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Is affiliate marketing saturated? | by thisisagencypromax | ILLUMINATION | Sep, 2023

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Is affiliate marketing saturated? | by thisisagencypromax | ILLUMINATION | Sep, 2023

The Saturation Question: Is Affiliate Marketing Still Worth It?

affiliate marketing
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Affiliate marketing’s allure is undeniable. Just promote products online, drive sales, and collect commission checks — an enticing business model that has minted millionaires from home offices.

However, a dark cloud looms over this picture. As more marketers flock to affiliate sites, competition swells. Some prognosticators claim affiliate marketing’s best days are behind it, that it’s now an oversaturated shell of its former self. Is this an accurate portrayal of the industry in 2023? Let’s examine the evidence.

The Case For Affiliate Market Saturation

In the 2000s, being an affiliate marketer meant enjoying a first-mover advantage. Most industries had sparse affiliate penetration, allowing standout sites to dominate traffic and sales.

A well-executed affiliate site was a license to print money. Fast forward to 2023, and the landscape looks much different.

Affiliate networks report member growth rates between 15–30% annually, swelling the ranks of marketers promoting largely the same products. This inevitably leads to declining earnings.

In a 2021 survey of top affiliates, over 60% said their earnings per click had dropped compared to the previous year. One respondent reported their EPC plummeting from $2 down to just $0.35. With more affiliates chasing each customer, individual payouts are shrinking.

No company exemplifies this saturation better than Amazon. Over 2 million websites now participate in the Amazon Associates program. In response to this overcrowding, Amazon has slashed commission rates across its most popular categories.

The latest round of cuts saw rates fall upwards of 10% in categories like furniture, wireless accessories, and Amazon Devices. These verticals once promised rich payouts, are now diminished.

Even beyond lower commissions, affiliates face other saturation headwinds. The growing use of ad blockers reduces potential traffic. Business consolidation leads to mega-affiliates cornering the most lucrative niches. It all points towards market saturation making it much harder for newcomers to gain a foothold.

The Case Against Affiliate Market Saturation

However, tales of affiliate marketing’s demise may be premature. Despite the challenges, there remain compelling arguments that this industry still offers substantial income potential in 2023.

While more competitive, affiliate marketing’s barrier to entry remains extremely low. You can launch a basic affiliate site for less than $100. This ease of entry guarantees new marketers will continue replacing those who leave.

The sheer volume of active shoppers online also buoys the industry. E-commerce sales grow at roughly 14% annually, generating ever-rising consumer demand that benefits affiliates.

Niche focus provides the best-saturated market strategy. By concentrating on specialized niches with passionate audiences, affiliates can deeply engage potential buyers and avoid head-to-head competition against mass market websites.

A prime example is the site OutdoorGearLab, generating over $5 million in annual income through meticulous gear reviews targeting niche outdoor enthusiasts.

Many assume affiliate marketing depends solely on Amazon’s volatile commission rates. However diversifying into software, services, and non-Amazon affiliate programs can circumvent this risk.

Promoting higher-ticket items with recurring payments, like SaaS products, can yield lifetime customer value instead of one-time sales commissions.

International expansion presents a final frontier for revenue growth. Affiliate marketing remains in its infancy across much of Asia, Africa, and South America. Launching locally-optimized sites in these high-growth emerging markets allows escaping saturated English-speaking countries.

Conclusion: Affiliate Marketing is Evolving, Not Dead

In truth, pure product review and comparison sites with wafer-thin content built purely for affiliate income do face extinction in saturated markets.

But for affiliates focused on genuine audience engagement through high-quality content, brand trust, and value-driven recommendations, substantial income potential still exists — even in 2023’s more competitive landscape.

Rather than relying on gimmicks and mass-produced articles, today’s successful affiliates double down on audience loyalty. They provide truly useful advice tailored to their niche’s needs. This value-first approach earns consistent traffic and conversions over the long term, despite present-day saturation challenges.

So, is affiliate marketing saturated? Perhaps for some. But for those committed to cultivating hard-won authority within carefully selected, under-optimized niches, affiliate programs continue to offer a proven business model.

