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Affiliate Marketing Trends 2021

Affiliate Marketing Trends 2021

Now as 81% of brands use affiliate programs (Nikolovska, 2021; Web Market Support, 2021),  Affiliate marketing proves to be one of the most profitable branches of digital marketing of 2021 so far. 
According to a study by CHEQ and the University of Baltimore:
«The size of the affiliate marketing industry continues to grow, and in 2020, is a market we estimate to be worth $15 billion globally. This is the breakdown of the size of affiliate marketing sectors across nine major countries in 2020, based on the independent study.»
In the following post we look at the growth and development of affiliate marketing regarding dating and crypto verticals, looking at the opportunities and challenges for continued growth of this vital marketing channel.
For this, we asked our experts at C3PA who answered the following questions regarding dating and crypto verticals:
1. It seems that everyone has adapted to the pandemic times for now. What are the predictions for online dating? Will it take a back seat to other verticals, or its performance will be as stable as it is now?

Artem, the founder of C3PA:

«The dating vertical is probably the most stable in the industry, this niche always holds the users and attracts new ones at different age groups. These pandemic times had triggered an increasing share of almost all online services due to increasing Internet consumption generally, and dating services are not an exception. Regarding Dating positions among other verticals, it never was a leading one. This is the niche that always attracts people and resolves some of their needs regardless of pandemia, global warming, and environmental issues. People will date it's deep in our essence and will spend money.  The future of dating goes to Apps, it's the most visible trend of the last 5 years, and it continues increasing its customers.


According to our internal stats, revenue from the Dating vertical increased by 30% in 2020, the pandemic year, and keep growing in 2021st. Numbers and trends are giving credit to a dating vertical and ensure us in stable growth.»

2. What are the traffic sources for dating that remain to be top converting for at least to the end of the year?

Andrii, CEO of C3PA:

«Covid restrictions had a strong impact on the dating vertical as well as on online dating in general. New moderation of social media ads, new updates to iOS, and so on affected the quality and traffic volumes of dating products. 
People’s priority of basic needs is shifting in another direction. All factors aim to increase costs per user and CAC while reducing LTV. Especially the decrease of audience purchasing power while the numbers of online users in increasing 
Therefore, since the beginning of 2021, advertisers are paying attention to better types of traffic, even though it has smaller volumes.
Google (SEO and AdWords) is the top source of traffic for dating since it covers the requests of users. Accordingly to this, dating products are ready to work to maximum audience quality. SEO and AdWords traffic have the highest quality these days. But at the same time, it is the most expensive and compounded. Creating converting funnels and partnerships with clients who receive this traffic will bear fruit in the long run. Therefore, that traffic source will be the most stable and high-qualified traffic for the advertisers, and high-converted for the affiliates.

Google traffic doesn’t allow to promote Casual and adult dating products. Therefore, the most effective traffic source is email. Converting audience age for casual and adult dating allows promoting products through emails. The main feature of this traffic source is the ability to gather email databases, use converting creatives in the body letter, and a well-established strategy for the support and deliverance to the targeted audience.

For advertisers, email traffic has the largest purchases and traffic volumes. The main advice for affiliates uses this traffic source as it may be the long-player one in the industry of casual and adult dating industry.»

3. The Chinese government and speculative Musk’s tweets jeopardized the stability of the Bitcoin rate. Have these events had an impact on the crypto vertical? Or is it going to become TOP 1 vertical among the others for the next year? 

Andrii, CEO of C3PA:

«First of all, the crypto vertical includes exchanges and trading, ICO projects, NFT tokens payment methods (wallets, etc.), forex platforms with cryptocurrencies trading. All of these branches are still in the progress of development - more and more offline projects and businesses (for example, VISA) started to implement crypto technologies. For now, it is hard to say whether the crypto is going to be the TOP-1 vertical among others. 

Secondly, exactly forex and cryptocurrency trading - is popular among the affiliates. These branches of crypto depend on audience behavior. Even more - deeply rooted in the auditor's mindset. Most of the funnels are created according to crypto investing. Therefore, the mass media has an impact on the stability of the Bitcoin rate as well as on the crypto vertical in general. Directly it influences the conversion from registration to making deposits. Either the audience doubts about making deposits, or is waiting for the right time to make ones. The vocation of cryptocurrency for sure attracts more and more clients in the crypto niche. Which makes the affiliate marketing industry even bigger and profitable. These days new cryptocurrency tokens affect the development of the crypto vertical, and more and more affiliates tend to work with one.»

4. What are the traffic sources and hot upcoming GEO’s for crypto that are expected to have a way better performance than the rest?  

Artem, the founder of C3PA:

«Affiliate marketing will both change and stay the same at the same time. It will adapt to new circumstances but the core idea behind it will be the same.

You don’t have to reinvent yourself, just evolve along with the industry. The times are unprecedented, but they still require the same skillset, approach, and tools. You just have to be watchful, ready to change your strategy, and think ahead more than you used to.»
The challenge of fraud
Though the spend on affiliate marketing is welcome across all these countries, the CHEQ report also found that $1.4 billion of this marketing spend is set to be lost to affiliate fraud, spread across global affiliate programs. This is known as the dark side of affiliate marketing.  Bad actors exploit shortcomings in tracking and attribution to claim online commissions unfairly, damaging both the digital advertising metrics, and ultimately bottom line, in online advertising campaign.