The Income Access team travelled to Germany earlier this month for the 2017 edition of the iGB Affiliate-hosted Berlin Affiliate Conference (BAC). Our team at the conference, which attracted over 3,000 attendees, included Jenny Lu and Melissa Del Gaudio, both Directors of Account Management, Sarah Robertson, our Head of Sales, Alexandra Bogdanova, our Supervisor of Affiliate Services, and Samantha Ross, an Affiliate Marketing Coordinator.
Here they share their key takeaways relating to affiliate marketing trends, along with emerging markets and regulatory changes.
Takeaway #1: Regulatory Changes
Regulation was a hot topic, especially with operators and affiliates currently finalising their digital marketing strategies for 2018. Unsurprisingly, the recent opening up of the Pennsylvanian iGaming market was frequently mentioned in conversations. Affiliates were particularly interested in how they could start driving traffic to US-facing brands and how they could expand into this specific jurisdiction when it goes live in 2018.
Delegates in Berlin were also interested in recent news surrounding the possibility of regulatory change in the UK iGaming affiliate space. Many operators were keen to know how they can work with their affiliate databases to ensure that best advertising standards and practices are maintained.
Takeaway #2: Emerging Markets
Besides the UK and Pennsylvania, BAC delegates discussed the opportunities of other markets. Some brands showed an interest in potentially expanding into German-speaking markets, such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland, while Scandinavia was also mentioned along with Poland and Japan.
The first-ever ‘Gaming Africa’ conference last month in Johannesburg highlighted that sub-Saharan Africa is becoming more of a focus area in the world of iGaming. The region was a major topic of discussion in Berlin along with Latin America.
Takeaway #3: Emerging Verticals
BAC attendees were also keen to know which verticals they should keep an eye on over the next 12 months and beyond. Niche betting products, such as pool betting, were discussed.
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) also frequently came up in conversations we had with attendees, who were keen to know if legislation changes in Pennsylvania, whose new iGaming law permits DFS, and other markets could potentially open up this vertical more widely. The ever-increasing significance of cryptocurrency was also demonstrated at the conference, with exhibitors from this vertical also present.
Takeaway #4: The Continuing Trend of M&A
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have become increasingly prominent in the iGaming industry over the last few years. This trend looks set to gather pace over the next 12 months. In fact, a number of the iGaming brands and affiliates our team spoke to mentioned they already have M&A plans for the New Year.
The increasing popularity of M&A has already paved the way for the emergence of super-affiliate firms such as Catena Media. 2018 will undoubtedly see more of this convergence – affiliates buying up other sites and, subsequently, the rise of more large media groups like Catena and XL Media.
What were your key takeaways from BAC 2017, and how do you see iGaming and affiliate marketing evolving over the next 12 months? Let us know in the comments section below.
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