Partner Marketing trends in 2023
What will define the CPA industry in MENA
During 2022, partner marketing continued to grow in the MENA region, driven by the fast-paced increase of the ecommerce market and the emergence of innovative publishing channels. However, recent regulatory changes and new challenges for the global economy are forcing brands to choose platforms with innovative tracking solutions and full transparency. The partnership market is changing rapidly.
Zeid Nasser, the Head of Admitad Partner Network in MENA shares his view on partner marketing trends in 2023.
Social selling and influencer channels will continue to grow
Social media influencers, celebrities and social selling techniques have grown as publishers in the past years. The leading merchants (advertisers) in the region are more and more focused on social channels leading to a burst in short product promotional videos by Arab influencers, live commerce streams and broadcasts.
As a result, various advertisers report that such publishers now contribute nearly half of the sales generated in partner marketing channels. The channels most utilised in MENA are TikTok and Instagram, with both Telegram and Twitter rising, while Facebook seems to be less important in this context.
In the social selling sphere, discount coupon codes in MENA are currently the leading method social sellers use to drive sales to merchants. In addition, Admitad observes a growing awareness regarding better tracking and transparency solutions offered by global networks.
Clearly, this trend will continue to grow in 2023, as partner networks also focus on recruiting more of these publishers and specialise further in understanding how to best serve partners in this ‘new social selling world’, including the need for better ‘packaging’ of micro-influencer services.
The rise of ‘buying journey publishers’ led by FinTech and loyalty programs
Service companies that have built a unique audience realise that they have the potential to become leading publishers. Airlines and banks are introducing this new revenue channel by providing discounts and cash-back to their millions of customers. Already, in the MENA region, such strategies proved to be successful.
The most exciting development in 2022 was the success of buy-now-pay-later (BNPL), such as Klarna and other fintech companies that present a starting point of the buying journey. These companies have obtained an additional revenue source through partnership marketing and are now among the most sought-after publisher types. In the MENA region, Admitad was the first one to launch this type of partnership with Tabby, PostPay, Tamara and others.
The continued emergence of these new types of publishers points to a future that reduces the role of the ‘classic affiliate media buyer’.
SMEs fueling the long tail of ecommerce
Millions of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are going online every year, especially since the pandemic. They require both ecommerce enabling platforms, like Shopify, and different marketing tools, including affiliate marketing, to boost their business.
The cost-per-action (CPA) model offered by affiliate marketing is a safe choice for SMEs. In MENA, shopping platforms like Salla and Zid are already working with partnership networks to enable their merchants to plug into affiliate marketing opportunities. Products like Tapfiliate serve this exact purpose making it easy for SMEs to develop their affiliate marketing strategy.
Artificial intelligence and automation
The performance marketing industry has been using artificial intelligence (AI) for several years, but the trend went into overdrive in 2022, coupled with automation tools to aid the daily working tasks of marketers.
AI optimisation for targeting and conversion has provided greater insight into campaign performance and driven better return on investment (ROI). In partner marketing, for example, AI is used to set up and run A/B tests on affiliate marketing campaigns. It can automatically and continuously redirect the investment toward a better campaign in real-time. AI can also be used in risk management, anti-fraud solutions, and scoring systems for publishers, which will bring more transparency to advertisers. Instant Payout Pro solution is one of the first steps in this direction, allowing publishers to withdraw revenue within a few minutes (maximum one day) after a completed transaction instead of waiting for weeks.
Data privacy regulations and the upcoming end of third-party cookies
An issue that continued to stand out in 2022 is the move of governments and ‘big tech’ companies towards more stringent data privacy regulations. This affects current targeting and tracking technologies in digital marketing. In 2021, Apple rolled out changes limiting the data that advertisers can track. Since then, Facebook’s revenues and stock prices have significantly dropped. The next big impact on revenues will be when Google stops using third-party cookies in Chrome by the end of 2024. The market quickly adapts and progressive partner networks, including Admitad, have already introduced cookieless tracking solutions.
Looking to the near future
There are, of course, various other emerging trends which are going to make an impact on the partnership marketing industry. This includes the metaverse and voice search, among other trends, which should evolve and be evaluated again towards the end of 2023.
As the world economy is experiencing a slowdown, the impact on ecommerce will differ across the globe. In MENA, we expect the effects to be less than in other regions due to the different economic conditions in Gulf Countries and the fact that the ecommerce industry is in its early stages here. There is indeed a lot of untapped demand fueling it.
Still, the overall economic environment will come into the thinking of regional marketers who want to get a better return on investment of advertising dollars which means seeking better marketing partnership technologies and safer publishing channels.
In such an environment, the aforementioned trends and savings as a business model (vouchers, coupons, loyalty programs) will be winners in 2023. Partnership marketing is a well-recognised vehicle for delivering results in those fields. The immediate future continues to look bright for partnership marketing.