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If you’re like me, then you’ve grown up hearing about affiliate marketing from the 2010s and how it’s a great way to make money online. Heck, I still want to believe that it is a great way to make money online! But is affiliate marketing dead?

I had to know.

So I did my research.

I scoured the web for all of the recent trends, statistics, and facts about affiliate marketing to answer this age-old question: Is affiliate marketing going to die?

But first, a story about how I started affiliate marketing…

I want to be honest here, affiliate marketing was NOT my first attempt at making money online. I made sure to gain bankable skills in content and digital marketing. Now that I’m in my late 20s, I’m hoping to retire by earning some passive income online. Hence, my healthy obsession with a variety of online marketing methods – like affiliate marketing.

Assuming you’re in a similar stage in your life and make-money-online journey, affiliate marketing may be one of the first ways you heard of when you were getting started.

But things have changed…

In this post, I’ll outline affiliate marketing trends, statistics, and facts, plus the future predictions of affiliate marketing.

Let’s begin!

What’s affiliate marketing

If you keep up-to-date on affiliate marketing content, you’ll already know the definition of affiliate marketing. But for those that don’t…

Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

In other words, you (the affiliate) promote a product or service on behalf of another business in exchange for a commission or fee.

History of Affiliate Marketing

If you’re familiar with affiliate marketing, then you’d already know that it has been around for a long time. In 1994, the first affiliate marketing sale was generated with the purchase of flowers. In 1996, Amazon launched their affiliate program Amazon Associates for their books and it’s now grown into a massive e-commerce company.

In recent years, affiliate marketing has blown up. This is likely due to the fact that it’s a great way to make money passively. Back then, you didn’t need your own website or platform to promote someone else’s product or service in exchange for a commission or fee.

But like everything else in life, affiliate marketing has changed over the years.

Affiliate marketing is dead?!

affiliate-marketing-is-dead

But is affiliate marketing dead?

I didn’t want to research this topic without giving you my own, unbiased opinion.

And as of now, I’d say no – affiliate marketing is not dead. But it has changed drastically over the years. You can see signs of this everywhere if you’re in tune with the market.

However…

With all of the changes, affiliate marketing has gone through, I have a feeling it’s going to be here for many years to come – albeit in a different form.

Now here are the objective affiliate marketing statistics and facts as that affiliate marketing is still alive and kicking.

Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry (8.2 billion by 2022)

According to Statista, affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry. In 2017, it was worth $7.1 billion and is expected to grow to $8.2 billion by 2022.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise as affiliate marketing has exploded in popularity over the years. It’s now one of the most common ways people make money online.

Online shoppers consult with Google before making a purchase

About 82% of online shoppers consult with Google before making a purchase. This is likely due to the fact that people are researching their options before buying something.

This is great news for affiliate marketers as they can capitalize on this by advertising relevant products and services to these customers.

Valuable content (blogs, YouTube videos, podcasts etc) earn more than 40% affiliate commissions in the US

Awin Report states that valuable content (blogs, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc) earn more than 40% affiliate commissions in the US.

This is likely due to the fact that people are more likely to trust the content that has been created by an individual or organization they know and trust. This is why it’s important for affiliate marketers to produce high-quality, valuable content that their audience can benefit from using.

35% off affiliate marketers generate at least $20,000 annually with affiliate marketing

A report done by Afstat found that 35% of affiliate marketers generate at least $20,000 a year with affiliate marketing in 2016.

But what about 2020?

Approx. 48% of affiliate marketers generated about $20,000 in that year.

This report was done by Scaleo, and it shows that the amount of affiliate marketers that earn at least $20,000 per year through affiliate marketing has increased over the years.

But, please recognize that this is before any deductions for taxes or reinvestment in future marketing efforts.

So what does this means so far?

These affiliate marketing stats only show that affiliate marketing is still a viable option for making money online. You can see that it’s growing and changing with the times, so it’s likely to stick around for a while.

But I still wasn’t convinced, so I had to consult with the experts of affiliate marketing and see if they believe that affiliate marketing is dead or not?

An Expert’s Thoughts On Affiliate Marketing Truths

So I delved deeper into my research and I came upon this interview between Tina Johnson and the affiliate marketing expert, iAmAttila.

In this interview, he discussed how he disagreed with the fact that affiliate marketing is dead. Rather than jumping to this conclusion, it’s clear to him that affiliate marketing has only adapted in favor of customers at marketers’ detriment.

Not only do you have to work harder to achieve about a tenth of the success than you did before, but it’s also more expensive.

