By Kateryna Khalus, Team Lead / Publisher’s Department /Admitad International Team

Over the years, affiliate marketing has been establishing itself as a driving force in the advertising industry. In the U.S. alone, budget spending on affiliate marketing is predicted to increase at 10.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). By 2020, it is set to become a $6.8 billion industry.

With more and more businesses considering affiliate networks as a major factor in their marketing strategy, it’s more important than ever to keep up with the latest trends in the industry. Here are 4 major predictions that we will see in digital marketing tech in 2019.

1) The implementation of AI & machine learning

AI & Machine learning is one of the major trends which will greatly change and simplify the work processes in digital and affiliate marketing. Thanks to these technologies, advertisers will not struggle with choosing optimal publishers anymore: the decision-making mechanism will find the best solution itself. AI and ML will not only select the right publisher for any campaign but also define the best products for promotion. As a consequence, the need for human resources will diminish. 

As consumers how amazing would it be to see something you like, take a picture and be able to buy/research it at a moment’s notice? It’s like Shazam for shopping” – Travis Hawley, VP Business Development & Marketing at Viral Nation

Nowadays, many companies have already started implementing AI and ML in their working processes. For instance, Sarafan Technology successfully uses AI for fashion brand promotion and for website photo-content monetization. The affiliate network Webgains recently announced its partnership with Humanise.AI — a startup that uses AI chatbots for customer support — to broaden the company’s AI-driven goals. Samsung also revealed eight new AI projects at CES 2019.

2) A new focus on the customer journey

Gone are the days of dedicating more attention to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) over the CJO, or Customer Journey Optimization. More than 70% of marketers say they understand the customer journey, but optimizing it still presents challenges. That’s why, according to Yieldify, 2019 will be the “year of personalization” for marketers, with 37% of U.S. marketers planning to implement AI and machine learning within their marketing tactics this year.

Research from Callcredit also shows that 96 percent of senior marketers waste an average of five hours and 36 minutes every week trying to improve their data analysis processes. By dividing customers into segments and using AI tools to analyze marketing data and create personalized messages for each of those segments, marketers can reach a wider range of customers for both acquisition and retention CJO purposes.

According to Yieldify, customers are divided into the following segments:

  • Customers who make a second order after receivig something in the mail.
  • Those who come because of a price comparison
  • Audiences who come from a coupon or website promotion.
  • Others.

“There will be a new respect for data and a greater understanding of what metrics really matter. Understanding the full customer journey, cross-channel and cross-device will allow marketers to interpret behavior to create better experiences.” – Joanne Sweeney-Burke, CEO of the Digital Training Institute

By placing a new focus on CJO, and with a little help from AI, digital marketers can start personalizing their communications. Marketers can give each segment what they need to keep the consumer on the customer journey to better understand the different types of buyer journeys and to pinpoint where they can improve going forward.

3) “Mobilization”

2018 marked the year of transition to “everything mobile”. As we enter into 2019, the number of smartphone users is forecast to continue rising to around 2.7 billion. More mobile devices present the e-commerce industry with a new opportunity. Practically every consumer activity can now be carried out via a smartphone. Therefore optimizing the mobile shopping experience for customers should be a top priority moving forward.

Social commerce and its influence on e-commerce will also stand out this year. Social networks have arguably become the newest e-commerce marketplaces, in fact, 79% of smartphone users in 2018 used their mobile devices to make an e-purchase within the 6 previous months.

4) Digital advertising

According to the 2018 IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, revenue on digital advertising in the U.S reached $49.5 billion within the first six months of the year, and showed a 23% increase in comparison to the first half of 2017. Digital video remains the main driver in the market. The same report showed that digital video revenue on mobile phones and tablets grew 60% in the first half of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017, reaching $4.2 billion.

In 2019 the share of mobile video ads is expected to increase significantly – 50-60 % from all advertisers’ budget on video advertising on the internet. Along with this, the mobile segment can show a fantastic speed of growth from 87% to 150% and almost double in monetary terms.

Search remains the main leader among all advertising sources in American digital market, and composes 46%, even though it has experienced decrease compared with the previous year. Banners take a second place (32%), Video follows (14%).

In the end, affiliate marketing will continue to grow and become a powerful tool at advertisers’ disposal. If businesses keep up with current trends, they will understand where affiliate marketing is headed, and how to best apply it to their individual needs. The key is to keep up with the changes happening in the industry, which is growing rapidly.

About Admitad

Admitad brings together thousands of brands and hundreds of thousands of publishers around the globe. We have extensive experience in affiliate practices and are willing to help our partners develop or successfully monetize their projects. Our team of skilled developers and professional account managers constantly strive to find new ways to grow our campaigns. For us, cooperation is more than just business: Admitad strengthens long-lasting relations with partners!