Affiliate Marketing Is Dead
Today, it's all about 2.0. Are you already late to the game?
Affiliate marketing is dead. Long live affiliate marketing.
But before you accuse me of being some Chicken Little type or just another clown infatuated with hyperbole, let me explain.
The way affiliate marketing was done back in the 1990s — and still today by some folks — is done. I’m talking about banners. It’s all about Affiliate 2.0, and you might already be late to the game.
What is Affiliate 2.0?
You’ve probably seen those definitions of Web 2.0 that sound more like a game of buzzword bingo than a definition. Well, I’ll keep it easy: Affiliate 2.0 is the stuff you’re probably not doing.
Now, that could be a pretty long list, so let’s skip all of the specialties of affiliate that you already should be concentrating on, like data feeds, search engine optimization, e-mail and pay per click. Instead, let’s look at affiliate-marketing opportunities in Internet video and mobile phones.
Affiliate video opportunities
Video creative with affiliate links built in is being crafted by professional video producers. There’s also amateur user-generated content, which is wildly popular on sites such as MySpace and YouTube.
According to the comScore Video Metrix report for July 2007, nearly 75 percent of U.S. Internet users watched an average of three hours of online video during the month. This translates into nearly 134 million Americans watching more than 9 billion videos online.
“Besides the obvious Google universal search benefits of having a well-ranked video, affiliates should understand that if they move quickly, they can saturate and dominate just about any niche with video right now,” says Jim Kukral, co-host of the VideoNinjas radio show on www.WebMasterRadio.FM. “It’s just a matter of doing it, right now, before another affiliate does it.”
Google AdSense video units, a new advertising unit that can be embedded on AdSense publishers’ sites/blogs, got lots of press when it rolled out in fall 2007, but it’s not the only game in town for affiliates in video.
As far as affiliate networks go, LinkShare has been something of a leader in video with Flex Links, which offers affiliates the capability to post videos, widgets, flash or any other kind of clickable objects from advertisers on their sites to earn commissions.
Other players in the video arena that are providing affiliates with the opportunity to earn commissions include Adotube, blinkx, Magnify.net, Metacafe, Qoof, Revver and Toldya.
Phoning in affiliate innovation
While video gets all of the headlines as the vehicle where marketers need to have a presence in 2008, mobile phone marketing quickly is making headway and putting performance-based ads in front of a multitude of eyeballs.
There are two Google AdSense for Mobile ad formats: single and double. Participating mobile Web sites must be written in one of the following markup languages: wml (WAP 1.0), xhtml (WAP 2.0) or chtml.
I wouldn’t be surprised if many future mobile phone marketers look to Google for the standards for mobile, similar to how Amazon.com’s affiliate agreement was adapted by countless affiliate programs at the turn of the century.
Not surprisingly, LinkShare entered the mobile affiliate space in the fourth quarter of 2007 with Mobile Links, which enables affiliates to tap into the mobile consumer market and track mobile transactions on a pay-per-action basis. LinkShare is a subsidiary of Rakuten Inc., headquartered in Tokyo, where mobile phone marketing is far more established than in the U.S.
But the biggest name in mobile affiliate activity seems to be AdMob, a popular mobile affiliate network, which routinely serves more than 1.5 billion targeted ads each month. In addition to the ads served by AdMob on sites formatted for mobile phone browsers, it also serves advertising on Facebook Mobile, which allows developers to build mobile Web applications for Facebook, and developers can monetize these mobile applications with ads from AdMob.
But wait, there’s more
Video and mobile are two prominent opportunities for affiliate marketers, but there are countless ways to leverage new technology to generate affiliate transactions.
For instance, Twitter, a social-networking and microblogging service that uses instant messaging, short message service or a Web interface, has been the launchpad of various affiliate plays. One example is TwitterLit, where creator Debra Hamel has endeavored to go about “Twittering the first lines of books so you don’t have to.” Each of these Tweets (messages via Twitter) includes an Amazon affiliate link to purchase the featured title.
Facebook is another site fertile for affiliate activity. In May 2007, it launched its Facebook Platform, a framework for developers to create applications for Facebook users that interact with Facebook features.
Affiliates have been creating their own applications for Facebook with increased frequency. There are many ways an affiliate can interact with the Facebook audience, one of which is the adaption of an existing site.
Mike Allen, president of the affiliate site www.Shopping-Bargains.com, created a popular Facebook application, Shop Bargains, which “delivers a summary of online coupon codes and shopping deals to your profile page.”
There always will be long-tail affiliates working banners and the like. Don’t settle for the tail — move on to Affiliate 2.0 and be the dog.
Shawn can be reached through www.affiliatesummit.com