Our Performance Marketing Predictions for 2017

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Predictions abound for what 2017 will bring. From who will get an Oscar to what technology will rock our world, there are a lot of people who have a lot to say about the year ahead. Including us.

While we may not have much of an opinion to offer in terms of who will sing the hit song of the summer or who will win the World Series, our super smart team of marketing mavens have some experienced-backed wisdom to share about what the year holds for affiliate and digital marketing.

What role will affiliate marketing play? What impact will mobile have? What should e-commerce companies watch out for? Check out our predictions for these questions and more:

Predictions from the AP Team

“I predict that there will be more “out of the box” type partnerships that explore not solely CPA but include a mixture of offline & online, CPC, more tight-knit relationships with other channels to define marketplace perception and deals and overall closer working relationships across all digital teams.

I think mobile will continue to play a huge role but I foresee virtual reality becoming more mainstream with advertisers trying it as a promotion tool.

I also believe social will continue to be big but that there will be some consolidation across the key players.

My final prediction is that there will be more user-generated content produced in 2017 than all previous years combined as shoppers are getting more savvy, opinionated and willing to share their experiences and wanting to be rewarded for doing so.”


“I predict that Affiliate and SEO will get more coverage and interest, while companies will be more cautious with their paid marketing and search investments.”


“I think 2017 is going to be the year of “mobile” and “artificial intelligence.” Looking forward to all of the industry changes and how we are going to adapt!”


“I predict more and more brands looking to shift budget to performance and looking to better align channels to ROI.”


“I believe big data and the customer journey will be an even bigger focus in 2017 and that advertisers will demand measurement insight about whether their publishers are driving incremental revenue.”


“I think that state nexus laws are going to continue to be a pain point for affiliate programs, which will likely lead to brands looking for new partnership opportunities in non-traditional ways.

I also predict that more brands will wise-up to the fact that influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are essentially one in the same, but that the affiliate model allows companies to better protect their brand and track their results and ROI.

Lastly, I think we’ll see affiliate marketing serving as a core model for which more brands run the majority of their marketing channels through, including influencer, business development, referrals, paid marketing, search and social.”


“Much greater overlap of affiliate, SEO, paid, and even programmatic.”


“Mobile, live streaming, data insight, increase spend in affiliate.”


“I predict that partnerships will be expanded through one to many tools (emails, FB groups, slack, etc.). Communication will improve as will partner engagement.”


“The recent interest rate increase by the Fed indicates confidence in our economy, this is good news. However, there also appears to be a great deal of public concern about what’s to come when our new President, new Cabinet & Congress take office next month and how that may impact the economy and other things. I predict that merchants and their partners will be cautiously optimistic and really leverage pay for performance.”


“Spending will shift from display to more native/contextual marketing like affiliate and influencer.”


“In 2017, companies will bring their performance partners under their affiliate umbrella to better manage, track and optimize them.”


“Mobile apps will become more important to our partners and clients as they tend to drive a high degree of engagement with users at top of funnel, create demand and create repeat interaction with users and brands. I expect more partners to look to these types of relationships in 2017 as mobile shopping and conversion increase, particularly with universal shopping carts.”


“Innovation! I predict advertisers will look for non-traditional ways to grow their business with the affiliate channel.”


“Specific to affiliate, I predict that all partnerships that result in the distribution of an advertiser’s products/brand will eventually find its way to the affiliate channel. The channel allows for a trackable actions, minimal risk and the ability to unify the relationships. I think the biggest challenge for the channel and the largest risk advertisers will face is fraud. Fraudsters are becoming more and more advanced in their tactics and it is getting hard to combat. Tools to help police and monitor this advanced activity will be critical in the upcoming year.”


“In my experience, building strategic partnerships is one of the most critical strategies for a brand to scale, yet one of the most difficult to execute. Partnerships are difficult to build for various reasons, but one of the main ones is the fluidity and lack of structure around achieving a fair balance of value for each party involved. The affiliate channel has grown rapidly over the years because it puts a structure around strategic partnerships. Thinking of an “affiliate” in the traditional sense no longer captures the whole landscape of “partner” opportunities.


“As technology continues to support structure in partnerships, I predict that strategic partnerships are going to become easier to leverage, and will prove to be the most important channel for a business to pursue. To the extent that AP is leading the way and teaching brands how to venture into the “unknown” of partnership building, I believe we will be positioned as an innovator and leader for the category.”


“I predict that merchants will move away from affiliates relying heavily on search-related categories, including not only SEM but also SEO. Also, Omnichannel continues to become an ever growing buzzword with merchants looking for new affiliates able to support a fully blended marketing plan to drive online and in-store efforts.”


“In 2017 I think we’re really going to see more companies start moving their in-house “refer-a-friend” and influencer campaigns all under the “performance marketing” header and start running them all through a SaaS platform instead of running them in-house. I think this trend will really start picking up more steam in the New Year.”


“I predict that the performance channel will become increasingly desirable field for clients to understand and to capitalize on.”


Whatever 2017 holds, here’s what we know for sure:

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