your website, blog, or landing page for loading speed and mobile responsiveness to ensure that your content is delivered quickly and displayed properly on smaller screen sizes.
Secondly, focus on promoting affiliate programs of merchants whose online stores are also fast-loading and mobile responsive to ensure a seamless user experience from start to finish. Even if your platform provides an outstanding experience to mobile traffic, a merchant’s unoptimized website will almost certainly have a significant negative impact on your conversion rates.
That’s basically all you have to do.
5. Integrating Video Content
In recent years, video content has been experiencing a remarkable surge in popularity, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. According to Statista, during the first quarter of 2023, online videos had an audience reach of around 92% among internet users worldwide.
On top of that, 83% of consumers prefer watching a video over reading text or listening to audio.
Moreover, this report published by Wyzowl in 2023 reveals that:
- 89% of people are convinced to make a purchase after watching a video
- 91% of businesses use video as a marketing tool
- 95% of marketers claimed that video boosted their brand awareness
- 87% of brands supported that video marketing increased their sales
- 91% of website owners said videos helped them grow their traffic
Furthermore, based on Invisia, people retain 95% of information shared on a video compared to 10% when reading it in text. Also, the human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
In addition, embedding a video on a page or article can:
- help you acquire rich snippets, increasing your click-through rates by over 50%
- boost dwell times by an average of 40%
- raise conversion rates by 86%
I could go on and on about the hundreds of additional benefits of video content, but I think you’ve already got the point.
Affiliate marketers have already started embracing the power of video marketing as a tool to convey their messages in an engaging and easily digestible manner, drive engagement, boost brand awareness, establish credibility, and ultimately, maximize revenue.
If you’d like to stay ahead of the curve and ensure the long-term success of your affiliate endeavors, incorporating video into your affiliate marketing strategies is not just an option; it’s a necessity.
6. Metaverse Promotions
The Metaverse is a collection of virtual 3D spaces in which people are able to socialize, learn, collaborate, and play using VR equipment. It is believed that the Metaverse will eventually become the “evolved” version of the internet.
As this virtual world evolves, businesses will start seeking opportunities to market their products within it, opening up many new untapped niches for affiliate marketers to break into. As a matter of fact, most of the world’s leading brands such as Nike, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Dior, HSBC, Adidas, and Walmart, have already started jumping into the Metaverse.
This revolutionary shift in the digital landscape holds immense significance for the future of affiliate marketing. As the Metaverse continues to grow, the affiliate industry within it will likely become a multi-billion dollar industry.
And chances are that those who adapt to this emerging trend before the market becomes too saturated will have the opportunity to establish themselves as experts much more easily, gain a competitive edge, and ultimately, acquire a much larger piece of that multi-billion dollar pie.
To accomplish that, affiliate marketers should:
- Educate Themselves: Start by understanding what the metaverse is, how it works, emerging technologies, the platforms involved, and the user behaviors within it
- Choose the Right Platforms: Identify metaverse platforms where your target audience is the most active
- Create Virtual Assets: Build or acquire virtual assets that can be used for promotions or collaborations in the Metaverse, such as virtual real estate, items, or wearables
- Leverage NFTs: Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are becoming increasingly popular in the metaverse – consider using them to create unique promotional items or experiences
- Gamify Marketing: Take advantage of Metaverse’s gaming elements to create gamified marketing campaigns that reward users for engaging with your promotions
- Engage with the Community: Actively engage with the Metaverse community by participating in forums, discussions, and events to expand your knowledge, reputation, and credibility
- Experiment: The Metaverse is an evolving space, so be prepared to experiment with different approaches to identify what works best for your niche and target audiences
7. Brand Humanization
Most affiliate marketers tend to focus mostly on the operational aspects of their business, such as producing content, implementing SEO, promoting products, tracking conversions, etc. While ensuring efficient operations is crucial to achieving affiliate success, neglecting the human element can make a brand appear faceless, cold, and uncaring.
This can, in turn, have several negative consequences like decreased trustworthiness, lack of authenticity, risk of customer alienation, limited engagement, and most importantly, reduced conversion rates.
In this era dominated by automation and impersonal interactions, consumers are increasingly yearning for connections with brands that exhibit human-like qualities.
Consumers want brands to be more human. They want to know brands’ beliefs and values, how they feel about social and political matters, and how they’re championing diversity, equity and inclusion in their marketing messages. And they want a personalized customer experience that offers a deeper connection.
This growing importance for human-centric brands in affiliate marketing is influenced by several factors, including:
- Consumer Behavior Shifts: Modern consumers prefer interacting with real people rather than faceless brands. They’re also more likely to trust recommendations that come from an individual they actually know
- Need for Relatability: Content users can relate to, like personal stories, narratives, anecdotes, life hacks, etc., perform way better in terms of engagement and conversions
- Increased Competition: Standing out in this increasingly crowded affiliate marketing landscape is becoming more and more challenging. By humanizing their brands, affiliate marketers can set themselves apart from their competitors
- Changing SEO Landscape: As search engines like Google evolve, they increasingly favor content with clear human authorship that’ll actually deliver value to those who consume it.