But this is not affiliate marketing’s death. It’s just new rules and policies.

It’s now required for you to build an audience, provide them with valuable content, keep them engaged with your brand before you can even think about selling to them.

And it’s not only in this aspect are affiliate marketers feeling the heat. Paid advertising is feeling it too.

Paid advertising is now moving towards favoring the customers’ needs and as such many platforms restrict and ban marketers who abuse the platforms for higher gains.

Overall, the entire interview was insightful, and I recommend you check it out to learn more.

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Signs That Affiliate Marketing is Dead?

signs-affiliate-marketing-is-dead

What are the signs that convinced other affiliate markers, both seasoned and aspiring, that affiliate marketing is dead?

Here are those signs:

  • Changes to the search engine algorithms
  • Affiliate networks policy changes
  • Harder earnings
  • Tremendously competitive
  • Rigid rules & regulations for content and paid advertising

Changes to the search engine algorithms

Back in 2011, Google made some changes to their search engine algorithms that had a significant impact on affiliate marketing.

This change caused many affiliates to lose a lot of their rankings and earnings.

With the constant changes to these algorithms, it’s hard to really pinpoint what type of content and marketing strategies work best.

Google’s goal is to maintain the quality of the content that ranks on the search engine by matching it with the search intent.

So affiliate marketers are feeling the pressure of having to compete to ensure their sites and ads remain visible. SEO is the key to visibility so this is a challenge that all affiliates face.

What’s more, many affiliate marketers believe that organic search is giving way to paid advertising. Therefore, the cost-effective strategies affiliate marketers used in the past to rank high on search engines are not as viable as before.

Affiliate Networks Policy Changes

Affiliate networks are the backbone of affiliate marketing. They provide the necessary resources and platforms for affiliates to do their marketing.

In the past, affiliate networks were very lenient and allowed marketers to push out any form or content. This meant that affiliates were free to make any kind of campaign they wanted.

There were hardly any rules governing affiliate networks and websites. This gave marketers the opportunity to create a wide range of content, regardless of its quality or integrity, and still bank on their content.

However, The affiliate networks started realizing this and started cracking down on affiliate marketers.

In their defense, it was hard for them to keep track of all the content being created and how it impacted the advertisers. Advertisers want their brand to be promoted by high-quality, valuable content rather than low-quality content.

These policy changes made affiliate marketers scramble to keep up with the rules set by affiliate networks in order to continue earning through their promotions.

But in effect, affiliate marketers felt handcuffed and restricted by these stringent rules and regulations. And it’s hard to make money under such conditions.

Harder Earnings

In the past, it was much easier for affiliates to make a commission on their sales.

In fact, in the early days of affiliate marketing, affiliates could make a commission just by referring a customer to the merchant’s site.

However, today’s affiliate marketers no longer enjoy this privilege.

Why? Because advertisers and networks looked at the enormous potential of affiliate marketing and wanted a part of the pie.

Merchants and networks started to offer better commissions and rewards to their affiliates. However, they also made the requirements much stricter and harder to meet.

As a result, affiliates found it much more difficult to reach the threshold for such commissions and rewards. This can make them feel disgruntled and resentful of the industry.

Plus, many customers are not purchasing products and services because of one recommendation. Sales are harder to nurture and gain. To maximize your earnings with affiliate marketing you have to be strategic, focused, and relentless in your approach.

Tremendously Competitive

Affiliate marketing is a very competitive field. The more it becomes popular and lucrative, the more people are attracted to this industry.

In order to be successful, affiliates have to be on their toes and constantly churn out quality content.

The competition is not just from other affiliates, but also from the advertisers themselves.

Advertisers are getting savvier and smarter in their marketing campaigns. They are taking advantage of the latest technologies and trends to get ahead of the competition.

This means that affiliates have to keep up and be innovative in their marketing tactics if they want to stay ahead.

But it’s not easy to be constantly creative and come up with new ideas. Especially when there are so many affiliates out there vying for the same spots.

However, I want you to understand that despite working endlessly to create valuable content, many authentic affiliate marketers still end up broke.

This is mostly due to the large volume of inexperienced and bright-eyed affiliate marketers that are flooding the industry. Take this as a sign of the affiliate marketing bubble about to burst.

Rigid rules & regulations for content and paid advertising making

The cost to produce high-quality content, ads, and landing pages has increased. Additionally, networks, social media platforms, and search engines are enforcing stricter regulations on the quality of the content and ads that you create.

If affiliate marketers fail to meet these regulations, then they risk losing their affiliate accounts and publishers.

