Covid-19 & Affiliate Marketing: What Works During Crisis

corona virus impact on affiliate marketing

Coronavirus is shaking up businesses and consumer behavior on a massive scale. Both public and private sectors are fighting to slow the spread of the COVID-19 infection. 

Where is affiliate marketing in all this? Well, opinions across the industry are mixed. Some don’t see many changes in their performance, some cut off their budgets completely, while others increase their ad spend hoping to get revenue beyond their wildest expectations. 

We can tell you is that for sure there are opportunities to get profits in these crazy times. BUT to actually make them work you need to understand what the hell is happening. 

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So before I talk about Corona-specific strategies and what seems to be currently working, let’s go through the facts. 

Where are we now? Coronavirus market impact 

While we cannot predict the full economic consequences of this black swan event, we already know that the effects of the virus and the drastic measures undertaken to prevent it are already heavily impacting industries around the globe. 

corona virus - black swan event

So here’s what we know so far: 

  • Disruption of the global supply chain The virus originated in China, where a large number of citizens were forced into quarantine. This led to partial and full shutdowns of plants and factories (for example Apple experienced shortages on its iPhone supply).
  • Shifts in eCommerce – The nearest future for eCom remains unclear. On the one hand, people stay at home and aren’t able to go shopping. That’s why, in theory, online sales could go up. On the other hand, eCom stores are already experiencing drops in their conversion rates. Delivery services are doing what they can to stretch their delivering capabilities (Amazon to hire 100K workers as orders pile up). At the same time, it’s hard to find personnel as people are avoiding human contact.
  • Businesses around the globe struggle – We see a negative impact on all verticals where, ultimately, money has to exchange hands. Even if the virus slows down fast, it will take a lot of time for businesses to make up for their losses. It’s estimated that in total COVID-19 will cost the global economy $2.7 trillion (Bloomberg).

The impact of #stayathome movement  

As most people #stayathome, some of them work remotely, some are on sick leave or unable to work we can already see: 

  • People spend more time online As most people are stuck at home 24/7 they spend much more time surfing the web. Unfortunately, this doesn’t translate into the growth of organic traffic for most businesses.

“While it’s true that people are stuck at home and generate more online traffic, it doesn’t necessarily mean that every niche and vertical is going to see increases. Why? People are investing their time reading clickbait news about coronavirus instead of, for example, learning a skill online, reading about business, or planning trips, etc.”  – Servando Silva 

  • Organic traffic is down in most industries You may think that if people stay at home the organic traffic will grow. And you’re right! But only when it comes to the news industry or financial space. For most businesses, traffic goes down. 
traffic growth or decline due to covid-19
Source: Neil Patel
  • Higher interest in work-from-home offers Basically 24/7 hometime mixed with worries about the financial future will make people start looking for remote money-making opportunities. 

What Covid-19 Means For Marketers

All that impacts our digital space, where we can already see:  

  • A shift in ad performance – As I already mentioned, most businesses see drops in organic traffic.  Some types of offers will see huge declines or stop working at all. On the other hand, there will be certain affiliate offers, like adult, insurance, or work-from-home, that will fly high. 
  • Average CPC will drop – Brands will be spending less on advertising, overall CPCs may go down dramatically, meaning we all will have way more opportunities.
  • Profound Changes in Search Trends Online sales is undergoing an extreme change in buying trends. Demand for household items and medical supplies are spiking to an extraordinary degree.
How corona virus is affecting sales
Source: Search Engine Journal – Yoga mats and Apple AirPods are listed by Amazon among the most popular products for sale. Still… demand for toilet paper has dwarfed that of yoga mats and AirPods.
  • Ad Review DelaysBecause of the COVID-19 many traffic-source workers will be unable to work or will only be working part-time. Waiting time for content & ad reviews will be much longer than usual, and this may also cause delayed ad delivery. 

Coronavirus impact on affiliate sales 

Stacked Marketer Newsletter is currently running a survey about the Covid-19 impact. We can expect the full results in the next days, but here’s what we know so far:

Stacked Marketer Corona survey
Source: Stacked Marketer – COVID-19 Partial Survey Results

As you can see in the graph above, the COVID-19 pandemic affects our affiliate bus

iness differently. Some offers suffer from heavy declines, while others recorded spikes. 

Affiliate Marketing vs. COVID-19: Our Top 8 Profitable Niches and Verticals 

Before we get to the good part, remember that in most traffic sources using coronavirus related angle for advertising (using “coronavirus” or “covid” in headlines/ images/ landers/ offers) is strictly prohibited.

