COVID-19: Affiliate Marketing

The world is facing unprecedented times and the spread of Coronavirus has brought a lot of uncertainty as people look for new ways to adapt to the current situation. What does COVID-19 mean for Affiliate Marketing? How has it changed consumer behaviour? How can you adapt and find new ways to move your business forward? Together with many affiliate industry experts, we have put together some online advertising tips to help you come up with a PLAN B for 2020.


#CoffeeBreakWithAdcash ☕

Ps. Grab a coffee and make yourself comfortable as this blog post is a bit of a longer read but it will give you valuable insights from the Adcash team and the industry thought leaders including Dijs University, iAmAttila, Mobidea Academy, OfferVault, Redtrack, Servando Silva, Stacked Marketer, STM Forum and Voluum. Let’s understand what’s actually happening in the affiliate marketing industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How does the Coronavirus change consumer behaviour? 

The global pandemic has drastically shifted consumer behaviour. Countries and communities are trying their best to #StayHome and do their part in protecting themselves and others by social distancing. We don’t commute, we don’t travel, and we don’t socialise the way we just did a few months ago. It seems like a long time ago now, right? But have you already tried an online “after-work beers” with your colleagues? Or “Friday-night takeaways” with your pals? We highly recommend it! 

As people are spending much more time at home, it has changed the way people buy, consume and socialise. Also, many subscription services have shown significant increases in both conversion rates and revenue. Just think, how many Netflix shows have you watched already? How many takeaways have you ordered? 

Subscription and convenience services boost during COVID-19 Graph

Bigcommerce – Subscription and convenience services boost during COVID-19

Things are changing and we use different mediums and channels to communicate, be entertained, informed and stay in touch with the rest of the world.

Affiliate Marketing & COVID-19  

“We just need to adapt!”

As we see the shift in consumer behaviour, it means that marketers and affiliates need to reevaluate their short-term strategies during the COVID+19 outbreak to ensure that what and how they promote is still effective. But how can you do so? 

We know that many affiliates have been promoting products or services that have drastically been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. Our good friends from Stacked Marketer (previously called WhatTheAff) are running a survey to see how the outbreak has impacted affiliates. 

Stacked Marketer Survey - State Of Online Marketing Survey -COVID-19 Affiliate Marketing

Stacked Marketer Survey – State Of Online Marketing Survey – COVID-19 Impact. Hurry, the survey ends soon!

We can see that many media buyers are afraid of the impacts and 27% of affiliates are worried that their business will shrink but survive. 

Stacked-Marketer-Emanuel-Cinca

As far as our industry goes, I think we’re some of the most adaptable. We can work from home in most cases so the fact that we are recommended to stay inside for the next few weeks in most of the world is something we can certainly adapt for.

Aside from that, our media buying & general marketing skills can easily pivot to other products. We will likely have a period where people will change their buying and consumption habits. From products that are “wants” to products that are “needs”. It’s hard to make more specific predictions for now but that’s a safe starting point.

The good news is that there will be people creating and promoting products that fit this profile. They exist already and they will be more common. As cliche as it is, we “just” have to adapt.

Emanuel Cinca

Founder of Stacked Marketer, Affiliate Influencer and Speaker, Stacked Marketer

As Emanuel Cinca says, we need to adapt. This is true and we need to be responsive and agile to changes. Affiliate Marketers might test and try new things to adjust to consumer needs and closely measure and evaluate the evolving situation.

However, we do have some good news for our industry that Internet usage has increased by 50% and people are shifting their usage from mobile back to the desktop like the old days. Steam, the PC gaming platform, broke their user record of 20.3mln users using their platform online at any one time in its 16-year history.

Adcash Desktop impressions growth Graph during Covid-19.

Adcash Platform – Desktop Impressions During March 2020

On our Adcash platform, we have seen a similar shift and there has been an increase in desktop traffic (especially pop-under desktop traffic). Desktop impressions have grown by 16.3% in March and we expect this number to increase over the upcoming weeks. So there’s definitely an opportunity for advertisers to place higher budgets on their desktop campaigns. 

Google Search Traffic Drops
According to WordStream, Google has lost 20% of its ad traffic since the beginning of March, and mobile search traffic dropped 25% in March. More people are online than ever but not just searching things –  they are using the internet to work, browse, read news and be entertained.

