6 minute read

Why Does Affiliate Marketing Make Sense During a Recession?

When things get tough, it’s tempting to turn to traditional, *safer,* advertising techniques. It’s also common to cut advertising spending altogether and wait for things to improve. However, a recession is the worst time to cut advertising spending. Let’s discover why investing in affiliate marketing during a recession can bring the most returns for your investments.

This is the perfect time for your business to get ahead of the competition with an affiliate marketing strategy during a recession. Here’s why you should be looking into affiliate marketing.

Marketing Desk

Is Any Kind of Marketing During a Recession a Good Idea?

When overall consumer spending is reduced, it’s the companies that fight for the remaining dollars that make it through the recession.

There is a very good argument to be made that advertising in general is a good idea during a recession. Throughout time, from Kellogg’s Dry Cereal outcompeting its primary adversary, Post, in the 1920s, to Amazon growing 28% during the Great Recession in 2009, the companies that have kept advertising and even advertised more heavily during economic downturns have succeeded. 

Ford is a superb recent example. In 2020, when the country was in the midst of not only an economic downturn but also a pandemic, Ford released its #FinishStrong advertising campaign, which urged Americans to be patriotic and do their part to reduce the spread of Covid-19. This tactic worked well, causing a surge of loyalty to Ford.

But how can you know whether affiliate marketing is the right kind of advertising for your business to invest in at a time when you don’t have much room in the budget? Here are a few reasons why affiliate marketing is one of the best options for marketing, surviving, and thriving in a down market. 

Consumers are especially likely to respond well to an affiliate marketing strategy during a recession

When times are tough, consumers tend to stay home and try to spend less. However, they don’t stop spending altogether. Consumers are more likely to focus on a couple of small, highly researched purchases, rather than going out and buying lots of things impulsively. They’re also more likely to focus on hobbies they can enjoy at home.

One of the most popular ways to research products and learn new skills is by using trusted sources. You may not be able to go on the cruise you were hoping for, but you can learn how to make a new recipe or pick up a new hobby. How do you learn which are the best brands to buy your tools and ingredients from? Respected sources and influencers.

In 2020, the influencer marketing usage rate in the US was 64.5%. By 2025, it is projected to be at a whopping 86%. Why are influencers growing so fast? People trust their favorite hobby website or product testing team to offer them good advice, which makes them much more likely to buy your product if it’s suggested or advertised on these sites. 

Affiliate marketing lets you get products in front of customers who otherwise may not have seen them

Affiliate marketing enables you to target your advertising campaign by putting advertising links into websites that attract a particular demographic. This is a great tactic for targeting consumers who you know are likely to buy your product or service, but it’s also a brilliant way to reach groups that you think may be curious about your product but aren’t yet big purchasers. 

Extending advertising to specific interest groups is much less expensive than conducting a blanket campaign to cover a wide variety of different demographics. Since consumers are more likely to be diving deep into hobby websites during a recession, this is the perfect time to experiment with exposing new target groups to what your company has to offer.

Planning Affiliate Strategies

The affiliate marketing payment model means you only pay when a product is sold

Affiliate marketing is one of the only advertising models that enable you to pay only when a sale has been made. Many other types of advertisements, like social media and pay-per-click, charge every time somebody clicks on a link. Most other kinds of advertising, including traditional advertising like banners and TV ads, charge just to run the campaign. 

Affiliate marketing is one of the lowest-risk marketing options since you only have to pay if you make money. In fact, for most affiliate programs, you only have to pay if the consumer buys the product within a specific time limit determined by cookies. If the consumer waits longer than that specified time to buy your product or service, you don’t pay the affiliate commission. 

Customers who see products advertised by affiliates are more likely to buy them

There are all kinds of things you can do to get your product in front of a consumer. However, products put in front of consumers via affiliate marketing may be more likely to result in a purchase. 

Consumers who are reading an in-depth article about something that interests them or watching a YouTube video about how to do something are in the process of shifting from research to purchase mode. No matter what they’re researching, whether it is a review of products or a how-to guide, a purchase is likely down the road.

By putting your affiliate links and advertisements in front of consumers at this moment, you make it more likely that they’ll shift directly from research to shopping. After all, a trusted resource has suggested your product. Why would the customer search for similar products somewhere else? This is an example of how affiliate marketing can work as a cooperative relationship between two businesses

An affiliate marketing strategy does more than sell a product: it builds a brand

It can be easy to overlook the value of brand building during a time when you’re worried about keeping your business open. However, continuing to invest in your brand when people may feel vulnerable can be a powerful motivator of loyalty. By attaching your brand to a trusted content producer or influencer, your company can share in some of the loyalty and trust consumers feel in the content producer.

The consumer trusts this content to tell them how to do something they’re interested in learning or helpfully compare products they’re considering buying. Naturally, they’ll be more likely to feel positively toward a brand recommended by this content producer.

You can get an affiliate marketing program up quicker than other marketing strategies, and change it easily if you need to

Once you’ve made the decision to invest in marketing during a recession, you don’t want to waste any time. You need a campaign that is specifically designed around the unique buying behavior of consumers in a recession, and you need it up and running before those trends change. 

An affiliate program can be started almost instantly, and it can be tweaked and adjusted as needed as you learn more about what consumers respond to. Affiliate marketing is responsive enough that you’ll know when a campaign isn’t working as well as it should be so you can make changes and maximize profit as soon as possible. 

Affiliates create evergreen content that keeps working with minimal additional investment

One of the most frustrating problems of advertising for any marketing department is the campaigns that are working but require a lot of ongoing investment and upkeep. You may wonder whether it’s worth all the effort but be unwilling to give up the traffic. 

This is unlikely to be a problem when it comes to affiliate advertising. Once content is created, whether it is written or video, the links it contains remains, attracting new customers for years to come. The content creator is motivated to keep the content fresh since they also make money from evergreen content that attracts traffic.

Tips for effective affiliate marketing during a recession 

  • Don’t do it halfway. Effective affiliate marketing demands a committed approach, especially during a recession. Choose an agency with many years of experience creating affiliate marketing campaigns for companies like yours that can build and stick to an effective campaign.
  • Choose content carefully. It can be easy for newbies to the affiliate marketing game to think that all content is good content. This isn’t the case. The partnerships you choose and the content producers you associate with are extremely important for developing your brand.
  • Ensure your brand isn’t misrepresented. Even quality content producers who are trying to do right by your brand may accidentally misrepresent information or provide outdated information. Make sure the agency you choose keeps third-party representation on message and up-to-date.
Affiliate Marketing Profits

Get Started with Affiliate Marketing with the Help of Vibrant Performance

Ready to increase your income and brand awareness in the shadow of a looming recession? Vibrant Performance is an affiliate partnership agency experienced in developing campaigns that increase conversions and build brands, regardless of what the economy is doing. 

Our approach to affiliate marketing is based on many years of diverse experience in various aspects of managing affiliate programs as well as buying media and creating content. We partner with a range of content producers including bloggers, mass media publishers, mobile app companies, and loyalty partners to put your product or service where it will be most likely to generate traffic and income. 

We understand how to guide your affiliate marketing campaign through the ups and downs of the economy, including through a recession. Get in touch with us.

We’ll explain how we can use affiliate marketing to ramp up your marketing efforts today.


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