New kid on the block

New kid on the block

Gaming Realms’ digital marketing agency QuickThink Media recently launched its affiliate programme for brands including Iceland Bingo, Bingo Godz and Pocket Fruity, and plans at least two more brand launches by September 2014. Gavin Walters of QuickThink Affiliates outlines their strategy to take a meaningful slice of the competitive UK bingo and casino market within three years.

Published 27th July 2014

There is of course regular discussion around the UK bingo market being saturated and how the constant launch of new brands is making it increasingly difficult for operators and affiliates alike to gain a regular and long term return.

The UK point of consumption tax (POCT) will likely lead to further consolidation and many smaller operators will no longer be able to sustain profitability. Larger companies will be forced to slash their marketing budgets and reduce bonusing to mitigate against POCT and retain their profit margin.

This environment however presents an interesting challenge for operators, and opens the door to a less risk-averse, younger and hungrier new entrant with an aggressive marketing strategy to acquire new players in an over-crowded market. A key area of opportunity to carve a niche will be based on being able to offer players a differentiated product.

While bingo is essentially the same game wherever and whenever it is played, there is still plenty of room to put a unique twist on the game to maintain player interest. But you need to do more than launch just another online bingo or casino site with a different name or colour scheme in modern times. You now need to offer players a new experience and renewed excitement that will allow operators that opportunity to take larger shares of the market.

Social gaming has also come into its own over the past few years, and there’s an opportunity for a new brand to make a big impact in a very competitive market if they find the right balance between real money gaming and social. You cannot ignore the impact that social games like Candy Crush Saga, Bingo Bash and DoubleDown Casino have had on player expectations. Bingo and casino players now want more than just rich content and good bonus offers.

They expect to win and be entertained. Our brands will attempt to marry real-money gaming (RMG) and social together to give users an enriched experience whilst increasing player values and lifetime. This in turn will be fundamental to the success of QuickThink Affiliates as we deliver brands that make affiliates money. Around 2.5 million adults play online bingo in the UK, 1.73 million play slots and 70% of the UK adult population have played the National Lottery.

This presents a huge soft gaming audience to potentially convert. Social gaming has changed the RMG landscape in terms of player expectations, and if bingo brands can take elements of this into online bingo it has the potential to be both popular amongst players and profitable for operators and in turn affiliates. Going deeper into individual player trends and activity is also another way to find a niche that could generate better results. Customising each user’s CRM journey through integrated tech and rich data analysis can allow you to do this, and in turn assist you to offer the most individual online bingo experience to your players.

Both operators and affiliates should look to embrace mobile and tablet as the shift between devices will only become more popular. Long-term partnerships with the key brands will remain very important to affiliates, and in turn the revenue share model will be at its strongest and will likely be the most preferred. A mad rush to send players to a new brand will become a more long-term decision for affiliates as a lower short term gain will not be the simple business decision it once was.

Using a breadth of marketing channels and techniques to engage with your users at every touch point right through from acquisition to player retention is key. Ensuring your reach is as wide as possible gives you the best possible opportunity of keeping your brand at the front of current and potential players’ minds.

Operators also need to revitalise affiliates with high-value, long lifetime bingo and casino brands. There is plenty of room to improve the affiliate channel and the right affiliate programme can achieve this. QuickThink Affiliates will have all of the above in mind as we build our brands and programme for the long term, with the overall objective of keeping the player experience as our main focus. Getting this right is the formula to building successful brands.