How Four Of The Industry's Top Affiliates Drive Growth

By clariondevelop

  • Article summary

To get an insider track on iGaming affiliation in 2016, Allan Petrilli, Manager of Affiliate Services at Income Access reached out to some of the industry’s top performers

The iGaming affiliate industry has reached a significant point of maturation. With 21,158 affiliate accounts registered on GPWA alone, it is no question that our global community is growing year-on-year. This is both an encouraging and challenging place to be as an affiliate. To help guide those looking to enter the world of affiliate marketing or capture a bigger piece of the iGaming affiliate market, four expert affiliates, each specialised in their respective verticals, shared their insight on success, innovation, and how they were able to achieve their position at the front of the pack.

In it for the long haul

As a member of an industry that changes directions as often as the wind, adaptability is an indispensable trait to have as an iGaming affiliate. With varying regulations, marketing best practices and ever-changing Google algorithms, keeping up with trends will allow you to stay competitive. International Interactive Ventures, for example, aim to stay relevant with their audience by keeping an open mind and trying new marketing methodologies. By never rejecting an idea before giving it a good amount of thought, the company has been able to provide their community with an interesting array of services.

Establishing an affiliate site as a reputable source of information for players is key to producing a steady flow of returning visitors. The team at RakeBack. com believe in one thing: putting their players first. They pride themselves in providing support and advice to their players, which has resulted in a sizeable poker following founded on the pillars of community and trust. Honesty is also the best policy for iGaming affiliates. By providing honest reviews of bingo sites, WhichBingo has been able to position itself as a leader in the bingo industry. Though this approach may not yield the best results for a given programme, it has the benefit of building long-term credibility and therefore a sustainable database of loyal players. Lastly, it’s all about the people. Building strong relationships with key influencers can help at a time when content development or adaptation proves challenging, as was the case for Better Collective. “By dedicating resources to cultivate a pleasant employee culture, we successfully created a workplace that attracts and retains talented people who, in turn, produce new opportunities for us to pursue,” explained Jesper Søgaard.

How new affiliates can get started

Given the slew of options available, choosing which direction to take can be a daunting task, and thorough research is critical. By completing adequate research, aspiring affiliates will be able to determine which vertical to focus on, what established affiliates are doing in this arena, and most importantly, find out where there is a gap in the market. This leads to a key step, one that all four affiliates agreed on: select a niche. With the amount of competition in the industry, it is vital to differentiate from competitors. Affiliates can consider the vertical, product types, or even markets to work in, how to design a fitting site, as well as the type of content followers will want to read. Jocelyn Wood also suggests considering how you will get visitors to your site. “What traffic sources has mainstream media neglected? Use this as a guide for selecting the appropriate market segments to target.” Once you have selected a focus for your business, it is time to start growing.

However, beware of growing away from your niche, warns Jesper Søgaard. With another round of extensive research and by keeping their core niche in mind, Jesper was able to grow into the powerful sportsbook affiliate site it is today. “You need to know your niche inside and out, then strive to be the best in that niche.” This is a philosophy that Roxana Blaj continues to swear by and is a driving factor behind the success of GamingZion. com, which has established the site as a goto encyclopedia of information about the online casino industry. There is one final consideration to make: Rome wasn’t built in a day. As Simon Jones explains, succeeding as an iGaming affiliate takes a lot of time and hard work. Though some have done so in the past, dedicating only part-time work to becoming an affiliate may limit the potential of your business. Before getting started, it is important to find a balance between the goals you set for yourself and the amount of time you can dedicate to achieve them.

Even old dogs can learn new tricks

Sometimes, even the most proactive affiliate can be impacted by unforeseen circumstances. With a growing number of stakeholders in the industry, including affiliates, iGaming operators, players, software providers, legal counsels and countless more, driving forces of change are to be expected. Affiliates can occasionally find themselves having to adapt to regulatory policies or changes in partner agreements and terms and conditions. For example, the budget was pushed to its limit when a reduction in revenue from one of their top partners meant they had to quickly reduce their spending. The team came together and determined that the best investment would be to shift towards a more long-term focus and to allocate their funds accordingly. Their rakeback calculators, which had historically been popular with only higher volume players, are now being replaced with a tool they believe will appeal to a larger base of recreational players.

Another way to ensure a steady flow of income from a given brand is to maintain a strong relationship with affiliate managers. When there is a mutual understanding of the business practices between partners, more flexibility is available to lessen the impact of any regulatory changes. The team at International Interactive Ventures, for example, has discovered this importance of building strong, long-term relationships built on trust. They even held the first annual GamingZion Rejuvenate Event last year, where industry leaders are able to come together for both business and pleasure. Of course, one of the most volatile workings of the internet is Google’s notorious SEO algorithm which, if not followed closely, can cost affiliates large amounts of traffic. To remain a top candidate in SERPs, companies have to adopt Google’s “users first” mantra, as is the case for Better Collective. By continuously developing engaging and sophisticated products, they are able to lessen the impact of unforeseen algorithm changes. “We’re also at the mercy of Google’s whim, which can cause many sleepless nights and headaches when algorithms change and rankings drop,” says Simon Jones. “Without giving too much away, we’re innovating with our approach to SEO, which will become apparent later in the year.”

As a sign-off, I leave you with one final tip: don’t dream it, do it. Though the iGaming affiliate industry is a challenging place to be, there is great opportunities ahead. With the right preparation, strong relationships, commitment, consistency, and a driving passion, your goal of being a successful entrepreneur can be as close as one click away.

“Don’t underestimate the power of data; know yours inside-out and leverage it to drive your business.” Jesper Søgaard, Better Collective

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