Do you remember the scare a few months ago?
That huge cut had everyone fearing for their affiliate business.
Then the suspensions started.
And people started seeing drops in traffic.
But the situation seems to be coming back up.
Can we move past this as an industry?
How Bad Is The Situation?
What you’ll need to remember (all throughout reading this piece) is that the crisis we’re facing is not like anything we’ve seen before.
Sure, there have been periods of economic downturn before. In fact, that’s natural: our economy works in cycles.
But most of us haven’t experienced anything like this ever before.
So let’s try and make some sense of what’s happening.
Headlines like this one might be disheartening:
But it’s important to take a step back and look at the actual numbers.
For affiliate marketing, the situation doesn’t look as grim at first sight. According to Statista, spending on affiliate marketing programmes is still expected to rise by 2022.
Does that mean you can rest assured?
It’s important to remember that this situation is still developing, so we might not know for sure how a certain sector will be affected.
Moreover, since we’re still tangled up in this mess, the numbers aren’t in yet.
It’s not as easy to get a grasp on the situation by only using statistics.
Simply put, there’s not a lot of them out there.
But an early look at the situation indicates harder times to come. All across the globe, some websites are reporting drops in traffic as big as 60%.
And besides the numbers…
Other events are proof for the gravity of the situation.
#2 Longer Shipping Times
With lockdown measures being implemented all across the globe, international shipping got slammed.
You don’t even need a statistic for this one. Just try to buy something from a different country and you’ll see why we’re in trouble.
Shipping time used to be an important part of the marketing mix for affiliates selling physical products, so this can’t be good.
With fears over a second wave in late summer (and that’s only for the countries that were able to flatten the curve this Spring – we’re silently judging you, US) this effect could worsen in time.
#3 Reduced Commissions
And this one’s big for any affiliate marketer.
Do you remember when Amazon dropped the bomb?
It was like a wake-up call that no one’s really safe from this situation.
Sure, the Coronavirus can’t spread over the internet.
But a lot of us are promoting and selling things that (unfortunately?) have a lot to do with the real world.
Travel sites especially were hit very hard, with the tourism market practically frozen during Spring, and now barely fighting for a revival.
But it’s not just travel bloggers or swimwear affiliates.
#4 Suspended Programs
But that’s not the worst of it (at least for some people).
A lot of companies actually suspended their affiliate programs. Walmart just did it with Magiclinks and Rakuten, but they joined a long list of companies that chose not to promote through affiliates for a while.
And this can be an indicator of how bad the situation really is.
While we’re not faced with a housing mortgage bubble like we were in 2008, or a stock market crash like we had in 1929, the ripple effect is still there.
Sure, back in February and March people had the capital to keep spending, they were just stuck indoors.
But with massive layoffs on the horizon and a small hit in basically any financial metric…
We can expect people to have less disposable income.
And that means a hit for us affiliates as well.
But just how big of a hit will this be?
What Can We Expect From The Future?
That’s the common thread for all businesses.
Nobody really knows what’s coming because this is an unprecedented type of economic crisis.
The NY Times published a piece at the beginning of this crisis that’s still very relevant.
The economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus is unlike anything experts have seen before.
The thing is, nobody can say for sure:
“Yeah, I guess all sales in supplements will go down 23% in the coming year and then make a comeback in Q2 2021”
Because nobody knows.
However, we can make educated guesses based on the situation we’re in, and a few things are clear:
- Any affiliate in the travel industry will struggle
- All affiliates are going to be affected in the short to medium term by commission cuts and suspended programmes
- Programs for medical supplies and consumables will go up (more about that in a bit)
- Adaptable companies will find ways to stay on top
Our title posed a straight question: Will affiliate marketing rise again after Corona?
Before we give you our final take on it, let’s just ask one more question.
Is There A Silver Lining?
First, affiliate campaigns for medical supplies, consumables, and especially hand sanitizer or masks have gone way up.
For example, Z-Skin Cosmetics rode a huge boom with their hand sanitizer.
And other companies can easily adapt to growing demand in that sector and meet the needs of potential customers.
Plus, e-learning products are on the rise.
Lockdown measures and social distancing made people reflect a bit more on their development, just as it opened up a lot of time slots we didn’t think we had.
A lot of people wanted to fill that with education.
So affiliates selling e-learning felt a boost as well.
Site traffic is slowly coming back to normal.
And if you, as an affiliate, can adapt to market changes quickly, you should still find opportunities to sell even while Amazon is slashing commissions and big companies are suspending their programs.
Not to mention – Google searches and website traffic, even for affected industries, are coming back up.
The demand is there, you just need to navigate this a bit more carefully now.
So Will Affiliate Marketing Rise Again?
We dare say it will.
First, remember that for some people it never fell due to Corona. Medical supplies and consumables sold very well.
Second, commission cuts and program suspensions look rough on paper, but remember that these are temporary.
Plus, depending on your niche, there might even be better alternatives to the Amazon Associates program. Clickbank is famous for their high commissions, and so far no cuts have been announced.
If you want to learn more, make sure you read about the best affiliate programs out there.
However, that’s not to say everyone can just tighten the belt for a few months and expect a booming business by September.
Certain industries will be worse off than others, especially if you deal in the travel niche.
Make sure you stay informed about the best niches for affiliate marketing.
Also, try to work on your offer and content. Adapt to what people are searching for, diversify and try to meet your customers where they’re at.
With no vaccine in sight, nobody knows how much longer this uncertainty will take.
But we’re hopeful.
To Wrap It Up
The economic downturn is tough, and affiliate marketers definitely felt the sting of Coronavirus’ financial and commercial implications.
But we think it will rise back up again, especially after we find a cure.
Moreover, it’s not like you’re stuck in limbo.
Your business can adapt, diversify its offer and try to stay on top of the trends. To see some of that in action, check out some successful affiliate websites examples.
Don’t forget to be safe out there.