Our team descended in London in early February for ICE Totally Gaming and the 2018 London Affiliate Conference (LAC 2018), both of which were held at the city’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre. The event was attended by our VP of Strategy Sarafina Wolde Gabriel, who also chaired the panel discussion ‘The African market – what you need to know about the opportunities’.
Other present team members included our General Manager Tara Wilson, Global Head of Sales Jonathan Vintner, Head of Business Development Sarah Robertson and Marketing Manager Erica Anderson. Informed by the array of meetings and sessions in which we participated, we’ve put together our key takeaways.
Ahead of the upcoming May 2018 implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and in light of the UK’s evolving regulatory landscape, a big talking point was the streamlining of the affiliate channel. Many operators are introducing more rigorous and strategic guidelines for their affiliate partnerships, to ensure they have the necessary information and support to stay compliant. These changes have influenced many new innovations, which have been centred on the desire to make it easier and more efficient for operators to remain compliant.
African affiliate marketing opportunities were widely discussed and Room 2 was almost completely full for the panel discussion moderated by Wolde Gabriel. An increasing number of new and existing brands in this market are adding affiliate programmes to their digital marketing strategy, in order to diversify their online revenue sources.
Merger and acquisition (M&A) shows no signs of slowing down, especially in the Nordic countries and German-speaking markets. Major affiliate firms have been highly-active in this field over the past 18 months, while also spending big money to acquire web domains. The vertical focus varies in these markets – while Nordic players are largely casino-oriented, sports-betting is more popular in Germany.
In a phase of transition for the UK market, many operators are looking to obtain licences in other parts of Europe. The potential of markets in Italy, Spain and Scandinavia, were all highlighted in numerous conversations. And while licences in Poland cost more than other markets, the Eastern European country was another name on the lips of delegates.
Operators from Africa, especially Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa were present at the conferences – many had their own exhibition booths. During the Affiliates Africa session we moderated, affiliate Mathew Symmonds emphasised that the continent’s various markets are “booming with new operators” this year.
Broader Digital Marketing Trends
From discussions our team members had, mobile accounts for up to 80% of operators’ traffic. The platform was also a focal point during ‘The African Market’ panel, where acquisition methods such as text message marketing were spoken about.
As was also the case at previous conferences, small to mid-tier operators’ desire for a single-tracking solution was once again emphasised. Brands of these sizes are eager to measure all of their marketing results in one place, with minimal manual work. Because of this, third-party software continues to be a popular option.
Online sportsbooks and casinos are also looking to diversify their online offerings to aid their overall growth strategy. Virtual sports are becoming more popular, especially in largely football-oriented markets such as Kenya and Nigeria. Poker’s liquidity in various European markets was also discussed, and this vertical could grow across the continent over the next 12 months.
Were you at ICE Totally Gaming and/ or LAC 2018? What were your key takeaways, and how do you see iGaming and affiliate marketing evolving over the next year? Let us know in the comments section below.