Affiliate Marketing Trends 2019

Artyom Dogtiev

Updated: January 31, 2019

Since the dawn of the Internet, Affiliate marketing has been one of the ways to countless number of businesses and individuals to make a profit by helping a company to sell its products or services. Even though the core principle of what is affiliate marketing remains to be the same, each year new niches, new channels come to the frontline and grab more affiliates attention because they are more profitable. We took on the task to figure out what’s coming for this industry in 2019 and reached out seasonal affiliate marketers to get their perspective.

In particular we’re interested to hear their thinking on what offers do they see growth in, what types of business model will be successful in 2019, what platforms do they see the most growth for publishers and other important trends they see. Here’s what our experts had to say on the top affiliate marketing trends in 2019. There are several developments that we want to highlight, such as:

  • CPS and CPL pricing models are projected to dominate this year
  • Video format will rule supreme among advertising formats
  • Native ads also won’t out of fashion anytime this 2019

Affiliate Marketing Thought Leaders:

If you want to contribute your view on affiliate marketing trends fill in the form here.


MobvistaSwim Song, Director, Traffic Operation

It may sound simplistic, but in my opinion, the key to growth is making the consumer central to the affiliate campaign. So that means focusing on mobile content such as games and vertical e-commerce products that best reflect people’s daily habits and lifestyle.

I also think that advertisers will prefer CPS (Cost Per Sale) and CPL (Cost Per Lead) as the simplest and cleanest pricing models. I do see plenty of scope for affiliates to explore revenue share models that allow them to cooperate more with traffic suppliers.

I believe that successful business models will be the ones which provide more added value for both advertisers and consumers. So in the case of games advertising, for example, this would be getting a new player to create a character or play to a certain point in the game. Just pricing on a simple install or click won’t really be enough – advertisers are looking for more meaningful engagement.

I predict that only those affiliates that can provide advertisers with more in-depth user behaviors  and that are able to leverage data for better targeting will succeed.

Certainly, over the next few years, it will be difficult to challenge Facebook’s dominance of online marketing as no other platform has the same scale or reach. So thanks to its large user base and proven targeting tools Facebook will remain the first choice for advertisers for the foreseeable future.

I do think that video will become the favored format of advertisers over the next few years, especially the advertisers of ‘hardcore’ games, which typically spend a large amount on traffic and user acquisition. This is something that Facebook will serve through Instagram or Facebook video, or it might be an opportunity for a completely new platform to emerge in the same way that Twitch has become an alternative to YouTube for gamers.

A key mission of Mobvista is to offer consumers personalized  relevant information and services- wherever they are based. Achieving this is only possible through the ability to combine global reach and a global marketplace with effective localization and an understanding of localized tastes and trends in order to understand what kind of differentiation and marketing is really effective.

So I would say that these are the two biggest trends across the industry, and I believe this global/local strategy will be a driver of the whole industry going forward. With the rapid development of China, and the well established US market, there are many great services and products that deserve to be enjoyed by all users around the world.


Toro AdvertisingBeatriz González, Business Development

Finance offers and Dating offers have seen great results in 2018, so I expect to see growth in 2019 for both of these verticals. But the big one for 2019 will be e-commerce.

According to Statista e-commerce will be responsible for $4.5 trillion in sales by 2021. E-commerce in the US already represents 10% of retail sales and that number is expected to grow by around 15% each year. This growth is due to the fact that users’ buying and search habits are tracked which means affiliates have a vast amount of data available to be able to optimize their ROI and personalize their targeting to potential customers.


WHAT THE AFF – Emanuel Cinca, CEO

E-commerce offers would be my main bet here. Product owners will want to get some more of that performance-based marketing for their stores as they grow. Affiliates will also look into building their own stores more and more.

Nutra also shows promise with straight-sale offers and COD. Those would be the ones that I’d expect more growth than average. Doesn’t mean the classics like sweeps, mobile apps and dating won’t be around.

Based on what happened in 2018, I think the not-so-secret opportunity is in building a direct connection to your audience. Owning the traffic source, in other words.

Especially FB has shown clearly that reach will get more and more expensive. So building your own subscriber lists, your own communities, that really has a lot of potential.

This also means quite some work so it’s not likely many affiliates go on that path. Doesn’t mean media buying is not going to be the main engine but I see this as a pretty big opportunity in the space.

Well, mobile when it comes to push traffic is growing. Aside from that Instagram is the platform with a lot of potential out of those where affiliates have already explored a bit.

Snapchat, Pinterest and Quora would be 3 platforms not really used by affiliates right now but that all have the potential to be “the next big thing”.

I don’t think influencers will be as impactful as media buying. Influencers are much more useful when you want to build a brand rather than be an affiliate. In other words, affiliates won’t work with influencers, but influencers can be good affiliates.

If you are building a branded e-commerce store, having a group of influencers as ambassadors paid based on sales certainly makes sense. It takes time to reach that phase in your store though.

The main trend I see is Facebook still creating issues for advertisers while they solve their privacy problems, and advertisers will look for alternatives. Some will go to Google Ads, but many will explore Snapchat, Pinterest, push notifications, etc.


ClickDealerTaras Kiseliuk, Managing Director at Global Digital Marketing Group

If 2017 was the year of Native Traffic, 2018 really has seen a big ‘push’ towards push notifications – but like any other ‘hot’ traffic type you still need to learn the nuances of the users’ habits to wield its full potential. Leveraging the best practices like local time zones and user routines, along with striking a balance between automation, dynamic user experience and reliable 24/7 support – will likely be the key to successful push campaigns next year. Add it to the fact that up to 37% of Americans now say they are willing to make a purchase through a chat-bot – and you no longer can afford to ignore the trend in 2019.

