Top 5 Affiliate Marketing Trends to Prepare for in 2021
Affiliate marketing has become a key source of online income for thousands of tech-savvy entrepreneurs. BDSwiss’ Affiliate Program empowers entrepreneurial individuals to earn a supplementary income by introducing our products and services to their respective audiences. By referring clients to BDSwiss, a company or an individual can become an affiliate and generate returns via commissions on client trading activity.
Our affiliate program includes 16,000 existing affiliates in over 180 countries who generate a total of 2.5 million leads per month. Importantly for our affiliates, our client conversion rate is 37% – one of the highest conversation rates in the entire FX/CFD industry.
Influencer marketing continues to thrive
In recent years, social media influencers have taken the Internet by storm, helping to boost sales and client acquisition for thousands of affiliates in both the FX industry and beyond. This trend is set to continue as a growing number of consumers turn to the financial markets, as both traders and investors.
More specifically, 2021 is set to become the year in which live streaming explodes onto the screens of most retail traders. Streaming services from the likes of YouTube, Twitch and Facebook have catalysed a variety of market sectors, namely consumer goods, entertainment and the rise of “YouTubing” as a verb and a profession. Live streaming is an engaging method for novice traders to connect with established online personalities on a global scale.
According to digital market research company 99Firms, around 80% of consumers prefer watching live videos rather than reading a blog. Also, video streaming already accounts for 82% of all internet traffic. Another factor that is sure to attract affiliates is the fact that consumers are 39% more likely to share video content, compared to text and audio. In 2021, affiliates that turn to video as their prime form of media, are likely to outperform those that remain text and audio focused.
The ramifications are clear: the insatiable growth of internet connectivity, online services and innovative technology has created a world of opportunity for affiliates. Another supplementary factor is the growth of Mobile – smartphones have rapidly become the tool of choice for the vast majority of clients consuming affiliate marketing content.
Social media sprawl
Social media is one of the most powerful tools in an affiliate marketer’s toolkit. According to market research, there are now more than 4 billion social media users globally, with annual growth somewhere in the region of 10%. In other words, around 400 million users flock to using social media every year, and many of them have the means and capability to become traders. Moreover, there are now more than 5 billion people using internet-ready mobile phones which yet again highlights the social media’s market reach.
The message to affiliates is rather simple: Dominating a single platform is not enough anymore.
Generating leads from just one social media channel is suboptimal because users have a wide variety of preferred platforms. Some users will only use one vendor, while others will use multiple.
As such, the key to an affiliates’ success is their ability to repurpose their original content across multiple platforms relevant to their target audiences. That means knowing and understanding the market, as well as cultural themes and traditions that transcend the FX industry.
KEY FACT: Social media users are now spending an average of almost 2.5 hours per day, networking across an average of 8 social networks and messaging apps.
In addition to factors that spell opportunity, affiliates have also been buffeted by less palatable trends such as regulatory activity. The past few years have brought persistently tougher regulation, especially in the most liquid markets such as the US, Europe and Japan.
Brokers, clients and affiliates alike have all felt the squeeze of tougher market regulation in the form of higher capital requirements, greater KYC checks and lower leverage, especially for novice traders. As a result, affiliates are facing steeper market standards which means a higher need for more attention to detail and offering value add services to fend off competition.
In 2021, we are likely to see further regulatory tweaks aimed at protecting consumers and the wider market, which effectively sets a higher bar for affiliates to reach.
The good news is that despite the strict regulatory environment, BDSwiss is always fully cognizant of global regulatory changes and ensures both company and affiliate activity is always compliant with existing regulation. Our commitment to operational security and mitigating the effect of tough regulation on clients, lets our affiliates know that they are building their respective businesses partnered with a dependable broker they can trust.
Only time will tell what kind of regulatory hurdles 2021 will bring, but affiliates are advised to keep a watchful eye on regulators next year. We certainly are – and we intend to mitigate any draconian measures by making appropriate operational decisions and always communicating impending market changes to our partners, as soon as possible.
Paying the pied piper
The rampant growth of payments solutions, amidst the broader development of financial technology (fintech), remains a huge factor for affiliate marketers. In 2020, brokers that offered a wide range of payment options were able to secure more clients, from a wider range of geographies compared to brokers offering simple bank transfers and card payments.
The harsh reality is that around 2 billion people in the world remain “unbanked” and without access to financial services – a key requirement for affiliates seeking to incentivise new clients to open a trading account. The problem doesn’t only affect developing countries either. According to the US Federal Reserve, there are were as many as 55 million unbanked adult Americans in 2018, around 22% of US households.
For BDSwiss affiliates, their ability to attract new clients was significantly boosted after we added PayPal to our payment options arsenal in August 2020. The milestone made BDSwiss the first offshore broker to add PayPal as a payment method for its clients and affiliates. As the preferred payment option for more than 300 million consumers worldwide, PayPal simplifies transactions by allowing users to register their credit/debit card or bank account and make secure online transactions without having to share their financial information with third-party vendors or platforms.
The ultimate result is that utilising additional payment options such as PayPal tends to improve conversion rates, extends average customer lifetime value and raises client satisfaction – a factor that is likely to drive affiliate performance well into 2021 and beyond.
An affiliate’s best friend: market volatility
Market volatility has yet again proved to be a significant catalyst for all market participants in the FX industry. More so than for any other group, affiliates have discovered 2020 to be an opportunistic year in which the COVID-19 pandemic directly affected market volatility, especially in the first half of 2020. Greater volatility incentivises more potential clients to open their first accounts while also boosting trading volumes amongst existing clients. Huge tilts in equity markets in Q1 and Q2 led to a sharp rise in trading activity and presented an excellent market environment for all affiliates.
As a result of heightened volatility in all asset classes throughout 2020, brokers and affiliates have enjoyed extremely lucrative trading conditions and higher trading volumes. Moving forward into 2021, the factors that directly influenced market prices (COVID, political issues and risk-aversion) are likely to linger at least until the COVID pandemic has been priced into the market. For the time being, volatility is here to stay, which means favourable conditions for affiliate marketers in 2021.
As a means of maximising on the available opportunities to attract new clientele, affiliates are strongly advised to support their content with expert opinion and professional-grade content that addresses issues clients are actively thinking about.
Better quality content leads to higher engagement rates, which means affiliates are likely to undergo a quality litmus test in 2021. Affiliates that do not, or cannot, produce original content that adds value to the consumer, will likely struggle to obtain unique or repeat visits, or to generate significant engagement in their affiliate marketing activities.
The Final Word
Affiliate marketers must remember that both paid and free traffic can be effective in delivering a return on investment (ROI). There is a substitute for paid ads, but there are no substitutes for content novelty and quality. Retail FX and CFD clients are becoming more product savvy and are far more aware of various industry changes than they like to admit. Therefore, simplistic volume-based incentives, expensive trading terms without perceivable added value and generic analyst content will not be sufficient to drive strong client growth in 2021.
For affiliates, the challenge is to deliver quality content and attractive offers without breaking the bank. To do this adequately, affiliates must remember to do the following:
- constantly track all social media posts and interactions,
- actively manage (and tweak) their active advertising campaigns,
- use real-time data to actively optimise all marketing activity,
· obtain regular feedback from their ad networks and implement changes as soon as new trends are identified.