How Mobile Is Changing Affiliate Marketing

MobileCropIt’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone who pays even cursory attention to digital marketing that mobile technology is changing the way businesses attract and interact with their customers. But what does mobile mean for affiliate marketing specifically?

In affiliate marketing, as in the rest of the digital world, mobile traffic is exploding. On ShareASale, one of the major affiliate marketing networks, 25% of traffic and 20% of transactions came from mobile devices in 2013. That’s up 100% from the year before. Clearly, given this rate of growth, everyone involved in affiliate marketing is going to have to embrace mobile if they want to succeed.

How to Optimize for Mobile

For standard affiliates – bloggers who refer visitors to merchant sites through ads or content – not much has changed. These affiliates just need to make sure their sites are properly optimized for mobile. Merchants, too, should make sure their sites and affiliate programs are properly set up for mobile.

Here are some technical steps sites can take right now to optimize for mobile:

1. Remove disruptive creative content

○      Eliminate flash creative, sliders, Lightbox image galleries

○      Remove modal pop-ups and required log-in for entry to the site

2. Website visual optimization

○      Increase the size of link targets to make touching easier on mobile devices

○      Limit the use of sliders in favor of longer scrolling pages

○      Reduce the number of categories and subcategories so that navigation is easier

3. Order checkout and affiliate tracking

○      Streamline checkout process to only required fields

○      Ensure affiliate tracking pixel is installed on mobile checkout pages, including checkout on m. sites

○      If tracking sales through mobile app purchases, sign-ups, or downloads, ensure affiliate tracking is installed on purchase page

4. Optimize e-mail marketing campaigns

○      Use mobile responsive design using HTML 5

○      Eliminate use of rotating creative

New Opportunities

In addition to changing the way people interact with traditional affiliates, mobile has also opened up opportunities for completely new affiliates that didn’t exist just a few years ago. Some of the most exciting are affiliates that buy mobile advertising space in apps and mobile games.

Some affiliates build apps specifically for merchants. If a merchant doesn’t already have an app where users can shop, these affiliates will build one based on the affiliate product feed. Mximo, for example, is an affiliate that enables brands to launch their very own mobile catalogue and shop app.

Affiliate networks such as ShareASale are embracing this mobile revolution and now offer the ability to integrate the affiliate tracking pixel into the app so purchases can be tracked through ShareASale. If someone places an order through that app, the affiliate that built it receives a commission.

Acceleration Partners is excited to help our affiliates maintain their success through the mobile revolution and help our merchants capitalize on the new opportunities created by mobile. To discover more about our innovative affiliate marketing practice, please visit our Affiliate Program Management page.

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