There is no better time than now for affiliate marketers to think about the future and what it holds. Which affiliate marketing trends are going to change the game in 2012? By taking a closer look at some of the possibilities, you will better position yourself for success both now and over the next 12 months.

Mobile is Coming

By the end of 2011, more and more people were beginning to discuss mobile marketing and what it meant to their affiliate business. You can definitely expect more of the same in 2012. In fact, the rise of mobile in the affiliate marketing industry is simply a matter of time. While growth has been slow as of late, 2012 is poised to be the biggest year yet. With more and more people buying and using mobile devices, affiliate marketers must focus some time in this area.

Did you know that spending on mobile advertising is expected to easily eclipse $1 billion by the end of 2012? Due to this growth, affiliates can begin to generate mobile traffic and subsequently earn commissions. Not only is the mobile market growing, but the same holds true among affiliate marketers who are looking for unique ways to drive traffic and increase conversions.

More Panda on the Way

Let’s put it this way: there are not too many affiliate marketers happy with the recent Panda updates from Google. In fact, this wiped many affiliates off the map. These people are still in a holding pattern, attempting to gain back some of the search engine traffic lost due to Google’s changes during the latter part of 2011.

You may not like what Google has done, but this does not change the fact that they are poised to do the same in 2012. Nobody knows when it is coming or how it will affect them, but it is safe to say that another Panda update is on the way.

No matter if you were hit hard by the last update or escaped unscathed, it is important to plan for the future without delay. Get started by ensuring that you have plenty of high quality, unique content on your sites. Spammy affiliate sites were hit hard by the last update and there is a good chance that this crackdown will continue.

Increased Competition

As if the industry is not difficult enough, you can expect more competition in 2012. Did you know that Forrester, a leading market research firm, has predicted that retailers will spend more than $4 billion on affiliate marketing by 2014? With this type of growth, it is only natural for new affiliates to jump into the action.

With increased competition, it is more important than ever for affiliate marketers to set themselves apart. Which keywords are profitable yet not overly competitive? How are you going to monetize your sites to squeeze every last cent out of every visitor? These are the types of questions to answer as you work your way through 2012 and continually deal with increased competition.

What types of affiliate marketing trends are you envisioning for 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.