While I can’t speak for all affiliate marketers out there, I personally LOVE mobile and tablet traffic on my affiliate websites. In fact, this year (2015) is my best year so far with affiliate marketing and I contribute a large portion of my success to mobile and tablet traffic. For the first time, a little more than half of all my website traffic across all my sites comes from mobile devices. I am ecstatic about that and I hope to see an increased amount of mobile traffic in the future.
False Predictions About Affiliate Marketing And Mobile Traffic
Back when smartphones were just starting to catch on, there were all sorts of experts claiming that affiliate marketing would be crushed by people switching form desktops / laptops to mobile devices. Their reasoning, at the time, was due to many things.
Firstly, the collapse of affiliate marketing was predicted due to the much smaller screen sizes on mobile and tablet devices. These smaller screen sizes made it very difficult to place banner ads and pop-up ads onto sites, which at one time was a huge driver for affiliate marketers. This part is true – banner advertising is horrible on mobile and tablet devices. The click-through rate (CTR) on banners keeps going down and down, although that trend started before mobile began taking over the internet. The advent of mobile devices simply made an already big problem worse. Truth be told, banner advertising isn’t exactly dead, but it is dying and I expect that trend to continue. However, by moving away from banner ads and moving towards other forms of promotion (I’ll get into that below), my conversion rates have gone sky high.
These experts also predicted affiliate marketers would suffer due to mobile traffic because people don’t trust making purchases through their phones or tablets. People like to use standard computers for that. Initially, this prediction was true. When people first began using their phones and tablets as the primary means of surfing the web, they would usually avoid making any online purchases until they could get to their desktop. The reasons for this was many, but mostly had to do with security concerns and also that many sites were not optimized for mobile devices. As affiliate marketing and e-commerce sites have become mobile friendly, the number of people making purchases through their mobile devices has gone through the roof! Not only that, but people seem to be much less concerned about security issues when purchasing online. Just a few years ago, many people would research products and services on their phone, but since they would make the actual purchase on their desktop, affiliate marketers were not getting commissions on sales they initiated. Now that people are doing everything from researching to purchasing on mobile devices, this issue is becoming much less of a concern. In fact, it’s helping.
Those doom and gloom prophecies by so-called “experts” may have been true temporarily, but affiliate marketing is far from dead. Contrary to the short term predictions, it appears there are actually many benefits to affiliate marketers that mobile devices have brought.
How Mobile Devices Help Affiliate Marketers
Marketing is always changing. Always. As affiliate marketer, we are used to this constant change and are always figuring out how to adapt to new user behavior. As society is moving more and more towards ditching their PC’s for mobile devices, there have been many benefits for affiliate marketers.
On desktops and laptops, many people will often check a link to see if there are affiliate codes attached to it. Not everyone is familiar with affiliate marketing specifically, but nobody online is ignorant of the slew of advertising that goes on, either. When someone sees a link that appears to have tracking codes embedded into it, they will often avoid clicking on the link and will instead simply type the domain into their browser or return to Google and perform a search. This means that even though an affiliate marketer may have generated a sale, no tracking info gets passed along and thus, the affiliate marketer loses out on that commission. This is one of the many pitfalls of standard desktop traffic.
Mobile devices, on the other hand, make it just a little bit more difficult to check links. People don’t really care enough to go through the process of checking the link for affiliate codes, so they just click on them without caring. This has led to a staggering amount of increased conversions, especially when affiliate marketers use embedded text links instead of obvious advertisements like banners.
Many companies that offer affiliate programs have also made it MUCH easier for people to make purchases right from their phones. Let’s take Amazon.com as an example. You can now purchase items at the touch of a button and the entire transaction is finished. So, as an affiliate marketer, I can have a link that says, check out this awesome thing I’m recommending you to buy, and when they click that link, you not only get credit for the referral, but that person you referred only has to touch one button to complete the transaction and give you a commission. Time and time again it has been proven that the more steps someone has to take in order to make a purchase online, the less likely they are to buy. So companies like Amazon have made it so easy that even those who aren’t impulse buyers fall into the trap. Hey, more commissions for us affiliate marketers!
How Mobile Devices Will Impact The Future Of Affiliate Marketing
The future of affiliate marketing certainly does look bright, but there are still a lot of unknowns about what will happen. We know one thing is almost certain – the number of website visitors from desktops and laptops will fall dramatically in the coming years while the number of mobile users increases dramatically. Does that mean the trend for affiliate marketing will continue to increase? Not exactly.
There are many ways mobile devices can harm affiliate marketing, such as phones that do not allow cookies or IP addresses to be tracked, newly found security issues, or even in ways that the technology will change which we can’t foresee right now. But since affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry, I hardly doubt the industry will be killed anytime soon, especially as it pertains to mobile friendliness. There’s just too much money involved. As always, we will find ways to adapt and use future technologies to our advantage.
The main point I wanted to make in this article is that the doom and gloom predicted about mobile devices having a major impact on affiliate marketers was way overstated and the fear mongering seems to continue. I can tell you from a personal standpoint that mobile traffic is a godsend for my affiliate marketing business and I wouldn’t ever want to go back to a 100% desktop environment. Roll with the punches, change with the times, and learn to adapt. As long as you can do that, affiliate marketing will be profitable for you for many, many, many years to come.
Embrace change, don’t fight it!