The role of affiliates is constantly evolving. It now sees them increasingly assume the mantle of an influencer that engages with consumers to help them connect with, and grow to trust brands.

Below, Sarafina Wolde Gabriel discusses the increasing importance affiliates and what they have to say hold in the 2020 iGaming space, in addition how CRM tools can be beneficial for a brand. The full article is available at iGB Affiliate. We are also presenting the article here in two parts, with the first part below and the second and final part available here.

Is affiliate marketing the future of consumer loyalty? Affiliate marketers play a key role in acquiring and retaining customers for operators and forex brokers by introducing their audiences to brands. With Industry Research Company predicting the iGaming market to top $87.75bn (£66.12bn) by 2024, businesses aiming to adopt a strategic marketing approach to acquire new audiences must assess the value of affiliate marketing as a channel.

An affiliate’s audience is likely to be more loyal and engaging, making it more feasible for brands to reach their acquisition goals. Another way of doing this is by leveraging customer relationship management (CRM) tools to manage audiences and cultivate strong partnerships.

Shaping Brand Loyalty via Affiliate Partnerships

Mathew Symonds Quote Increasing Important of Affiliates

Fostering strong business and affiliate relationships is essential to boosting return on investment (ROI) associated with marketing strategies because these relationships can very well influence the way consumers engage with brands.

In the last few years, affiliates have worn many hats, including that of strategist and acquisition specialist, and have now also assumed an influencer role, whereby they engage with consumers who want to connect with brands they can trust. As influencers, affiliates create a community of players that can be segmented by interest or vertical.

Commenting on the state of affiliate-operator relationships, Mathew Symmonds, director at Web Analysis Solutions, a leading affiliate business, says: “Affiliates must build strong working relationships with operators and vice versa. Both parties must build trust, with operators supporting affiliates and reporting accurate and transparent performance measures.

“Operators who build negative relationships with affiliates end up struggling to survive in the affiliate space. Affiliates are a close-knit group, so unfavourable practices can tarnish a brand’s reputation for years.”

Maintaining a good reputation in a market with stringent rules has accelerated innovative practices such as the use of loyalty programmes, which can help brands acquire long-term consumers. By combining traditional marketing methods and keeping a pulse on industry trends and challenges, affiliates bolster acquisition efforts.

Take esports, which gained traction with popular games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends. These titles saw an influx of new players through affiliates who promoted their products and programme on social platforms such as Twitch. Incidentally, in 2020, Twitch observed a 58% increase in monthly streamers, equivalent to 5.8 million users, and a 28% increase in partners, equivalent to 45,300 content creators.

Twitch is just one example of how affiliates help increase ROI. Affiliate marketers in verticals including bingo, poker and sports betting are also very community-focused, allowing for additional marketing opportunities via targeted campaigns.

“With the right platform, brands can easily understand their players’ likes and dislikes, behaviours and patterns, and reactions to different campaigns,” says Matt Larter, co-founder at AretoNet, an iGaming acquisition and retention tool utilising AI features.

“Pre-campaign analysis and clustering helps brands make sense of their user base and ensures they deliver the right message, at the right time, to build long-term brand engagement.”

Further contributing to digital marketing efforts, affiliates can also share blogs, reviews and videos that link back to the brands they’re promoting. This strategy, link building, helps brands build domain authority, which is essential for awareness. Next to this is incorporating PPC advertising and employing robust SEO strategies, which a comprehensive CRM platform will allow businesses to assess and action critical data such as impressions, clicks and registrations.

We invite you to also read the second and final part of our iGB Affiliate Article on iGaming affiliates’ influence in 2020, where we will discuss how CRM tools can be beneficial for a brand.