How affiliate marketing may change in future as tech continues to advance

By Lee-Ann Johnstone, CEO



The Drum Network article

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September 30, 2020 | 6 min read

Technology is ever-changing, and it is introducing some incredible advancements to our world. However, for every step forward that technology is making, affiliate marketing is taking a leap too. Here are some of the ways we could see affiliate marketing change in the future as digital technology and AI opportunities continue to expand.

Lee-Ann Johnstone suggests marketers keep an eye on tech news to keep ahead of big industry changes.

Lee-Ann Johnstone suggests marketers keep an eye on tech news to keep ahead of big industry changes.

Zero click marketing & visual search

There are a lot of advancements taking place with technology in this area of digital. With the advent of new technology, smarter phones and voice-activated searching now readily available this is impacting the way we look for and consume content and product information online.

It is thought that over 50% of Google searches are already zero-click searches, so affiliates and brand marketing strategies will need to be adjusted to meet these customer preferences. The same applies to the rise of visual searches. People are no longer just using keywords to find their favourite brands, products or information, but they are using images and screenshots to find information too.

Affiliate marketers need to make sure that they are keeping an eye on trends like this and making changes as they need so they are not left behind. For example, innovation is ripe for taking ownership of traffic in this area before others start jostling for interest. Likewise, you need to make sure that your content is best optimised for voice search queries. We are moving away from traditional text searches, and you need to get your program prepared.

Jumping a bit further into the future for a moment, there are several innovations that could change the way we search even more. Inventors like Elon Musk are taking a looking into the neuro functions of the brain to investigate how to create a link between the human brain and a computer. This could majorly change the way we search for content.

One day, we might use heads up displays in our eyes to browse the internet instead of a traditional screen set up. This will impact our lives in so many ways, and it even has the capacity to change the way we interact with the digital world. With this, of course, will come a need to adapt marketing and other business practices.

Language evolution

Of course, there is a chance that certain practices we currently use are going to be phased out in the coming years. Just look at the way the usage of keywords has evolved over the years. They are obviously still needed in 2020, but they are used very differently to how they were twenty years ago. New words are being developed to express emotions and feelings like “iPhone” and “LOL” how we search for things that may change over time according to local linguistic changes.

We might see similar patterns emerge with other aspects of SEO and PPC in the future. Conversions will be driven with other tools and practices. Likewise, web development and app development is currently evolving and this makes the landscape therefore even more competitive. Technology is advancing to track things in real-time with smart contracts and blockchain technology. Small things like this could change the structure of revenue and commission modules that we currently use for affiliate programs. As these important aspects of affiliate marketing end up out of use, we need to find something that can replace them instead.

Maintaining rivacy

With any major changes launching online, there always comes a need to implement a new level of e-privacy. New initiatives are already on their way that will affect the UK and the EU alike, so any affiliates with businesses operating across these kinds of regulated sectors are going to need to ensure that they are adapted for these changes.

The new ePrivacy Regulation will cover not just personal data but metadata too. This might challenge some of the analytics that come with dealing with anonymised data alongside personal analytics. This is obviously incredibly important for affiliate marketers to tackle, so managers need to ensure that they fully understand and can implement any differences this can bring to their business. As we move to a world that exists more and more on the internet, it is incredibly important that all affiliates and affiliate marketers do their bit to keep customer data well-protected.

In summary, while to many of us, it might seem like our lives are being made easier by technology, for businesses, it will require us to meet the changes head-on and create systems and processes that can adapt to these fast-moving changes. Every new development is going to bring a host of new changes along with it, and it is important that affiliate marketers know how to change their business and marketing strategy to meet these demands.

Keep your eyes on the news, especially for tech news that could mean big changes in your industry. If you are able to nip in ahead of the competition when it comes to these developments, you will be in a much better position compared to other affiliate marketers.

Lee-Ann Johnstone is CEO at Lee-Ann Johnstone.


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We are an award-winning digital & affiliate marketing agency and content hub. Our founder Lee-Ann has been in affiliate marketing for almost two decades and...

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