Startups Will Consider Affiliate Marketing In 2015

The year 2015 is slated to be one of the biggest given the amount of change that Individuals & Businesses predict to see in various aspects of Digital Marketing.

The first week of 2015 saw influencers from different verticals lay down their predictions for topics that they’ve a strong command on. This article is about two weeks overdue, but given the rising importance of Affiliate Marketing in India, an industry expected to grow over 500% over the next few years, an article on the trends/predictions for Affiliate Marketing for the year 2015 is necessary.

So without wasting time let me put down 5 of my humble predictions for Affiliate Marketing.

1) Content Is The Way To Attract

A lot of people are advocating content for businesses regardless of whether they’re targeting Customers or other Businesses. This has become the newest buzz word in Marketing and Google Search Trends proves the ever increasing rise over time in people trying to learn how they can integrate content with their business.

Today’s Target Customer is a lot more mature. Impulse purchases do exist, but they happen after a considerable amount of research. People are resorting to Individual Blogs, Price Comparison Websites and Review Sites for their information; and all of the above mentioned sources are more often than not Affiliates. This trend isn’t going to see any change in the year 2015.

Lloyd D Souza an ardent traveler chronicles his travels on his blog Wanderer Notes, and uses his Social Channel to engage with people interested in traveling. He provides honest references to Hotels and modes of communication that etched memories in his heart. He then links his readers to businesses that they can connect with to match his experience. Startups are going to be looking out for Affiliates like Lloyd to describe the value their product/service can offer.

2) The Power In Social Media

By now the importance of this is very self explanatory, yet let me elaborate this with Statistics. India has an Internet Population of over 300 Million; around 110 Million of that population is on Social Media. Over 40 Million people in India resort to Social Media to get information on brands, reviews or even finding their potential spouse or partner.

This makes it even more important to have a strong brand or advocated presence on a Social Channel that makes business sense for you. Harsh Agrawal, the founder of Shout Me Loud, a blog that gives valuable advice on Blogging, Online Marketing and excelling online has a follower base of over 60,000 on Facebook. People on his channel follow him for his advice on recommended tools, reviews and experiences related to operating a Blog or setting up your own Blog.

Companies like Hostgator, Dreamhost, SEMRush are having the value of their services being advocated by Harsh which in turn leads to better conversions for them.

Sourcing an Affiliate with a strong Social Presence will become important to create the quick ripple effect that Startups are interested in.

3) In-House Affiliate Programs

Online Businesses have resorted to consulting Affiliate Networks in order to set up and manage their Affiliate Program; this has worked for them since the business gains through access to an easy pool of affiliates, critical data, experienced Affiliate Managers, outsourced commission payouts and so on.

In 2015 these businesses are looking at expanding the potential through this channel by setting up their own In-House Affiliate Program. What does that offer? More control over your Affiliates, knowing who your best performing Affiliates are, creating better discounts and incentives based on data, setting targets on Affiliates, reduced costs and most importantly for Startups, low cost of operation for the Affiliate Program. All in all, this will lead to much better Affiliate campaigns being managed.

Businesses like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Redwolf, Nykaa, Zivame, Zepo, Groupon, Bewakoof are generating a sizable percentage of their revenue through their own In-House Affiliate Program.

4) Improved Affiliate Network Operations

With the proliferation of unique Startups that are addressing different niches it becomes imperative for Affiliate Networks to work out solutions that are customized to the requirement of the business. A one size fits all service won’t really work in today’s business environment.

Networks will have to look beyond the incentivized lead generation technique, ad-hoc display advertisement technique, and Text Advertisement technique and see how they can action resourceful Affiliates to a campaign that can attract an audience relevant to the Merchant.

Quality of the leads being generated will be under deep scrutiny by the Merchant since businesses are looking at quick results whether that be measured on awareness, leads or conversions. This will entail having to receive timely data on the Campaign from the network, measures being used to promote the business, and a Plan B incase alterations have to be made to a campaign to make it deliver.

5) The Love For Coupons & Vouchers

The tool used by almost every online shopper before finalizing a purchase. It’s quite essential in these days of rampant competition to ensure that your store is listed on websites like CouponDunia, CouponRaja, Cuponation, Cashkaro, 27 Coupons and similar; it not only helps fuel user acquisition, but to an extent even takes care of user retention for certain e-commerce stores.

Such is the popularity of Coupons with shoppers that the Indian Market for Online Coupons accounted for more than USD 2 Billion in 2013 and is expected to rise by 30% in 2017 (source yourstory). Numbers also indicate that close to 85% of Indians use a voucher before online shopping (source: yourstory).

However, on the Coupon Publisher side it’s becoming even more important for them to display their importance to the Merchant in the entire role of purchase. Merchants have started emphasizing more on the need for promotional based activity by the Coupon Publisher that would create an intent for the user to make a purchase, as opposed to already having an intent and just finalizing it with a Coupon

Conclusion: 2015 is going to be a super interesting year for Affiliate Marketing in India. With Startups ever increasing focus on frugality, it will be a matter of time before a majority of Startups have their very own Affiliate Program and look at new opportunities opening up for them.

What are your thoughts on Affiliate Marketing, have you already set up or plan on setting up your own Affiliate Program? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section.