Q1 Predictions On What’s Ahead For Affiliate Marketing In 2024

Jordan Barney

At the start of 2024, Everflow started collecting predictions from some of our partners about what they see coming this year in the affiliate marketing industry. 

As we approach the end of Q1, we’ve compiled these insights from five industry veterans, which we hope will be useful as you build out your action plan for growth this year.

So, What’s Ahead For Affiliate Marketing In 2024? 

Kelly Ground

Chief Growth Officer, Gray Harbor Digital

Affiliate marketing has quickly become the go-to channel/payment model for advertisers. With the flexibility to change payouts based on specific KPI’s and also work with different partners to engage with different audiences, it’s a win-win for brands everywhere. Now that affiliate marketing is taking more of a must-have channel approach to profit and loss statements everywhere, 2024 will be the year to take advantage of growth and flexibility (from multiple devices). Advertisers can tap into affiliate marketing to fill in the gaps for every customer stage as part of their internal funnels. 

Paid social marketing costs continue to increase, with Meta projecting expenses rising in 2024 as they focus more on artificial intelligence projects. Because of this, advertisers will need to find ways to drive efficient revenue. They can leverage affiliate marketing to tap into brand awareness through paid social offers or lower funnel conversions. 

Consumers are concerned about how AI will impact social platforms, with 70% expecting AI to negatively impact social channels leading to reduced trust and possible usage of certain channels. Consumers will still need to find their information somewhere, and that is where affiliate marketing can step in. Consumers will likely find new products through a suite of influencers, creators, and bloggers, with 31% of social media users confirming they do prefer to find out about new products through an influencer, and Gen Z consumers are even higher at 43%. 

As consumers continue to engage more with influencers, creators, and other partners, they are also leveraging their mobile devices to convert more than ever before. Adobe Analytics reported that 59% of online sales on Thanksgiving came from mobile devices, making up 51.8% of online sales throughout Cyber Week (up from 49.2% in 2022). Mobile was also a key driver in the nearly 10% growth driven by new customer demand. 

2024 will be the year mobile becomes the primary and not secondary strategy. As consumers continue to gravitate towards their smartphones for online shopping and research, partners will refocus their strategies to tap into new audiences through mobile. Advertisers may shift and be open to a possible reduction in ROAS as partners find new customers on their mobile devices. We will see more conversations about how we can scale mobile through affiliate marketing while continuing to grow the legacy programs.

Renee Christensen

Senior Director of Data & Analytics Strategy, Acceleration Partners 

In 2024, we’ll continue to see more channels lean into affiliate marketing to take advantage of the CPA-model. We saw this trend rise pretty drastically in 2023, with the onset of Connected TV, RetailMedia, and social platforms all leaning into affiliate marketing. 

Although the economic outlook looks slightly better in 2024, I think we’ll still continue to see consumers gravitating toward deals and incentives as a major part of their purchasing decisions. In 2023, our clients saw a significant increase in sales across partner types that offer deals and incentives and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

I expect we’ll continue to see brands being mindful of budget more than they were this time last year, focusing on higher return on ad spend goals and investing in partnerships that have already been proven successful. During Q4, we saw brands shifting their focus to retaining current customers versus acquiring new customers. While new customer acquisition is still important, I believe we’ll continue to see brands investing more in retention tactics, such as customer loyalty. 

Along with retention and focusing on a higher return, I expect brands to be hyper-focused on channel attribution to ensure budgets are going towards channels and partnerships that are driving value. With the buzz about how to strategically leverage AI, I anticipate new attribution tools and services to roll out in affiliate marketing to help make better data-driven decisions.

Stephanie Harris

Founder & CEO, PartnerCentric

By all accounts, 2024 is expected to mark explosive growth for affiliate and performance marketing. After two stagnant years that left marketers tightening their belts, affiliate marketing has transformed the marketing mix, causing forward-thinking and data-driven brands to seize new opportunities. 

According to Rewardful, affiliate marketing will grow to be a $15.7B industry this year, and content creators will be top producers in the space due to their evolved performance marketing model. Affiliate marketing’s growth attracts many brands to the channel, but only if they truly understand the return on their investment and the partnerships that offer the most value. 

While 90% of marketers view influencer marketing as an effective and growing segment, vanity metrics are no longer enough to prove value. Brands will continue to rely on better data and insights to understand which partners and channels are truly driving growth (new or renewed customer segments) and incremental revenue/reach. Whether deploying a “test and learn” activation or re-investing in existing programs, the channels that deliver consistent KPIs will have the self-fulfilling benefit of illuminating exciting opportunities in the space.

Lee-Ann Johnstone

Founder, Affiverse

This year, I see a few key trends that may impact the diversification of offer types beyond traditional affiliate modeling (last click and CPA standards). With more transparent data and a drive to improve affiliate tracking, we’ll see growth in programs as cookies deprecate and force us to focus on 1st party data. 

The advent of AI-powered program management, which creates more human resource efficiencies, will drive faster campaign assessments and enable AI-driven algorithms to help optimize partnerships, track performance, and ensure compliance, making program management more efficient and automated like other digital channels have been for a long time already. 

Affiliate marketers will increasingly target niche verticals. Health and wellness, sustainable living, and cybersecurity are expected to be hot verticals in 2024 as consumers seek out specialized solutions and combine that with the never-ending search for value-added offers and hyper-personalized shopping, which is now possible due to technological advances made in 2023.

In 2024, affiliate marketing will continue to evolve, driven by technological advancements and shifting consumer preferences. Adapting to these trends and staying ahead of the curve will be crucial for affiliate program managers looking to thrive and level up their performances in this dynamic industry.

Vlad Romanets

Business Development & Affiliate Manager, Bluefin Enterprises

In 2024, the landscape of affiliate marketing is poised to undergo significant transformations, driven by emerging trends and technological advancements. 

One notable shift is the increasing prevalence of AI-driven analytics and machine learning tools, enabling marketers to gain deeper insights into consumer behavior and optimize their affiliate strategies with greater precision. This data-driven approach is expected to enhance targeting accuracy, leading to more personalized and relevant campaigns.

Additionally, the rise of niche influencers and micro-publishers is set to redefine the affiliate marketing ecosystem. Brands are likely to leverage these smaller, specialized content creators to reach highly targeted audiences, fostering authenticity and engagement. The evolving regulatory environment also plays a crucial role, with an anticipated emphasis on privacy and transparency. As consumers become more privacy-conscious, affiliate marketers will need to adapt their strategies to comply with evolving data protection regulations. 

The affiliate marketing landscape in 2024 is thus characterized by a harmonious integration of advanced technologies, niche influencers, and a heightened focus on privacy and compliance, promising a dynamic and innovative year for the industry.

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