Historically, affiliates have fulfilled the role of an effective intermediary service. Bookmakers are looking for players, and will reward the services which best funnel new users towards them. It’s a simple equation which benefits both bookmaker and affiliate. With the best affiliates, the model is also beneficial for players, allowing them to identify the best deals and bets to provide them with an improved betting experience.
However, affiliates currently have little influence on the retention of punters, which in an industry built on lifetime player values and revenue shares, is crucial. The rise of mobile, and the ease of access with which players can shift between bookmakers at a whim, has meant that, to remain competitive, affiliates need to change the way they do things.
Not just facilitating
There are a number of fresh approaches worth considering to achieve success. The future involves a shift towards a different model, which gives affiliates a more active role in player retention and loyalty. A way to achieve this is to create brands and products which expand the role of affiliates and take advantage of the new opportunities available. The aim is to become more than a simple intermediary which leads punters to bookmakers and vice versa. Affiliates must create an engaging platform where punters and bookmakers meet and interact, building a stronger relationship between all three parties, with personalisation and customisation that enables punters to feel valued and create their own space. Gamification and competition aspects further tap into that interactivity. Players could win prizes and awards for being the best tipster, for example, and, through successful tipping, encourage other players to bet with an affiliate’s bookmaker partners. This continues the virtuous cycle of usage and revenue. Products should also aim to enhance the punters’ betting experience and offer a more integrated experience, keeping them coming back for more.
In-play: the new opportunity
One of the key aspects that is changing betting behaviour is, of course, in-play. The affiliate industry has yet to harness the opportunity that in-play provides, but with new products being rolled out, including our own, we think the landscape is changing. Ensuring affiliates can participate in the retention of punters and tapping into bettors’ thirst for in-play makes us even more valuable to operators. Providing the odds and simple tipping opportunities is one way the affiliate can encourage a much larger volume of tipsters and, in turn, a bigger pool of potential punters.
Satisfying all players
On a basic level, in-play affiliates are dealing with two types of bettors. One is the novice punter or tipster, who enjoys competing against other tipsters for a top rank, adding value to their personal viewing experience. An engaging platform is the ideal space for a second-screen match experience; it appeals to those who may not be looking to bet, but who are fans of the game and enjoy putting their knowledge on the line instead of money. The challenge is to convert this nonbetting tipster into a player who wants to cash in their tipping expertise for profit. We must look to highlight those betting opportunities and develop that player into a source of revenue for bookmaker and affiliate. The second type of player is a more assured punter. This is a player who wants to use the betting data a tipping platform can provide to make more informed bets. A larger pool of tipsters means more accurate tipster rankings, so the punter can find inspiration for their in-play bet, before being passed through to the partner bookmaker. In a simple equation, a bigger volume of accurate tips will equal more bets.
Taking it further
In the future, we see products taking this one step further, by enabling users to follow tipsters and then automatically bet on their tips for a match. The aim is to maximise a punter’s chance of winning, which then makes the betting experience more attractive. It’s also important to make the process as straightforward as possible – easy discovery, user experience, tipping and then betting. With a high quality operator in-play product, marketing and PR will play the crucial role in banging the drum about the benefits and growing that pool of players interacting. Affiliates need to leverage this huge interest in Euro 2016 to expand their user base. This may be through an ambassador, as we have done via our partnership with England legend Chris Waddle. Players will need to be able to interact with these figureheads via an affiliate’s platform, whether that’s through a blog, social or product interaction. This second level of user interaction is particularly important when looking to build loyalty and encourage the return of users. There really is a huge opportunity with the in-play revolution, but affiliates must move beyond the present model. Their products – the websites, apps, social platforms – must become an engaging home for punters and bookmakers to interact during live matches. Evolve from being a simple facilitator, and affiliates will continue to flourish.
“Ensuring affiliates can participate in the retention of punters and tapping into bettors’ thirst for in-play makes us even more valuable to operators.”
“Affiliates need to leverage this huge interest in Euro 2016 to expand their user base.”