Lessons From 2008 and 2020: Recession-Proofing your Affiliate Marketing

22 was a difficult year for marketers, and 2023 is seeing no signs of this crunch abating. Inflation has inevitably reduced the purchasing power of consumers, with many cutting back on non-essentials. Reaching consumers takes more in this day and age, and marketers must be more savvy than ever before. 

In this blog, we’ll explore how affiliate marketing is a resilient revenue driver in times of hardship. We’ll share tips on how performance and affiliate marketers can drive sales and keep their costs down using Student Beans’ publisher solution, and take a look at some previous trends that shaped the last financial crisis.

Lessons from ‘Great Recession’

The last time the world faced a similar economic crisis was during the ‘Great’ Recession’ of 2008 – and we’ve had a lot to contend with since then. The road to recovery has been tarred by war in Ukraine, a global pandemic and growing government debt. 

The fortune of almost every company and brand was changed by the financial crash of 2007 and the recession that followed.  But what lessons can we learn from that experience?

Sites and apps that popularise the day-to-day of today’s consumers were born as part of a ‘sharing economy’ (such as Airbnb and Uber) – and their rise should come as no surprise. The recession taught us that value has fast become more appealing than status for consumers.

Brands became more focused on the concept of providing value to consumers and re-assurance that consumers aren’t wasting their money in a time when cash was stretching less than ever.

Equally, during COVID brands had to again learn how to adapt. During the many lockdowns, retail and hospitality suffered tremendously as footfall fell and supply chains ground to a halt. However, e-commerce became crucial to brand success, with global retail e-commerce sales rising to £4 trillion globally. 

Performance marketing was a powerful driver here. It allowed brands to easily measure return on investment and identify the campaigns that worked. Affiliate marketing gave brands a platform to get their brand out there, attracting and converting a new wave of consumers. Providing value again reached the forefront of every marketers’ strategy, with many consumers searching around for the best deals.

Get your customers returning again, and again…

In 2023, this same notion appears to be holding strong.

In the UK, searches for discount vouchers have increased by 47.5% over the last 12 months as consumers knuckle down on spending. 

This is corroborated in research from Voxburner, the Student Beans insights agency. The research found that a massive 45% of consumers are checking for exclusive discounts every single time they make a purchase. By category, searches for restaurant vouchers increased by 226% over the last year, demonstrating that simple acts like going out for a meal are no longer standard, but a luxury that people are looking to save on.

This is huge for affiliate marketers, who should be concerning themselves with securing brand loyalty during this tumultuous time.

How affiliate marketing can drive brand loyalty

Affiliate marketing is a powerful revenue generator, and publishers are your key to driving this. 

Student Beans’ publisher solution sees thousands of brands turn to us to manage their end-to-end student discount programs. Our publisher partners get their brand in front of thousands of students each day through our online Marketplace, allowing them to grow their Gen Z audiences and drive sales. We work with 71% of the top 100 youth brands and are trusted more than any other student loyalty platform.  

The current spending habits of young consumers points to the fact that they’re not just looking for a one time purchase. We found that 80% of young people are planning to cut down on non-essential spending – meaning that they’ll be focusing their spending power on brands that they trust. 

By working with Student Beans, your brand will be able to offer exclusive discounts to young consumers during their time of need, cultivating brand loyalty that could last a lifetime.

Making your brand a priority when consumers have more choice than ever

It’s fair to say the e-commerce space is booming. Young consumers have more choice than ever when shopping online – and this variety has changed the way they’re shopping. E-commerce brands should consider providing value beyond the quality of the products they’re offering. Incentives like buy-one-get-one-free, or free delivery in conjunction with student discounts are a powerful driver to get consumers over the line and convert, with 28% of consumers driven to buy online due to the availability of discounts and promotions.

Supercharge your future marketing strategies

Student Beans gathers first-party data that brands use to supercharge their future marketing strategies. As we know, the global cost-of-living crisis is a significant concern for young consumers. We support brands to gain insight and adapt their strategies to provide shoppers with the best deals during this uncertain time. Equally, our media solutions help you speak to young consumers in a language they understand.

What can Student Beans offer you?

  • On average, our brand partners have been able to increase student conversions by 3.5 times and repeat purchases of 21%, with 17% average order value gains.
  • Position yourself where it matters most, whether that’s using carousels, social extensions, newsletters, push notifications or via our carefully curated Gen Z database.
  • We aren’t your average publisher – not only do we drive engagement, create a buzz and reach Gen Z through their native platforms, but we also offer end-to-end solutions, have award-winning tech and keep our finger on the pulse with new trends.

Discover more about how we can equip your brand with end-to-end solutions in order to better attract, engage and retain student customers here.

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