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What is hot in Affiliate Marketing in the 2nd half of 2017?

Hello again everyone 🙂

Summer is over… the days of BBQ, travels and beer are gone, so it’s time to get back to work again. It’s not like I wasn’t running campaigns during the summer, but I’ve decided to focus more on my family and have some fun. Which was possible thanks to my colleague, who managed most of our campaigns in the meantime 🙂

Now that I’m back in the office, it’s time to launch some new campaigns and maybe play with some new verticals …but what should I test, that’s the question 🙂 What is working now, in the second half of 2017?

There are several ways to find out, I can check out the spytools, which I did already of course. I also see which ones of our campaigns are working good, which I check all the time obviously. I could also ask the reps or friends I have at several Affiliate Networks, as they see directly where the volume goes up and down … and I did this too already.

So… I got results from the spytools, I see our own data and I have replies from 4 affiliate networks that I work with, in one way or another. And this blog posts will be some kind of summary of what I was able to find out. Let’s get stated.

NOTE: I researched regular affiliate offers only, let’s call them CPA offers. I didn’t go into eCommerce etc … Check this article to get a better understanding about affiliate offers.

1. SPYTOOLS

These were not much of a surprise actually, it looks pretty much the same as at the beginning of the year. I’ve used Adplexity for this, it’s still the best spytool at the market in my opinion.

Mainstream traffic: still a lot of utility apps (to my surprise), sweeps, antivirus (mostly cloaked), nutra products (skincare and diet mostly), gambling/games (this seems to be more popular than before), carrier billing is still everywhere (I expected a decrease here). I found a lot of dating on native networks, seems to be on the rise there.

Adult traffic: dating is still the king here, in all more developed GEOs. I see a lot of live cam ads and also adult content paysites (mostly on banners). However, large part of the live cam promotions are directlinked campaigns and POP-under campaigns that I know are ran directly by the live cam companies themselves. The paysite banners are again ran mostly by the site owners themselves, on traffic that remains unsold. So nothing for a media buying affiliate. Adult games are way more prevalent now than they used to be, and I also see more of male enhancement and stamina supplements in the rotation.

These were the main verticals that I could see over and over, basically in any GEO that I checked. I could observe one trend, when looking at TIER-1 GEOs, there was more nutra, dating and similar offers, while in the lower TIER GEOs, carrier billing seems to be way more popular. I guess it’s due to the regulations.

2. OUR CAMPAIGNS

I can certainly confirm that we are doing worse with Carrier Billing offers, I’m really curious what the affiliate networks have to say here … I will post their replies in a bit, later in this post. What seems to be running stable is anything that has to do with Lead-Gen … dating for example.

Some GEOs are still working well with adult carrier billing offers, mostly the lower TIER-s, so that’s still something to focus on. We have some small campaigns running on Facebook and Adwords … those are pretty much stable, mainly due to the quality of their traffic.

3. AFFILIATE NETWORKS

I prepared 3 questions and sent them to 5 affiliate network reps that I’m working with, in one form or another. The ones I chose are all solid operations, with no intentions to feed me some crap data, I basically trust all of them and honor their opinion. Unfortunately, 1 of them wasn’t able to get me the answers in a timely manner, so we will have to do with 4. I could have asked some more, but simply didn’t want to wait any longer.

Here are the questions I sent them :

When you look at the past 3 or 4 months worth of data, that you see within your affiliate network, is it possible to identify some trends and give clear answers to the following 3 questions?

1. Is there some vertical that shows clear signs of going down, when it come to overall volume of conversions/sales?
2. Is there, on the other hand, some vertical, that shows strong signs of growth and affiliate should focus on?
3. I’m sure there are some ever-greens in the mix too, can you name a few? What are the stable verticals?

And here are the answers in random order, without any preference :

Fabrizio from Gotzha.Com: Gotzha is a “general” affiliate network that works with a wide range of offers. Fabi is a long time friend of mine, he was actually one of my first AM at another network. Later on, he became one of the Gotzha founders.

His answers follow :

1. It’s not a secret that there have been quite some regulations in the mobile content space. Click flows are changing into Pins and there have even been cases where carriers completely paused mobile services. This definitely had an impact on the vertical. On the other hand, this forces affiliates to be more creative and to be more thorough in their search for better offers.

For us as a network we definitely see a decline in the number of affiliates running bigger campaigns, but the more experienced affiliates are still able to find and seize the right opportunities, this may be different kind of products or different (usually smaller) countries. There are also rumors that carriers do miss the revenues coming from mobile subscriptions, as we have seen before, this vertical goes in waves and we should expect some markets to open again with better flows.

2. For us the sweepstakes CPL vertical has been growing steadily since we started. In comparison to mobile content I feel that CPL sweeps are more sustainable; there are less parties involved, there are less regulations and I think there are huge opportunities when it comes to optimizing the traffic. As you may know, the data of the answers, given by the users are being sold to third parties.

I think this data can be sold very precisely if you have a lot of partners in your flow. To give an example, let’s say a user in Germany gives the answer he is looking to buy a TV in the Bremen area and his data gets sold to a local TV shop who can give him a discount. This is relevant marketing and will improve the quality for all parties. I can see in the future that this will be implemented more frequently and there will be more countries available. To conclude, there is a lot of room for growth in terms of countries, volumes, optimizations and brands you can push.

3. We tapped into the CPI market not too long ago, it’s quite a labour intensive vertical but a very rewarding one at that. KPI’s are quite difficult to manage, but once you optimize the traffic you can run campaigns for months without losing the offer. You occasionally have that the products get pulled from the play store but usually the offers get restored quickly. Cleaners, social casino, games or e-commerce products are all worth your while. Obviously with the growing mobile markets this vertical will keep growing in the upcoming years.

