10 predictions for affiliate marketing in 2019

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2019 promises to be another year of challenges and opportunities for the industry, with new regulations and changing dynamics within the world of retail.

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With an increasing degree of interest and scrutiny from advertisers and publishers across the globe as the channel grows in popularity, Awin looks forward to what we can anticipate from the year ahead and identifies 10 burgeoning trends and themes likely to play a prominent role in how the performance industry performs in 2019.  

GDPR. Cambridge Analytica. Mark Zuckerberg’s subsequent bizarre ‘interrogation’ at US Congress. A global walkout by Google staff in protest of the firm’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations internally. Worker strikes at Amazon warehouses.

To say 2018 was a bumpy year for tech companies is no understatement. The unrestricted growth and success they had enjoyed for so long reached a point of inflexion. A growing realization from governments, regulators and the wider public set in over the course of the year that recalibrated the scales, acting as a counterbalance to the unparalleled influence and power of these giants

Europe's GDPR was of course the most prominent of all the regulatory initiatives to launch in pursuit of this objective, attempting to take back control of personal data from private companies and place it into the hands of individual citizens. The full impact of this will play out in the coming years, however the legislation did signify a regulatory line in the sand for how the value exchange that underpins much of the online economy should work.

Whether accessing search engines, maps, news content, social platforms, chat apps, email or much more, the services provided by many such companies rely upon the monetization of the data they acquire from the people using them. That exchange sits at the heart of the online advertising industry and yet is one a majority of users have remained largely ignorant of until the kind of controversies we saw in 2018.

For the affiliate industry, at once a distinct segment of the wider digital ad sphere while also its microcosm, this theme seemed particularly pertinent. Most affiliates are sat at the crux of this exchange, facing both consumer and advertiser. Serving the needs of both, while sustaining their own business, is a delicately poised balancing act.

Thanks to that proximity, their ability to articulate the benefits of this exchange places them in a position of significant influence and value. In 2019 we can expect to see that value emphasized.

Of course, dilemmas like these evolve over time and are not simply reset or rebooted at the start of a new year. The themes we witnessed in 2018 will persist and continue to develop over the coming months. Taking into account that context, here are our predictions for what lies in store for the global affiliate industry in 2019 and beyond…

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