If you’re struggling with your affiliate marketing efforts, something that you should check is whether or not you are still working in a profitable vertical. If the vertical you are in (nutra, adult, crypto, gambling etc) is not “poppin” any more, you’re going to struggle to make money.
Even though niches are “evergreen” meaning that it’s likely to be around forever, that doesn’t mean it’s always profitable. For example dating was really hot a decade ago when all these dating sites started to pop up. Now that the market is saturated? Well not so much.
Does that mean you can’t make money in dating offers? Of course not, in fact there are still people killing it in the niche. However these are already established players with tons of data at their disposal, so if you’re just starting out, there’s a good chance you’re going to struggle.
Crypto is also another niche that was much better a few years ago. Can you still make money in crypto? Of course you can, but again the market is much more saturated now which means profiting is a little tougher.
So anyway here are some things to recognize and analyze that will help determine if you’re beating a dead horse and may need to consider looking for something new.
Are The Offers Still Good?
Usually the first place I look when I analyze a vertical is whether or not the offers (products/services) are even converting well. Usually when a vertical is “hot”, there will be several offers you can promote that convert really well and you can make a ton of money off of.
However as time goes on these hot offers disappear, and then you have an influx of mediocre/poor offers that really does a number on your profits. Also more competitors will jump in and promote the same offers as you, which of course eats into your margins as well.
Furthermore as time goes on often payouts get lower and conversion rates go down. You may have been pushing an offer that had a CVR of 20% but now for some reason has dropped to 8%.
Or perhaps that diet pill used to pay $60/sale but now only pays $40. All this of course is not good news, so you need to be on top of things to recognize trends.
So for me basically when I start experiencing “resistance” to my profit margins in a vertical, this is a red flag, and I take a step back and look around to figure out if this is just a temporary thing or am I on the Titanic and it’s starting to sink.
Has Traffic Prices Gone Up Too Much?
The second place you need to analyze is your cost of traffic. Obviously if you’re using free traffic from social media or SEO this doesn’t apply to you, but if you’re using paid traffic you need to analyze realistically if the price you’re paying allows you to be profitable.
I’ve been doing this for over a decade now, and let me tell you, traffic prices only get more expensive over time. Whether it be Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or some other media platform, I’ve never seen a good traffic source get any cheaper (well for an extended period anyway).
Also savvy consumers have made the quality of traffic go down. Your clicks just don’t buy as much as they use to, people are less trusting when it comes to giving out credit card information or even their email addresses. All this means lower conversion rates, and less bang for your traffic dollars.
So whatever campaign you are running, analyze the cost of traffic and realistically look forward 6-12 months from now. Are you headed towards inevitable doom? Or can you continue to make money in this vertical?
If traffic prices are too steep and those profit margins continue to shrink or even put you in the red, you may want to consider trying something else.
Has Online Chatter Slowed?
Another thing I also like to check is whether or not online chatter about a vertical has changed. If you’re an affiliate marketer, you probably are part of various online forums (or at least should be) so definitely check out how things are going in your vertical.
If there is a lot of forum chatter still going on a daily basis, then chances are people are still making money in the vertical. On the flip side if online forums of the vertical are starting to look like ghost towns, that may be a signal that the vertical is dead.
Some Final Thoughts
So again take into account the factors previously mentioned and see if maybe you need to start looking for greener pastures. I’m only telling you this from experience, because there has been a few verticals that I rode into the ground.
Just because a vertical is “evergreen” doesn’t mean it’s always a good one to operate in. Your time and resources may be more productive invested somewhere else rather than a vertical that is over saturated and/or on the decline.
Even if you leave the vertical, that doesn’t mean you can’t return at a later time. Often verticals are cyclical in nature, and sometimes can become hot again if the landscape changes (new offers, decreased competition etc).
Anyway I hope this article got you thinking about the verticals you are currently operating in. There’s no shame in abandoning ship if things aren’t looking good, so really be honest with yourself and take an objective look to see if the path you are on still makes sense.