Our team arrived energised and ready to link up with fellow industry stakeholders at the ICE Totally Gaming (ICE) and London Affiliate Conference (LAC) events, which were both held at the ExCeL London earlier this month.
Moreover, our VP of Strategy Sarafina Wolde Gabriel participated in an ICE VOX panel discussion on the opening day, alongside Paysafe’s Director of Sales (Digital Wallets) Rosen Metev. They discussed emerging opportunities for sports-betting brands and overall potential growth of the US iGaming market.
With insights from our team of experts, we’ve put together key takeaways from our time at two of the biggest events in the iGaming and affiliate marketing industries, respectively.
Affiliate Marketing & Tech Trends
Compared to previous editions of ICE and LAC, one notable development could be seen in the affiliate approach to operator engagement. Specifically, many affiliates opted to exhibit themselves and invite operators to come seen them, rather than having to be more active on the conference floor in hopes of initiating introductory conversations.
At ICE 2018, the big focus was on mergers and acquisitions, specifically in Nordic countries and German-speaking markets. This year saw the ever-growing appeal of influencer marketing, particularly with European affiliates. Influencers are valuable because of the strong relationships they cultivate with their followers and their ability to drive high levels of engagement based on their respective niches.
If leveraged correctly, this could be an advantage for affiliates in terms of obtaining a high return on investment, especially when coupled with emerging tech trends like virtual reality (VR), an experience projected to be the future of online gaming, as well as artificial intelligence (AI). According to Adweek, recent developments in AI could help affiliates/operators predict campaign results, obtain a closer match with their desired target audiences and address influencer fraud by identifying bots within accounts.
Finally, many operators are now moving towards content marketing initiatives, such as educational and thought leadership articles, considering it a more valuable promotion technique than traditional marketing ads.
Currently, Europe is a highly competitive market with heightened regulations in the wake of GDPR legislation taking effect last May. As a result, many affiliates and brands are exploring other markets, including Latin America and Africa.
Latin America is gaining momentum particularly in regions like Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. Through our discussions, it was made clear that each area needs to have a localised approach, meaning brands must cater to local payment methods and languages to take advantage of their affiliate channel.
Meanwhile, a growing number of operators have also emerged in the sub-Saharan African market, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.
India also received several mentions as a market to watch, in light of the legal environment currently taking shape.
The excitement towards the US market was also very prevalent, as our team engaged in several discussions with affiliates on how to obtain a license and information on the states that currently offer sports betting. Affiliates were keen to learn more about Pennsylvania and if it was following a similar path to New Jersey in regards to licensing and marketing practices. With iGaming Business projecting the market to reach $8 billion in revenue by 2030, the US is sure to continue its pursuit in legalisation.
ICE has traditionally been all about online and land-based casinos, however the 2019 edition held a greater prevalence in live eSports.
According to Statista, the eSports sector amassed a total of $655 million in revenue in 2017 and is projected to reach nearly $1.5 billion in 2020.