#1 Make money online & Work From Home 

This one is REALLY hot right now. People need money. Once the recession hits, many of them will lose their jobs and they will need it even more. This creates a huge pool of opportunities in the field of work-from-home and making money online. 

Types of offers: 

  • Online education platforms and courses
  • ClickBank offers teaching how to make money from home
  • Investment offers  
  • Job listing sites
  • Blogging & Freelance writing 
  • Filling surveys

#2 Dating & Adult

Adult is huge right now. Especially since many people are locked down without a possibility to go out and meet people. You can definitely try your luck here, but remember to stay focused on the online angle – “Meet hot girls from your neighborhood” might not work in the time of social distancing 😉 

Types of offers: 

  • WebCam offers
  • Live chats 
  • Adult push
  • Senior dating
Pornhub Corona virus - traffic insights
Source: Pornhub

#3 Safety 

Coronavirus makes people scared, and they don’t like it. So what should be sold right now is anything that gives comfort and safety. 

Types of offers: 

  • Medical advice
  • Psychological advice on how to cope with stress and panic 
  • Health care and insurance 
  • How to stay healthy while stuck at home 
  • Finance offers focused on coping with crisis (“How to protect your business in Pandemic times”)  

#4 Software for communication

As most of the world is locked in and many people work from home they need devices to communicate with each other. 

Types of offers: 

#5 Survival Kits 

Panic is reaching new heights every day, and things start to go out of hand. That’s why offers connected to preparation for the worst & survival should sell well. 

Types of offers: 

  • Emergency kits 
  • Ebooks & Guides on how to protect yourself from the virus 
  • Emergency food and water supplies
  • Military flashlights 

#6 Equipment needed to work from home 

We already see that products that allow establishing a more comfortable working environment at home, such as gear, lamps, keyboards, headsets, and office chairs are getting more and more traffic. Unsurprisingly, medical and hygiene products, such as thermometers or sanitizers are also a good choice. 

corona paper crisis

#7 House renovations / DIY / Architecture 

People stay home and as they do, they need to kill time on their hands. Many of them try to do something productive like renovations or redecorations. At the same time, they want to do it as cheaply as possible. People are more likely to repair something they already own rather than purchase something new. 

#8 Gaming & Streaming 

We might all stay at home, but we still need entertainment. Especially in these hard times. This is why offers focused on gaming, live streams, TV streaming, etc. are seeing huge spikes. 

Types of offers: 

Coronavirus Affiliate Marketing Tips 

What can you do as a marketer in these crazy times? Well, here are a few affiliate marketing tips from us. 

1# Yours and your family’s health is what matters. Make sure you eat well, do sports and get your sleep. You’ll need lots of energy to go through Corona times.  

2# Stay in the loop! The current situation is very dynamic, so try to be up-to-date. You can look for tips and information on our Facebook group or follow threads on popular forums like this STM Thread focused on Corona Virus strategies.

3# These times are hard for everyone, also for your competitors. So don’t aim at perfection, just go for survival. The truth is, the best time to double down is when others are not. 

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If you are lucky enough to be sitting on some cash during the recession – this is the best time to invest. 

“The affiliate industry as a whole seems to do better when there is an uncertainty in the economy.” – Luke Kling, affLIFT Founder 

4# At the same time – Be smart about money. You will need it. If you’re short on cash, try to cut costs. At the same time, don’t be afraid to seize opportunities that come across.

5# Last but not least – Coronavirus will be gone sooner or later, and what’s coming after will be much worse. Be smart and start thinking about preparing yourself for post-Corona times before others do. 

Be safe. 

If possible, stay home. 

And most importantly – DON’T GIVE UP!

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  1. Our Adsense revenues dropped to less than half (on a dating website) due to this covid-19 epidemic. Less and less ads…

  2. During this pandemic, working from home serves as the source of income for the mean time. Great article, very informative.

  3. There is one more niche that should help a lot in psychology is mindfulness, mental health related.

    Where people need to stay positive and tackle the situation irrespective of conditions outside.

    People are never been into one place for a long time these days.

  4. Coronavirus has really affected marketing globally. Amidst this crisis, we’re still able to find ways to survive and keep going on. Thanks for the transparency of this article. Such an informative blog.

  5. We are looking into new ways for Affiliate Marketing and real ways to grow our networks. I really enjoyed this article and hope to read more like this. Keep up the good work!

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