Let’s continue with KIMIA, which is an affiliate network with focus on mobile carrier billing offers. I’m working with these guys for a few years already and they’ve been one of the best networks I’ve been with. Kimia’s managing partner Ivan Carillo answered the questions for us.

1. The mobile carrier market has seen a downturn in number of conversions/sales in recent months. This decrease is due to regulations by the mobile operators, changes in conversion flows and a tendency of moving from 1-click to 2-click or even to pin-submit flows. This has affected overall markets including IN, UAE, TH and ZA.

However, due to specific technology implementations by Kimia to control fraud and to improve traffic quality, coupled with our long-term relationships with the mobile operators, we have minimized the impact for our affiliates and we are seeing faster recovery in these markets.

2. Although mobile content offers are suffering in some key territories, things are growing in others. We are seeing significant growth in new territories such as Morocco, Tunisia, Bulgaria, Portugal, and segments in Latam and Asia. Additionally, we have seen conversions improve greatly with social traffic to mobile content offers. Other niches that are showing steady growth on are Sweepstakes, Video streaming (Netflix type), Nutra/Health and Beauty in COD for Europe and Asia and credit card in US.

3. As mentioned above I think mobile content is a long standing stable vertical although the geos change. We have been focused on this vertical for more than 10 years and have witnessed the rise and fall of many geographical regions. However, as a whole it remains a great Affiliate marketing vertical due to the easy conversion flows, and knowing where and what to hit at that right time.

Our objective at Kimia is to keep affiliates on top of the hottest products while the market is still on fire. Additionally I also think that Adult will also continue to be a stable vertical as long as men still love their phones and have a pulse:)

Next one will be Christoph Brughmans, co-owner of Addiliate.Com, which is another “general” affiliate network with plenty of offers to chose from. These guys are gladly working with newbies, so if you’re looking for the first network to test with, Addiliate might be a good pick. Check Christophs answers below :

1. We see a relatively big drop in the volumes we are doing with pure CPI mobile app campaigns. Although volumes are still good the growth rate has definitely slowed down when it comes to this type of campaigns. Advertisers are getting a lot stricter and some of them have started to impose KPIs that are sometimes too strict to obtain.

In such cases we prefer to pass on these opportunities as we only want to promote campaigns on the Addiliate network that we know affiliates can make a lot of money with and that don’t have unrealistic KPIs.

2. There’s a strong uptake in the numbers we are making with mobile content campaigns, on a global scale. More and more affiliates are interested in running 1 click and 2 click flow offers.
What is also interesting for affiliates is that mobile content campaigns usually have unlimited budgets once quality is proven and that these type of campaigns work well on the same traffic sources in various geo’s. So scaling is a lot easier for affiliates, which is very important to them and hence also to us.

3. Stable verticals on the Addiliate network are traditionally browser extensions, gaming, dating, binary and payday loan campaigns. They have been making great numbers in the past for us and we foresee this trend to continue seamlessly in the short and mid term future. That being said, we are always hunting for new campaigns and verticals to test out and scale.

The 4th network would be MOBIDEA, which is another mobile focused network and another great one that I had very good results with. The launched an internal tracker some time ago, which might be worth a try for any new affiliate that want’s to start with carrier billing. Raul from Mobidea was kind enough to answer my questions :

1. Lately, as it is common knowledge in Affiliate Marketing, mobile carriers have been becoming stricter every day, with increasing restrictions and tougher billing flows.
I would say that some verticals that counted a lot on “looser” restrictions to be successful are in a down tide. Like anti-virus offers, for example.

Sweepstakes still account for a lot of revenues, but I’d also say that recently is far from the “golden age” they were in a while back.

2. A vertical we’ve been seeing growing and getting a lot of traction for quite a while now is Mobile Content. A lot on lower tier GEOs, but also even on tier 1 GEOs (with different profiles of offers usually though).

They usually work well with the most widespread pop traffic sources, which are the ones where affiliates promote in a larger scale.

3. Dating (adult and mainstream) is something that is always out there. If you nail a funnel with a good offer and some good landers you probably can do quite well.
Also some classic VOD adult offers, although they do depend a lot on carrier restrictions, if you get a good offer you still can cash out nicely.

It seems to me also that the market is really moving towards a direction of more branded offers with profiles a bit different from the most traditional ones many people got used to in Affiliate Marketing.

So you can expect to hear increasingly more about finance and binaries and health&fitness (also labelled as Nutra sometimes) offers for example. The marketer has to adapt and learn how to deal with these verticals, as the ways of promoting them can be different.

SUMMARY TIME

SO, based on the answers we got here … looks like CPI (app installs) are very complicated lately, advertisers are looking for unrealistic returns and not many affiliates are able to cope with that. This is quite in contrast with how many app installs I could still find in the spy-tools – I’d say it might have to do with older data still affecting the results. We should see less and less of these campaigns in rotation.

Pretty much everyone also confirmed the decline in carrier billing offers, especially when it come to direct billing – I’ve seen some hybrid models coming to existence lately, guess where there is will there is a way to make it work. The general consensus seems to be that lower TIER GEOs are the places to go to in this vertical now. So quite in line with what I see on my own campaigns.

Dating, Gaming, Sweeps and Adult Content mobile offers have been named as verticals with bright future, so these might be the ones to look at now. I didn’t really deal with gaming offers much, so based on this research I’ve done, looks like that will be the vertical I should try next.

Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, let your opinion be heard 🙂

Matuloo 🙂


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