Affiliate Marketing has been around for some time now. It has proved to be a straightforward business model, enabling entrepreneurs to construct web platforms for backspace marketing at a relatively low cost, while offering the potential to gain considerable income. Retailers have discovered a way of promoting their products without having to commit to a marketing budget. But what lies around the corner for this particular type of business model?

Global trends

Although it is difficult to make predictions in a global marketplace where shorter-term trends rather than longer-term seismic shifts are the norm, affiliate marketing is certainly not immune to minor fluctuations. Anything involving a degree of technology will be subject to external impacts.

For instance, according to the latest e-commerce analysis, feedback from clients and benchmark reports, we are seeing a shift away from large-scale affiliate programs which can span marketplaces across international boundaries, to much more moderately scaled operations. One reason for this shift would be that the very nature of affiliate marketing means this type of business model is open to a considerable cross-section of small businesses. So many people wanting a slice of that pie, it makes sense that markets will splinter into more dedicated operations. The technology available to affiliate marketers in terms of tools is also evolving, becoming cheaper and more user-friendly all the time.

Alterations to affiliate programs

When it comes to other areas of technology, such as data acquisition and attribution modeling, ongoing improvements to the scope available means retailers are becoming ever more equipped to align their commission structures. As these are continually overhauled, advertisers will be looking at various factors, such as the types of affiliates they are offering in the programs.

Commission structure alterations

This will have a direct influence on the various marketing channels that impact on the various commission structures. What this means in practical terms is that when it comes to traffic driven by product or dating network marketers who have created content, there will be more situational rules applied whenever they are active along the so-called ‘clickstream’ – the sequence of links lying at the heart of the affiliate marketing business model. Interference at this level will affect the commission rates available to those operating at the bottom of these processes, by offering coupons or loyalty to established customers. This will have a direct impact on commission rates. In a nutshell, up until now, commission rates have remained relatively reliable for small business owners seeking to get involved in working with retailers. In future, these are liable to fluctuate to a far greater extent.

In the longer term, this might affect how payments are triggered depending on the type of customer who is making the click-throughs. There will be variations depending on whether that customer is new, or has performed existing customer actions. Again, this is likely to have an effect on the way commissions are split.

The publisher might receive 20% of the overall total, while first click engagement will receive a much lower figure, around 2% of the total. When it comes to the actual blogger, it could be the case they only receive commissions when items are added to the shopping cart after the coupon code is entered.

As well as fluctuations in the condition under which the affiliate marketing clickstreams are managed, there could be a degree of separating traffic into different channels, with group affiliates separating out their traffic so that marketers will only be eligible for payout if no other affiliate types are involved.