Dmitrii Zotov, the co-founder of the affiliate marketing platform Affise, entered the affiliate industry in 2004. Over the years, he has explored the field from a number of perspectives. He began as a software engineer and built up experience as a media buyer, then as a CPA network and media buying agency owner. Finally, he founded the startup, which turned into a multinational company with 700+ clients across the globe.

We spoke to Dmitrii about his journey in the affiliate marketing industry and the insights he has gained. In this article, we share his thoughts on trends, challenges, and the future of the affiliate marketing industry.

Disrupters start with a win

In 2015, I realised that the affiliate marketing industry needed a completely new solution to get higher revenues alongside reducing work time. We began to build Affise – a convenient and tech-savvy ecosystem to lead companies to a new level. Our main principles were putting our customers first and avoiding anything that didn’t help them earn money. This approach has disrupted the industry, and Affise started quickly gaining customers. Relying on their feedback, we continued to improve the platform’s functionality; we helped our clients collaborate with publishers easier and run their campaigns more efficiently. Being innovative and customer-focused at any means lets us win the market.

Building relationships is must

Since the early days, the affiliate marketing industry has undergone drastic changes. Currently, it is experiencing an influencer boom, which is driving a dramatic shift in how brands interact with publishers and audiences. Modern affiliates are influencers with huge followings on Youtube, TikTok, Instagram. These platforms allow them to sell anything to anyone.

Meanwhile, consumers interact with brands differently compared to five years ago. They rely on reviews from thought leaders or other customers rather than brand collateral. Businesses need to gain their customers’ trust and build strong, tight-knit relationships with them. As long as they do so, they can use the affiliate marketing channel to grow their business whatever vertical they operate in.

Find sweet spots

Affiliate marketing is a constantly evolving industry that grows by around 10% every year. One of the fastest-evolving verticals right now is the eCommerce space. Online shopping is experiencing an increased interest from customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One other hot vertical is educational technology, which is growing with increased demand for online jobs. Businesses in this niche need advanced solutions as their customers look for effective ways to get new professions. 

Finally, the mobile industry is flourishing, especially in developing countries, where cellphones and smartphones remain the only way to access the Internet. Thus, mobile content and applications are booming in these markets. 

Brands working within these verticals seek out reliable, transparent, and cost-effective channels for acquiring customers. Affiliate marketing fits them perfectly as it allows them to pay for actual buyers, not just clicks.

Bridge the gap between data acquisition and privacy 

One of the industry’s biggest challenges in the last couple of years is user privacy protection restrictions. Apple has released a new App Tracking Transparency policy that caps access to user-level data. Other tech giants, including Google, have announced a cookie blocking. As the entire advertising and affiliate industry rely on analytics and mobile attribution, these changes are holding companies back from making well-informed business decisions.

Affiliate industry players have to work out new solutions to deliver transparency around customer attribution, even when there isn’t enough data available. In April, we introduced the SKAdNetwork integration to allow ad networks to access data from iOS mobile campaigns within the Affise dashboard. Another feature we built to address this problem is probabilistic attribution.

Meanwhile, we have been taking technical and organisational measures to keep the data safe, as privacy is king for end users. Thus, we constantly update Privacy certification to make our customers sure their information is reliably protected.

Keep an eye on these trends

As consumer expectations for privacy increase, traditional traffic sources become either too expensive or not transparent enough. Brands seek out new lead generation channels and find what they’re looking for in affiliate marketing.

To provide transparency, the affiliate marketing industry relies more and more on cutting-edge technology. Businesses are looking for advanced automation to reduce routine work and simplified data analytics to make informed decisions faster. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are growing popular as well. At Affise, we use them to make predictions and help clients define their growth strategies and business transformation trajectories.

Another trend is the increased reliance on social media as a customer acquisition channel. Big platforms like Pinterest and Instagram have been working hard to build out their e-commerce features. In addition to building Shops, Facebook is tweaking its ads to attract more potential customers.

Customers always come first

At Affise, we have a culture code; it states that the customer’s perspective matters above all. Providing the best experiences and building close relationships with clients becomes a must-have for every business. Success for companies is measured by what value they provide to their customers. To be successful, you’ll need to make your clients’ growth your own goal.

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