The 6 Biggest Affiliate Trends for Q4 2022

The second half is here, and the pace of change in our industry continues to accelerate. We reviewed the speaker comments from our recent event, recent threads in our highly active Slack community, and our latest discussions with industry leaders to pinpoint what will change in the next six months. Here are six of the biggest affiliate trends for Q4 2022 that you need to track.


More Spending for Traditional Affiliates


Some say there are dark clouds ahead for the global economy. Inflation, gas prices, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, supply chain issues, and regular cyclical forces are giving more than a few analysts jitters. Many brands invest more in bottom-of-funnel tactics in challenging times to improve immediate market sales. Affiliate partners have always been an outstanding driver of quick response. Our pay-for-performance model will mean that available dollars will shift from less accountable media to our channel.

Classic affiliates in sectors like deals, coupons, and cashback will be the big beneficiaries. To get ready, deal-centric affiliate marketing industry publishers across North America are innovating with products and technology to help brands engage with more buyers. There are a variety of tactics under development, using search histories, geography, demographics, life stages, and more. Many traditional partners have great program ideas to help you put the pedal to the metal. Every wise affiliate marketer will reach out in the coming months.


More Deal Venues from Tier-One Content Companies


Mainstream media companies in the United States and Europe are seeing strong revenue growth from the partnerships channel. But they also know that a considerable portion of affiliate spending goes to cashback, deal, and offer sites that drive immediate conversions. Many premium content publishers now offer their own deals pages and communities to capture some of that spending. They hope to intercept more potential customers before they surf the deals sites.

Buzzfeed Shopping and NY Post Deals were early movers in this sector, and each is seeing great results by offering their massive traffic access to great deals and offers. Expect to see even more of this activity as brands redouble efforts to drive immediate conversions, and savvy content publishers fight for their share.


More Focus on All Types of Outcomes


If accountability is the watchword in challenging economic times, that does not mean brands will stop pursuing upper funnel partnerships. Brands are taking a results-oriented approach to every customer journey stage. Awareness, consideration, and intent measures are all part of driving strong demand. But brands expect measurable outcomes for each stage to measure and optimize impact.

Brands and agencies increasingly recognize that growing the top of the funnel is necessary to maximize sales over time. All good news for mainstream content publishers, social affiliates, and influencers.


More Non-Endemic Content Partnerships


By endemic, we mean content explicitly developed to impact sales and brand choice in your category. In 2022, we are hearing more about brands expanding their content efforts beyond related articles, videos, and other media focused on their categories. At our recent industry event, several investor speakers noted that content partners are critical to driving discovery and growing top-of-funnel. You cannot get discovery solely with content about your specific category.

Brands are evolving their investment decisions, collaborating with more partners that reach their target audiences with content that is not so focused on bottom-of-funnel affiliate links. Even The Wall Street Journal is getting into the game.

In some cases, these partnerships are primarily about traffic. In other cases, brands are working with niche publishers that attract audiences that share characteristics with their buyers. For example, a bed-in-a-box brand might partner with a site about sleep or mental health.

To participate in this trend, think about related product categories and content that attract quality traffic. Then connect with your agency or network to find potential partners.


More Performance-Based Tech Partnerships


More companies are looking to the affiliate channel to cost-effectively implement new conversion tech without the need for significant upfront payments or years-long contracts. One look at the growth rates of providers like RevLifter and UpSellIt provides ample proof that performance tech is a big...err...deal.

More affiliate program leaders are looking beyond traffic driving to determine how else they can increase revenue, conversion rates, transaction counts, and average order values for their initiatives. They understand that converting a site visitor is usually far less expensive than attracting one. You can grow revenue and customer loyalty at lower costs by keeping customers shopping longer.


The Long Slow Death of Last Click Continues


Note: if you see bits of red and pink flesh on your screen right now, it is because our brains exploded. We cannot believe it is necessary to write about this topic AGAIN! For years we have discussed this.


Further, if you are expanding your efforts to include more content partners, influencers, and on-site conversion optimization, you need to ensure that all your partners are compensated properly for their work. You can explore multi-touch attribution methodologies or bonus earlier funnel outcomes and adjust your final commissions accordingly. Last-click-centric partners rightly say that many transactions hinge solely on their activity. But other sales happen because of multiple customer engagements.

You cannot assume that a final touch partner caused a conversion any more than you can the first click. You need data to make an accurate assessment. Several networks offer solutions to help you take a more accurate approach to attribution.

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Boil all these trends down, and we see greater focus and attention on measurable ROI, the value of content and the power of technology to drive more sales and upper-funnel outcomes than ever before. There has never been a better time to be in affiliate -- or a time where more is expected of us all.


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