A guest blog post by Riaan de JagerThere are literally hundreds of affiliate programmes operating in the online gambling industry. Starting out as an affiliate in this market can be a daunting task. You have so much to think about, with website development, SEO and finding new sources of traffic only the start.
Choosing the right affiliate programmes for your new venture is critical to your success. But why does it matter if you can swap out programmes at will?
First of all, it takes time and effort to understand the brands supported by each programme. Don’t forget that you are promoting someone else’s brands and you’ll need to display a clear understanding of their attributes. This will require more time on your part than you may think. Gone are the days of putting a few banners and 50 words on a webpage and hoping for the best. You need to develop meaningful content so you can engage with your audience and that requires you to know the sites you promote in great depth.
Secondly, you will need to invest time in affiliate manager relationships. This is often the best way to learn and you don’t want to waste all that effort by starting all over again.
So how do you make an informed choice? While ultimately you need to trust your instincts, there are some practical guidelines you should follow.
The gambling affiliate industry has become a lot more transparent. Dodgy programmes find it hard to hide because of the scrutiny placed on them through affiliate forums, blogs and industry watchdog sites. Programmes that stall payments and pull stunts like retroactive changes to their terms and conditions are flushed out pretty quickly these days.
However, reputation stretches beyond the affiliate programme. You need to satisfy yourself that the brands they promote have a solid track record. Do your research. Typical red flags include consistent reports of slow or no pay, suspicious handling of bonus issues and lack of communication.
Google is your friend here. It is not hard to find evidence of wrongdoing.
2. Fairness of Terms and Conditions
“What? I need to read through the terms and conditions page?” Yes, unfortunately you do. No, I am not suggesting that every affiliate programme has something to hide, but sadly I have found a few over the years that do. You need to verify at least the following:
- How is revenue calculated?
- Are you obliged to deliver a minimum number of players per month? What happens if you don’t?
- What is the negative carryover policy?
- Is there a high roller policy and, if so, is it clearly defined?
- Do they bundle the commission you earn across their brands?
- Is there anything to suggest that they do not pay lifetime revenue?
If anything is unclear, seek clarification. You can learn a lot from the programme’s response to your emails.
In our experience, poorly written and ambiguous terms and conditions are a definite red flag.
3. Remuneration Plan
Affiliate programmes offer a variety of compensation plans, ranging from Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) to a percentage of player net revenues and even a percentage of wagering volume.
Choosing a plan should largely be driven by the nature of traffic you intend to generate. However, make sure that the plan is very well-defined and you fully understand it.
If you select a net revenue-based plan, is the calculation formula documented and are you satisfied that there are no hidden costs? Ask for the formula, if it is not published on the website, as well as an explanation of cost deductions with examples. Vague answers are a cause for concern.
4. Appropriate Brand For Your Markets
This is a rather obvious point but you need to pick affiliate programmes with brands that are suited to your target markets. Just having landing pages in the right languages and currencies is not enough. Anyone can get a home page translated and the casino software takes care of currencies. Satisfy yourself that they understand the nuances of the countries you intend targeting. This will no doubt impact on your conversions.
The software used by the programme is so important, and all too often overlooked by the inexperienced Webmaster. A good programme will provide a solid platform for you to manage campaigns, analyse your performance and obtain marketing materials.
If you are new to affiliate marketing in the gambling industry, these five points will hopefully give you some guidance when deciding on partner programmes. While ultimately there will be some trial and error involved, you will want to choose your partners wisely from the outset.