We have collected opinions from some of the leading experts and practitioners on Affiliate Marketing trends to look out for in 2014, which we hope will provide you with some insight for your 2014 marketing activities.

Affiliate Marketing Trends 2014

On Affiliate Marketing and mobile… 

Matt Swan, Client Strategist at Affiliate Window

Internationalisation will gather pace – we are already seeing an increasing volume of publishers signing up to the network from abroad and also a considerable volume of overseas traffic to our advertisers. This is likely to grow further over the next 12 months and advertisers will be better placed to take a foothold in key markets.

Attribution is not about splitting commission – attribution has been widely discussed and advertisers are looking towards complex solutions involving splitting commission. Next year we are hopeful the penny will drop and advertisers will begin to look at what post conversion activity, and focus on value attribution

The continued rise of mobile – This year saw mobile really come to the fore and we can expect it to play a more important role in 2014. Advertisers will be looking towards a “mobile first” strategy – not only optimising their sites for mobile traffic but also looking how to utilise mobile capabilities in terms of targeting by device and location. Affiliate tracking will be added as a standard rather than merely an afterthought and publishers will become increasingly savvy in developing their mobile offering.

Emergence of cross device tracking – with the rise of mobile commerce and consumers using multiple devices, we will begin to see cross device tracking to help us answer questions of incrementality. Are customers who would typically purchase from a desktop just migrating to mobile devices or are they additional shoppers? Cross device tracking will also be instrumental in helping target consumers across multiple devices.

On Affiliate Marketing and the single customer

Mark Haviland, MD, Rakuten Marketing MArk
 While targeting customers over multiple channels, brands need to have a complete picture of their shopper. Many retailers are now trying to take a single customer view, ensuring that the pieces of their marketing campaign are working more efficiently together.

The use of first and third party data to ‘super’ target the customer base will grow in the coming year so that brands can change the way they engage with customers as individuals. Everything from acquiring new customers, to re-engagement with dormant customers and existing active customers will mean that brands can plan how to market to different individuals based on real insight, and employ a highly targeted approach.

On Affiliate Marketing and pricing models…

Dan Cohen_small Dan Cohen, Regional Director at Tradedoubler

In short, it will grow! Firstly, in terms of traffic: Mobile & on-to-offline will become integral parts of an advertiser’s affiliate program. There will also be a rise in local affiliate marketing i.e. advertisers being relevant “here and now” and having geo-targeted vouchers and deals. In addition to this, the industry will further embrace social, video and offline – for example pay-per-call. It’s going to be about understanding the user journey and their path to conversion better.

Secondly, it will grow in terms of Data: Advertisers will provide data to networks, for example: data on the lifetime value of consumers, other channels, and cross-device activity. This will mean that we can all make more intelligent, insight-based decisions which will make us more effective at new customer acquisition.

Thirdly in terms of Pricing Models: Affiliate marketing will continue to embrace CPA and tenancies, but it will also look externally to CPC, CPM, CPV (view), CPE (engagement) and other pricing models – as long as there is a clear understanding of the ROI.

Lastly, in terms of Regulations and Compliance: Networks, agencies, publishers and advertisers will come together to create robust regulation.

On Affiliate Marketing and attribution

Ben Cole, Commercial Director, Webgains
Pic Ben Cole
I think what’s interesting this year is that there will be a few key developments which, rather than being discrete, will very much go hand in hand. These are largely centred around shifting approaches to attribution and the attendant focus on user journey data. There has already been considerable development in this area over the course of 2013 and I think this is going to start coming to fruition throughout 2014 with much greater visibility over user journeys achieved.

A major part of this will inevitably be the development of viable solutions for cross device tracking which in turn is likely to further the trend we’re seeing towards greater personalisation. If we can understand how users last interacted on the purchase path across all devices, we can achieve greater precision in the extent to which we personalise content.

Finally, this will support the shift we are already seeing in pricing models, with payment structures such as cost-per-view and cost-per-engagement becoming more important as we understand that users interact differently at different points in their purchase journey. Another one to watch meanwhile, is card linked reward schemes which are yet to gain a real momentum but offer a scalable automated solution to incremental sales that will make perfect sense to consumers.

On Affiliate Marketing and data

YD-Mendel Senf_CEO Mendel Senf, CEO of YD



2014 will be the year of focussing more on data-driven advertising models and data insight-generating technologies for eCommerce advertising. Historically, affiliate marketing hasn’t supplied advertisers with the performance they need. There will always be online businesses for which this kind of “traffic brokerage” model still suits them, especially within the search and email marketing areas. However, moving forward I definitely predict that the top 500 online brands will decrease their campaigns with affiliate networks in the coming year.

This shift is driven by a move towards a greater acknowledgment of conversion attribution’s role within the industry – and savvy digital marketers would rather spend their budget on programmatic display advertising than affiliate advertising. The transparency afforded through attribution insights today are leading to marketers to invest in understanding the customer’s individual journey rather than just relying on the ‘last click attribution’ model that affiliate marketing was a big proponent of back in 2006/2007.

My prediction for 2014 is that the online advertising technology market will focus on enterprise and customer data integrations to enrich media buying and recommendation algorithms in order to match the right offer, with the right end user, against the right price.

Sandeep Vadgama

Sandeep Vadgama


Editor of Fourth Source and freelance SEO/Digital Marketer based in London.