2020 has been a challenging year to say the least.
In the middle of last year, few of us could have imagined we would get swept up in a global pandemic that would change the way most of us live. Maybe some things forever.
Marketing is about change too. Things are always evolving.
Nobody knows for sure the exact future of affiliate marketing. But there are some clues.
Imagine how wealthy you would be today if you could go back in time knowing what you know today…
- Buying single-word domain names back in the late 1980’s when they first were available
- Purchasing Microsoft stock in 1986 following the initial public offering
- Investing in gold when in late 2000 when it less than $400 per ounce
- Mining Bitcoin during its genesis in 2009
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Any one of these things would have made you a millionaire many times over.
Unfortunately, unless you have a time machine like Bill & Ted had, you can’t get rich this way. But you can get in early on the next ‘big thing’.
Let’s dig a little deeper into what’s coming.
Affiliate Marketing Trends
In the late 1990’s I had a buddy in the mortgage business that persuaded me to jump into that market because business was booming. Real estate values were increasing at record levels and interest rates were reaching all-time lows. It was a perfect storm to make big bucks in a hot market.
As a loan officer I could hardly keep up with all of the demand. I had an endless stream of paying clients without ever having to pick up the phone to solicit new business. Nearly every person I knew working in that industry – including title insurance companies, real estate appraisers, banks, private lenders, and investors was making a six figure income almost effortlessly. Things continued like this for over a decade with seemingly no end in sight.
Then, almost literally overnight, the party was over.
The real estate market had ballooned to unsustainable levels and when it popped, like every inflated market bubble eventually does, it took down the entire industry.
It was a red hot market trend. But like most other trends, it came to an abrupt end.
What’s Trending Now In Affiliate Marketing?
- Longer Authoritative Content
- Voice Search Optimization
- Mobile-First Technology
- Push Notification
- Marketing Bots
If you are an early adapter of an affiliate marketing trend, as I was in the mortgage industry, you can make a killing online.
Take for example the white-hot CBD market right now. Many of the early adopters in this field, who knew how to effectively market those products online, made huge profits fast.
You want to get rich online?
Follow the money.
Or, look for current opportunities and follow the demand.
For example, look for commercial robotics to take off in the coming years. The global pandemic has exposed the impact on the work force when people start to get sick on a mass scale.
Robots don’t get sick and they don’t take time off to avoid getting sick.
Potential Affiliate Niches To WatchMy advice to new internet marketers has always been to choose an online niche that’s already generating income rather than trying to tap into a new one. The reason for this is simple: it eliminates the lengthy and often expensive process of testing whether or not money can be made in that niche online. When you enter an established market you already know that money is being made in that space today.
But what if you are a risk-taker or an established and experienced internet marketer looking to get in early on the next big thing? After all, that’s often where the really big bucks are made. If you’re prepared, and can afford to take some risks here is a list of industries to watch that will likely boom in the next decade:
Affiliate Marketing Vertical Market Trends To Watch:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) And Robotics:
A.I. is the development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as decision-making, visual perception, speech recognition and language translation. Artificial intelligence is an exciting field that comes with a touch of trepidation – especially for fans of the movie franchise The Terminator.
Robotics technology is advancing rapidly and is expected to do the majority of manual labor tasks in the near-future that are now done by people. When AI and robotics are integrated, our world will never be the same again. This market is a game-changer.
Internet Of Things (IOT):
This one is going to be absolutely huge and the market created may have the biggest impact on the world of digital marketing.
Internet of Things is a network of physical objects that are connected to the internet. These objects such as sensors, circuits, smartphones, wearables and electronics will transmit data via “the internet” to the cloud providing a “smarter” service or experience for the user. As an example, the streetlight in front of your house, when integrated to the IOT, will send a message to your city’s maintenance department alerting it when it’s bulb burns out.
This kind of “smart technology” is already being used and will become prevalent in the next decade.
More than just for gaming, virtual reality is the computer technology that uses headsets, sometimes in combination with physical spaces or multi-projected environments, to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulates a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to “look around” the artificial world as if he or she was actually there.
The future of virtual reality will include not only gaming but filmmaking, exploring, and other entertainment-related content. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes that Virtual Reality may become our next computing platform.
Yes, I know that the drone market is already alive and well online. The drones being sold today are mostly for recreational purposes. What I’m referring to specifically here are commercial drone applications, which are yet to take off (pun intended) in the mainstream of things.
Commercial drones will not only be used for product deliveries but for a myriad of other applications including construction, real estate, ranching, etc. Also search and rescue. Drones are perfect for finding lost hikers in the wilderness where it’s difficult and time consuming for rescuers to find them. It can also carry a rescue ‘kit’ with food, water, first aid supplies and a radio that can help lost hikers survive until help arrives.
You may not have heard of Genomics yet but you will. Genomics is the study of genes, their functions and related techniques. Future applications may make it possible to alter our own DNA to upgrade our genetic code and actually ‘fix’ problems such as Type 1 diabetes. It’s a controversial field for sure but one to keep an eye on.
Future affiliate opportunities in genomics are primarily speculative at this point. But the possibilities in such a vast field of health-related topics is exciting.
While the Trump administration has temporarily curtailed this industry here in the United States, it is likely to rebound quickly in the near future. Wind and solar power, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat applications will likely explode in the next ten to twenty years.
Renewable energy sources provide energy in four primary areas:
- Air & water cooling and heating
- Electricity generation
- Off-grid energy
Like the drone market, 3D printing is already is alive and well, but has yet to go completely mainstream. When it does, it could provide some amazing opportunities for ecommerce. Definitely a vertical market to watch as new applications are created.
Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection rather than analog phone line. VoIP is cost efficient, easy to use and and requires little technical skill to operate. VoIP technology is still evolving and opening up new applications.
The wireless revolution is already upon us but will accelerate when the large broadband wireless players build new improved infrastructure that will move us into the Internet of Things era. Further, so called “mesh networks” will connect local devices to one another in special grids that will open the floodgates for new wireless technology.
I predict in the next 10 years many of us will be shuttling around in self-driving cars. Combined with the internet of things, I believe there will be thousands of digital opportunities spawned by this world-changing technology.
Wearable technology is alive and well but like drones and 3D printing, is still in it’s genesis. Wearable tech is a perfect example of the Internet Of Things (discussed above) where objects exchange data though the internet without any human intervention.
There will likely be some massive advances in wearable tech that will continue to rock our world.
While still in it’s genesis, mobile payment technology is rapidly emerging. Soon you will be able to walk into a store, grab what you need, and your account will be charged accordingly. This model already exists in very limited test markets.
This will completely revolutionize the entire shopping process and open up numerous opportunities.
Threats To Affiliate Marketing
Have you ever thought about what might happen to affiliate marketing when A.I. and bots become more advanced? How about other high tech, not even invented yet, that may impact the future of affiliate marketing?
Will it kill influencer marketing as we presently know it? Will building personal relationships online become obsolete? Will it create unbelievable new opportunities for savvy marketers?
No business model lasts forever. Look what happened to the newspaper industry since the birth of the internet. How about the quick death of the retail video rental stores like Blockbuster.
Nobody knows exactly how the coming tech invasion will affect affiliate marketing. But if you pay close attention to the trends you will be able to spot both future problems and opportunities that lie ahead.
How About Today’s Affiliate Landscape?
Affiliate marketing has changed a lot over the past decade. What used to work online then, no longer does.
But that’s good news for you if you know what you should be focusing on today…
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