Affiliate marketing has evolved a great deal over recent years, particularly since Google’s algorithm changes started to penalize affiliate websites with thin content dominated by advertising. However, while some doomsayers might claim that affiliate marketing is dying a slow death, nothing could be further than the truth. While it might be harder to succeed with affiliate marketing than it once was, the rewards can be impressive, provided that you focus your efforts on current trends and a thorough understanding of what works and what doesn’t. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most important current trends that spell the future in affiliate marketing.

1 – The Growth of Mobile and Cross-Platform Marketing

We now use the Internet for shopping online not only using the desktop computers of yesteryear, but also with mobile devices and other platforms. The Web has become more accessible than ever before, and online commerce is certainly no exception. According to the eMarketer online magazine, mobile commerce is projected to reach an annual turnover of $100 billion by 2017, but in spite of this overwhelming statistic, a lot of online retailers and affiliate marketers have yet to jump on the mobile marketing bandwagon. In order for any affiliate marketer to be successful in the longer term, they absolutely must have a mobile-friendly website.

2 – Greater Emphasis on Quality Content

Affiliate marketing has long been associated with poor quality affiliate websites offering little in the way of genuinely useful or interesting content. Novice online marketers often hope to make money by choosing a supposedly profitable niche and market affiliate products related to it, even if they have little or no interest or knowledge in it themselves. The result inevitably ends up being a very basic squeeze page solely consisting of advertising and thin content that is little better than spam. Given Google’s recent and continuing changes to its algorithm, such websites are becoming increasingly penalised as the emphasis on quality is better enforced.

3 – Increased Importance of Social Media

The online marketplace is far more consumer-driven than ever before, and this trend is certainly not likely to die away any time soon. Companies and affiliate marketers alike need to realize that they are no longer in complete control, and as a result, they need to focus on building up trust and authority by using social media to reach out to their audiences. Every affiliate marketer should make use of social media as a way to forge meaningful connections, learn what their successful competitors are doing and raise awareness of the products that they are selling. Social media should be deeply intertwined with any form of online marketing.

4 – A More Global Reach

While the online market in the US and many other western countries has saturated to a degree, a vast portion of the world, including much of Asia, is booming, and affiliate marketers should take advantage of this by expanding their reach wherever possible. Affiliates are already starting to drive the global expansion of many online brands, with global e-commerce sales being estimated at $1.2 trillion in 2013. Many affiliate retail channels already focus on a global audience, and those selling digital products have no reason at all not to focus on a worldwide audience rather than a far smaller localized one.

5 – Move towards Luxury Goods

For many years, affiliate marketing on the Web was largely associated with digital goods such as eBooks and software products, a great deal of which offers little in the way of quality to the user. After all, if you take a look at any of the major affiliate networks, you’ll be sure to see a huge amount of junk. However, in recent years, affiliate marketing has come to earn some respect, and it is rapidly reaching the mainstream. Even brands selling luxury goods are also starting to invest more in affiliate marketing, since many affluent shoppers are now turning to the Internet to purchase luxury goods and services.

6 – The Rise of Local Affiliate Marketing

While online marketing is often associated with its global reach, the Internet is not always about a worldwide perspective. People also want to shop online and find information about products and services that apply to their local geographical area, and with the rise of mobile marketing, local marketing is also making major strides forward. With local businesses trying to compete with the larger chains and online brands, many are also willing to invest in affiliate marketing. By conducting a bit of local research combined with a powerful mobile marketing campaign, you can take advantage of this lucrative market with certain types of goods and services.

Conclusion

As is the case with any form of online marketing, affiliate marketing continues to evolve as the emphasis on customer experience and quality content is constantly reinforced. You’ll not likely get rich quickly with affiliate marketing, but given some time, effort and a solid knowledge in the products or services you are trying to sell, the long-term results can be impressive to say the least.