What is the industry view?
After 20 years or so in the affiliate industry I’ve certainly seen how dynamic and adaptable the model is. So each year we see articles appear predicting what twists and turns to expect in the coming 12 months. After Moonpull’s launch year we felt it was important to look toward 2023 while developing the platform for our users.
The last twelve months have been an exciting period for us at Moonpull, as you may have seen from our blog posts. The Moonpull platform launched and showed that the technology was fulfilling a need amongst networks and publishers, as confirmed in our partnership with Awin.
Other networks and publishers have also adopted Moonpull to assist their analysis of issues arising in tracking and consent. It is particularly gratifying to have been shortlisted for the Performance Marketing Awards and be included in a MartechRecord list of technologies to watch in 2023.
What should we expect in 2023
We heard a range of opinions at the recent PI Live in London on what developments the next year will see within the affiliate industry. There was a strong emphasis on the expansion of brand to brand partnerships, how reward and membership publishers are evolving and of course the overlaps in influencer marketing and the affiliate industry.
In the last few weeks we have spoken to some of our friends in the industry to get their thoughts looking towards 2023.
2023 will continue to be a year of growth and maturity for the affiliate channel. More publishers will see Affiliate commerce as a viable opportunity to diversify their revenue. With more distribution in the space, the technology the industry is built on will need to further evolve.
A lot of the attribution based tracking, reporting, and economic structures exist, but they will need to continue to develop and see adoption by advertisers as managing the channel becomes more complex.
As a channel predicated on partnerships we will continue to need to balance the people that make the business run and software that helps them drive revenue and optimize programs.
Brook Schaaf’s FMTC announced a busy Black Friday weekend 2022, processing 360,571 deals for publishers, of which 40,668 were coupons according to their recent newsletter.
Brook is of the opinion that 2023 may well be the breakout year for seller (aka shadow) networks. These platforms track sales on marketplaces, most notably Amazon’s. The affiliate sends traffic to, for example, an Amazon seller page, and gets a commission from the seller that’s higher than what the marketplace (e.g. Amazon Associates) offers.
FMTC have been the source of news on what to expect in 2023 themselves with their Google partnership. Keeping an eye on marketplaces is a great steer for the coming year.
Lee-Ann sees four main trends to watch. The growth in video content is an ongoing trend. Tik-Tok The video-sharing platform now stands as one of the main rivals to long-standing, established social media channels. We can expect to see this trend continue into 2023, short-form video content will certainly become more popular and could become one of the primary digital marketing formats.
The metaverse will act as a fully immersive virtual representation of the internet that users can enter where content is king. It is a truly revolutionary idea that may well change the digital landscape forever. It is unlikely we will see it fully rolled out next year, instead we can expect to see it introduced incrementally, with the system estimated to add $5 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
Recently we’ve seen a rise in the use of micro-influencers, content creators with far smaller followings than the major ‘influencers’ and names. Brands can work with micro-influencers to access smaller and more knowledgeable communities that hold a greater deal of trust for the influencer in question.
Augmented Reality is the fourth area – the new and younger sibling of VR. Clothing and beauty brands, in particular, have been at the forefront of AR technology, using it to offer customers virtual try-on options. In the UK, Marks & Spencer are committed to this area acquiring the AR business Thread recently to accelerate personalisation plans.
You can read more about her views at AffiliateInsider.
One certainty is that the complications increasingly present within affiliate tracking implementations resulting from advertisers increasingly being compliant with consent legislation are going to be more evident in 2023 and thereafter.
There will also be more awareness that third party tracking (usually on network redirects) is masking first party tracking issues. This will be coupled by the realisation that Google’s deprecation of third party cookies will shine a light on this matter in 2024.
Our prediction is more publishers and advertisers will be aware of the significance of the interrelationship of consent implementations and cookie deprecation on lowering the measured performance of sub-optimal tracking with conversation rates and generally the attractiveness of such advertisers’ programs and campaigns being reduced.
Overall, we believe there will be a positive outcome, as there will be more dialogue between all parties using the affiliate model around tracking with the result that keeping tracking working is a partnership between all the players, and not just the networks’ responsibility, will be accepted as the norm.
Christen has highlighted three main trends for 2023 based on her experience at LaRue and as Chairman of the Performance Marketing Association.
Performance PR, inclusive of influencer relationships, will continue to gain steam as brands look to correlate brand awareness to revenue. Being able to track performance from the storytelling all the way through to conversions will help brands be able to make data-driven decisions on partnerships.
As economic volatility continues, brands will be looking to make efficient use of their marketing spend and leaning into ROAS as a key driver. The affiliate channel always sees a boom during these economic moments. Agencies, networks and thought leaders have an opportunity to lean into best practices and true affiliate education to ensure longevity for these brands.
What has become known as ‘cookieless’ tracking continues to dominate with more and more OS developments, reinvigorating not only more influencer-focused partnerships but opening up increased opportunities for truly omnichannel experiences. With QR codes, branded exclusives and more, brands will be able to build out unique moments of engagement to entice and inspire new customers.
Privacy marches on
With a sideways glance to the privacy sector, providers are keen to point out that new privacy laws coming during 2023 are extending their application to new territories and states. Advertisers will need to pay attention to privacy and cookie consent, not only to meet consumers’ expectations, but increasingly strong legal requirements.
- In the US, California extends its regulations with CPRA
- Virginia is also introducing VCDPA
- Colorado, Utah and Connecticut are strengthening privacy laws in 2023
- The Australian Privacy Legislation Amendment Bill comes into effect
- Indonesia is implementing new laws on data protection
- Brazil’s National Data Protection Authority has issued a guide for cookies and trackers
The impact of all these regulations his will see further installations of cookie and tracking consent messaging on ecommerce websites. Moonpull analysis has shown that around 9% of sales may be lost through cookies being declined, a 30% increase over the last 9 months. And this is a trend that is set to continue.
Moonpull has had strong uptake from many in the affiliate marketing industry already to gain a clearer picture of issues and cookie consent on the effectiveness of tracking. Conversations are ongoing with others where the value of Moonpull’s audits are demonstrable.
About the contributors
Adam Weiss has a 20+ year background in the industry, including 14 years at Rakuten (formerly Linkshare) and now holds several advisory roles providing strategic consulting solutions for Publishers & Technology Partners in the Affiliate Marketing space as Weiss Digital Consulting.
Brook Schaaf is the founder and CEO of FMTC aggregating affiliate content and making it available to affiliates and bloggers. Previously he was also founder and CEO of Schaaf-Partnercentric for 11 years and which he sold in 2017.
Lee-Ann Johnstone is the founder of AffiliateInsider and runs the AmplifySummit and ElevateSummit affiliate events. Lee-Ann has well over 20 years of experience from the days of dialup modems! She specialises in building affiliate and performance marketing programs on a global scale working within a number of sectors including Retail Finance, and iGaming. She is also a seasoned speaker and podcast host.
Steven Brown the Moonpull founder and CEO also has a long involvement in the affiliate industry, originally as founder of the buy.at affiliate network, which was acquired by AOL in 2008 and later Awin; since then he has been involved in SEO and affiliate publisher businesses.
Christen Evans is currently Director of Affiliate Marketing at LaRue PR and also President of the Performance Marketing Association. She has been involved in content creation and affiliate management for more than 15 years and was voted 2017 Affiliate Summit Affiliate Advocate of the Year in the Pinnacle Awards. Currently specializing in both client management and publisher development.
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