Here are some tips to help you humanize your brand as an affiliate marketer:
- Share your story: Tell your audience about your journey, struggles, and successes
- Show yourself: Incorporate your name and face into your marketing materials, website, and social media profiles
- Engage with your audience: Show that you genuinely care about your audience’s questions and feedback by responding to comments, messages, and emails
- Feature user-generated content: Showcase testimonials, reviews, and content created by satisfied customers to highlight real experiences with the products you promote
- Build a community: Create a forum or social group where your audience can connect with each other and you, fostering a sense of belonging
- Share personal interests: Occasionally share your hobbies, interests, and non-business-related content to let your audience see your human side
- Celebrate milestones: Celebrate important moments with your audience, whether it’s a personal accomplishment or a significant business milestone
- Show vulnerability: Talk about your challenges, mistakes, and the lessons you’ve learned from them
Affiliate marketing FAQs
Affiliate marketing is an online business model that involves promoting products or services created and distributed by third-party online merchants in exchange for getting paid a commission for each sale you refer.
In layman’s terms, affiliate marketing is the process of being compensated for helping businesses sell to more customers.
Here’s a bird’s eye view of how affiliate marketing works.
- You join a merchant’s affiliate program
- The merchant gives you a unique affiliate link that points to their e-shop
- You promote your unique affiliate link online (blog, forums, social media, paid ads, etc.)
- Every time someone clicks on your unique affiliate link and makes a purchase on the merchant’s e-shop, the merchant pays you a commission
There are thousands of successful affiliate marketers all around the world. Some of the most well-known ones are:
- Pat Flynn
- Matt Diggity
- Matthew Woodward
- Doug Cunnington
- & more
You can check out a roundup of my 17 favorite examples of affiliate success and their backstories right here.
- Billion-dollar industry
- Very low startup & operational expenses
- Huge income potential
- Flexible & versatile
- Passive income
- Simple to implement
- No technical background
- No customer support
- No physical setup
Affiliate marketers can be divided into five main income groups:
- Total beginners: $0 – $20,000 per year
- Low-level affiliates: $20,000 – $50,000 per year
- Intermediate affiliates: $50,000 – $100,000 per year
- High-level affiliates: $100,000 – $500,000 per year
- Super affiliates: $500,000+ per year
Some of the factors that influence how much you earn as an affiliate marketer include:
- target niche
- available resources
- previous experience
- marketing efforts
- & overall mindset
Here’s a rough income growth timeline of a typical affiliate marketing business:
- months (0-3): no earnings
- months (3-6): first affiliate sale
- months (6-12): $100-$500 monthly
- months (12-18): $1000 monthly
- months (18-24): $3000+ monthly
This timeline isn’t a guarantee of future performance but rather a mere approximation of the income growth of an average affiliate business. Your own timeline could be shorter or longer than projected.
Over the years, I’ve seen aspiring affiliates striking a gold vein just a few months into the industry. On the other hand, I personally know people who’ve been struggling to grow their affiliate revenue to $1000 per month for several years.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most affordable money-making models out there.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to get started as an affiliate marketer along with their associated costs:
- web hosting & domain name: $2.95/month (Bluehost)
- keyword research tool: $49/month (Jaaxy)
- expert guidance: $49/month (Wealthy Affiliate)
- email autoresponder: Free for up to 1000 subs (MailerLite)
Please note that on top of expert guidance, Wealthy Affiliate also provides free access to hosting and a keyword research tool so you don’t have to purchase them separately.
The process of getting started with affiliate marketing can be broken down into the following four simple steps:
- Pick a niche
- Launch a blog
- Build an audience
- Promote affiliate products
No, you don’t.
Affiliate marketing is very simple to get started with by virtually anyone regardless of age, education, background, available capital, tech-savviness, professional network, etc.
In fact, most 6-figure affiliate marketers were no more experienced than you currently are when they first ventured into the affiliate marketing industry.
Nonetheless, being knowledgeable in fields like marketing, sales, content production, business management, etc., could help you reach your financial goals somewhat faster.
Following and embracing the latest affiliate marketing trends is essential for staying relevant, getting ahead of your competitors, and ensuring long-term success in this dynamic, multi-billion-dollar industry.
Generally speaking, the effectiveness and importance of a trend may vary depending on some factors like your industry and target audience. Nonetheless, adapting to the trends outlined in this article should have a considerable positive impact on your affiliate endeavors regardless of the niche you pursue.
Do you have any questions or need further help with your affiliate marketing endeavors?
Leave a comment below or drop me a line and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.
To your success,