6 Proven Reasons Affiliate Marketing is Booming in 21st Century | Potential Drawbacks and More

January 19, 2024

Reasons affiliate marketing is booming in 21st century are:

  1. Increased digital operations and mobile device usage
  2. High volume of online purchases
  3. Multiple affiliate revenue opportunities
  4. Social media boom, influencer marketing, and brand partnerships
  5. Lesser need for paid campaigns (PPC) because of SEO
  6. Advancements in affiliate marketing tools

In 2006, affiliate networks globally reached $6.5 billion in affiliate revenue, as mentioned by MoreNiche. From then on, the affiliate marketing industry kept growing steadily. Google acquired DoubleClick Performics and rebranded it to Google Affiliate Network in 2007. The Federal Trade Commission issued its disclosure guidelines in 2009. And in 2010, global affiliate marketing spending in the U.S. alone hit $1.6 billion as per Statista’s research.

The 21st century is a fruitful year for businesses and affiliate marketers because of the rise in digital transactions, social media and influencer marketing, and affiliate marketing online tools and software. These digital marketing trends are cost-effective ways of doing online advertising because they require less time and effort. Besides enabling affiliates and brands to entice their target audience better, they are cheaper than traditional marketing methods. It also helps when affiliates are passionate about promoting their affiliate program’s products. Because they are familiar with the affiliate products they advertise, they get higher conversion rates. And, businesses drive more sales.

John Chow, Pat Flynn, and Jeremy Shoemaker are some of the most successful affiliate marketers in the 21st century, according to Refersion. And by the end of 2024, affiliate marketing spending worldwide is expected to hit $14.3 billion as per Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2024 statistics report. This shows the profitability and potential of affiliate marketing in 2024 and beyond. Hence, you must know how affiliate marketing works and its potential drawbacks to succeed as an affiliate marketer in the 21st century.

6 Proven Reasons Why Affiliate Marketing is Booming in 21st Century

1. Increased Digital Operations and Mobile Device Usage

A press release by the World Bank in June 2022 states that 83% of adults use digital payments. Statista Market Insights’ data strengthens this by revealing that there are approximately 9.47 trillion recorded digital transactions in 2024 alone. This resulted in increased mobile device usage in the 21st century. Thus, the affiliate marketing industry grew exponentially in just a few years because of the digitalization of services, products, offerings, and payment methods. This global market movement enabled marketers to earn more income with recurring commissions from subscriptions, such as software, coaching sessions, digital products, and more.

Additionally, digital marketing empowered affiliate marketers to capture more potential customers. This was a significant improvement from traditional marketing, which was costly and inefficient. Now, affiliates can earn more because of the estimated 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of digital marketing from 2020 to 2026, according to HubSpot. This led to the trend of online shopping worldwide.

2. High Volume of Online Purchases

Affiliate marketing thrives because of online shoppers. In fact, Jungle Scout’s Consumer Trends Report: Q2 2022 unveiled that 13% of U.S. consumers shop online once a week, while 44% shop online 2x or more in a week. This trend emerged midway into the COVID-19 pandemic, where people bought stuff online rather than going out. Because of this, businesses adapted and created their own affiliate marketing programs. And affiliate marketers earned two to four times more revenue.

Affiliate marketing spending in the U.S. alone is projected to reach $13 billion in 2024, as indicated in Daniel Ruby’s article on Demand Sage. This means that the affiliate marketing industry will grow throughout the 21st century. The rise in online shopping or e-commerce has pushed businesses to venture into affiliate marketing and develop enticing affiliate marketing programs, which provide additional sources of income for potential and existing affiliates.

3. Multiple Affiliate Revenue Opportunities

Increased online purchases mean more revenue opportunities for affiliate marketers. And according to the latest information from Datanyze, 112,279 companies are already part of the affiliate marketing industry. This means that more than 100K products are listed on various affiliate marketing programs or networks. Take the Amazon Associates program for example. Based on Geri Mileva’s article on Influencer Marketing Hub, Amazon Associates has over 12 million affiliate products available. Having multiple products to promote results in a higher affiliate income.

When businesses get more market demand, they create new products and services. This makes affiliate marketing more profitable in the 21st century. And since most affiliate programs are free to join, potential affiliates are motivated to start their own online affiliate marketing business. This cycle continues to offer better affiliate commissions for online marketers. CJ Affiliate, ShareASale, and ClickBank are just some of the popular affiliate programs in 2024. It becomes easier to build multiple revenue streams because of digital strategies like social media and influencer marketing.