Adjusting strategies and expectations will be required, but rumors of affiliate marketing’s demise in 2023 and years to come are greatly exaggerated.

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Save on Business Travel for Life This Memorial Day with an $80 Deal

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Save on Business Travel for Life This Memorial Day with an $80 Deal

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Growing businesses around the world rely on traveling salespeople and representatives to fuel expansion. For those in the accounting department who are trying to make enough room for airline ticket budgeting, you can do them a lot of favors by hooking up yourself or a team member with this special deal.

Through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 31, you can get a lifetime subscription to this OneAir Elite Plan for only $79.97 (reg. $790). This deal gets you indefinite access to OneAir’s deals on business, first, premium, and economy class flights to and from destinations of your choosing and interest. These deals include mistake fares and advantageously priced ones that happen to pop up.

OneAir’s platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) to scan the web around the clock for deals so that they are ready for your team when someone needs to hit the road. In addition to getting to choose up to 10 departure airports with deals, Elite users can also take advantage of OneAir’s one-on-one business and first-class planning support.

Conveniently, the OneAir Mobile App lets you access these deals, book trips, and complete bookings all in one place. It is available for both iOS and Android devices.

One recent user, Ashok, who saved $1,080 on flights using OneAir, wrote, “I am so pleased with my decision to sign up with OneAir! Just booked a super cheap flight deal to Vancouver along with 5 nights of hotel stays.”

Remember that only through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 31, you can get a lifetime subscription to this OneAir Elite Plan for only $79.97 (reg. $790).

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson’s voice? 5 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs in The AI Era

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Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson's voice? 5 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs in The AI Era

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson’s voice? OpenAI has since paused the “Sky” voice feature, but Johansson argues that this is no coincidence. In response, Johansson delivers a masterclass for entrepreneurs on navigating the AI era successfully.

In today’s discussion, we delve into what this controversy means for business owners, highlighting five critical AI strategies they must deploy. We also explore essential methods to protect your intellectual property and leverage AI for a competitive edge—insights vital for keeping your venture ahead in the AI revolution to remain your competitive advantage.

Take the AI skills quiz here (available for a limited time) and equip yourself with practical knowledge by grabbing a copy of my new book, ‘The Wolf is at the Door – How to Survive and Thrive in an AI-Driven World.’

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Why Are New Business Applications at All-Time High?

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Why Are New Business Applications at All-Time High?

More people are starting businesses now than ever before — and the reason could be that the opportunity cost, or what they have to give up in exchange for entrepreneurship, is lower than ever.

Data that the U.S. Census Bureau released earlier this month shows that the total number of applications to start businesses hit a record 5.5 million last year.

That’s half a million more applications than what was filed in 2022.

Related: Here’s What Millions of Small Businesses Have in Common, According to a New Survey

Census Bureau data from the first four months of this year show that the startup boom is still going strong, too — from January through April, the number of new business applications totaled over 1.7 million.

Why are more people filing to start new businesses?

Columbia Business School professor Angela Lee told Entrepreneur that the reason could be the “unprecedented number of layoffs from big tech companies in the last several years, resulting in a large pool of talent freed up to pursue entrepreneurship.”

Columbia Business School professor Angela Lee (left) and Co-Founder of Plum Alley Investments Andrea Turner Moffitt (right). Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Lee, the director of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center, also noted that “entrepreneurship has historically been counter-cyclical because the opportunity cost to start a company goes down during a recession.”

Related: Want to Start a Billion-Dollar Business? Look to These Two Industries, Which Have the Most Unicorn Growth

Big tech companies have been laying off employees in record numbers in recent years.

Tech layoffs last year affected 263,180 employees globally according to tracker Layoffs.fyi.

Amazon laid off the most people (27,410) last year, but Meta (21,000), Google (12,115) and Microsoft (11,158) also contributed to record numbers.

The unemployment rate has remained stable, in the 3.7% to 3.9% range in the U.S. over the past nine months, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report.

Related: ‘The Employment Situation’ Report for April Shows Employers Are Taking Hiring Down a Notch, Employee Wage Growth Slowing

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