Major Changes in Affiliate Marketing Over the Years

Major Changes in Affiliate Marketing Over the Years

There have been lots of Major Changes in the affiliate marketing over the past years, majorly in the last decade. This business has shown significant rise in terms of revenue. Many companies have now started relying on affiliate marketing for expanding their business and reachability of their products.

This article discusses about various changes observed in affiliate marketing over past five years. Some of them are organization size, content partnerships, social media, smartphone users, paid placements, affiliate networks, tracking technology and training.

Major Changes in Affiliate Marketing

1. Organization Size

Several large scale organizations have come into the picture that allow you to add affiliates without any hassles. This way, the money flow in the market has witnessed a significant rise. Many bigger organizations are very careful about selecting their affiliates so as to ensure that they work with only quality and brand-aligned partners.

Almost all the organizations that need to sell their products and services these days, seek help of affiliate marketers to promote their sale and business. The following chart shows the year-wise trend of Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) worldwide involving affiliate marketing for past five years, it also shows the related predictions for 2018 and 2019:

Here are the major changes in the affiliate marketing at organizational level in the last five years.

1.1 Changes in 2013

The year 2013 saw the changes in implementation of affiliate marketing in the attribution model within a marketing organization. Affiliate partners worked hard that year to promote and advertise their brands.

Big data made it easier for affiliate marketers to understand interactions with the consumers. This aided the brands in terms of sale.

Internet retailers started gaining better understanding from the customers’ point of view to justify marketing spend and increase their return on expenditure. In all, 2013 was the year of affiliate attribution.

1.2 Changes in 2014

Affiliate marketing in 2014 has seen a low risk and high return strategy for online marketers. The US affiliate marketing spending reached $4 billion by 2014.

The affiliate marketing CAGR raised by 16% as compared to that of 2009. The direct payments to affiliate sites from marketers represented the majority of the affiliate marketing spending, and was 57% in 2014.

The next five years were expected to see growth in the top three spenders in the affiliate marketing arena.

Mobile commerce was enhanced for strengthening affiliate networks. Advertisers were trying to optimize affiliate marketing through complementary digital marketing channels.

E-marketers found that B2C e-commerce sales worldwide would reach $1.471 trillion in 2014. Online retailers were entering the new markets and many continued to use the affiliate channels to support their efforts.

1.3 Changes in 2015

Advertisers in this year saw the true value in affiliate marketing and the industry continued to grow. The industry focused on moving forward at a rapid pace, and neglecting other distractions. It was planned to use new tools and technology to ease the existing complicated processes involved in affiliate marketing.


The data was used to provide clear insight into the industry and as key to make strategic decisions. Analysts were using the affiliate channels for their strategic partnerships.


Publishers continued to shift and drive the way consumers shop. This year also focused on understanding from where the consumers come. This helped in further improving the businesses by understanding the domain of the customers.

There was much more focus on the mobile responsive websites as well as authority websites. This was because more and more consumers worldwide were getting attached to smart phones in this year.

1.4 Changes in 2016

2016 was the year in which the top affiliate marketing experts tried to overcome the affiliate marketing challenges they faced in the previous years. They identified and provided solutions to take advantage in the upcoming trends.

The affiliate marketing had already seen lots of changes in the previous years. New ways for affiliates were researched to generate revenue and old methods were made obsolete. The 2015 saw various changes in the trends of affiliate marketing.

There was increased focus on niche marketing through affiliate channels. The big organizations were expanding possibilities for mobile marketing. According to internet retailers, 36% of affiliate sales was conducted in 2015 through mobile channels.

In 2016, unique affiliate partnerships were emerged. This resulted in changing the business model to accommodate new affiliate methods of drawing attention to business products and services.

Collaborations between companies and schools, sports teams and other organizations changed the affiliate marketing landscape. Additionally, businesses used affiliate marketing to raise money for charities and NGOs.

1.5 Changes in 2017

Affiliate marketing saw tremendous changes in 2017. Affiliate marketing has now become a priority for businesses of all levels from this year.

Various strategies have been materialized to maximize the returns from affiliate marketing. One of those include offering multiple range of products through the same websites for increasing the sale.

The introduction of cross-device tracking for the customers who tend to move between different devices on a daily basis is brought revolution in affiliate marketing. This strategy targets the customers who would switch from the obsolete computers to the new smart phones.

The revenues associated with mobile apps have seen a rise of US $ 76.52 billion in 2017. So the leaders in the affiliate industry considered mobile conversions on priority in 2017. 2017 has been so far very tremendously inspiring year for the affiliating marketing.

1.6 Changes Predicted in 2018

The affiliate marketing growth is planned to be over $6.8 billion over the next five years. With 2018 being around the corner, the affiliate marketing predictions have already been made by the experts.

2018 would bring opportunities to better take through the affiliate marketing and influencer marketing into one channel. The attribution methods and cross-device tracking cultivated the last several years would play into the compensation models.

More influencers would become affiliates, and more affiliates will become influencers. Brands will have more reason to join the affiliate channel and an even broader range of affiliates to chosen.

2.  Content Partnerships

With the rise in blogs and informational websites, the demand of affiliate marketing in their promotion has enhanced. The education bloggers and other information distributing organizations use affiliate marketers to promote their website by increasing the number of hits.

The following breakup of affiliate marketing in various fields shows that content marketing is the most indulged field in affiliate marketing.

3. Social Media

Just like blogging, the social media is a new trend that explored drastically in the last few years. Almost every internet user is associated with Facebook or Twitter. Even many of the content affiliates use social media to distribute their content.

See the following graph to understand the high percentage of B2B and B2C marketers that use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and other partners to connect with their followers and promote their brands in creative ways.

Smart Phones4. Smart Phones

The concept of mobile affiliate marketing is in trend for past five years. Many affiliate organizations leverage mobile phones to connect to their customers. As per a report, 51% of mobile phone users rely on their phone for connecting to the internet in 2017.

The experts in affiliate marketing use the mobile phones as medium to advertise for the products to the end users. The following graph shows how the expenditure on mobile phone advertisements has grown exponentially in last five years and the same trend is expected for more future years.

5. Paid Placements

Before around five years back, the concepts of ‘rate cards’ and ‘slotting fees’ for the brands were not used by many professionals involved in affiliate marketing. Many top-ranked affiliates these days have a range of paid placement options for advertising on their websites that they offer to various brands.

6. Tracking Technology

There was no way to track the new customers, coupon offers and other modes in affiliate marketing before around five years. These days, the organizations using affiliate marketing could not even run efficiently and effectively, if they do have those capabilities.

7. Training

Last but not the least, there are still a lots of people who are not aware of the affiliate marketing concept. But the awareness of affiliate marketing has shown a rise in the last five years.

Though people with small businesses are implementing this in their businesses, the market still needs a strong, formalized, and robust training process so new and small scale companies gain significant leverage.

Various international companies such as Acceleration Partners run a training program to allow associates of digital marketing and client service experience to learn about affiliate marketing. They also teach them how affiliate marketing fits in this big world of digital marketing and how can they serve their partners and consumers the best services using the affiliate marketing.

To sum up, the affiliate marketing concept is an integral part of the digital strategy of almost every world-class brand. In most cases, it has started reaping a good percentage of online revenue and also contributes to acquisition of new customers over the last five years.

Affiliate marketing also helps in management of programs of various business models across a variety of verticals. It gives you a chance to grow your wealth through the modes you were already aware of. If you run a business, you must give affiliate marketing a try.

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