Every now and then, the same question pops up in the murky waters of internet marketing.
“Is affiliate marketing dead?”
Whoever said affiliate marketing is dead has neither put in the effort to succeed nor has not approached it the right way.
Ask the successful affiliate marketing millionaires out there who are making hundreds and thousands of dollars through affiliate marketing and they will have a different take on the topic.
The online world has an abundance of revenue streams for small businesses like dropshipping and Amazon FBA which were not there earlier.
So some people assume that affiliate marketing is not a viable option right now. But this is far from true.
Affiliate marketing is not dead.
In fact, it has been around for more than 20 years and is growing by leaps and bounds, thanks to more consumers preferring to buy online.
The global affiliate marketing industry is worth well over $12 billion and is still going strong.
According to Business Insider Intelligence estimates, it is projected to generate a mind-blowing $8.2 billion in revenue in the U.S. alone by 2022.
So what is Affiliate Marketing?
In very simple terms, affiliate marketing is earning a commission by promoting other people’s products and services. The affiliate sales are tracked through affiliate links.
It is an online tactic to drive revenue and is a win-win solution for both the businesses (merchants) and the affiliate partners (online publishers). There are also many high paying affiliate programs based on CPA, CPL or CPC commission structures in the market.
Benefits For Businesses (merchants):
For marketing your online business, return on investment (ROI) is important. If you plan to do digital advertising on Google and social media, then be ready to shell-out dollars for optimizing campaigns to get those coveted sales.
Moreover, Facebook and Instagram advertising costs are rising and it’s going to be very expensive to advertise on these platforms. Affiliate marketing gives marketers the opportunity to get business results by leveraging the audience of affiliate publishers when they join affiliate programs.
Ecommerce sites can use CPA marketing to create campaigns and promote them through affiliates.
Benefits For Affiliate Partners (publishers):
From the publishers’ point of view, affiliate marketing is a godsend. They don’t have to create or own products. This saves them the cost of maintaining an inventory, shipping costs, and other expenses. By promoting others’ products, they get a commission.
Affiliate marketing has given large media and online publishers an additional stream of revenue, helped small businesses survive and created a whole breed of bloggers focusing on affiliate marketing.
Publishing Companies are Taking a Keen Interest in it:
The Wirecutter was a company that started without advertising as a revenue stream. It posts online gadget reviews and embeds links to buy them from Amazon.
It makes a profit from the commission earned through these affiliate links. The New York Times acquired it and the company generated $150 million in online sales in 2015 just through affiliate marketing.
The company Tronc, formerly known as Tribune Advertising now owns a majority stake in BestReviews. The business model of BestReviews is in generating revenue through affiliate commissions by publishing detailed consumer products’ reviews.
Big publishers like Conde Nast, Vox Media and Gawker Media are focusing beyond digital advertising as revenue streams and are undertaking new eCommerce initiatives. They are putting ‘affiliate links’ in their content that generally direct to Amazon product pages.
Businesses that have embraced affiliate marketing are also flourishing because more people are coming online. The Internet is being accessible to more people around the world.
The tendency has shifted to purchasing things online now as payment methods are becoming secure.
Affiliate Marketing in the Travel Niche
One of the most profitable niches in affiliate marketing in the travel industry. It contributes over $7 trillion to the global economy.
People always need and want to travel for pleasure and work. They spend thousands of dollars on vacations. They recommend travel products, enable flights, hotels and vacation packages on their websites that people are interested in booking.
Getting even a small pie of this as a commission percentage through travel affiliate programs can be very profitable. That’s why many bloggers find the travel affiliate marketing niche lucrative.
There are many popular travel affiliate programs from which you’ll be able to earn good commission.
For example, the travel affiliate network Travelpayouts has an entire range of travel services on offer. They have flights, hotels, ground transportation, tours, and activities, among others.
Getting started as an affiliate very easy. You place the tools they provide on your travel website. Create awesome content around the affiliate offers from Travelpayouts and promote them like crazy to your target audience. Your audience does the bookings and you enjoy the commissions.
Many established travel bloggers have the privilege of being sponsored by affiliate programs for traveling to exotic destinations and promoting their affiliate products.
The growing importance of affiliate marketing is also evident because of the support the affiliate websites get from the affiliate networks.
What you Should be Careful About
Recently the affiliate marketing industry has had its share of scams. Many online mattress companies have come under the scanner for developing shady relationships with review sites.
The paid reviews and sponsored posts are generally biased and consumers don’t get a clear picture. But consumers don’t seem to mind as long as they are getting reviews that help them in making them decide.
Some CPA affiliate marketing networks have bad reviews. This is due to the shady practices they employ. So, before joining any CPA affiliate network, go through the reviews.
Affiliate marketing is thriving. Strategic alliances and takeovers of eCommerce sites by media giants and a growing interest in affiliate marketing by publishing companies is a strong indication.
If you’re a blogger, then travel affiliate marketing is a great niche to be in. Travel continues to be a revenue earner and provides higher commissions.
It’s true that earning from it is not as easy as it used to be in the past because the industry has matured.
But, businesses willing to adapt to the changing marketing landscape, put in the strategic planning coupled with hard work, will be the ones successful in the long run.