If your goal is to stay at the top, you better gear up. Being metaphorical kings of the hill isn’t all fun and games: you need preparation.
As the winds of change blow over our industry, it’s more important than ever to be aware of recently adopted laws like GDPR, trending niches and upcoming megatons in the form of Articles 11 and 13 from the EU’s new copyright directive.
As we take a look back at affiliate marketing in 2018, we ask the question: what was affiliate marketing worth this past year? Answering this question can play a helping hand in figuring out the 2019 puzzle.
For this special blog post, we enlisted the help of two of Crak’s very own masterminds: Axel Vezina, Chief Strategy Officer and Olivier Bourque, VP of Business Development.
What changes affected the adult web marketing space the most in 2018? And in your opinion, what should we expect in 2019?
Olivier: We’ve noticed a merge between adult and mainstream with the growth of cross-over products. In fact, the whole mainstream market is adjusting and increasing the flexibility of its own rules. It’s more difficult to draw a line now between adult industry offers and products and the mainstream industry as a whole. This is true from both sides of the coin — advertisers and affiliates.
Axel: For me, it was definitely Chrome and Google-compliant ads. With new advertising management technologies emerging, old-school players will get tossed out. I’d also like to add a word of caution regarding robots: they’re everywhere!
What is THE biggest challenge facing adult affiliates in 2019?
Olivier: Misleading ads are done for. We also know it’s even easier for advertisers to follow the spending trail resulting from their offers. Traffic qualification is becoming increasingly prevalent, with new generations of end-users being more tech-savvy, therefore more “difficult” to convince.
We have to find new ways to adapt, like for instance, finding a better approach to billing. Aggressive billing is a real problem. Less-aggressive billing practices would go a long way — especially toward Millenials!
So the key here is to use a progressive billing system (think in-app monetization) based on a pay-per-use model rather than stick a huge fee right off the bat that might discourage them.
Axel: Big tube sites are removing ad spots and putting into place a range of restrictions in the form of sounds, animations and more. This can prove to be a difficult burden for media buyers. Combined with Ad-Block technologies, you can see where this becomes a real pain.
Also, the powers that be are sometimes banning content arbitrarily. Did you hear about the whole “Baby it’s cold outside” controversy? It’s slowly creeping up in the adult industry too, so you’re always in the hot seat regarding ads or content you wish to promote as an affiliate.
Do you think recent regulations like GDPR will hurt adult affiliates in the upcoming year?
Olivier: I’m feeling like déjà vu with the Year 2000 problem. In other words, lots of preparation to achieve not much in the end so far. On the other hand, give us some more time to fully measure up the long-term impact.
Axel: GDPR is a golden opportunity to properly target end-users while protecting their privacy. One thing you should know is we already had put some of these best practices into place. We saw a decline in volume, this is true, but we also saw a higher conversion rate at the same time.
It’s also worth mentioning that email marketing is rather strict here in Canada. But that doesn’t stop scam calls and spam SMS which are aplenty. This is why I’m eager to see a GDPR-like law in North America.
With Tumblr banning all adult content recently, do you expect more popular websites to follow suit next year?
Olivier: I see it as a sign that adult and mainstream will combine even faster. We’ll be using concepts and mainstream campaigns to sell adult content.
Axel: Yes, this trend will definitely go on. Beyond mediums, some countries are even banning adult content, which can be seen as an opportunity for affiliates who wish to make more money online.
Which verticals will really take off for adult affiliates in 2019?
Olivier & Axel: ED! ED! ED! (Erectile Dysfunction)
Olivier: Not the fake pills, but the real ones. The viagra patent expired and a lot of legitimate alternatives are now available. Better yet, it’s no longer your old man pill: even young adults can use them sporadically. It has become socially acceptable.
Do you see a future where cryptocurrencies play a bigger role in adult marketing?
Axel: If there’s no hype, I don’t see why. Two years ago, cryptocurrencies were the talk of the town because of Bitcoin’s value. But today? Seeing how Bitcoin plummeted… I have a hard time believing it’s going to play a big role in the near future. The one thing I think people might want is to remain anonymous, especially end-users of adult websites.
Olivier: We’ve been asked so many times to process payments using cryptocurrencies and have been working hard to make it possible. So there you go! CrakRevenue affiliates can now get paid in Bitcoin (conditions and restrictions apply).
Is there a trend in adult affiliation you think might die off in 2019, and if so, why?
Olivier: Spending time building up offers instead of brands is going to die. Further, CPA Networks dealing with the same offer portfolios without big, recognizable brands are going to die a premature death.
Axel: As Olivier said earlier, misleading ads are gonna die a quick & horrible death. It’s time to adapt!