Dare to be different: The power of ‘fun’ in affiliate marketing

| By contenteditor
Today the noise around regulated igaming markets is that scale is a prerequisite for those looking to enter and carve material businesses, but Fraser Linkleter argues that there are ample opportunities to cut through for those affiliates adaptive to new audiences, verticals, products and tech.

The digital landscape is changing, as are the habits of gamblers and the way they interact with operators and affiliate marketers. In this brave new world, it’s no longer good enough to flood your site with keyword-stuffed copy of a desirable length and hope Google does the rest.

Today’s affiliates must create differentiation through innovation and new technologies. They must see themselves not merely as conduits for traffic but as unique, standalone products, with a focus on user-experience and engagement.

Nowhere is this truer than in the emerging US markets, where operators are battling tooth and claw for customer acquisitions, but where the four super affiliates dominate the space. America remains a huge opportunity, but only to those who will challenge the hegemony by daring to be different.

To paraphrase Darwin, it’s not the strongest that survives but the one most adaptable to change.

Countless column inches have been devoted in publications such as this one to how millennials and Generation Z think about gambling games and sports betting. Those who play slots, for example, are likely to be more competitive and social than preceding generations, having grown up playing video games in a digitally connected world. They’re more likely to prefer multiplayer gaming, and they like to interact with digital products in ways that are more interesting and meaningful than clicking on a banner ad. 

No one’s saying the written word is dead, of course. Affiliate sites still play an important role as repositories of information that’s relevant to gamblers, from casino reviews to playing strategy. But they can be other things too. Don’t underestimate the power of offering something that’s fun.

Increasing interaction

Some of the most successful in the space are those that offer heightened levels of interaction, such as free-to-play slots, and channel their users’ competitive instincts by holding multiplayer tournaments with leader boards and other aspects of gamification.

This allows you to create enhanced levels of social dynamics, enabling players to interact in new ways.

Acquiring a licence to offer cash prizes can take this to the next level, not only adding value to the user experience but also creating new marketing opportunities.

At Slots Temple, we offer free slots tournaments with cash prizes, which as well as adding value to users is a great way for us to celebrate the release of a new game. It can generate a real buzz and provide a meaningful marketing asset for operators.

It also helps us tailor our messaging more effectively. If a user has played a tournament based around a certain slot, for example, we can talk to them about where they can play the game for real and the welcome offers available – it’s so much more effective than blanket marketing.

Input from the experts

Then there’s strategy. Younger generations are more interested in this than their forebears. It’s for this reason that we’ve seen the emergence of skill-based gambling games in recent years.  

But they don’t want their strategy served dry. They want it delivered by known experts in the field, preferably in a witty format via podcasts or video interviews. It’s not hard to get strategy wizards to spill the beans. They usually have a book or two to sell.

Also, keep an eye on emerging talent on social media and be prepared to nurture that talent. There’s a huge community of entertaining strategists operating on Twitter and Instagram, particularly around sports betting. Many would jump at the chance to turn their passion into a job.

Slots Temple is an affiliate that focuses on slots. But it’s interesting and informative to see how the sports betting space is developing, too. And here we see the same need to adapt and diversify.

Nearly 50% of all US sports bettors are under 50.  The way we consume and bet on sports has changed. According to Business Wire, 78% of Generation Z and millennials are ‘dual screening’ while watching live games. That means they’re glued to their devices as well as their TV screens, watching live odds, in-game betting data and video streams in real time. 

Sports betting affiliates are striving to become the connective tissue between the operator and the games, perhaps by offering their own data streams via widgets, while focusing on building their own communities of players across multiple social media channels. Today, sports fans want to be part of the narrative, engaging in discussion on social media during games.

Building a buzz

Bet365 has said that 80% of its sports betting revenue is driven by in-play betting. That means there’s huge value in presenting offers for live events in real time.

This shows us that, across all verticals, be it casino or sports betting, it’s important never to be static or passive. Be dynamic. Try to generate excitement around existing events – or create your own.

Today, we can use data analytics to better understand our audience and encourage active engagement by offering our users a more personalised experience. This also helps us grasp which content, campaigns and products work best. This should inform your business strategy and could lead to the discovery of your unique niche.

Of course, it’s pointless for us to suggest what that USP might be. By definition, it needs to be something no one’s thought of yet, including us.

But as we look forward to a so-called Web 3.0 with its promise of blockchain technologies, AR and VR, it’s important to envisage what the affiliate space will look like in the future. Will we one day be meeting our users in virtual-reality casinos in the metaverse, interacting socially with them using telepresence, and offering them bonuses as they play in real time, just like in the real world? Or will the future look like something else entirely?  

Until that does or doesn’t happen, keeping an eye on new verticals, products, technology and emerging markets will stand you in good stead.

Fraser Linkleter
Fraser Linkleter
is CMO at Slots Temple. Fraser has 18 years’ experience in the igaming industry, mostly heading up product and marketing teams on the operator side of things across multiple regions. He joined the Slots Temple team in 2018 and has driven it to be a successful affiliate business, partnering with the biggest casino operators.

Photo by Daniel Reche via Pexels

Subscribe to the iGB Affiliate newsletter