Affiliate Marketing Trends and Pitfalls in 2024

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By Tomislav

Key Takeaways

Steady Growth Amidst Challenges: Affiliate marketing, showing a steady 10% annual growth, faces challenges such as increasing competition. It’s crucial to adapt strategies, especially in key markets like the U.S., which leads global spending.
Integration and Consumer Insights: The effective combination of affiliate and email marketing is driving e-commerce, while consumer trends towards thorough online research highlight the need for trust-building content.
Widespread Adoption and Strategy Diversity: Affiliate marketing’s adoption by over 80% of marketers and publishers underscores its importance. Diversifying monetization strategies and focusing on ethical SEO practices are essential for long-term success.
Technological Adaptation and Content Relevance: Adapting to technological shifts like mobile optimization and voice technology, and creating relevant, tailored content are key to standing out.
Emerging Trends and Value Creation: Keep an eye on trends like text message marketing and push notifications. Emphasize creating valuable content and establishing thought leadership to engage and retain audiences.

The Current State of Affiliate Marketing

Before diving into trends and pitfalls, let’s look at the current state of affiliate marketing with key statistics.

Steady Growth

Affiliate marketing has seen a consistent growth of 10% annually since 2015 (Source: Business Insider). This growth is encouraging for the industry.

However, this growth doesn’t imply ease in affiliate marketing.

In fact, it’s becoming more challenging due to increasing competition and the need for marketers to enhance their strategies.

In 2023, the global spend on affiliate marketing was $14.3 billion, and it has presumably increased since (Source: Influencer Marketing Hub). This indicates the global reach of affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is accessible regardless of location or language, offering a universal opportunity.

The US spend on affiliate marketing is projected to hit $13 billion in 2023 (Source: Influencer Marketing Hub), underscoring the US’s leading role in this sector.

This presents an advantage, as US companies invest in affiliate marketing both domestically and internationally.

Enhanced by Email Marketing

Affiliate marketing is now neck and neck with email marketing in driving e-commerce orders.

In 2023, it even surpassed email marketing.

Despite this, affiliate and email marketing aren’t competing; they’re complementary.

This statistic highlights affiliate marketing’s growth, but combining it with email marketing yields the best results.

Shoppers Still Seek Out Reviews

74% of US shoppers visit two or three non-retail websites for research before purchasing, with 16% visiting four or more websites (Source: Rakuten and Forrester).

This shows that consumers thoroughly research products before buying, often landing on sites with affiliate links.

This trend presents a significant opportunity for affiliate marketers, emphasizing the importance of trust-building through quality content.

Marketers Like Affiliate Marketing

Over 81% of marketers and 84% of publishers utilize affiliate marketing, signifying its staying power and value in digital marketing strategies.

Affiliate programs contribute to 15-30% of all sales for advertisers, a figure expected to rise.

This model provides a cost-effective marketing strategy, where you pay for results, benefiting both advertisers and affiliates.

Affiliate partnerships comprise over 20% of annual revenue for publishers (Source:

16% of all online orders are via affiliate marketing, indicating that people do click on affiliate links.

To enhance click-through rates, provide valuable content and focus on solving the audience’s problems.

76% of publishers appreciate affiliate marketing for its ease in website monetization (Source: Viglink).

A balanced monetization strategy involves dividing revenue into thirds: affiliate marketing, ads, and selling own products, ensuring no overreliance on any single source.

Search Volume for “Affiliate Marketing” is Rising

Searches for “Affiliate Marketing” as a topic on Google have steadily increased over the years.

This growth reflects a rising interest in understanding and leveraging affiliate marketing.

If you’re new to this field, be wary of immediately investing in courses or masterclasses from self-proclaimed gurus.

Affiliate Marketing Pitfalls to Avoid

There are two types of pitfalls in affiliate marketing: those beginners are unaware of and those whose severity is underestimated.

All share a common trait – they’re silent killers of long-term success in affiliate marketing.

Ignoring the Importance of Brand

With over 70 million blog posts published on alone, standing out is crucial.

Create a brand; put your name and face behind your content.

Bond with your audience by consistently providing value. Branding has always been and will continue to be the most effective strategy.

Not Creating Relevant Content

The era of generic content is ending.

Small content creators can’t compete with large sites on generic keywords, and these keywords often lack relevance.

For instance, an article titled “Fitness Advice” is too generic and faces stiff competition.

Instead, tailor your content, like “Fitness advice for busy 30-year-old moms of two in San Francisco,” to resonate with specific audience segments.

This specificity not only ranks better on Google but also deeply connects with your target audience.

Not Optimizing Content for Mobile

With mobile browsing overtaking desktop, not optimizing for mobile means losing business and suffering Google penalties.

A poor mobile experience signals to Google that your site isn’t user-friendly, affecting your search ranking.

Voice is Coming (Back?)

Voice technology, embodied by Alexa, Siri, and Cortana, is advancing rapidly.

Influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk, with a proven track record in predicting consumer behavior shifts, are betting big on voice technology.

It’s becoming a primary way for content consumption, including through AI and podcasts, and even as the sole audio for YouTube videos.

Relying on a Single Monetization Model

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your content monetization strategies.

For example, if your sole income is from Amazon affiliate links, any issue with your Amazon Associates account could be catastrophic.

Combining different monetization methods, like selling digital products or partnering with premium ad agencies, provides security.

Cutting Corners and Taking Shortcuts

Short-term gains from gaming search engine results are outweighed by long-term risks.

Sites that exploit loopholes often suffer drastically when search engines update their algorithms.

Focus on ethical SEO practices and creating content that genuinely serves your audience.

While it’s important to adapt to search engine guidelines, your primary focus should be on providing value to your audience, your true North Star.

Rock-Solid Trends to Keep an Eye Out For

These emerging trends are gaining momentum and will soon be industry norms.

Adapting early ensures you stay ahead and avoid obsolescence in your affiliate marketing business.

Text Message Marketing

Text message marketing, once a no-go zone, is gaining consumer acceptance for advertisements.

This shift is significant. Text message ads boast exceptionally high open rates, similar to the early days of email marketing.

In affiliate marketing, this means a new, intimate way to connect with your audience.

Although users may eventually grow accustomed to it, text-based marketing initially builds unparalleled trust.

Push Notifications

Push notifications, unlike text marketing, have been around but are increasing in popularity.

More apps and websites are seeking permission for notifications, a direct line to consumer attention.

For affiliate marketing, push notifications are a way to capture and retain audience attention, leading to deeper connections, value provision, trust, and ultimately, sales.

Providing Value

In today’s information-saturated world, content alone isn’t enough; it must provide real value.

It’s critical to solve your audience’s problems or they’ll turn to others who will, affecting your business.

Thought Leadership

Thought leadership in your niche is crucial.

People gravitate towards experts, and expertise builds trust and forms the basis of a strong brand.

Additionally, being a thought leader encourages peer recognition and wider content reach.

Quality AND Quantity

Quality and quantity aren’t mutually exclusive. As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, quantity leads to quality.

Creating more content hones your skills, garners audience feedback, and improves relevance.

Embrace the freedom of creating diverse content, focusing on relevance over perfection.