Affiliate Marketing 2013…what can we expect?
The short answer is…how long is a piece of string!
Apologies straight away for the long post, but if you have 10 minutes I’ve detailed a few things that might happen in affiliate marketing 2013. There are several things I think will happen, but I’ve only outlined a handful here.
With 2011 and 2012 being the years of many shattered dreams within the ‘Make Money Online‘ area, 2013 is starting to get back on the straight and narrow. What I mean by this is the Internet for marketing will become a more serious business.
You can’t just throw up a WordPress site, fill it with affiliate links and banners, then chuck a million links at it in order to get to Number one in Google. No, those days are gone.
Here are a few predictions I think will happen in Affiliate Marketing 2013. These are only my views and with the ever changing Internet, these may not happen, but certainly if we follow the general trend of things, they may well materialise.
Mobile Marketing for Affiliate Marketing 2013
It has been shown that in 2012 between 20% and 25% of people are looking for things to buy from their mobile devices, be it a phone or tablet. They then buy later from their more stable home PC not feeling confident enough to buy using their handheld device.
As the year goes on, mobile websites will become more solid and will install more confidence in consumers to buy from their cell phone or iPad. This might be some sort of guarantee or incentive to buy there and then.
This means if your an affiliate you will have to make sure your website is optimized with the mobile customer in mind. I have not done anything about this yet, my sites look OK from a mobile point of view, but I will have to do something soon to ensure I’m not missing out on this traffic.
I have looked around at differing types of software that can do this for me, but it’s all a bit to soon to trust any one piece of software to do it. I think many will fall into a knee-jerk decision and take the first one they see and roll with it. That’s a bit too cavalier for me and I shall wait until there is a software or code that has at least some very good feedback.
Like it or not, 25% is a huge number of people and you wouldn’t want to miss out now would you?
Affiliate Marketing 2013 Websites
I think 2013 will see a more professional affiliate website approach. How many times have you seen a website promoting a product and get to Number One in the Serps only to see that it is a total mess? Loads! But whilst the webmaster might think it’s great being on page one, their websites are so shallow and spammy that no-one in their right mind will buy from it.
This is why Google sent out their vicious updates to rid the net of these awful, thin, ugly sites. It was giving Google a bad name as a search engine having all these sites up there with next to no content on them.
Now, I hated the Panda and Penguin Google updates as much as the next marketer, and Google is a huge hypocritical machine only wanting their affiliate programs and sites at the top of the searches, but it must be said, these updates did get rid of a lot of chaff and only now, early in 2013 are we seeing less of these spammy sites.
The trouble is, Google has shot itself in the foot, angering many marketers who have now shifted to Bing. It may take more than a year, but I think Google will lose it’s power as a search engine and fall away.
What the updates did was make affiliate marketers be more generous with their content and make it well written and undoubtedly unique. The updates also got rid of many Exact Match Domain websites and although this cull knocked a lot of honest marketers out, there is signs of the genuine EMD’s making significant recoveries.
So, if your making websites for affiliation, make doubly sure they are relevant to the content on the website and are easy on the eye. Backlinking will become less effective to rank well. It’s the quality of backlinks that matter, not quantity (but you already knew that, right?)
I hate backlinking as much as anyone, especially forum and blog linking, but if you are in a niche that your site is promoting and you actually enjoy writing about your niche, then forum and blog posting gets easier. Subscribe to a powerful one in your niche and get to know members.
You will also learn more about your niche and have ever expanding topics to write about. Chip in every now and again and leave your signature and link in the space provided. Be honest with your comments…these Mod’s can smell a rat a mile away!
Affilate Marketing 2013 Transparency
Another thing that is hard to take is Affiliate Networks increasingly wanting their affiliates to become transparent with consumers. This will mean putting up an affiliate disclaimer, above the fold, on your website informing readers that your are, in fact, an affiliate who will receive a commission if you buy anything on your website.
This in my eyes is very damaging in an already rocky business. But saying that, overtime, it will become the norm. Amazon have been doing this for a while, but you put the disclaimer in the footer, I’m sure they will ask you to put it above the fold sooner rather than later. Some Affiliate Networks already demand you do this, especially Networks from the UK.
It’s the same for Cookies. You will have to soon tell your potential customers that they have to accept the cookie rule by clicking a conformation notice that pops up on your site. You only have to look around some UK sites to see this is already being implemented. Try the BBC Here and see the Cookie law and it’s reasoning’s.
