Betting in Brazil

By Laura Gumbrell

Jacob Ljunggren, product director at Leadstar Media, discusses the growing anticipation around Brazil’s sports betting market and the business’ preparations for entry.

“I believe what differentiates a new operator and an established one is trust, and partnering with affiliates helps you build that.”
Jacob Ljunggren, LEADSTAR MEDIA

The legislative process to regulate sports betting in Brazil has been protracted, and dates back to December 2018. However, there is significant potential in the country’s future regulated betting market, and the industry is eagerly awaiting the opening of a territory expected to be worth billions.

Leadstar Media's product director Jacob Ljunggren, speaks to iGB about the work being done to position the affiliate marketing specialist and its flagship portal Sitedeapostas.com ahead of the first bets being placed.

A changing landscape

Ljunggren argues it is essential for affiliates such as Leadstar to take advantage of the coming changes, by partnering with a mixture of well-known and emerging brands.

“We are partnering with both the established brands in the market along with the smaller, more niche, local brands,” he explains.

“I believe there will be deeper relationships between affiliates and operators, and having a partnership already in place with these operators will make it easier for us to transition into a regulated market.”

Why affiliates? 

Affiliates play a crucial role in the industry, in Ljunggren’s view. “Making use of affiliates is almost always worth it,” he says.

“It’s a win-win relationship where they just pay for the players they get. On almost any valuable betting related keyword you’ll see affiliates taking the top spots in the SERP. If your brand is not on any of these sites, you are essentially giving away players to the operators that are.”

In Brazil, local brand spending on TV sponsorship is increasing. Over the last 18 months new brands targeting Brazilian players have grown significantly, with Google searches for betting-related keywords almost tripling in volume in 2021, compared to 2020.

“Betting companies sponsored 19 out of 20 football teams in Brazilian top flight football in 2021. Offline advertising, TV commercials, sponsorships and other commercial activities are what drives the online search behavior.

“They are essentially paying for the growing searches, but are not there to pick up the player base that they help build. Unknowingly or not, I think it’s a missed opportunity. Affiliates are not only helping operators by sending them new players, they also boost their overall visibility. I believe what differentiates a new operator and an established one is trust, and partnering with affiliates helps you build that.”

Local heroes

International brands face a multitude of barriers when entering new markets, but a local presence has proven to be a key differentiator for success. For Brazil in particular, it is important for these international brands to partner with affiliates, or “local hero brands”, Ljunggren says, as a progressive step in preparation for the market to open.

“I think the approach has been to get the product out there as quickly as possible and market it through local channels, sponsorships and commercial activities connected to Brazilian sports and events.

“Partnering with affiliates is likely something we are going to see more of in the coming year as these brands get more established.”

There are many international brands that have an existing presence in the market, but Ljunggren says that more can be done to maximise market potential.

“One thing that’s proven to be important in Brazil is the payment methods. Boleto was the big one last year, now Pix is becoming increasingly popular,” he says. “If you don’t offer Boleto or Pix deposits it’s really tough to convert users, and in many cases a deal breaker. So that’s one thing where global operators can be better, and where the local brands have an advantage today. Local companies understand what is working in their market.

“Having a website and customer service in Brazilian Portuguese, and offering betting in the local currency are important factors as well.”

Sponsorship opportunities

Commercials and sponsorships are becoming increasingly important for brands to create loyalty in new jurisdictions. Leadstar is focusing its efforts around gaining exposure at football matches, broadcast games and team sponsorship.

Multiple industry brands are already looking to take advantage of this trend in Brazil by striking sponsorship deals, including Pragmatic Play, Betsson, Betmotion and Amuleto Bet.

“As we all know Brazilians are crazy about football, and if you are seen on the shirt or the pitch you get millions of eyes on your brand,” Ljunggren says. “Since the betting companies started sponsoring Brazilian clubs, leagues and tournaments, the searches for their brands have increased a lot, along with the generic searches around betting.”

In addition to the big players, local bookmakers such as Pixbet, Galera Bet and Betnacional are emerging and, as a result, searches for these companies are surging.

Leadstar understands that traditional media plays a huge role in driving traffic, and that there is clearly an appetite for betting with local brands in the market. Ljunggren plans to take advantage of the potential for affiliate traffic, which he believes is “being largely missed” - but it doesn’t come without competition.

“New types of competitors are also entering the affiliate marketing space within the igaming industry,” he says.

“Currently, we see a bunch of news sites challenging the classic affiliate sites. They have a brand and already a loyal customer base and can combine their news with sports betting related content and gain from it. This means that the competition has increased compared to what it was a few years ago.”

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