However, affiliate marketers need to adhere to such regulations (as well as look for loopholes )in order for them to continue promoting products and services to their targeted audience and maximize on profits

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It Anymore?

is-affiliate-marketing-worth-it

Now that we’ve looked at the signs for why many believe that affiliate marketing is dead, let’s look at if affiliate marketing is worth it anymore.

  • No cap on the amount that can be earned
  • A solution to unemployment problems
  • Low entry cost
  • Work from anywhere
  • A reliable source of income
  • $8.2 Billion Pie
  • Online passive income stream

No cap on the amount that can be earned

The great thing about affiliate marketing is that there is no cap on the amount of money that you can earn.

As long as you are putting in the effort and are producing high-quality content, you can continue to make a steady stream of income. Therefore, affiliate marketing is absolutely performance-based and results-oriented.

This is in stark contrast to other traditional forms of employment, where there is a limit to how much you can earn.

A solution to unemployment problems

Affiliate marketing is an ideal choice for many people because it’s a reliable stream of income that can be achieved from anywhere.

Many people are struggling with their employment status as companies continuously look for ways to cut costs and reduce labor. This is especially true due to the ongoing pandemic.

The good thing is that affiliate marketing can provide you with a source of reliable income to earn extra cash.

Low entry cost

Affiliate marketing is a very low-cost entry into the world of business. You don’t need to have a lot of money to get started, and you can scale your business up as you go.

Affiliate marketing is especially lucrative for those who want to start a career in affiliate marketing and don’t have the financial resources.

Work from anywhere

Thanks to technology, affiliate marketers can now work from anywhere in the world.

All you need is a laptop and an internet connection and you’re good to go. This is a great perk for those who want to travel or work from the comfort of their homes.

A reliable source of income

Creating an affiliate marketing business is a great choice because it’s a reliable way to earn income online. Once you’ve put in the work, established your platform and audience, and promote the products and services you enjoy, you can enjoy a steady stream of passive income.

With affiliate marketing, you don’t need to constantly worry about putting in the work to earn an income. Plus once you’ve established a reputable brand, despite any new policy, regulation, or algorithm changes, your affiliate marketing business will still be intact.

$8.2 Billion Pie

As stated by Statista, the global affiliate marketing industry is expected to grow to a value of $8.2 billion by 2021. This is a testament to the growth and future potential of affiliate marketing.

So why shouldn’t you get a piece of that pie?

Plus, this only shows the value that customers, advertisers, and affiliate marketers see in affiliate marketing.

Online passive income stream

In a world where the internet is constantly evolving, it’s no wonder that affiliate marketing has become a stable and reliable way for many to earn money online.

You can focus on creating high-quality content, drawing traffic to your website, and promoting the products and services you love. Affiliate marketing can provide you with a source of online passive income.

This means that you can create and grow an affiliate marketing business and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of not having to constantly work.

You can even spend more quality time with your loved ones.

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future-of-affiliate-marketing

While affiliate marketing is definitely not dead, there are some things to be aware of in the future.

Below are some insights and predictions that will help you to succeed in affiliate marketing.

  • The continued growth of video content
  • The continued growth of e-commerce
  • The continued impact of algorithms and policy changes
  • The continued importance of creating high-quality content
  • The need for diversity in affiliate marketing
  • The rise of influencer marketing
  • The need for affiliate marketers to constantly adapt 
  • The importance of SEO
  • The continued importance of relationships  

1) The continued growth of video content

Video content is growing at an alarming rate and is expected to take over the internet in the next few years. This is especially true for those who want to learn about a product before purchasing it.

Affiliate marketers need to start creating more video content if they want to reach more customers. This can be in the form of product reviews, tutorials, or even vlogging about your affiliate marketing journey.

2) The continued growth of e-commerce

More and more people are shopping online and it doesn’t look like this is going to stop anytime soon.

As a result, affiliate marketing is expected to continue growing as well. This is good news for affiliate marketers as it means that there will be more opportunities to promote products and services online.

3) The continued growth of social media

Social media is another platform that is growing at an alarming rate. This presents a great opportunity for affiliate marketers to connect with more people and promote their products and services.

In order to take advantage of this, affiliate marketers need to create high-quality social media ads and content. Also, they should create engaging social media posts that will encourage others to click on affiliate links or purchase products. TikTok is one social media platform that will continue to dominate.

4) The continued impact of algorithms and policy changes

Since affiliate marketing is a form of online marketing, it’s vulnerable to algorithm and policy changes. Some of the most notable algorithm and policy changes occurred during the early beginnings of affiliate marketing.

