2024 Affiliate Marketing Trends: What’s Happening and What’s Ahead

Becky Doles

2024 Affiliate Marketing Trends Blog Post Graphic
Photo by Eyestetix Studio on Unsplash

Every day, something crazy and new happens in the world of affiliate marketing. But who has time for that? We’re backing up a few steps to take a wider look at the industry in 2024. With two months down, what big trends and topics have emerged to lead us through the rest of the year? We asked colleagues at TUNE and around the industry to share their top predictions with us. Here’s what they said.

2024 Affiliate Marketing Trends

AI Expansion Will Continue

This is a no-brainer, which is why it’s first on our list. The AI expansion into every corner of the digital world continues following the explosive introduction of ChatGPT in January 2023. According to recent surveys, when it comes to marketing, generative AI has seen the most growth in content marketing, sales enablement, business intelligence, video marketing, and chatbot applications. We don’t see this trend slowing anytime soon.

“In 2024, integrating AI in affiliate marketing programs and strategies will grow in popularity — for content creation, content promotion, analysis, and much more.”
—Yakir Gal, Head of Sales, EMEA & APAC

“AI is going to be big, big, big this year. I see lots of discussion ahead on how partners will use it to optimize ROI for brands, and how brands use it to identify new opportunities and automate their ongoing evergreen ads. And beyond partners and brands, will groups like Publisher Discovery use AI to keep better hygiene and pull in new, unique traffic sources? We’ll have to wait and see.”
—Matt Miltenberger, Head of Sales, East Coast

Brand-to-Brand “Barter Marketing”

We see plenty of pairing up in brands’ futures for 2024. By partnering to promote each other to their respective audiences, brands that barter can save money and access new markets that are a solid fit. And once a relationship proves successful, there’s no telling how far it could take both brands.

“I predict that brand bartering will become more of a mainstream partnership type this year. With costs rising across the board, brands can explore promoting non-competitive brands with similar demographics by essentially ‘trading’ placements, for example, on each other’s email newsletter list.”
—Dan Buontempone, Business Development Specialist

Influencers and Creators Catch Fire

Influencers are still a hot trend after rising in popularity over the last several years. Content creators and social influencers, especially those with small but engaged followings, are proving just how valuable they can be for brands trying to cut through the noise. And yet, many advertisers are still confused on the best ways to attract and reward them.

Luckily, we’ve got just the thing to help: our newest e-book, Influencer-Affiliate Blueprint: Building High-ROI Creator Communities. Created in partnership with growth agency ZeroTo1, it’s a guide on why and how to add influencers to an affiliate program. Download it here to learn how to create your own community of brand ambassadors.

“The rise of creator-affiliate and influencer-affiliate programs as a brand’s foundational channel. Influencer-affiliate is a wellspring that can feed most other channel marketing efforts, all while spinning off new revenue streams.”
—Meredith Singer, VP, Marketing & Operations at ZeroTo1

Customer Experience Will Evolve

In addition to incorporating AI tools into their customer service platforms, brands in 2024 are changing the way they interact with customers by meeting them where they are: in their chosen communities. Social platforms like Reddit and TikTok are thriving thanks to the self-made niche communities found there, where like-minded users gather for advice, entertainment, and authentic connections. Smart brands are joining and participating in these communities to engage with their users — not to sell to them.

Accurate Data for Optimization

Without optimization, there can be no improvement. And without accurate data, there can be no optimization. We’ve heard recently from some marketers and partners who are starting to distrust the accuracy of their data on traditional platforms. Whether this is a result of changes to how web browsers collect and report data, like GA4’s transition to data-driven attribution, or because traditional platforms tend to move slower when it comes to advanced tracking methodologies, remains to be seen. Either way, having access to accurate, reliable data remains top of mind for marketers in 2024 (as it should).

“Right now, everyone is focused on optimizing resources and excluding unnecessary costs. Thus, I foresee marketers optimizing their programs in 2024: cleaning up, keeping only highly performing partners and influencers, and focusing on Tier 1 markets.”
—Iana Starostovich, Head of Customer Success, EMEA

Privacy and First-Party Data

Speaking of accurate data … first-party data and privacy-centric practices are no longer optional for marketers in the performance space. It’s the way of the future, period. We’ve already seen efforts around SEO make a big comeback in 2024 thanks to AI and the proliferation of sub-par content splashed across the web. Any business that doesn’t make an honest effort at upholding consumers’ privacy and security while they look to improve their digital presence won’t be in business for long.

What’s Next

Whatever the rest of the year has in store, we’re betting that the trends and topics above stay in regular rotation. Good luck!

If you’re looking for new ways to scale your program while maintaining a strategic edge, we have news for you: the TUNE Network is now open to all customers! Read about what makes our network different from the rest in this blog post, or check out our website for more information on partnering through TUNE.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she handled content strategy and marketing communications at several tech startups in the Bay Area. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned home to Charleston, SC, where you can find her strolling through Hampton Park with her pup and enjoying the simple things between adventures with friends and family.