The Impact COVID-19 is Having on Affiliate Marketers

The world is buzzing these days with what’s going on surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic. Regardless of where you turn, you’ll see some good news and unfortunately, some bad news. For affiliate marketers, that holds true as well. How? Let me explain.

The Bad News (Because when asked if you want the good news or bad news first, you know you always ask for the bad news first):

Affiliate programs are shutting down at unprecedented paces. Companies you’ve come to know and love can’t handle the excess demand of their products and need to shut down their affiliate publishers or are simply not willing to pay these partners out. Other brands, like Amazon, have cut commissions across the board, some categories more than 80%. Our friends over at FMTC have a running count of brands who have reduced or completely shut down their programs, the current count (as of 5/11/20) is 389 with hundreds of other brands still not accounted for. In addition to Amazon cutting commissions, they are flat out urging people to stop purchasing products on their website. If you were to tell me 6 months ago that Amazon would urge customers to stop purchasing products, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. But crazy times lead to crazy situations.

The same affiliate publishers that drive thousands of dollars to retailers’ websites by pushing new product releases, promotions, top-selling products and more, are now being left in the dust with nothing but old content to show for it. The worst part is, there’s nothing these partners can do. Think of an affiliate partner that runs a travel blog. The beginning of spring starts the “bread and butter” season for them with spring break and summer right around the corner. With COVID-19 sweeping the world out of nowhere and fear of contaminated planes and destinations, nobody (smart) wants to travel. If you’re a travel blogger that relies on affiliate commissions as a primary source of revenue, that well has dried up and nobody knows when it will return. This then creates a trickle effect. If the blogger isn’t generating affiliate commissions, they then can’t maintain their standard of living. Their whole world turns upside down.

The Good News (Saved the best for last):

While certain brands have cut advertising budgets, they’ve shifted their focus to affiliate marketing as a budget-friendly alternative. No need to spend flat-fee dollars as these brands can now simply pay publishers for sales they drive. And while a lot of large brands operate affiliate programs, they historically have never been the main sales channel, thus having those respective affiliate programs lag. Additionally, select affiliate programs in prospering verticals are looking to capitalize on these unfortunate events by raising commission rates while also seeing increased Average Order Values and Conversion Rates. Higher AOV + Higher CVRs = Higher Commissions Paid, something that any affiliate partner enjoys.

Let’s take a look at some of the top verticals that are seeing a spike in traffic, conversions, orders and AOV:

Food & Food Delivery – As you’d expect, food-based brands are seeing a huge uptick in demand as people are avoiding public places like grocery stores and restaurants. Some brands, including ones that Today’s Business manages in the space, are seeing sales during COVID-19 surge, up more than 300%.

Sports & Entertainment – Despite sports around the world shutting down, fans from all over are looking at different methods to get their “sports fix.” Whether they are shopping for sports-based products online or looking for digital sports subscription services, the consumption of other sports properties is unmatched. One brand in particular that Today’s Business manages is seeing YoY sales during COVID-19 skyrocket over 325% and affiliate conversion rates increase by more than 200%.

Educational Programs – Tired of waking up, working, binging Netflix and sleeping? So is everyone else. That’s why people are turning boredom into learning a new skill, like playing a guitar, learning how to build websites, or improving their cooking skills. Many brands in the online education space across the world are opening up free subscriptions to people struggling to keep their sanity and break the monotony of an average quarantined day.

While there are definitely more verticals that are seeing increased visibility, these are some of the few we’ve experienced first-hand at Today’s Business.

How is Your Company Holding Up?

Across Today’s Business, some of our affiliate brands we manage are seeing the impacts of COVID-19 significantly impact their bottom line; Some for the better, some for the worse. While some brands have paused their programs during this time, Today’s Business is doing everything we can to assist these brands during this tough time.

Does your company need help getting your affiliate program set up? Is your company struggling to take advantage of increased visibility given the circumstances? Regardless of your situation, Today’s Business is here to help. Our experienced team of affiliate marketers have been in the space for over 50 combined years and know what it takes to capitalize on unique circumstances and opportunities. If you’re looking for an agency to help you with your affiliate program, contact our team to connect and see how we can help you!

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