How Affiliate Marketing Is Being Affected By COVID-19

The coronavirus disease is a respiratory viral disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus that attacks our respiratory organs and hinders their effectiveness. The ultimate result could be deadly in some cases. This fatal disease has spread to almost every corner of the world, across 215 countries and territories, and over 5 million people affected by it. According to WHO, the number of deaths is closing in on half a million.

An essential trait of this virus is that it spreads through droplets produced by our respiratory systems and can easily be spread by touch or even in the vicinity of a patient. As deadly as the virus is, the countries around the world had no way but to shut down all economic and other social activities to stop the disease from spreading. This process is being called a lockdown.

An economic lockdown has devastating effects on local and global economies. The global GDP will see a significant drop. Outside the macro picture, the micro scenario is more destructive. Small and medium-sized businesses will take a big hit in this corona lockdown as their sustainability is lower than the more prominent firms. Various sectors related to these industries are suffering too. One such sector is affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a branch of marking that is based on performance. It is the marketing model where the businesses reward the marketer or, in this case, ‘affiliate’ for each ‘business’ or customer he brings to his client, using his marketing efforts.

This sort of marketing achieved popularity in the ’90s when big companies with complex marketing activities started to pop into the market. Affiliated marketing has niches, such as physical goods and intangible goods, which can be divided into various sub-niches.

The problem with affiliate marketing is that if the economy is not functioning properly, if the businesses are declining, they won’t be able to function properly either. In this article, we try to assess the effect of COVID-19 on affiliate marketing.

In terms of physical goods

Source: Airtech India

Affiliated marketing has various sectors. The marketing done for physical goods might be the largest portion of it. The pioneering company in this field would be Amazon. Since the early days of affiliate marketing, a lot of it was being done via Amazon’s platform. We could say that it would be sufficient to evaluate the demand trends of physical goods from Amazon to find a picture of affiliated marketing in this sector.

Amazon is prioritizing the ‘essential’ goods in this pandemic, essential products being household supplies and medicine. It also plans to suspend or under-prioritize services for all goods categorized as non-essential.

How will this affect Amazon’s affiliate marketers? Most of the high-end Amazon products are electronic. Affiliate marketing for these products brings in the largest revenue.

Marketing for household goods will surely decrease the income of such marketers. Some may not even be willing to do such marketing. On the other hand, with a recession looming, companies may not be willing to throw cash for marketing on household products, which surely shows how affiliate marketing in this sector will be affected.

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Intangible goods

Source: PCWorld

Intangible goods are goods that are not physical. In modern times, most of these goods are digital goods, such as apps and software. They are also less vulnerable to economic lockdowns as they don’t follow the traditional path of delivery.

Most softwares can be downloaded online. Thus the market for intangible goods has been booming since the lockdown started. Affiliate marketing in this sector is also satisfactory for those related to this.

Also, intangible products have digital or arbitrary licenses. Every time they renew their license, an affiliate would get a percentage of it. Thus, this market provides an affiliate with recurring earnings.

The situation in SEO and content-based affiliate marketing

Source: Search Engine Journal

Search engine optimization or SEO and content-based affiliate marketing is the digital scheme of affiliate marketing. Search patterns and customer interest drive the total demand for this market.

Organic search is a measure of customer interest in various sectors of the global economy that can be exploited by affiliate marketing. In this global economy under lockdown, the organic search metric is not showing a ray of hope.

Search for all goods except for food, medicine, and other essential goods, is down. As a result, affiliate marketing investment in the SEO and the content-based sector is facing jeopardy.

One useful piece of advice for those associated with this sector could be to focus on the future. SEO demands constant modernization and skill development. Content makers could use this lockdown to develop their skills, websites, and web content. As a result, they will be ready when the market bounces back.

Which niches to focus on

Source: Forbes

From our discussion above, we can say that the intangible goods market is a better niche for affiliates overall. The affiliates should focus on a particular niche to help them cope with the situation in today’s market. Let’s look at some of them:

The healthcare sector will boom in this time of crisis. Healthcare and medicine products are at top demand, especially during a pandemic like this. Affiliated marketing in this sector could be really profitable right now.

Online education is another important niche. With people staying indoors, the process of learning has changed, and it may have changed forever. Online courses and live learning platforms are on the rise. Affiliate marketing in this sector could be very useful right now.

With most people staying indoors, communication has shifted to digital platforms. Platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet are in high demand. Affiliates in this sector have big opportunities.

The entertainment sector, especially digital content and online content providing services, are in top demand now, as people do not have much to do indoors. Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube are in high demand. Affiliate marketing in the entertainment sector could prove to be very useful.

In these trying times, every sector needs to adapt to internal and external threats. Affiliated marketing is no different. Following specific strategies, any affiliate could turn this crisis into an opportunity.