In our latest affiliate Q&A session, Luke Eales, CEO of Seven Star Digital, a UK gambling site comparison company, shares insights into the firm’s ambitions, vision for the future and methods for doing great work with a small team. We’ll learn more about flagship international comparison site Compare.bet, as well as the company’s wider network of comparison products.
Income Access (IA): How are you finding the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic? Did you see a large impact on the business during Q2 and how are things looking now?
Luke Eales (LE): Overall the team has adapted very well to a big change and difficult circumstances, both at work and life in general. Like many we were thrust into a work from home regime – thankfully we made the call to head home a week or two before lock down hit the UK, and as a result had a bit more time to bring home monitors, sort out equipment and make plans for remote working. I’m very proud of the team’s efforts to pull together and make the situation a success.
Performance-wise, we’ve always had more of a focus on gaming than betting, so sporting event cancellations didn’t do us much harm. Like many that lean towards online casino, we saw strong numbers in Q2 with increased demand and strong conversion rates. Summer is usually a quieter period for the industry and with the UK starting to open up more, volumes are at more expected levels now. Our sports betting exposure is increasing in Q3 thanks to growth of Compare.bet, and we’ve seen the packed Premier League fixture schedule embraced by bettors returning in good numbers.
IA: You’re clearly excited about Compare.bet and its future prospects – what makes this project a big priority for the business?
LE: When I started Seven Star Digital I really wanted to reach the point where I could build something like Compare.bet. Now we have thankfully created the position where we can invest in long term projects like this, it’s really fun and rewarding. The scope is wider than a traditional affiliate site and the bar is higher for everything – from content to product to marketing. It’s possible to spend your time doing better work. We’re really just starting to raise our game on Compare.bet and are building out new features that will really engage betting and casino customers.
The international footprint of the site is also growing, with Portuguese, Spanish and local English sites rolling out and helping us diversify our geographic revenue mix.
The team really enjoy working on the site too – in particular, our football magazine The Warm-Up allows us to tackle interesting and creative content ideas that might not appear on your typical affiliate site.
IA: How can affiliates continue to grow their importance and value within the betting and gaming acquisition ecosystem?
LE: Affiliates have always done a good job at the end of the funnel – driving highly targeted traffic that converts. I think the change we’ve seen in recent years, and one that I expect to continue, is one of increased early-funnel involvement. Betting tips and previews, engaging feature content, breaking news, original research and journalism – all increasingly important in the mix. Social media has helped a number of new-breed affiliates grow substantially, which has then allowed them to segue into more traditional high-intent activity like search marketing. Content formats like TV sports guides have also represented great pre-intent opportunities with high volumes of user interest and traffic. Large affiliate Better Collective paid over $30 million to acquire an eSports news website.
Overall I see the trend being early-funnel content, media and brand building, which will open up new acquisition opportunities while also aiding growth in the more traditional affiliate acquisition channels.
For more information on Seven Star Digital or to discuss a partnership opportunity, contact Luke today.