When Michigan Lottery launched its Income Access-powered and managed affiliate program at the end of 2017, it became the first state lottery in the US to enter the affiliate space. Since then, the brand has attracted well over a thousand new online account registrations and generated healthy additional revenue – contributing to its $3 billion in sales annually.
Here we assess the Michigan Lottery program’s success-to-date under our management, in relation to both brand exposure and player acquisition. We also assess the ways that the affiliate channel has complemented the lottery’s overall digital marketing mix.
By launching an affiliate program, Michigan Lottery has been able to develop a more comprehensive player acquisition strategy. This has been achieved through placing content and other creatives on various lottery and gaming-focused websites, which has subsequently exposed the brand to a wider audience. By advertising through these mediums, players who might not have previously known they can buy online lottery tickets in Michigan have subsequently been driven to the Michigan Lottery site.
Michigan Lottery is able to use the player data being sent through affiliate sites to determine who its main audience is within this channel. As a result, they are able to develop more effective and appealing creative assets.
The brand’s depositing players are generally very loyal meaning they’ll continue buying online tickets for the foreseeable future. That, combined with the fact that affiliates will continue referring players over the next 6-12 months and beyond, mean that the program is well-positioned for sustained growth.
The Impact on iLottery in the US
Significant evolution is projected for iLottery in the US, especially over the next five years. By being a first mover in the affiliate space, Michigan Lottery has been able to tap into a relatively untouched and sizeable group of players in the state of Michigan.
Aside from Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, many states will, of course, have to enact online lottery legislation before retail lotteries can go online and affiliates are able to promote tickets. The success of the Michigan Lottery program, therefore, will have a positive impact on regulation in these jurisdictions by demonstrating the benefits of entering this channel.
How has the Program Complemented Michigan Lottery’s Broader Digital Marketing Mix?
When it came to launching an affiliate program, Michigan Lottery’s main motivation was to add an extra channel to their marketing mix. Partnering with affiliate sites has honed the ability to reach a wider audience, many of whom might have previously been unfamiliar with the brand’s offerings.
Performance-based metrics such as increased registrations, higher ticket sales and more revenue lines have demonstrated that the affiliate channel has been an impactful addition so far.
Michigan Lottery’s decision to enter the affiliate channel is already reaping great results, and its success-to-date has set up the brand for continued long-term growth. Because no other state lottery is currently utilizing the affiliate channel, it remains a largely untapped space. Therefore, those who follow suit and develop mature programs now will also be in a great position to attract players in the short and long-term. Once more US regulators allow for the promotion and sale of online lottery tickets, more state lotteries will be eager to get involved in this largely-untouched market.
At Income Access, our detailed tracking software allows iLottery brands to specifically geo-target campaigns based on multiple criteria, and also have experience launching, managing and growing lottery affiliate programs. To find out more about our technology and affiliate marketing services, please reach out.