January 4, 2024
Partnership Marketing Trends for Q1 2024
As we enter a new year, brands have a renewed opportunity to make the most out of partnerships. With millions of conversions generated directly from affiliate promotions, affiliate or partnership marketing has the potential to be a revenue powerhouse. Researchers estimate the affiliate marketing industry will be worth over $27B by 2025. To get in on the action, we have compiled a list of five trends we predict will rule the partnership space in Q1 in hopes of setting the tone for the quarters to come. From shifting consumer behaviors to cutting-edge technologies, here are the top affiliate marketing trends to watch for in Q1 2024.
Rise of Niche Influencers
In the past, influencer marketing primarily focused on macro-influencers with massive followings. However, we have witnessed a boom in small businesses over the last couple of years which has inspired an increased need for micro influencers with niche followings. Think about it like this: mega-influencers with millions of followers are more likely to have fewer followers that actually will buy the products they promote. They may like and comment and genuinely enjoy consuming their content but the vast majority will not convert into actual customers. Conversely, niche influencers cultivate a community where people not only interact but are also like-minded and trusting of the influencer’s taste meaning they are more incentivized to buy.
These influencers have smaller but highly engaged audiences, allowing for more targeted and organic promotional efforts. Brands that recognize the value of micro and nano-influencers can tap into a gold mine of opportunities for reaching audiences pre-vetted for direct interest in their offering and proven track record for converting.
As affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing channel, results are always a pillar in operating affiliate programs. This fact is by no means a new development but a reinforced one as data continues to be the driving force of partnerships. As mentioned above, publishers, even those with hundreds of thousands of followers, need to be able to substantiate their following with data on their ability to secure actions and conversions to drive their partnerships. A large following with no results is useless to brands looking to generate revenue and boost their brand visibility.
Data is also shaping commission structures. Brands will increasingly build their commission package around a set percentage of sales that publishers contribute to. This means you need a robust tracking mechanism (hint hint: like Mosaic) in place to ensure they maximize profits and allocate compensation respectively.
Quality Content Is Still King
Good content makes waves. This is not a new concept, but instead is a persistent one that will also rule 2024 as it has all other years. Consumers crave quality content that doesn’t feel too salesy. Since the rise of lifestyle content creators that so cleverly weave their paid partnerships and brand deals into their daily life content have great reputations for, as the kids say, ‘securing the bag’. Quality, relatable content can capture audiences and convert them into buyers more organically than obvious, more traditional advertising.
Take search engines, for example. The vast majority of search users–a staggering 94%–skip the sponsored ad section and go straight to the organic search results. Maybe you’re not into stats so take yourself; even you probably scroll right past sponsored content and straight to the top-ranking organic search positions. The select few to reach these coveted spots in search engine real estate didn’t just happen upon them. They optimized their content to capture search intent and synthesize that intent into helpful, digestible language Google’s algorithm picks up on.
AI & Automation
As technology continually emerges to transform virtually every aspect of our human lives, so does it alter how marketing is done. Partnerships are no different. The need for more time and cost-efficient marketing solutions has only gotten stronger as smaller businesses and microbrands take up space in the market. Love it or hate it, artificial intelligence is here and it is here to stay. The access it gives to the little guys and underdogs in business has opened up a world of opportunities to level the playing field for SMBs.
Automation capability is exactly what sets brands like Mosaic apart from traditional approaches to affiliate marketing. Our platform can anticipate your recruitment and promotion needs making for a more seamless experience running and scaling your program. While it is not exactly a set-and-forget type of platform, our automations for finding partners, sending, and accepting applications save you time and energy ensuring only the best candidates will be integrated into your program. Our technology also optimizes campaigns for you so a lot of the leg work required to ideate and enact your promotions is essentially done for you; basically, all you have to do is press send.
This is a game changer for brands that want to compete with the industry giants that usually stomp all over them with their big-budgeted and agency-empowered feet, defeating their competition by sheer size alone. In so many words, MDS technology is the premier equalizer for affiliate program management.
Increased Support for Affiliates
Now that affiliate marketing is expanding to a more diverse group of publishers, robust resources and training materials are needed more than ever. You may be recruiting first-time affiliates with a loyal audience or top-producing affiliates with little to no experience in your particular industry or product offering. This means you will need to provide ample guidance and resources to properly load your partners with the best strategies and content pieces so they can better serve your brand. This can also help attract partners to your program and bolster potential long-term relationships knowing they will have a supportive team backing them.
That brings us to another shameless plug for the MDS. Our platform is armed with Industry Insights that give our clients a peak behind the curtain of the affiliate industry as a whole which will help you relay the best information and tips to your partners. The insights also deliver valuable comparative analyses that elucidate how they perform against their competitors.
The affiliate marketing landscape in Q1 2024 will be very dynamic, with trends driven by technological advancements, changing consumer behaviors, increased standards for partner relationships, and a focus on authenticity. Staying abreast of these trends and incorporating them into your strategies will empower your brand to successfully navigate the evolving digital landscape. After embracing these trends, you will be well-positioned to drive engagement, build trust, and achieve sustained success in the affiliate marketing arena.