Voice Search is going to be another hot button topic next year, with reports showing up to 50% of searches to be conducted through voice by 2020, and it should be no surprise that while most voice requests are made on tablets and smartphones – mobile optimization is more important than ever before, especially focusing on those localized, immediate need based requests.


IconPeakDenitsa Velcheva, Content Marketing Manager

2019 Verticals: Games continue to be a big part of the market and there’s a growing demand for self improvement products (self-development, time management, stress control, decision making and so on) and let’s not forget everything that has to do with dieting and sports.

2019 Successful model is the one built on transparency between all sides, especially when it comes to filtering and blocking fraud. More metrics on a day-to-day basis will become a standard in order to match the increasingly demanding KPIs. We’ll be increasingly seeing more CPA campaigns than CPI ones.

2019 Hot Channel: what we saw in 2018 will probably remain the trend next year, but with evolution. Mobile is the front runner, with Shopify and Insta marking huge progress. A more traditional social channel is, of course, Facebook, which continues to be big thanks to the ecommerce boom. There’s one thing that will probably see growing demand and this is programmatic.

Other trends: Transparency, Restrictions (to make sure that measurability brings transparency), and an overall focus on bringing value.


AdGate MediaDan Sapozhnikov, Co-Founder

Subscriptions based apps are going to lead the way in 2019. This is thanks to the decline of the PSMS market and the rise of Apple’s focus on service revenue.

Many existing subscription based app have already embraced affiliate marketing. I believe many former PSMS companies will be entering the market soon as well.


ThriveTrackerStephen Ierardi, Director of Sales

Thanks to the precedent set forth by the European Union in the form of GDPR, I expect a similar legislature to make its way to North America. Big box traffic sources will follow the lead of Google and Facebook and begin to demand other tracking methods be utilized, outside of redirection links and cookie tracking. Safari’s move to outlaw annoying ad placement practices will be appreciated by their customers and other browsers will start to follow their example.

Video advertising will continue to push further into the limelight, effectively creating a near TV-like experience for online viewers with how many ads are shown. ThriveTracker will continue to develop the most advanced tracking platform in the industry to keep up with these trends and maintain their position at the top of the game!


AdsFluenceNeil Raj, Co-founder & CRO at Aanicca Ventures Inc.

More and more App developers are looking at new user acquisition going beyond the install, and towards actual KPIs. Payouts a2re moving from a CPI model, which paid for an install, towards CPE, where payout is based on actual engagement, whether its an install followed by a tutorial completion, or even a completion of a certain level. 


EvertrackAdam Esman, Manager of Business Development at Evertrack.io

Affiliate marketing itself is still as popular as ever, it just evolves from year to year. 2019 is going to be the year we see new ad platforms and networks emerge as affiliate marketing still offers a lot of opportunities for growth and earnings.

The trend towards privacy regulation in digital marketing and beyond will likely continue to dominate in 2019. It will affect data usage and how ad tech providers and publishers will use consumer data to enable smart audience targeting for advertisers. This trend will be especially important for app marketers as mobile ad spending will grow by 22% to hit a $93 billion mark in 2019, as reported by emarketer.com.

Also, technology will remain central to affiliate marketers. A growing number of companies will be adopting ad tech solutions into their operations to better track and optimize traffic performance. Supply partners – publishers, networks, affiliates – will become more tech-savvy over the next year.

As advertisers want to diversify their media buys with the affiliate channel, they will need to pay special attention to affiliate recruiting. In this context, 2019 is going to be challenging. App businesses and agencies will have to do a better job of recruiting high-quality affiliates for their offers and affiliate programs. Their focus will be set on prospecting potential publishers and affiliates by niche including influence marketing, web CPL, and mobile CPA.

I believe that digital advertising should be less skippable. With this idea in mind, I think that interactive ad formats like native, social and video will be the key to success, so marketers and networks should be able to run those formats at scale.


WebEye – Michael Xu, Founder & CEO

I expect that AI technology will be applied into more fields to maximize advertisers & publishers’ outcome, include but not limited to: tackling ever-evolving ad fraud, guesstimating customers’ interests and generating tailored creatives, conducting in-depth business analysis and optimizing decisions. Moreover, relatively new ad formats are infusing digital advertising with creativity that brings results. I believe video ads, with high interactivity and conversion rate, will become an addition to almost everyone’s promotion toolbox.

And I anticipate The Domino Effect of the recently enforced GDPR compliance. Data security and privacy issues will further be concerns and priorities for organizations planning to expand, whether on a national or global level. In 2019, as the leader in mobile advertising & game distribution, WebEye will keep up with all ongoing trends, continue to develop its top-ranking digital marketing platform and offer quality services to its partners.


Mobsuite – Ada Pizarro, Digital Marketing professional

For 2019 we can expect more direct relationships between the source and the advertiser, making exclusivity deals very important and increasing the opportunities of “Affiliation Agencies”, that insist on building client’s trust day by day. Other trends that will keep shining this year are online shops, native advertising, and social media

Final Thoughts
So this is it. This is what affiliate marketing gurus believe 2019 will look like when it comes to affiliate marketing. The predictions are based a combination of  their experience and intuition for what has a potential to rock this year. E-commerce niche was mentioned more often than others and it actually reinforces what people at app business have been observing for the last several years – apps alone aren’t make it anymore, to succeed and make a profit you need to launch an actual service or a product that has a real tangible demand and app will be simply a marketing channel for it.

The other topic that was brought up was transparency and never-ending fight with a fraud in affiliate marketing. As time goes by fraud becomes more and more widespread and it’s happening because programmatic advertising has a flip side, namely – it’s easier to develop an effective fraudulent scheme when you can automate actions. 2019 is already here – let’s see how close are these forecasts to what will match the real life.