From my vantage point, I can generalize that Google shopping ads are prevalent more than ever. Shills might say search is so personalized that I'm special and one of the lucky ones seeing. To suggest that Google shopping ads are NOT proliferating seems like an irrational thought. I've seen shopping ads appear below YouTube videos on typical videos where people try to monetize in the description box with their own affiliate links. I think the reality of this is that we are now competing with Google for affiliate income. That's not a winnable battle obviously.
Affiliate programs rely on organic traffic, or at least did for me. Why pay for traffic when that expense likely won't cover affiliate income? The point is another challenge I have is just maintaining enough traffic that might convert.
I think though this circles back to us competing with Google for affiliate income. On the searches that are likely to convert? You bet they are ahead of the line. My site will be second, third or fourth option. That's not winnable. The shopping ads are coming to those searches that are convertible. The Google knows when people might be considering buying and YouTube wise, those are precisely when the shopping ads show.
I've noticed drops in affiliate payout which again is discouraging. I think this is about three negatives right now.
People are slow to react. CJ and Linkshare? At some point the average webmaster like myself is going to wake up to these challenges and simply move on. I think right now the affiliate programs are skating on thin ice. The isn't temporary, this is real.
Does anyone dispute that now, more than ever, we are trying to compete directly with Google on the traffic that is considering a product or service?