Google-Search-Drop-Covid-19-graph

Wordstream – Google mobile search traffic decline

Therefore, if you are using Google PPC campaigns, then you should also think about using DSP platforms like Adcash to reach your audience. Here at Adcash, we reach nearly 200M unique users every day thanks to our exclusive publishers and 200+ SSP partners. Try our online advertising platform today.

Top Tips From The Adcash Team

What’s The Plan B For Affiliates?

We have some tips to share with you – what verticals still work and how to convert internet users into profitable business opportunities. It’s all about finding the next thing and alternatives that will work well during the crisis. Our team has seen a big increase in some verticals after the outbreak and these verticals are doing very well. So, what verticals should you focus on? 

What verticals should affiliates focus on during COVID-19?

Remember how we said that consumer behaviour has changed? People are stuck at home and looking for more ways to keep themselves entertained, active and away from boredom. Could an isolated person use or benefit from your product or not? Could this ad actually convert during this time? 

Our Senior Advertiser Managers – Jimmy and Keijo have put together a little list of verticals that are booming today and some extra tips for you to succeed.

Online Gambling
Sports-booking is on hold but over the past weeks we have seen online casino and poker offers booming. Get in there! 

Dating & adult
Dating and especially adult have increased massively over the past few weeks. People want to date but as there’s no way to have a real “Tinder date”, then online dating apps and platforms are a good way to meet new people. Some of the offers to try are webcam offers, online dating, senior dating, and live chats.

Online Gaming
During the time of lockdown, people are looking for ways to be entertained. The online gaming industry is definitely reaping the rewards already. 

Video on demand (VOD)
People are searching for entertainment and there’s no better time to subscribe to VOD offers. These offers work very well during #StayHome.

App installs
Again, mobile apps that are related to fitness, education, eBooks, VOD, dating, food delivery, utilities, health and gambling are the ones to run as they have great conversion rates and our media-buyers have seen some great results. 

VPNs
People are surfing the web more than ever and using their home wifi provider. There’s a demand to protect their online privacy and also to access some other countries’ content that is not available in their location. A big demand!

Sweepstakes and Coupons
People are looking for special offers and sweepstakes but again make sure that these offers are relevant and something people actually need.

Health and self-education
Again everything related to health, fitness, eBooks, cooking recipes and self-education is something consumers are after during the lockdown. 

Insurance and Finance
During this difficult time, people might be looking for life insurance or health insurance deals to protect themselves and loved ones. Also, some businesses might be needing debt, consolidation and other financial services. Plus, some people are looking for ways to invest in new ventures. The stock market is currently plummeting. This is a great opportunity for a lot of people to invest in the stock market and their future by buying shares cheaper and then waiting for the situation to go back to normal. We think everyone has seen enough of Alec Baldwin and his stock buying tips via eToro ads on Youtube – now is the time to find other offers in this niche and get testing!

eCommerce
The majority of eCommerce is doing badly but some specific offers are doing well during this time. So just make sure that the products you promote fit with the #Stayhome lifestyle. 

Top tips when using new verticals:

✔️ Research new verticals and niches that you want to run to see how to promote these offers 

✔️Always A/B test to see what works and what doesn’t 

✔️Create eye-catching creatives and landing pages to increase your engagement and conversion rates

✔️Try different ad formats and if you’re trying pop-unders, then definitely try interstitial ads too 

✔️  Use our user-interest and keyword targeting capabilities to reach the right audience (🤫 Our own Performance Advertising Team loves these targeting features)

✔️ Use our CPA Target Bid Type that will automatically optimize your campaigns and you could spend time with your loved ones whilst we do the rest

✔️ Use automatic payments to make sure that your ads are always on

✔️We would recommend running Interstitial ads with any app installs where the redirection takes the user directly to the App store. When running on Pop-Under, we recommend trying both direct redirection and prelander to store flows. 

Keep Mastering Your Affiliate Marketing Skills During COVID-19

Also, one other tip would be to use this time to educate yourself on the niches and verticals that are currently on “pause” such as sports betting offers. This is a vertical that in the past brought high ROI to our media buyers and publishers. Try to read a few blog posts (like this one) related to sports betting advertising and make yourself familiar with landing page concepts and targeting options. So once everything is back to normal, you will be in a great position to hit the ground running.

