It’s been a whirlwind of a year but we’d be remiss if 2021 came to a close before we reflected on some of the outstanding success our advertisers and affiliates have seen this year. Throughout the affiliate marketing industry, verticals across the board have seen exponential growth and incredible wins. As privacy policies consistently evolve, both advertisers and affiliates have had to get creative in order to continue making data-driven decisions and scaling their reach. Given this is traditionally the time when our marketers and affiliates begin to finalize their plans for the following year, what better time is there to call out the traffic types that our clients capitalized on most in 2021? From native display and social, to contextual and pay-per-call, there is plenty of success to study and learn from.

Native Display Wins Desktop & Mobile

Display advertising is no stranger to the affiliate channel. While display started out as a channel measured by impressions, the performance marketing model now allows advertisers to employ display while only paying for the customers they acquire. Why is this channel so lucrative, you ask? Simply put, display ads are amongst the most visually engaging ads available to advertisers. A recent study forecasted that display advertising spend would reach $177.6B by the end of this year, with that same spend accounting for 21.3% of the total global ad spend in 2021.

Not only was native display lucrative for desktop advertisers, but the channel also drove enormous growth for mobile marketers – specifically iOS marketers looking for ways to navigate Apple’s new SKAN environment. While many networks looked to shift iOS dollars to Android campaigns to avoid dealing with Apple’s most recent updates, Perform[cb] developed new strategies, including iOS display, to continue scaling campaigns to target iOS users. As the marketing landscape continues to shift into 2022, advertisers will need to be innovative in their approach to maximize reach and ensure continuous scale. Learn more about how your business can capitalize on display advertising now.

Contextual & Push: 2021’s Power Couple

2021, much like the year prior, was all about adaptation. As privacy policies and practices tightened, advertisers and affiliates were forced to find alternative methods to provide consumers with relevant content. The question was, how can we continue to maintain and increase campaign reach without infringing on user privacy? Contextual advertising was one of this year’s most popular answers. By employing contextual ads, advertisers are able to place their ads next to relevant content in the form of a pop-over or pop-under. Contextual ads avoid pestering consumers with irrelevant content and instead enhance the shopping experience by providing relevant buying options that may have otherwise been overlooked.

Similarly, push marketing tactics came in handy throughout 2021 by consistently engaging consumers through the use of desktop and web notifications. Used in tandem, contextual and push marketing methods can keep marketers engaged while creating consistent touchpoints for both new and existing customers. In doing so, marketers can drive increases in both new customer acquisition and customer lifetime value simultaneously. For new marketers looking to take advantage of contextual marketing, compliance can be one of your biggest hurdles. Learn more about how to choose a network partner who can help enforce your marketing guidelines and keep your brand safe.

Social media platforms, in general, get a bad rep from their years of impression-based marketing, however, when used on a performance model, social marketing can be very lucrative. With more than 3.5 billion daily active users on social media, there’s no doubt that marketers have an audience of consumers at their disposal on social platforms. However, without working on a cost-per-acquisition basis, social platforms are often bottomless pits with an appetite for ad spend. According to a recent study, 54% of social media users employ social platforms to research products prior to completing a purchase. This means that social media can contribute to multiple touchpoints throughout the buyer’s journey. By employing tactics such as retargeting alongside social placements, marketers can push users down the funnel from awareness to consideration and conversion.

As a subset of content marketing, social media has the power to convert more users than almost any other channel. A recent report stated that after following a brand on social media, 89% of consumers will buy from the brand and 85% of users will recommend the brand to friends or family. Heading into the new year, content marketing and social media are forecasted to maintain a firm hold on marketers’ budgets. For those who are testing the content marketing waters, make sure to educate yourselves about content marketing on a performance model to secure measurable results and ROI.

SMS Is Marketing’s Dark Horse

With open rates of 98% and click-thru rates nearly 10% higher than any other digital channel, it’s no wonder SMS marketing has taken the industry by storm. Advertising’s continual privacy changes have driven marketers to invest heavily in SMS given the channel’s hefty opt-in rates of 75%. If we take a step back, SMS makes logical sense. Consumers’ smartphones are practically an appendage of their bodies, so why wouldn’t marketers seek to reach consumers where they spend the majority of their waking hours?

Like any channel, it’s important for marketers to ensure their compliance standards are strictly adhered to, especially since national standards require opt-in and opt-out options. The beauty of SMS is that this channel can fit a wide range of marketing goals, including lead generation, sales, and customer loyalty. Similar to some social platforms, SMS’s character limitations don’t allow for fluff, so marketers can get right down to their calls to action. In this way, consumers may be quicker to convert, given 60% of consumers read texts within 1-5 minutes of receipt. As mobile sales continue to skyrocket year over year, totaling an estimated $3.56 trillion in 2021, the benefits of SMS marketing are difficult to deny.

Pay-Per-Call Withstands The Test of Time

One of the more traditional channels that made a big impact in 2021 is pay-per-call (PPC). For those marketers within verticals such as finance, insurance, home services, senior services, and travel, PPC can be extremely beneficial given its history of high-intent leads and impressive return on ad spend (ROAS). With an average of 25-40% of call-based leads converting to paying customers, it’s no wonder that PPC is still going strong for marketers within the financial and insurance industries. Although the initial cost per lead (CPL) can be higher for pay-per-call, those leads generated from calls are 10 to 12 times more likely to convert than any other form of lead gen. Not quite convinced? Take this leading auto insurance marketer, who drove a 54% increase in conversion rate and an estimated 50,000 calls in 2021 with Perform[cb] Network. What can we say, the numbers don’t lie.

Looking to 2022, these trends will continue to pick up speed as the disappearance of third-party cookies looms closer. The continued trend of strict user privacy and data compliance standards will push marketers to be increasingly innovative with their marketing tactics while ensuring their partners are adhering to their marketing guidelines. If you’re in need of a performance-based network partner who can provide campaign strategy, execution, and compliance monitoring, Perform[cb] is here to help. With a pricing model to fit every acquisition need and each traffic type listed here (plus many more) offered in-house, Perform[cb]’s Network team is ready to get your customer acquisition goals singing. Reach out to one of our CPA marketing experts today to start leveraging our team of industry veterans.