Now, I don’t know about you, but telling your reader you will be keeping a snippet of info from them because they’re on your website reeks of intrusion for them. They will have an option to not accept cookies from your site, but the seed of doubt has been sown already in their head. This will become normal practice over the next few years, but at the moment, it’s still in it’s early stages.
Advice…Go with the flow, don’t become all negative and dismiss it;
accept it, implement it and move on.
Affiliate Marketing and Google
Well, Google hates affiliates, which is a bit rich coming from the biggest affiliates of them all! Try a search for, say, a Washing Machine. All you will see covering the entire pages is advertisements all linked to sites that pay Google to be there. You will have to scroll down to get to some independent websites.
This is not what search engines were built for. What we have here is a search ending in stuff Google wants you to buy. Who are Google to recommend you buy the washing machine from one of their advetisers? Better prices are on offer elsewhere than the big stores on page one meaning you will have to search more for them! Google is becoming the Big Brother to us all.
I feel Google may well have to swallow their pride and not do so much PPC advertising, or they may lose their mantle as No1 search engine. Bing is getting just as bad. What we need is an unbiased Search Engine…which I’m afraid will never happen.
Consumers are going to Amazon before Google now because they know if you can’t buy it cheaper on Amazon, you can’t but it anywhere!
Social Affiliate Marketing 2013
Social Marketing has been all the rage these last 3 or 4 years, but now it’s becoming one big advertising campaign. You can’t move on Facebook without advertising. I have friends recommending all sorts of things that I’m not interested in and all because they ‘liked’ something. Twitter is full of marketers, Pinterest has become one big advert and LinkedIn is full of one entry accounts. All very boring.
I do think Facebook will take a fall soon, probably later than 2013, but it’s on the wane and Facebook is becoming the boring friend of the marketer. Many will disagree with me here, Facebook was great at the start, but now has just become a ‘meh’ thing to many.
Emails and Affilaite Marketing 2013
Who’d have thought it? I remember the late 90’s when ALL marketing was done by email. The amount of spam emails sent out was unbelievable! But it worked with many a marketer getting rich by poor gullible folk new to the Internet. Bless ’em!
But, email is still the King of marketing, only it’s gone full circle and is quite respectable now. You build a list and send email to people who actually WANT your emails. Not all marketers abide by the ‘no spam’ rule and end up sending 2 or 3 emails to all on their list a day. This annoys the recipient and they end up un-subscribing.
I use a list, but only to keep folk updated about what happening in the IM world. If I see a product worth trying, I’ll buy it and trial it. If it’s excellent I will recommended it, If it’s useless I just get rid of it and never speak of it again. I won’t rubbish anything. Everything has it’s uses so what might not be good for me might be the Holy Grail for someone else.
Anything Else For Affiliate Marketing 2013
Who knows, these are just a few notions that will ‘probably’ happen or they might not.
I do fear for some things though. I enjoy Squidoo and it’s a decent earner for me, but all good things come to an end…I just hope Squidoo can keep going. There are other platforms out there similar to Squidoo, but they are not a patch on Seth Godin’s masterpiece. I’m sure Google will do something to deflate Squidoo’s power in a Black and White animal update this year. It will be interesting to see if Squidoo can still hold it’s own in 2013.
So, in summary for affilaite marketing 2013
- Build good, clean unique websites that offer the reader relevant quality (no change here) and don’t build spammy sites with tons of links…you will get nulled!
- Make sure your websites are compatible with mobile devices.
- Read up on Transparency and Cookies and be ready to implement it. It’s coming!
- Build an email list and treat it like a friend list, not a buyers list.
- Find up-and-coming Social sites that will ultimately out-do Facebook etc. Remember MySpace?
- Be aware Google will always be updating to kill your site! Just go with the flow and accept the changes.
- Write more Squidoo lenses. Make hay whilst the sun shines!
On a side note, a lot of marketers will not agree with the above, and that’s up to them. I make a living wage online and have a few years experience and notice the trends every day. I was smacked by Google at the end of 2011 and saw a lot of my sites (and earnings) disappear in a heartbeat.
I’ve learned to accept it and move on. Whatever the Internet throws at you, take it on the chin, brush yourself down and get on with it.