In the span of just a few decades, affiliate marketing underwent so many transformations, that currently its results must be deciphered by tracking and extracting complex and relevant data flows between the parties involved. It is a complex landscape that operators need to make sense of in order to know where the real value lies. In other words, operators need to be able to discern the data that really matters in terms of profitability and turn affiliate marketing into a game changer for their businesses.
How did we get here? Some ten years ago, the pay-per-click programs were ruling the land, and traffic was mostly measured and paid for in quantity, not quality parameters. Yet, the impressive increase in the number of website visitors did not necessarily translate into a similar revenue increase.
Bounce rate was one of the culprits. Yes, affiliates made users click, but they rarely made them stay. Which meant that they were serving both irrelevant content to potential players, as well as irrelevant traffic to the iGaming businesses. The reasons could be so many, starting from something as simple as a geographical mismatch between acquired traffic and the area where a casino or sports betting business operated.
Something had to change, and iGaming affiliate marketing had to be measured relevantly against the income it generated.
A change of optics on conversion – measure what you get
The first real shift in how iGaming approaches affiliate marketing came with redefining conversion. Today, it’s no longer about the clicks. The game changers were the cost per acquisition and revenue share models. And the winners are operators and affiliates alike.
The first ones get to pay for potential players that actually make a commitment with their websites, going much further beyond a click that might be irrelevant. The latter, provided they perform, are evaluated on much more objective criteria and are some of the best paid marketing affiliates compared to other industries, with the average CPA in iGaming between $0.50 – $20. It’s an expensive marketing channel, but nevertheless one of the best performing, with ROI rates also higher than in most industries.
The right affiliates for your business – who delivers the results
“Who are the right affiliates for my website?” is a question that one hears all the time in the industry. Getting to the right answer though is perhaps a matter of asking another, more important question: who are the customers that you target?
Before operators send affiliates to “shop” for them, it makes more sense to know what they need to get. Start with that and work your way backwards, figuring out where your potential players are, where do they spend their time online, what other interests they have. Based on that, you will have a surprisingly generous list of affiliate websites, communities, bloggers and social media groups to choose from.
Want to target younger generations? You will most probably find them on streaming platforms like Twitch or YouTube Live, or other platforms dedicated to online gambling live streaming. So go ahead and find the streamers that have the audience you desire as players and get them aboard your affiliate marketing program.
Affiliate marketing tech – how it ties it all together
If there’s one thing operators should ask from your affiliate marketing tech, it’s to simplify everything for them. That means obtaining everything they need – from stats, traffic analyses and real-time data to creating affiliate programs, grouping affiliates and managing payments – on a single platform that they can make their own.
Making sure affiliate marketing programs are correctly organised and measured is complex enough in itself, so the software should be the support that streamlines everything and provides transparent data to enable operators to make the best decisions.
Ultimately, the affiliate management platform sets the bar for your affiliate marketing results. The toolset it offers can limit or empower your affiliates to deliver what your brand(s) needs, and also to enable operators to get relevant and transparent data.
The original version of this column has been published by Gambling Insider on March 19, 2021, in their weekly GI Friday newsletter.
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