Facebook has given up on the concept of user privacy; a Twitter crash earlier this week brought the internet’s social life to its knees; and Foursquare has no idea what to do with itself. It’s a critical time for social media. It’s also a critical time for affiliate marketing to either mix into the fray—or lose any hopes of integrating into the social space.
Once a sought-after medium for affiliate marketers, Facebook seems to be closing its doors and boarding them shut one nail at a time. And with Facebook shutting out affiliate marketers like this—or at least making it incredibly difficult to get into, marketers need to turn somewhere else for their social placement. And alternative venues for affiliate marketers seem even more uncertain, as Twitter and Foursquare haven’t yet refined their advertising models.
In an ever-changing social media climate, affiliate marketing needs to adapt as well. Though mobile, Twitter, and geo-marketing aren’t quite developed advertising models. So who better to help bring in revenue than affiliate marketers?
At email marketing’s outset, affiliate marketers blazed the trail, creating processes and analytics. Now, it’s time to do it again. Affiliate marketers need to find a way to get a pixel to fire from mobile sources, like tweets and check-ins. Imagine checking into Foursquare from Starbucks and being presented with a short form asking if you’d like to submit your email address to their mailing list. In opportunities like that, there is potential for performance marketing in the social and mobile spaces. It’s a matter of finding it.
And the time do it is now. Instead of getting locked out of 500 million active users as was the case with Facebook, affiliate marketing should establish its presence early within these other social networks. If done right, affiliate marketing can prove itself as a legitimate force in the social marketing space—a force that stays.
Though it won’t be easy. For affiliate marketing to legitimately assimilate into the new social media landscape, affiliate marketers, networks, and advertisers need to commit to raising the bar. Affiliate marketers need to commit to white hat methodology and giving the industry a good name in this new space. Affiliate networks need to remain vigilant, ensuring best practices are in place. Affiliate advertisers need to set proper guidelines and expectations in creating campaign—and optimize campaigns for a smaller, more mobile experience.
Though a daunting task at hand, one thing this industry doesn’t lack is ingenuity. Let’s harness this ingenuity and show social media that there will be a place for affiliates.