For our next Affiliate Q&A, we met with Ben Smith, Team Leader at Leadstar Media, an established affiliate that operates in over 30 markets! In this Q&A, Ben tells us about his experience in iGaming, the exciting US market and much more.
Income Access (IA): Can you tell us a bit about your background in the iGaming industry and current role with Leadstar Media?Ben Smith (BS): I have been involved with iGaming since 2016 when I landed my first job in marketing. Several of the clients I worked with in that role were gambling brands - many of them newly-launched - and this was a great introduction into the industry even though it wasn’t really affiliate marketing in the traditional sense.
It was in 2019 that I went all in on iGaming when I moved from the UK to Sweden and joined Leadstar Media, where I started off as a Content Writer and am now a Team Leader. We were relatively small at the time compared with where we are now, and it’s been a lot of fun helping build our product portfolio and team.
In my time at Leadstar Media, the two sites that I have been most involved with are BookiesBonuses.com and MyBettingSites.com. I was on board with My Betting Sites from day one as I created the content for the Canada and UK sections, both of which have now been taken on by colleagues of mine and are in the best place they have ever been thanks to some tremendous on-page and off-page SEO work from the team. We are now in the process of adding a tenth market to My Betting Sites and we expect that number to continue to grow as the brand strengthens its position within the industry and we continue our global expansion.
Bookies Bonuses, meanwhile, was already a successful product long before I came on board and is one of our marquee brands predominantly focusing on the UK market. We recently launched Bookies Bonuses US and the hope is that we can use similar SEO techniques to replicate the success of the UK brand across the pond.
Our most recent launch, BettingApps.com, is shaping up to be similar to My Betting Sites in terms of targeting a broad selection of markets and I’m optimistic that this can become a key Leadstar product.
IA: You’ve been with Leadstar Media for nearly 3 years now. Congrats! What have you learned during your time there?BS: Thank you! It’s all gone so fast, but at the same time it feels like I’ve gathered a decade’s worth of insight and experience. I have learned everything from the very basics of SEO content creation to the intricacies of managing a group of individuals and projects.
This will sound vague, but the most important thing that I have learnt is how to prioritize my time. When you are responsible for the development of the people in your team, as well as having to drive forward key products for the company, it can be tricky to navigate. It means that every task I undertake, and even every article or page that I write or work on, needs to have a purpose and add value.
What is most exciting is that even though I have discovered so much about SEO, I feel like I still have so much more to learn. I know a lot of my colleagues would say the same thing, which makes the next few years particularly promising for Leadstar.
IA: The United States market is currently evolving rapidly! Leadstar has SportsbooksOnline.com growing in the US at the moment. What’s the biggest opportunity the team is seeing in the US today?BS: Unsurprisingly, the US market is the one driving the most hype across the industry at the moment. It was the biggest talking point at iGB Affiliate London 2022 and it is the biggest talking point in the office (at least on my table!).
Read More: Our ICE/iGB TakeawaysIt is impossible to pinpoint just one opportunity in the US and I don’t think a one-size-fits-all product can do the job. That’s why we have already launched six brands aimed at the US market and more will follow suit this year. We are not just launching US products for the sake of it. Each of them has its own focus and niche, because we want to provide the best solution for users with all sorts of different needs and intentions.
One of the biggest opportunities, in my opinion, is in educational content. This is an often-underrated concept - especially among those who are used to working in more mature markets - but can be a terrific way to establish trust.
IA: Leadstar Media now has 50 products in 31 geographical markets where they aim to make sports betting seamless for users. How do you ensure that in each market?BS: The main thing that helps us achieve this is the fact that we actually have members of staff that either reside in or are originally from the countries in which they focus on with their products.
In 2020, when we had to make big adjustments by working completely remotely, we became even more open to hiring talents across the globe. Even now that all our Stockholm-based members of staff are back in the office, we have a great balance and do our best to ensure that those who do work elsewhere feel just as involved as those in Sweden. Having Indians work on the Indian products, Americans working on US products, and so on, ensures authenticity across the board. Any user from the UK would soon be able to tell if the person writing the pages on our UK sites wasn’t British and we don’t want that situation to ever occur.
Sports betting is where we generate the vast majority of our leads, but we have a lot of history within online poker and casino remains a big focus too - so much so that we plan to launch a brand new multi-territory casino product soon on a domain that we are particularly excited about. So, watch this space!
IA: Leadstar Media operates in a variety of exciting markets. Are there any that you expect to experience rapid growth in the next two years?BS: The UK (my biggest personal focus), Sweden and Italy have been among the most consistent countries for some time and we expect continued growth in those markets as well as Brazil, which has been thriving as of late.
I’m also very excited about our US brands. It has taken a while for them to really kickstart and begin to flourish, but in 2022 they have had a big boost and we feel like we are on the cusp of something big there. There is so much untapped potential for affiliates in North America, so it will come as no surprise to you that we have been multiplying our efforts in both the US and Canada.
--For more information on Leadstar Media or to discuss a partnership opportunity, contact Ben and the team today.