Top Tips From Affiliate Industry Pros

We have some exclusive comments for Adcash readers from super affiliates, speakers, premium forums and tracking platforms including STM Forum, OfferVault, iAmAttila, Servando Silva, Mobidea Academy, Redtrack, Dijs University and Voluum. Let’s hear what the industry pros say about the current situation and their top tips for you.

Amy-Cheung-STM-Forum

Amy Cheung, Senior Moderator at STM Forum

“The bad: consumers are still spending money, just not as willing to in uncertain times. The good: there are fewer advertisers bidding on traffic right now so traffic is cheaper. If your campaigns are negatively affected, try to scale back ad spend. Focus on showing proven creatives to proven audiences, and dedicate a part of the ad spend towards testing new creatives to show to these proven audiences in order to decrease CPA. If the type of product/service you’re currently promoting isn’t the type to thrive in times like this, look for products/services to promote that ARE.

If you own a product or service that can be of value to people during this difficult time, consider offering a steep discount.  The gesture of goodwill will not only earn trust and gratitude from consumers (potentially earning you customers for life), but you’d feel good knowing you’ve done the right thing.  At the end of the day, it’s not riches/poverty that will follow you into the afterlife – it’s how you’ve conducted yourself as a human being, especially during times of trial.”

 

Josh Sebo - OfferVault

Josh Sebo, COO at OfferVault

“Considering this has never happened before, I think the only thing we can do as an industry is to be flexible and quickly follow the changing trends as they develop. As I’m sure everyone is noticing, things are constantly changing by the day. The more flexible & open-minded you/your business can become, the more likely you’ll come out of this thing on top. I think working remotely was already quickly on its way to becoming the new norm. Once this settles down, I’m curious to see how many companies in our industry just stick with it and get rid of the office space altogether. Stay safe everyone! :-)”

 

Artur-Voluum

Artur Kaczmarcyk, Head of Partnerships at Voluum

“The key advice – stay calm and stay home. You can actually do something by doing nothing. Since you’re at home you have tons of time to dive into an affiliate abyss. Wondering what works? Look around you and see what you are trying to get/try soon. I will tell you what I’m looking at and you better put up some campaigns around that as I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  1. Financial markets. Crazy drops and sudden spikes almost every day. This creates opportunities a lot of people will be tempted to seize. Especially with more time to choose and observe your positions. Go for Forex/Crypto/Finance offers.
  2. Gaming. With a lot of spare time and having most of Netflix content consumed people will tap into other activities. What kills time better than your favorite addictive game you remember? Even the toughest opponents of wasting time on games will now end up playing and most likely spending some money on it. Help them satisfy their hunger with some nice gaming offers.
  3. App installs. Done with trading and having a break from playing you will get your phone and check what’s going on. Thoughts about doing something for the body as well might come back and there are plenty of fitness apps out there. Crazy addictive games, relaxing and unwinding apps, e-learning stuff. So many opportunities here!

As you can see it’s not really a Plan B – same thing some of you are or were doing, just with a different angle. I would advise focusing on 100% online industries. CODs, eCommerce might be affected because of various restrictions across different countries. At the same time, there might be some nice and abandoned niches to jump in. 

Anyway, the situation is very dynamic but the affiliate industry should be fine. We’re adapting fast and operating remotely since always.

Let’s just hope this thing will disappear as quickly as it unfolded. Stay home and stay safe folks!

P.S. I also heard that since people stay at home all adult stuff is working great now. I don’t know why… 😉

 

Servando-Silva

Servando Silva, Performance Marketing Expert and founder of ServandoSilva.com

“Here are my top tips for media buyers. Focus on verticals that are evergreen. Keep in mind people are going to be in their houses and practising social distance. Gambling, Dating, Streaming and other verticals still work. If you’re selling stuff (eCommerce), try to focus on things that people need more than things that people don’t ever really need but are cool/nice to have. You will see more online traffic than ever. Adult websites will have more traffic, entertainment websites as well, so your CPMs might be cheaper or maybe not, but there will also be more volume available on some websites. News websites will also have more traffic than normal, which is great for native ads. Keep your cash flow in check as always check the quality of your conversions to avoid not being paid at some point.”

 

Joao - Mobidea

João Aguiar, Head of Marketing at Mobidea

“Firstly, affiliate marketeers doing physical product campaigns like COD in the most affected countries, I believe you should consider pausing your campaigns ASAP (if you didn’t do it yet). The risk of not converting due to delays with the deliveries, shutdown call centers, etc, it’s too high. However, I believe that there’s a great opportunity for non-physical products or services. Let me list a few verticals I’m expecting good results in the short term sweepstakes, food, adult, apps, health.