4. Social Media Boom, Influencer Marketing, and Brand Partnerships

As stated by Our World in Data, the percentage of U.S. adults using social media skyrocketed from 5% in 2005 to 79% in 2019. And as per BloggingX’s latest data, 67% of affiliate marketers worldwide boosted their online traffic because of social media marketing. This shows how social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have dominated the 21st century and made affiliate marketing campaigns easier. Moreover, influencer marketing and brand partnerships have pushed content marketing one step further. It allowed affiliate marketers to become influencers, enhance business brand awareness, and build a solid audience base.

You can also directly partner with brands. Doing so gives your affiliate partnership more value. You get exclusive knowledge and access whenever your business/brand partner releases new affiliate offers. Social media, influencer, and even email marketing are now more common than traditional advertising. Besides streamlining your digital marketing efforts, this trend lets you avoid using paid campaigns to diversify your affiliate partnerships.

5. Lesser Need for Paid Campaigns (PPC) Because of SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has revolutionized how affiliate marketing advertising works. It utilizes content marketing tactics like keyword research and link-building initiatives to drive organic or free traffic to your affiliate websites. Another study by BloggingX revealed that 69% of affiliates accredit SEO as their main traffic source. This proves that you don’t need to spend on paid campaigns (Pay-Per-Click campaigns) to enhance your website traffic, conversions, and search engine visibility.

You can create a cost-effective affiliate marketing strategy by using free online tools such as Google Trends (top search queries), Semrush (keyword research), and Google Analytics (web analytics). Because these platforms are mostly free, affiliate marketers will undoubtedly use them throughout the 21st century apart from the numerous affiliate marketing tools and software available online.

6. Advancements in Affiliate Marketing Tools

Technological advancements have pushed affiliate marketing businesses to choose better products, create more effective marketing strategies, and predict consumer and market behavior. Some examples include Voluum (ad campaign management), Canva (graphic designing), Grammarly (content creation), and ChatGPT (AI for generating ideas). As an affiliate marketer, you just have to weigh the pros and cons of each tool and use the most practical ones in developing a solid online marketing strategy that works well in the 21st century.

How Affiliate Marketing Works in the 21st Century

Affiliate marketing works in the 21st century by picking a niche, joining affiliate programs, developing content and digital marketing strategies, monitoring sales and campaign performance, and acquiring your hard-earned affiliate income.

First, affiliate marketers must choose profitable, trendy, and specific niches with salable products. Doing so lets you penetrate a high-potential market. This step also involves selecting a reputable affiliate partner. It is pivotal to do a background check before joining any affiliate marketing program.

Next, you need to create written or video content that is engaging. This drives your target audience to click your affiliate link, make a purchase, and share your products via word of mouth. Additionally, tracking your website traffic, online conversions, sales, and campaign performance is essential. It offers insights for marketing strategy improvements. It’s also good to monitor your affiliate partner’s product testimonials to know what products to avoid selling.

Lastly, you must check your affiliate commissions and sales consistently to ensure accurate crediting and dispute any mistakes. You can also venture into new niche markets to grow your monthly income and consumer base.

What are the Potential Drawbacks of Affiliate Marketing in the 21st Century?

Market saturation, rising scams and fraud, strict terms and conditions, and unstable commission rates are the potential drawbacks of affiliate marketing in the 21st century. Because of the explosive growth of affiliate marketing, the number of affiliates is also increasing. According to Supermetrics, Amazon Associates has about 1 million, ShareASale has more than 700K, and Awin with over 205,000. This makes it more challenging to promote and sell your products. And since the market is highly saturated, commission rates become unstable. Some companies lowered their commission rates because of the influx of potential affiliates.

Another thing to consider is the rise of affiliate scams and fraud. Bot traffic, transaction fraud, click spam, and cookie stuffing are the most common illegal activities in the affiliate marketing industry. In fact, CHEQ reveals that this situation drove the industry to lose $3.4 billion in 2022. And in 2024, this amount is expected to hit $100 billion, as per Georgi Todorov’s article in Thrivemyway. This scenario also paved the way for affiliate programs to get stricter with their terms and conditions. Marketers' accounts often get suspended for not following a specific rule, losing their potential earnings. Hence, it’s important to research affiliate marketing pros and cons to prevent these drawbacks and succeed in the industry.

