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Tips & Guides — 28 Apr 2023

Digital and Partner Marketing Trends for 2021

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  • Digital and Partner Marketing Trends 2021: Predictions from Industry Experts

Digital and Partner Marketing Trends 2021: Predictions from Industry Experts

With a global pandemic and other myriad challenges, 2020 will be remembered as a ruthless year for every industry. Partner marketing is not an exception. Yet, we’ve learned that the majority of businesses can adapt and operate in this new normal reality. And it is not a mere empty statement: according to the Deloitte report, digital sales grew by 18% in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019. 


The year 2020 taught us a lesson not to rush into conclusions and interpret everything with extra caution. Especially when it comes to future trends in the industry. However, one year ago, nobody could imagine so many changes the pandemic would bring. And today, we live and work under these conditions.  And as despite anything, we cannot but wonder what the year 2021 will be, what will affect the industry, and what we should prepare for.

Thus, we asked industry experts to share their thoughts on what one should expect in 2021, and here what they told us.

The Era of Content-oriented Marketing

Filipp Eremeev, Executive Director, MobX Agency

“In 2021 we should expect CPA to further  switch to content-oriented marketing across the largest social media: influencers, groups, channels, etc.

Due to new personal data regulations in mobile, the CPMs in targeted ads will likely increase. In line with that, the bids on depersonalized traffic will drop leading to diminished ad revenues for most publishers;

CPA market will see an increment in ad share, benefiting from: social media budget reallocation;

Shift to commercially-oriented marketing propelled by the pandemic;
Rise of event-optimization tools in the market presented by major DSPs and new disruptive players
And the timeless question, which verticals will be the most demanded in 2021. From my perspective, education, e-commerce, and finance will remain the go-tos, albeit requiring profound expertise and research done”.

iOS Update and In-app Marketing

Tomek Nowobilski, CEO and Founder, Harvest

“The iOS update and recent changes on Appsflyer will change the industry. Many DSPs will be deprioritized in favor of social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok) and direct in-app sources.

Fraud will be drastically limited, and affiliate networks will either die off or radically change their business models. While agencies with the real media buying expertise will most likely thrive”.

Evergreen E-commerce & Gaming

Josh Delano, Partner Development Senior Manager, Valuadle

“Based on latest market trends shaped from recent Covid pandemic, we see huge uptake in e-commerce and gaming verticals.


Shopping apps, popular so far in the APAC market, have seen a great demand even in places where traditionally people used to visit physical shops to do their daily shopping.


There is a global demand from all different countries to fulfill buying needs from diverse people.

End users are well trained and know how to take the best of each app and hence competition is very strong. We already see new business models emerging like CPS, which are based on revenue sharing of total buy value.

Still the king of the app markets remain the Games which traditionally have high loyalty and lucrative ARPUs. More and more people inevitably spend long times at home, either for remote work or pleasure, enjoying some time off while playing their favorite mobile games”.

Fewer Offers = More Revenue

Nissan Lavi, Co-founder & Head of Marketing, Thing Or Two LTD

“2021 will be the year when affiliates will think deep rather than wide. The recent changes in the industry will force “bulk API” accounts to rethink their strategy and understand that fewer offers mean more revenue nowadays”.

AI-based Targeting

Xianglin Kong, Head of Performance Marketing EASYJOY

“Technologies and Computing capacities are evolving very fast, and it is almost a brand new era based on AI and Big data now. By applying these technologies to mobile advertising, we will most likely approach an accurate user portrait and profile without violating their privacy. By knowing the possible gender, profession, hobbies, and more related information, we will be able to show users much more relevant ads, which will greatly improve user experience and conversion rate”.

More Businesses Choose Partner Marketing

Dmytro Nalbat, CEO, Plussy

“CPL from Facebook and Google Ads is getting higher. More FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods) and E-commerce companies will move to partner marketing. 
More and more companies will start working with bloggers and influencers. We see that there is a lot of interest in microbloggers with 5-10k subscribers. Such pages are more challenging to analyze as there is not enough data. 

Therefore, today the majority of companies try to work on a barter system. For example, we give you 25% off, and you make a promotional post. Bloggers are not interested in this business model. Affiliate payment model based on  leads/requests can be a solution to this challenge for both parties. 
 All these lead us to the point that in 2021  we will see more native ads on social networks.”

Online Invasion

Maksim Krupitsa, Customer Success Operational Team Lead, Affise

“I agree with the colleagues who took part in our discussion.

I will underline the three  points, which I believe will happen:


1. In 2021, we will see a global economic recession like it was in the ’20s of the last century in the US – with one difference for the industry. Due to the pandemic, all sales channels will move from offline trade to online, which wouldn’t decrease advertising budgets.


2. Everyone will try to move their business online. Among the top growing verticals I expect to see e-commerce, mobile, dating (web-cam). I hope that at the beginning of 2022, humanity will mostly win the pandemic, and the most growing vertical will be traveling.

3. We should be ready to see new challenges for tracking solutions due to improved security and privacy policies. Also, development of new tracking possibilities without cookies”.

The Mysterious 2021

With all its unpredictability let’s consider the year 2020 as a thorny but exciting path to new horizons in 2021. The challenges of this turbulent year have made us stronger, more creative, and resilient to difficulties. And these are not empty words! Throughout the year we saw the achievements of our clients and industry partners: we went on releasing new features and establishing long-lasting partnerships. As online marketers we never forgot how important it is to embrace the new reality and keep monitoring analytics, promptly making changes to advertising strategy.  With such commitment to the common goal, we are excited to see the industry and its innovations in 2021.

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Yana Genkina

Written by

Marketing Manager

Yana is a creative marketer who loves to face new challenging tasks and eager to complete them successfully. She believes that a pinch of strategic mindset and a dose of creativity are the core ingredients for a good marketing approach. Three facts about Yana: she likes to read tech news and business books, she adores writing real letters, and she is a true fan of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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