Skip to content

Affiliate Marketing trends in 2021 and your guide to 2022

It is time for our traditional recap of the hottest traffic sources and affiliate verticals for 2021 that is steadily drawing to its clause. We will take a look at our past predictions and see whether they came to pass in reality. And, of course, we will once again speculate about the upcoming 2022 and what it might bring to affiliate marketers.

Trending traffic sources

Facebook (or Meta) continues its love-hate relationships with marketers worldwide, as usual. The platform has been a rich even though erratic traffic source for a variety of verticals for some years now. 

What’s new is that the network gravitates heavily towards a creator-centered community. FB announced that authors will be able to earn more by paying fewer fees to third parties if they attract subscribers directly to Facebook. For several months, FB will even be remunerating the creators themselves for every new subscriber.

The platform has disabled its face recognition feature in yet another move towards better protecting user privacy. The ad measurement algorithm also saw some changes: you may see more users in your campaign reports as FB and Instagram users with the same number and same device ID will now be counted as two people, not one. On the other hand, it is now possible to send customized welcome messages to new users in groups and pin selected posts to the top portion of the page — these features will benefit your fanpage campaigns.

TikTok is the new star as it has managed to topple Facebook’s reign and has become the most downloaded app in 2021. The short video format boomed this year bringing especially good results for e-commerce, nutra, and finance ad campaigns. The platform’s audience is diverse, despite the prejudice that it’s purely for teenagers. Here’s a little tip: the content of your creatives should be attention-grabbing and sensational to get into the recommendations section and get the views.

Among the new features that may come in handy are: the product links you can share and earn a fee on sales (i.e. affiliate links in disguise); online catalogs within TikTok; livestream shopping — purchasing items that are featured during the stream.

Now you can access the TikTok Creator Portal for tips and inspiration for your creatives. This portal is full of content strategies and useful information on the best ways of working with the platform.

Messenger traffic is also a big trend. This source is usually employed as a supplementary part of the funnel. It can work for dating, gambling, and even education verticals. For instance, you attract users on TikTok or Instagram and instead of redirecting to a landing page, you use a closed chat or a chatbot in WhatsApp or Telegram. It can also be broken down into several steps: a heat-up chat that sells cheap access to a second chat containing a part of your content, after that users get ready to cough up to get the full thing. 

Push and Pop advertising is still going strong, even though many claim that these ad formats are outdated. There are new subcategories such as in-app push (IAP) and in-page push (IPP) that show great performance and are well-loved by ad networks. These two are like the second wind for push ads. IAP and IPP are banners that look almost like push notifications. The ad appears suddenly, grabs the user’s attention, and redirects them to the offer page in one click. The advantages are: it stays visible until clicked on, usually has no picture (easier to use on mobile devices), and stands out among the actual system push notifications. Another popular format is interstitial ads, the full-screen ads that block access to main content for some time.

Google UAC is a powerful traffic source for everything to do with mobile. As mobile traffic gradually takes a bigger share of the market, in-app advertising becomes a huge trend among the affiliates. The volume of traffic in UAC is worth all the headache with moderation and accounts. Don’t also forget that smart affiliates use Google UAC and “WebView applications” to convert casino offers extremely well.

Native ads are one of the evergreen sources because people are immensely tired of seeing advertising everywhere and this format is less intrusive. Worth a shot anytime for any offer vertical. There are some new approaches to this undying format, for example, rotating multiple images within one ad set. The ads change in a slide-show format while the user hovers over the ad block.

SMS and email traffic still exists and is even doing well. Many marketers have turned to browser and in-app advertising, forgetting the subscription databases. True, this approach needs careful planning and a database that perfectly fits the offer, but the result may be just as great as with native advertising if you do it right. SMS and email campaigns are also a great auxiliary channel for other traffic sources, for instance, to warm up the audience during a pre-sale period.

Trending Verticals

E-commerce and nutra are on fire and don’t seem to stop. People got used to comfortable shopping and delivery, and since nowadays everything can be found, bought, and delivered online there is no stopping online retailers. Big corporations like Google or TikTok have introduced various ad solutions for e-commerce and nutra campaigns. For instance, shoppable streams and active links are now available on TikTok, while Google features a shopping section in search results and shows highlighted bargains/sales. These updates may become game changers for your ad campaigns if you find the right approach.

Young woman packing products into boxes and placing white paper sign on top for online business, online selling, parcel delivery, e-commerce.

Sweepstakes, iGaming, Gambling, and Dating verticals are some of the so-called evergreen ones. They all cater to basic human needs fulfilling the desire for entertainment and communication. Ever since the first lockdowns, the whole planet went online and mostly stays that way. And seeing that the global situation is still far from ideal, gifts, giveaways, games, and pleasant conversations are essential to millions of dwellers of the worldwide web. 

As for gambling, brick-and-mortar casinos and real-life betting are out of bounds for many people around the globe due to local legislation, which do not seem to relax. This means that online entertainment in the form of slot machines, card games, racing bets, and other games of chance fills this niche perfectly.

eSports, a sub-vertical of sports betting, is another sector that has gained more prominence recently. While offline events are still in danger of being canceled or postponed, eSports global market’s estimated value is $1.08 billion and growing.

Lead generation especially for healthcare and insurance offers has gathered strong momentum this year, as the greatest concern of many is health and wellbeing.

General trends for 2022

Now let us unwrap some events that are likely to shape the industry for 2022.

  • Social media are skyrocketing in popularity. Many platforms, Instagram and TikTok for example, integrate a shopping solution to enable the viewers not only to see the trends and create wishlists, but also buy items on the spot. Instagram has also added a long-awaited feature to post from PC. This makes campaign launch much easier and will likely increase the popularity of Instagram among marketers.

  • And a friendly reminder that content is king: many platforms encourage content makers and provide them with incentives or discounts. As we have mentioned above, this is not the only reason to rework your approach to text and creatives.
  • Influencer marketing is getting stronger by the year. And it’s not just fashion and makeup, almost any offer can be promoted with the help of influencers. The key point is to find the right person who will be able to deliver your message perfectly.

Well, this was our recap of the year 2021. Our main takeaway is: stay creative and flexible, then no change in the market will knock you down!

Yep Ads is always by your side and ready to help you rise to new marketing heights!