Social media is everywhere. It’s impossible to avoid it. It dominates the marketing press, it’s taking up more of the consumer’s time online.  However, it is still being largely ignored by the affiliate community. Unsurprisingly, this is mainly due to one thing – cold, hard cash.

Nobody has really completely figured out yet how to make money from social media – at least in a scalable way. This doesn’t just apply to the affiliate marketing world but that’s a topic for another post.

At the same time, it seems that in the affiliate community there is also a fear factor at play and perhaps a reluctance to try something new especially when the current crop of marketing channels can be pretty lucrative. But as history has proved time and time again, those that fail to innovate and keep up with the changing consumer landscape wither and die. To take just one example of this, who would have thought 5 years ago that Blackberry would be in the sorry state it’s in now! 

So let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. For email affiliates – getting into the inbox is getting harder and consumers aren’t clicking as much. Duplication rates are increasing and consumers are increasingly using other forms of messaging. OK, what about search? On the PPC side of thing, it’s getting more expensive to drive clicks and those clicks are getting harder to convert. The outlook for SEO is not much better and as recent experience has shown, a Google algorithm change can destroy months of hard work overnight. And then there is display. While retargeting and RTB has certainly been a boost to the display industry, click throughs are still tiny and more people are downloading ad blocking software.

Of course these are exaggerations and there is still a huge amount of sales and leads to be generated and money to be made but the point is, it’s not getting any easier for affiliate marketers (or cheaper).

Now let’s look at social. Facebook has over 1 billion users at last count and Twitter alone sees over 500m tweets globally each day. These are huge numbers and will most likely get bigger. Focusing on Twitter in particular, there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that consumers are now going to Twitter first as a search engine. Not only that but they are tweeting into the ether in their millions with commercially addressable tweets. At Leadfindr we have run numerous campaigns across multiple verticals and you see thousands of tweets each day from “I need to go gym i have more rolls then asda haha” to “I need a new car damn it”.

So who cares you might say? Well let’s put this into a real life context. Take the automotive sector. In a recent campaign, we have seen over 100 tweets a day in the UK around car purchasing. In the current market, there are a variety of automotive test drive and brochure campaigns offering payouts to affiliates of £20+ per lead. We have seen click through rates of over 50% in some areas so it doesn’t take a skilled mathematician to see the commercial opportunity.

Social media is not just a passing fad. It is here to stay and represents a multi million pound opportunity for affiliates. The only question is, who’s going to crack social affiliate marketing first.