Will affiliate marketing still work in 2019

State of Affiliate Marketing 2019: Ten Predictions on the Oldest Marketing Discipline on the Net

There are still plenty of prejudices against affiliate marketing and companies from the industry in 2019: They are just intermediaries with no added value of their own, there are too many black sheep and the affiliate business won't be around for long anyway. The marketing discipline is currently in an extremely exciting phase - thanks to growing data protection requirements and technical progress. These ten forecasts for 2019 show how ongoing consolidation and increasing automation can ensure that more budgets end up in affiliate marketing.

1. Basic review of online tracking

Since version 2.0 of the Intelligent Tracking Prevention for Apple's Safari browser (ITP 2.0 for short), the second most widely used browser worldwide with a market share of over 33 percent, cookies can no longer be tracked in third-party environments. The spread of the Brave browser, which completely blocks trackers, continues to grow with 5.5 million users in 2018. Other browsers will follow suit, and the ePrivacy Regulation will also do their part - so that affiliate platforms are forced to make changes in order to continue to comply with data protection regulations. In January 2019, for example, 80 percent of customers on the Awin platform were already using the Awin master day, which guarantees first-party cookies.

2. Consolidate the affiliate industry for new collaboration opportunities

In the recent past there have been some mergers within the affiliate industry - giving the entire marketing discipline more power. At the end of 2017, GoCompare.com and MyVoucherCodes merged, Groupon took over Cloud Saving (parent company of Vouchercloud) and the Global Savings Group took over the browser extension Pouch. In addition, there are the mergers of the British cashbackers Quidco and TopCashback. This consolidation could create a new breed of influential publishers who support collaboration within the industry - which should benefit the channel as a whole and, at the same time, the relationship with brands.

3. Amazon stronger than ever

Amazon grows and grows and grows ... and that for a long time no longer just as a pure e-commerce platform for end customers, but also as an advertising platform. With the number of users steadily increasing, for example through offers such as Prime Video, Amazon generates an incredible amount of first-party user data - for which more and more advertisers are spending money. A worrying development for the affiliate industry for some time, which is why they should jointly highlight the advantages and transparency of the channel in 2019.

4. International trade disputes could hinder the expansion of international online trade

Brexit, tariff conflicts between China and the USA - protectionist politics hinders cross-border trade and thus also publishers in connecting end consumers with brands from all over the world. But that's exactly what retailers want and need who want to expand their global presence. And customers increasingly expect that too. By 2020, the proportion of “overseas shopping” is expected to be 45 percent; global platforms with global sales events such as Black Friday reinforce this development. An at least partially uncertain foreign policy could become a hot topic here.

5. New direction towards customer relationships with a long-term perspective

In 2018 Black Friday broke all records again. If, by the 2019 edition, more and more advertisers say goodbye to extremely strong discounts, at least in part, and shift their focus more to building long-term customer relationships, affiliate marketing could play a more important role. Instead of just gaining new customers, advertisers were given the opportunity to work with new partners, to reach new customers - and, thanks to the flexibility of the channel, to repeatedly adjust individual parameters.

6. 5G will not (yet) revolutionize digital advertising

Our surfing behavior already has nothing to do with what it was a few years ago - and the technology industry is constantly evolving. Faster mobile networks and extremely shorter page loading times have enormous potential for marketers, especially in times of trends such as virtual reality, the Internet of Things or autonomous driving. In 2019, however, it will probably remain at the potential for the time being, the 5G start in Germany will continue to be a long time coming.

7. New tax regulations could minimize margins in e-commerce

The sales trend in stationary retail has been declining for years, which has led some countries to launch new tax regulations for online trading. In Italy, for example, a three percent "web tax" is to be introduced, targeting online retailers and online advertising. This value is also being discussed in the EU - so it could eventually affect all member states and affect investments in digital advertising.

8. The proximity of the affiliates to the end consumer will be the most powerful weapon in 2019

For some years now, Procter & Gamble, one of the world's largest advertisers, has been cutting massive digital advertising budgets and terminating agencies - many online advertising systems are too opaque today. At the same time, direct-to-consumer brands have been emerging in more and more industries for some years now, which communicate directly with customers and end consumers according to the “cut out the middleman” principle and make the work of publishers more difficult. However, these affiliates still have one advantage: they are also close to the end consumer, so that they can never be bypassed entirely.

9. New focus on monetizing content

The new EU copyright reform is intended to help publishers monetize their works online. Paragraphs 11 and 13 in particular are highly controversial and will lead to further discussions in 2019. A unique opportunity for the affiliate industry to build its power by helping publishers precisely monetize their content. To this end, Awin developed numerous innovations over the past year, including the Opportunity Marketplace and improved product feeds.

10. The automation of basic processes will free up more time for strategic considerations

You also want to read the tenth forecast? Then get the 230-page Awin Report 2019 here. It also gives you insights into various markets and countries, cases from industries such as travel, fashion, finance and influencer marketing and, overall, probably the best affiliate marketing overview from absolute experts. You can download it for free here.


Awin is a global affiliate marketing network that belongs to Axel Springer and United Internet. With ShareASale, the Awin Group is represented at 15 locations worldwide and employs 1,000 people. Awin works with over 200,000 active publishers and more than 29,500 advertisers and connects end customers with well-known brands around the world in 180 countries. In the retail & shopping, financial services, travel and telco & services sectors, Awin achieved sales of EUR 15.6 billion for its advertisers and EUR 694 million for its publishers in the past financial year. Awin emerged in March 2017 from a merger of zanox and Affiliate Window, followed a few months later by the merger with affilinet.