Plan your next business strategies wisely because there are no expectations of stabilization in the next 6 months. So, think that as an opportunity, take the time to read some useful content, listen to podcasts – fuel up yourself with valuable information. As a final note, as always, stay at home and be safe!”

 

Dasha-RedTrack

Dasha Nazarova, Marketing & Partnership Manager at RedTrack.io

“It’s hard to deny that the coronavirus outbreak has shattered, to a greater or a lesser extent, every industry and business. While offline businesses were affected first, now we evidence certain influence on the online sphere and advertising as well. My guess is that the absolute effect of the pandemic on our industry would become clear in about 3 months. 

From the standpoint of our product, we haven’t noticed any drastic changes. Our support team still has a steady daily flow of tickets and messages 🙂 The traffic volume might have dropped a bit, but it’s wrong to link it to coronavirus only, as there are plenty of other factors that might influence on that. 

For affiliates, plan B is to embrace new verticals, and from my standpoint only ‘whitehat’ offers and tactics would work now. For business, it’s harder. probably, they should concentrate more on building online connections and communities. and work harder on the advertiser – publisher relations

As to my personal observation, the cancellation of all the biggest affiliate marketing conferences would have a huge impact on networks, especially small ones, as these events are a big part of their business development strategies. As to affiliates and media buyers, the coronavirus outbreak will force them to shift attention to certain verticals. As I see it, app installs (games mostly), education offers, and maybe insurance offers should be on the rise now. In the end, I would say that the influence of the virus on the business would largely depend on our ability to respond timely to the changes. On the part of all our RedTrack team, we wish everyone health and safety.”

 

iAmAttila

iAmAttila – Old School Affiliate Marketer / Blogger / Owner of iAmAffiliate premium forum

“Corona pandemic is a global situation we’ve never experienced before; it’s worse than the 2008 recession as it came very fast and no one expected it.  Affiliates used to promote products that solve a WANT have to quickly pivot to offer solving more immediate needs. Lots of businesses are negatively affected by this, many people have lost and will lose their jobs. Agencies having their clients cancel their ad contracts, huge drops in CPM prices everywhere. There is however opportunity – internet marketers are in a favourable position as they all have the skills needed to make it through this. They are already working from home, or ‘remotely’ and just have to brush up on new skills and explore new verticals.”

 

Colin-Dijs-picture

Colin Dijs, Super Affiliate & Founder of Dijs University

“During this pandemic crisis, the consumers are panicking, which is very much noticeable in online behaviour. People are working from home, in quarantine or complete lockdown. More users are on the internet right now than probably ever! CPM’s are relatively low compared to before, it’s not weird to see a 10-30% drop in CPM prices compared to a month ago. However, user behaviour patterns are also very different.

While people are at home, they have nothing to do so they go on the internet. They might click your ads but it’s unlikely they will convert in this current period of unrest. Don’t believe me? I put it to the test!

I send over 5000 clicks using a Native DSP to a Crypto offer in Italy. Normally the CPA per lead is $27 and lead to FTD is 10% conversion rate. Those 5000 clicks normally cost me about $900 from my optimised, proven and quality placements. Right now they cost me $278 and got only one lead and no FTD.

People are curious, they are at home all day with nothing better to do than “explore” the internet. One big factor you need to take into consideration during this pandemic that as long as there is chaos people will solely focus on necessities. This doesn’t mean you can’t make sales in other verticals, because you can. However, the average rule to apply for your business in this time is: focus on promoting necessity products until the chaos settles. Once it does, health and fitness industry will be booming. Get your keto trials ready! ;)” 

#StayHomeButConnected

With each crisis comes an opportunity, and that’s our message that we want to give our clients. It might be tough at the moment but the more agile we are and the more we try new things, the more we’ll be able to tackle the current crisis and become even more successful afterwards. 

Our team is working remotely and it is business as usual for us. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or if there’s something we can help you with. Our account managers have a lot of tricks and tips on how to tackle the crisis. We’re here to offer you guidance on how to make the most of our platform when testing different verticals and share some insights.

Stay positive and most importantly stay healthy! 

We’re here. Your Adcash. 

 

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