Major platforms such as Google and Facebook announced changes and policies that impacted affiliate marketers and how they promote affiliate links.

However, this shouldn’t discourage people from entering into affiliate marketing or stop working hard in affiliate marketing.

It should serve as a reminder to affiliate marketers that they always need to stay up-to-date on the latest changes and policies of the major platforms.

5) The continued importance of creating high-quality content

Quality content is still one of the most important aspects of affiliate marketing.

This is because high-quality content can help to build trust with customers, which can eventually result in more conversions and higher affiliate commissions.

6) The need for diversity in affiliate marketing

While affiliate marketing has grown over time, there is still a lack of diversity in the industry. This is especially true when it comes to the representation of women and minority groups.

Affiliate marketers from a wide range of backgrounds can see this as a sign to showcase their culture, history, viewpoints and beliefs to a very engaged audience. Similarly, marketers need to make an effort to include more diversity in their marketing efforts. This can be done through the use of social media, content, and even advertising.

7) The rise of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is another trend that has taken the affiliate marketing world by storm.

More and more companies are recognizing the power of influencer marketing, which is why there has been a rise in influencer marketing campaigns.

This presents an opportunity for more affiliate marketers to enter into influencer marketing and build connections with key influencers.

8) The need for affiliate marketers to constantly adapt

While affiliate marketing is growing and changing, there are still some negative factors that influence the industry. The most notable one is the rise of ad blockers.

Ad blockers are software that allows people to block ads, including affiliate links. This means that affiliate marketers need to constantly adapt to the changing needs of their audience.

This can be done by creating new forms of content, using social media, or developing new marketing strategies.

9) The importance of SEO

SEO is still an important aspect of affiliate marketing. It’s one of the best ways to get affiliate links in front of more people.

Affiliate marketers need to ensure that their website is SEO-friendly and that they are using the right keywords. They should also focus on developing high-quality content that will help to improve their website’s ranking in search engines.

10) The continued importance of relationships

One of the most important aspects of affiliate marketing is the need to develop relationships with customers and other affiliate marketers.

It’s also important to manage these relationships and ensure that they’re built on trust and respect.

This can help to encourage more sales and better affiliate commissions.

So What Do You Think? Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?

Well, I believe that affiliate marketing is definitely not dead! There are still a lot of opportunities for people who are willing to work hard and stay up-to-date on the latest changes.

However, it’s important to remember that affiliate marketing is always evolving and that affiliate marketers need to evolve with it.

Let me know in the comments if you think affiliate marketing is dead and why. Feel free to also share your opinion on the future of affiliate marketing.

What’s Next?

If you enjoyed this post, then you’ll definitely like my other posts on affiliate marketing. Be sure to check them out and stay up-to-date on the latest changes!

Fran Powers has a strong background in digital marketing and a love for wealth management. She uses these skills to empower those who are willing to learn. You can reach her on Linkedin.

4 Comments

  1. Ingrid Robins December 24, 2021 at 12:59 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing. I like how you explain what Affiliate Marketing is and its history of it. I find people are sometimes not sure what it is all about.

    That is true that Affiliate Marketing has changed dramatically over the past years. The other thing that has changed is how Google ranks your blogs. 

    In my opinion, it is harder now to be ranked into Google in the past it was easier. 

    I agree that Affiliate Marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry, but I have to say it is not a quick-rich scheme. You have to put a lot of work into it especially when you first start out.

    Elke

    • Fran Powers December 24, 2021 at 1:03 am - Reply

      Exactly! Thanks for your points, Elke. I always highlight that affiliate marketing has moved to genuine, authentic affiliate marketers who are putting in hours and hours into providing quality content. Google is now rewarding high-quality content, so it’s no longer a get-rich-quick scheme. Thanks for leaving a comment :) ~Fran

  2. Shalisha Alston December 24, 2021 at 1:01 am - Reply

    Thanks for your post. Affiliate marketing is definitely not dead! The pandemic has made us depend on buying everything online. And guess what? Someone had to make sales from all of us who were stuck home ordering online. And who were those people? Affiliate marketers. The thing is, you have to get the right program to show you how to set up a site, provide great content and get into a good affiliate marketing network. Thanks for this post.

    • Fran Powers December 24, 2021 at 1:05 am - Reply

      My thoughts exactly, Shalisha! Affiliate marketing is definitely not dead but we definitely have to put in more work than ever before. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. ~Fran

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