How To Succeed in Affiliate Marketing in the 21st Century?

To succeed in affiliate marketing in the 21st century, consider selling high-ticket products, selecting profitable niche markets, joining thriving affiliate networks, upskilling, and utilizing technological advancements. Choosing high-ticket niches and products allows you to boost your income potential and diversify your revenue streams. As you research these, you’ll also learn what other products are salable and considered low-ticket. Moreover, engaging with trustworthy and long-standing affiliate programs ensures that you avoid potential scams.

A key factor to be a successful affiliate marketer is upskilling through the best affiliate marketing courses. And with the advancements in affiliate tools, you can already learn online at your own pace while managing your affiliate marketing business. This move enables you to earn more profit and enhance your daily workflows.

Is Affiliate Marketing Profitable in the 21st Century?

Yes, affiliate marketing is profitable in the 21st century. According to Rakuten Advertising, 80% of companies worldwide use affiliate marketing. This channel drives 20% of their annual income. Additionally, the affiliate marketing industry’s annual growth rate is projected to be 10%, as per eMarketer’s latest statistics. These data show that this business model is growing continuously. In fact, affiliate marketers earn an average of $1,000 to $10,000 monthly in passive income.

Digital marketing is the future of the affiliate marketing industry. Due to the growing power of social media and influencer marketing, this industry is expected to be profitable in the 21st century and beyond, making it worth the investment.

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?

Yes, affiliate marketing is worth it because of the unlimited income you can earn doing this online business model. But, is affiliate marketing worth it in 2023? Yes, it’s also worth it in 2024 and throughout the 21st century. This is mainly due to businesses recognizing the influence of affiliate marketing in driving organic growth, brand awareness, and online conversions. This market movement will increase affiliate partnerships, programs, and products in 2024. Successful affiliates like Rafael Zelik, Missy Ward, and Kirsty McCubbin are just some examples of individuals making tons of money with affiliate marketing.

Is Affiliate Marketing Still a Good Way To Make Money?

Yes, affiliate marketing is still a good way to make money online and build your customer base. As mentioned by the Influencer Marketing Hub, affiliate marketing contributes to 15%-30% of the e-commerce industry’s sales. And because e-commerce is also booming in the 21st century, so will the demand for affiliate marketing programs.

Affiliate Marketing Related Articles

  • 5 Undeniable Reasons Affiliate Marketing is the Future - The rise of influencer marketing, schedule flexibility, and high-income potential are some reasons affiliate marketing is the future. Moreover, the affiliate marketing industry’s compound annual growth rate is expected to be 7.7% from 2022 to 2030.
  • 8 Reasons Affiliate Marketing is Best for Students - Free-to-join programs, scalable passive income, and professional experience are some reasons affiliate marketing is best for students. This article discusses what a student affiliate is, how much students can make, and how students can succeed in affiliate marketing.
  • Is Amazon Affiliate Marketing Profitable in 2024? - Yes, Amazon affiliate marketing is profitable in 2024. In fact, affiliate marketers can earn up to 20% in commission per successful sale. This article also features how Amazon Associates compares to other affiliate networks and 4 expert tips for high profitability.

Local Lead Generation Outdoes Affiliate Marketing in the 21st Century

Affiliate marketing is indeed booming in the 21st century. Because of the upsurge in digital transactions and online shopping, affiliate marketers can expand their revenue streams. This major market trend will continue to grow in 2024 and beyond. Potential affiliates can easily start their affiliate marketing business with lower startup costs than other business models. They can also grow the products they promote and scale their income to up to $150,000 annually.

While affiliate marketing lets you scale your business revenue through different niches, achieving this endeavor requires money for upskilling, time for learning the business model, and effort for building your consumer base. Lucky for you, there are other online business models that offer scalable income. Take local lead generation, for example. It is not saturated because you deal with local service niches. And because your target market is ready to buy, you don’t need to create different marketing campaigns daily to reach a wider audience. You just have to build websites that organically rank high on Google. Then, you can forward the leads you collect to local businesses.

Unlike affiliate marketing where you can average around $10K monthly as a beginner, the local lead gen biz offers more than $50K each month in passive income. This online business model is a sure-fire way to make money in the 21st century without competing with over 1 million affiliates.

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