Betting your way

Betting your way

Betway has been a prominent part of the UK’s TV advertising scene in recent times and has accentuated its branding campaign by becoming title sponsor of the Premier League Darts tournament, and one of the most keenly anticipated boxing matches in UK history. To discuss the company’s recent strategy, and how affi liates can benefit, iGB Affiliate spoke to Adam Webber, Betway’s Sports Acquisition Manager.

Published 20th April 2014

The Betway brand has been highly visible in the UK market over the last couple of years, thanks to a sustained TV advertising campaign but more recently, with the title sponsorship of the Premier League Darts tournament and the Froch V Groves (boxing) rematch at Wembley Stadium. Firstly, how has this level of exposure impacted traffic and conversions at Betway and has it proved a good return on investment?
It’s still early days with regards to fully measuring the long-term effects of both the Darts and Froch V Groves fight sponsorships, however, we have already started to experience a positive impact on the business from being involved in both events. Event sponsorship has helped to add that bit extra to our current above-the-line marketing activities.

It has also infused a further air of excitement into the brand, as well as keeping it in the mind of viewers in a more subtle and relevant way. Both of these, in addition to our heightened offline advertising, have helped to increase both affiliate conversions and boost overall business results.

What do title sponsorships such as these demonstrate about the Betway brand – aside from being strategic alliances, are they also a show of strength from a brand that was only founded in 2006?
The sponsorships were a further way of engaging with our audience as well as spreading the Betway brand into demographics that, perhaps, we hadn’t reached in the past. We knew that in order to compete with the other online brands out there, we needed to get the Betway brand in front of the right audience in a relevant way at key times, and this helps us to achieve that.

How has the branding drive impacted the affiliate side of the business? Are you seeing better traction from your affiliates in the number and quality of customers they are sending through because of the greater exposure?
Increased brand awareness always tends to have a positive knock-on effect on the affiliate side of the business. We are generating stronger affiliate results across the business because of this heightened brand awareness. In addition, we have also experienced an increase in the number of affiliates signing up to promote the Betway brand as we now become an attractive operator to promote to their traffic.

And what would be the message to affiliates about the Betway brand? What sort of enterprise would they be partnering up with and what are the key differentiating factors compared to other gaming brands?
One of our key messages is Betway’s commitment to bringing the thrill of live sports, casino and games to our players across the globe. Our aim is to provide our players with a fully immersive and personalised iGaming experience that offers the highest possible standards in service, support and security across all our products and platforms.

Betway’s ‘bet your way’ approach and its unique player customisation is something that really sets us apart from other brands. Of course, we also have an incredible choice of games and offers, with over 500 casino games and 30,000 markets in our sportsbook, including a wide range of in-play options. We live and breathe sport and work hard to share our passion and enthusiasm for world-class sporting action with our customers, through a sportsbetting service that is seamless and accessible.

The sponsorship opportunities we have already mentioned, just reinforce our position as one of the pre-eminent brands in online sportsbetting, and we are eager to continue to associate with live sporting events to experience the thrill, energy and excitement that naturally accompanies these gripping and unpredictable competitions.

The brand strives to provide excellence at all stages of the player journey. Betway affiliates are able to share in the growth of the Betway brand, as its status as a trusted and respected gaming destination is solidified internationally.

Which of Betway’s product verticals enjoy the greatest level of affiliate involvement?
Affiliates are extremely important to Betway, and all our products. It’s very difficult to pick one that stands out from the rest. The whole ethos behind Betway Partners is to treat our affiliates as just that: partners. That way, they are able to share in the growth and, ultimately, the success of Betway and our products.

What trends are you seeing across the product verticals that, perhaps, offer an insight into the health of each sector at present? Are you seeing more challenges for both operators and affiliates in certain sectors, such as poker, while others (sports) enjoy ruder health?
The sports product has seen very impressive growth in the last six months. This has arguably been as heavily influenced by the investment we have been putting into developing the product itself as it has been by our marketing practices. The addition of horseracing and an increase in the amount of in play and pre-event betting opportunities has been a further step forward in the product’s evolution.

Finally, the mobile platform continues to grow at a very strong rate across all products which further underlines Betway’s commitment to mobile-first product development.

We have the small matter of a World Cup this summer, an event that is set to be the new benchmark in the development of the betting market, and the coming of age of mobile in-play betting. How seminal a tournament do you think this will be for the digital betting sector?
This Year’s World Cup represents the biggest global stage for online sportsbetting there has ever been. It is a massive event that every operator and affiliate will have had one eye on for the last six months or so. It will also be the first social World Cup, and you simply can’t help but get drawn into the hype around this event.

The way that social media and in-play betting have taken off on mobile over the last 12 months or so gives you a brief insight into just how key their combined role is going to be at this tournament. Looking ahead, I would expect to see some very innovative offerings from bookmakers and affiliates around the tournament.

What strategy has Betway Partners adopted for this tournament – what can affiliates look forward to in the run-in to the tournament, as well as during the event itself?
As with everything in this industry, the goalposts are constantly moving and new ideas are being developed right up until the event. We have a few exciting advances coming in the build-up to the World Cup in addition to some interesting new marketing ideas, but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to find out what they are.

What advice would you offer to sportsbetting affiliates about devising their strategies for the World Cup?
The key for sports is to be relevant. We’ve seen it a lot in the way that the offers from bookmakers look to be shifting from standard free bets to event-specific ‘money back’ offers and enhanced prices. The way we market to potential customers has changed as the gambling marketplace has matured and users have become ‘blind’ to flashy free bet banners.

It’s not enough to simply place a banner on a site anymore. Instead, people are interacting with affiliates/ bookmakers in a different way; it’s more content-based with a larger push being made from social media interaction and time sensitive promotions. This has helped to break the taboo of gambling being something that isn’t talked about and gets people sharing and retweeting operators’ promotions, which for them helps to broaden gambling’s appeal and ultimately affiliate and operator revenue.

Similarly, how can non-sports affiliates also make hay around this tournament? What are the cross-selling opportunities and how can affiliates exploit them?
The sheer size of the event can make casino to sports cross-selling a lot more effective, as players who would not normally bet on sports are more likely to do so, particularly if their nation is competing. Some nonsports affiliates diversify by building mini sites for big tournaments, and this is the biggest of them all. Operators, too, will be enhancing their cross-sell offers and affiliates will do well to highlight these to their players. The combination of affiliate and operator working together should ensure greater cross-sell success during the World Cup than at any other time.

Finally, what advice would you give to affiliates coming into the industry at present?
Pay close attention to where technology is taking the industry next. Being the first to react and make a success on the next big platform for consumer browsing habits is a big advantage.

The original online revolution of gambling is a great example of this; webmasters who saw the gap in the market early enough and bought the strong URLs had a great advantage over the competition, and a similar scenario was evident when mobile betting first came to the forefront. For example, wearable technology offers a totally new way of interacting with potential betting customers, and the affiliates and operators who adapt in a clever way to utilise this technology will ultimately succeed in generating new customers and revenues should this technology be the ‘next big thing’.