The year 2020 started out successfully but soon enough, we were all hit with the reality of having to wear face masks, quarantine at home, and practice social distancing. It was tagged as the year of crisis in all fields: health, jobs, business continuity. But as an affiliate community we toed the line, we dug deeper and we achieved.
This rewind is for us to look at what went by and what are the key learning that we can apply next year to flatten the curve. As we look back at 2020 we learned a number of things.
Undoubtedly, 2020 isn’t shaping up quite how we all expected it!
Conferences planned for early in the year are either canceled or rescheduled, and we’re waiting to hear about others. One can only wish that more affiliates would have taken up the opportunity to spend time at the array of virtual conferences that were provided this year. With the disappearance of face-to-face physical conferences, virtual and online conferencing was quickly adopted by everyone who wanted to remain relevant within the world of conferences. After a strong start when SBC hosted the first conference with success, soon others followed.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic impacts affiliate marketing in both positive and negative ways.
☀ During this period, digital channels are becoming more important than ever.
In Italy, for instance, once the government introduced country-wide quarantines in mid-March, online traffic spiked 30%. All online businesses were able to keep going almost completely normally and companies such as Amazon were earning the benefits of a captured audience. It is quite undeniable that anyone who had purchased shares in Amazon before the pandemic arrived will have surely already begun planning for retirement!
☀ However, there is not growth across all niches!
Given the significant restrictions on travel, entertainment, and events, overall spend in digital media is in decline with over 69% of brands decreased ad spend in 2020.
Unemployment is at an all-time high, so the need for clothes, electronics, and other nonessential products is decreasing.
The most popular products are healthcare, groceries with noncontact delivery, and software. The software industry has specifically seen a significant increase due to the new standardization of remote work.
The online industry, in general, led the charge and openly changed the way we marketed to this potential “captive audience” mentality and refrained from cashing in and exploiting a difficult situation. In reality, advertisers were spending their advertising dollars to bring home the message to purchase more responsibly during these tough times.
☀ But thanks to e-commerce, it’s not all doom and gloom.
According to Digital Commerce 360, 58% of consumers said they expect to do more online shopping after the pandemic than they did before it and 80% of business buyers expect to do more purchasing online post-pandemic. And most recent quarterly reports from the large US retailers and their online storefronts support this trend as Walmart saw its e-commerce sales up 97% and Amazon recording more than 40% sales growth.
This period in time was difficult for all governments as they tried to safeguard job security while workers were asked to stay at home. The pandemic hit all businesses across all industries – the affiliate business included.
Through a tough year, the affiliate industry proved that everyone could adjust to the circumstances at hand and function remotely. The combination of modern tools and professional personnel revealed that they can be just as productive as they are when working in a real-life office setting. We all wish 2021 brings us more success in affiliate marketing.