While there are different ways to promote an online casino, affiliate marketing has deserved its status of the most effective method. SEO, PPC, media advertising, online rankings and exhibitions and other offline activities shall also be part of the big strategy, as diversity always increases your chances for success, but still if we compare the investments and outcome, affiliates turn out to win in the ROI competition. Let’s have a deeper insight in who they are, what benefits they bring to your business and how you make best use of your affiliate partnerships.
Who are affiliates?
Affiliates are people who use their existing websites to bring online traffic to your casino website. While for other industries it may differ, in online gaming affiliates are very often players themselves. They usually have vast experience as casino users and run blogs or do live streaming to share their gaming experience with other users. Sometimes casino affiliates have experience in online casino operation and know the other side of the business, too. In any case, they are not strangers in the world of iGaming and know its ins and outs. By providing truthful information on various online casinos available on the market and sharing various gambling tips and tricks, they gain trust of the players and manage to attract significant audience to their websites. With skillful SEO, link building and use of different online forums, they manage to achieve high rankings in search engines and become really popular. Once that’s done, the affiliate websites are ready to start generating traffic for online casino operators.
What do they do to promote an online casino?
Affiliates deliver direct traffic to the gaming website by placing links and banners on their websites. Sometimes they use banners that call for direct action, e.g. to register or make a deposit in a particular casino. The important thing is that casino affiliates bring relevant traffic with the very high rate of conversion into sales. Affiliate websites are all devoted to gambling and very often contain useful information, such as iGaming guides and online casino rankings, so they attract users who are searching for the best casino to play at and actually do play after following the link.
What do they get in return?
Affiliates get paid for the direct traffic they bring to the website. There are several different models of rewarding the affiliates.
1) Revenue-share based.
With this model, affiliates get a percentage of the casino net revenue generated by players who come from their websites. Many affiliates choose this model because it means long-time profiting. For operators, it is also a good option because affiliates work on bringing quality players who constantly generate revenue for the casino and also help with the retention. The percentage that you pay to an affiliate is up to you. Most operators individual approaches to their affiliates. The most appreciated and trusted partners get up to 50% commission with no negative carryover.
2) CPA (cost per action).
This is a model where a casino offers a fixed rate for every player. It can actually be a payment for just the sign up or for a certain amount deposited. Affiliates choose this type of reward as it brings short-term results. Casino operators can be flexible about the rate, increasing it while the number of referred players grows.
3) Mixed models.
As already mentioned, casino operators often apply customized approaches to individual affiliates. For example, they can offer a combination of revenue share model and CPA and offer certain upfront payments together with long-term participation in the casino revenue. The more flexible you get in your relationship with the affiliates, the better network you will be able to grow and the more chances you will have to profit from this win-win partnerships.
Why is affiliate marketing effective?
There are several unarguable advantages that affiliate marketing has over other methods of online casino promotion:
Payment based on performance. It is always easier to pay for something that you already have rather than make an upfront investment without any guarantees on the result. Affiliate marketing is totally focused on performance and therefore guarantees the highest ROI. Even when the CPA or commission paid to an affiliate is really high, you know that your profit is higher. You get 100% relevant traffic that is converted into real sales.
Measurable progress. This is the most important question that a casino operator asks: When I’m investing a significant amount into a certain marketing activity, how do I know whether it is effective? You can build a stand and bring half of your company to a gaming conference or you can buy numerous advertising articles in the online media, but how do you know exactly how many players come and play in your casino after they see you at the conference or read the articles? With affiliate marketing, you can count and compare the amount invested and the amount earned up to a single cent and get a clear picture of the effectiveness.
Simple tracking. If you are using an effective affiliate system (online casino software usually has an internal affiliate module which facilitates easy management of their affiliate programs), it allows to see and evaluate the performance of different affiliates and even see how your casino is doing on different affiliate websites. You can use this info for better analysis of what ads and banners work best for you and adjust your affiliate program accordingly.
Reputation and online presence. Since successful affiliates usually have good reputation in the world of iGaming, being advertised on their websites adds to your casino fame. It helps to strengthen the brand and make a long-lasting impression on the people in your industry.
How to meet the right affiliates?
There are several ways of making long-lasting partnership with affiliates.
Place information about your affiliate program on media resources devoted to iGaming. There are those which make listings of the most lucrative affiliate offerings, so try to advertise your casino to make it attractive to affiliates by describing your most generous CPA and revenue share offers.
Visit specialized exhibitions and affiliate conferences. There are several affiliate conferences going in different parts of the world throughout the year, the most famous ones taking place in London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Malta, etc. Affiliates visit these conferences to share their experience, learn news on the iGaming legislation and acquire knowledge on new tools and techniques in their business, but also to make new deals with casino operators. That’s your chance.
Word of mouth. The more people you know in the industry, the easier it is to expand your affiliate network.
How to find the right affiliate marketing platform?
Having a wise technological solution is important for effective affiliate marketing. It should be convenient not only for the operator to use it, but also for the affiliates. There are several stand-alone software solutions for affiliate management on the market which can be integrated into the online casino software that you are using. It is also possible to develop your own system according to your specific needs and have your software provider integrate it into the system. Perhaps the most viable option, however, is to choose a software platform which already has an affiliate module that meets industry standards and corresponds to your needs. Companies which provide online casino software usually build the most flexible and easy to use affiliate systems taking into account their clients’ experience and preferences. They are motivated to provide an effective tool within their platform that helps casino operators to fine-tune their marketing campaigns and achieve maximum results with their affiliate marketing strategy.
All in all, think about marketing already when choosing the gaming platform and make sure you have your software provider on your side. Since online gaming is quite a special industry which heavily depends on the variety of external factors, such as government regulation, banking and financial issues, finding effective marketing strategy is not as evident as in many other spheres. With many traditional means of promotion being unavailable due to legislation constraints, affiliate marketing has proved to be one of the most reliable and transparent methods to push your website to the top and boost your profit.