For the annual London Affiliate Conference (LAC) in February we contributed an article to iGB Affiliate magazine. The piece advised affiliates on how they could embrace new tactics and channels to increase their revenue.
ASA and VSO provide affiliates with new digital marketing channels to target traffic. However, shrewd affiliates will be as much focused in 2017 on their messaging as the mediums with which they communicate this.
iGaming affiliate marketing’s early days of building a site with thin content to host operators’ ads are long gone. In a recent Income Access survey, 83% of affiliates are more focused on content development than on promotional banners. In keeping with this trend, forward-thinking affiliates will ensure that their sites’ content not only provides users with genuine value, but is also engaging, topical and employs a diverse range of formats (video and even audio podcasts as well as images and text).
In 2017, casino affiliates can go beyond merely writing the occasional slot and casino review to accompany their partners’ banners. They can consider filming talking-head video reviews of new casino content. Topicality is also key, so affiliates can restyle themselves as brand journalists for their operator partners. Commentary on Guns N’ Roses’ current world tour, for instance, could provide a subtle opportunity to promote NetEnt’s branded slot and the online casinos featuring the game.
Beyond their own content, affiliates can also enrich their sites using the written and video content of the brands and software providers they promote. For higher traffic affiliates, this could include sponsored advertorials and guest posts from operator partners. Even if an affiliate isn’t paid directly for these type of native advertising campaigns, they will still serve to complement accompanying banner ads, increasing their conversion rates.
As much as they focus on expanding their on-site content, affiliates are advised to ensure that individual content pieces are concise. Given that a majority of site visitors will be using a mobile device, affiliates can focus on developing dense content, where the headline and opening paragraphs of a piece are packed with information and the total text doesn’t exceed 300 words.
Dense content pieces and, of course, short videos are highly supportive of social media marketing. With users scanning their Twitter and Facebook feeds, only content with really engaging headlines and meta-descriptions will ensure users click-through to an affiliate’s site.
Recent social media platform developments also offer affiliates new marketing opportunities. Facebook Live, unveiled last April, and Instagram Stories, launched in August, allows affiliates to target players with live videos. As a Premier League match progresses, a sportsbook affiliate can provide live commentary on how the game plays out.
New Promotional Opportunities
Of course, at the heart of affiliate marketing are the brands an affiliate is partnered with. In 2017, affiliates can increase their revenue opportunities by diversifying the verticals they promote and also targeting emerging markets.
In terms of verticals, the rise of eSports betting – wagering on competitive video gaming such as Dota2 and League of Legends – allows sports-betting affiliates to target traffic beyond their usual customer personas of traditional sports fans and dedicated punters. With established sportsbooks like Pinnacle and standalone operators such as Unikrn offering eSports betting, affiliates have multiple opportunities to promote the vertical. With Eilers & Krejcik Gaming projecting eSports wagering to total $12.8 billion by 2020, the vertical has enormous growth potential.
Affiliates can also consider expanding in new markets in 2017. Latin America’s largest economy and population centre, Brazil will vote on legislation regulating iGaming before April. Ahead of possible regulation, affiliates can consider experimenting with developing sites targeting the Portuguese-speaking country of 205 million.
While Brazil poses a language barrier for many affiliates, this is not the case for Pennsylvania. Industry researchers Eilers & Krejcik Gaming considered it “plausible” that the US state would legalize the online casino and poker verticals last year. However, the latest legislation is still awaiting approval by the state Senate after passing the House in October. 2017 could, however, be the year iGaming expands again in the US, so affiliates who aren’t already promoting regulated New Jersey brands will likely do so this year in preparation for the Pennsylvania market going live.
Forward-looking European affiliates will look west to the US and Brazil in 2017, while considering new verticals like eSports betting that diversify their offering and allow them to target different traffic sources. At the same time, they will also ensure their content marketing becomes more sophisticated in 2017, featuring live video and dense content, and that they leverage the new channels of app store advertising and voice search as well as AMP-certifying their webpages. Using such tactics, they can also look east with the hope of a prosperous ‘Year of the Rooster’.
Now that you’ve read the full article, please share your own advice on how affiliates can diversify their strategies this year in the comments section below.