Affiliate marketing has evolved into so much more than a cost-effective tool for brand awareness and traffic. Initially, brands largely viewed the internet as a broadcasting tool. Now they’re recognizing it as a powerful way to reach their customers and consumers in general. Advertisers and their marketing departments have discovered the engagement potential, as well as an opportunity to elevate their brand through multiple types of websites, publishers and content.
“In the past, affiliate [marketing] might have been neglected as something of an afterthought for businesses, both on the advertiser and publisher side, because of this perception,” said Alexandra Forsch, US president at Awin. “But as we’ve seen it take on more importance as a monetization model for a new range of publishers, advertisers have also thought more strategically around how they can use it to reach audiences online. We’ve witnessed a real shift in the diversification of affiliate programs in the last few years. Lower-funnel, incentive-based activity had previously dominated where the majority of sales came from.”
Strategic Affiliate Marketing in Canada
Canadian brands and merchants have only recently begun to use affiliate marketing at all. Strategic use of affiliate marketing beyond that is practically unheard of. Consequently, you’ll probably have to educate some of your affiliate partners. You can start by referring them to our post, How to Start an Affiliate Program for a Canadian Business.
There could be several reasons these brands are struggling with the intricacies of partnerships, such as:
- Some Canadian brands simply have little experience with affiliate marketing.
- They don’t understand affiliate relationships and how to work with affiliates to develop effective marketing campaigns.
- Some have been misguided by people who should know what they’re doing, but obviously don’t. That could be someone they’ve hired to manage their program, their PR/marketing agency, or even the affiliate network they’re running their program on.
Introducing marketing teams to the possibilities and potential of affiliate marketing and healthy partnerships is one of the things I enjoy most. I know what I can offer them and precisely how it will benefit their business. So do you! Examine how you promote affiliates and define the benefits you can offer. Consider expanding the ways you promote advertiser products to your audience, so you can offer even more.
The most important thing to keep in mind, is what goals the advertiser has. Then you can come up with ways to help them reach those goals, which will increase your online income in the process.
A recent survey by Awin and Digiday found the top five affiliate marketing goals are:
- Sales volume 28%
- New customer acquisition 24%
- Brand awareness 21%
- Brand loyalty 16%
- Profitable sales 10%
What Does it Mean for Affiliate Marketers?
Brands are broadening their use of affiliate marketing in a multi-dimensional digital strategy because it works. You can learn from their success and expand your affiliate marketing business to include these effective channels.
Which types of affiliate partnerships did you engage with in 2022?
- Influencers & creators 40%
- Media houses 39%
- Price comparisons 36%
- Bloggers 35%
- Tech partners 34%
- Discounts & coupons 33%
- Cashback 27%
- Brand-to-brand partnerships (complimentary partnerships directly between retailers) 18%
Affiliate marketing is evolving into a multi-dimensional strategy and that will continue into 2023. It won’t be used to its full potential as a marketing tactic in Canada for a year or two, but it will be adopted quickly once it’s been proven in the global online marketplace. You can speed that up by educating brands in this country.
I encourage you to contact affiliate program managers directly. The best ones are always interested in working with affiliates to maximize engagement and sales. You could come up with a winning campaign that’s highly profitable for you both.
Like most digital marketers, I’m anticipating even more opportunities as the metaverse is established. Start thinking about it now so you’re prepared to leverage it with your brand partners.
Note: If you’re just getting started, please read How to Start Affiliate Marketing in Canada for further guidance.
Have you noticed a shift in how brands are utilizing affiliate marketing in their marketing strategy? Please share you experience or questions in the comments below, or join us in the Online Business Canada Facebook group.
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.