The annual Berlin Affiliate Conference (BAC) has always been a great opportunity for operators and affiliates to connect, share insights and collaborate together. This year did not disappoint! As exhibitors at the 2016 show, the Income Access team was able to gather valuable insights from our conversations with affiliates, operators and our peers.
Based on the discussions we had at BAC, here are our top five takeaways about the current state of affiliate marketing:
- Affiliates prioritise data and accessibility
Statistics provide affiliates with the information they need to monitor their performance and evaluate their progress, as well as gain insight on how to improve. As many affiliates promote upwards of 10 brands on each of their sites, having a centralised login for access to multiple brand statistics is ideal for all affiliates.Key takeaway: We offer a free tool called CentralSTATion where affiliates can see top-level data for all their brands in one dashboard. Find out how to become part of CentralSTATion by contacting our Head of Affiliates, Allan Petrilli.
- Affiliates are looking to enter new markets
As we know, established markets and the UK market in particular, have seen continuously rising competition and costs to market. Affiliates, like operators, are exploring emerging markets that represent a new opportunity to grow their businesses.
Big, well-established affiliates were interested in understanding the options for entering the US market, as they have large amounts of traffic that they are looking to monetise. Meanwhile, smaller or newer affiliates are focusing their efforts on Eastern Europe, Germany and Scandinavian countries, with a small but significant cohort looking at Asia. The main reason for this seems to be due to the high competition and cost of the UK market.Key takeaway: Affiliates are nimble marketers and experts in adapting strategies to have the biggest impact. As you expand into new global markets, affiliates represent an important strategy to help your brand to grow. Engage your affiliates to ask them what their strategies are and if they’re focusing in these emerging areas. There may be a lot of knowledge they can share!
- Affiliates are consolidating
Affiliate consolidation is continuing in the iGaming industry with many large affiliates employing acquisition strategies to grow market share and revenue. The biggest examples as of yet are Catena Media, who purchased AskGamblers and Right Casino, among others. Affiliates are seeing the value of partnering with other affiliates to give themselves a stronger footing in negotiations with operators and to be able to deliver large volumes of quality traffic.Key takeaway: Creating stronger relationships with affiliates can widen your reach to new traffic, and you can create more depth and loyalty within these larger affiliate partnerships.
- Affiliates value transparency
Affiliates, like operators, want to work with partners who create a sense of trust. Affiliates are tending to focus their energy on well-established operators or those who have been recommended by their peers. As new brands enter the market, affiliates are taking a much more thorough due diligence process.
The key things that affiliates will be evaluating most closely are:
- Friendly terms and conditions
- Timely payments
- Transparency on stats
- Enriching content and offers
Key takeaway: Evaluate your current processes and see where there may be room for improvement. Providing affiliates with the data that allows them to evaluate their own success will create higher engagement with your brand.
- Affiliates are evolving their commercial models
As the cost of acquiring traffic increases, affiliates are continuing to shift their commercial models to CPA, hybrid, or straight flat fee deals. The biggest contributing factor to this shift is a lack of transparency on how net gaming revenue (NGR) values are calculated. Sportsbook affiliates, for example, are now asking for commission rates at upwards of 40-45%, much higher than industry norms from 1-2 years back.
That being said, many affiliates will accept performance-based deals with an operator that has proven their ability to convert and keep players, and that is highly engaged with their affiliate programme.Key takeaway: Identify ways to maximise player conversions by evaluating and investing in strategic landing pages, strong CTAs and a streamlined customer journey, as well as consistent and engaging content for players.
- Affiliates are working towards easier payment methods
As affiliate businesses are increasing in size and complexity, payments and accounting are also becoming increasing demanding. Affiliates have mentioned wanting to create ease in their accounting areas, and they are asking how about ways to easily consolidate and reconcile their commission payments and therefore reduce payment administration costs.Key Takeaway: Inquire with your affiliates about their preferred payment methods. Are you offering the methods most valuable to your partners? eWallets, for example, are an easy way for you and your affiliates to keep track of business revenue, consolidate data and reconcile payouts easily. The key value to affiliates is the ability to access business funds, easily transfer funds peer-to-peer and use a prepaid MasterCard to pay for business expenses.
Which trend stood out most to you? What are your trends and takeaways from BAC? Tell us more in the comments section below.