About Work with Affiliates and Gambling Market Trends: Interview with СМО of Favbet/Favorit Sport Nik Rudenko
Basing on what criteria, do affiliates choose affiliate programs? How can operators lure efficient webmasters? CMO of Favbet and Favorit Sport Nik Rudenko talked about these issues in the interview for Minsk iGaming Affiliate Conference.
Interviewer: Minsk iGaming Affiliate Conference (MiAC)
Respondent: Nik Rudenko (N.R.)
MiAC: Please, tell us about the specifics of FavBet’s collaboration with affiliates: what do you rely on?
N.R.: Partnerships are based on the principles of honesty and trust, as usually affiliates keep in touch with each other, so the whole community quickly finds out about the failures of the operator. For this reason, we choose reliable communication based on trust and share experience and efficient tracking solutions.
Affiliate programs find it beneficial to acquire top-class affiliates, so a good reputation is very important in this field. Favbet builds the partnership on such essential principles as a correct offer, expert team of managers, timely payouts, quality products, and a good tracking system.
MiAC: What affiliate pricing model do you consider to be the most beneficial? What are its advantages?
N.R.: Both the operator and affiliate should choose the model that provides a quick money turnover and good revenue. Here, it is important to focus on the specifics of traffic, as well as the peculiarities of the product and team. The fact of operating on a grey or white market also plays its role. The operator’s good retention rate implies a more profitable RevShare.
If the brand offers a lifetime commission and the affiliate adequately assesses the CLV, it can lead to productive collaboration. Besides, the affiliate can choose a cross-brand direction and work under the CPA model with similar products. I am an advocate of hybrid deals that allow making an income both in the short and long term.
MiAC: What are the main customer acquisition trends for casinos?
N.R.: There is no magical or universal solution for casino promotion. You should take into account many different parameters related to marketing, psychology, product field.
It is very important to define the user profile and needs. Among the keynote parameters, I can mark understandable UX, simple registration, convenient payments, and quality technical support. As for the introduction of bonuses and gamification, it is necessary to be careful: you need to assess the need for them, their difficulty, and the demand for them.
There is one interesting observation: users often change casinos and are stable when it comes to sportsbooks. It happens due to the peculiarities of human psychology: the brain is looking for the reasons of failures in the outer world. For example, gamblers accuse casinos of their losses or think that they have no luck specifically at a certain resource. In the case of sportsbooks, all the negative things concerning the loss are directed toward the team or the sportsman that the punter placed the bet on but not the operator.
Besides, the frequency of communication and narrative are important. If you base marketing on a story, it will be more efficient, the message will hook customers. To make it work, it is necessary to find a message that is attractive, unobtrusive, and not annoying. Here, it is important to define the target audience and its needs, what psychological clues will bring the result.
Customer retention still plays an important role, as it costs cheaper than the acquisition of new users. The ways of keeping the player interest depend on the company, its target audience, analysis of this audience, and its activity level.
MiAC: Tell us about your experience as an affiliate: what keynote requirements did you set to affiliate programs?
N.R.: Affiliates value both income and partnership based on respect, brand integrity. There were times when shaving was taken for granted on our market, but things should not be like that, it is not right. The quality of technical support, creatives, feedbacks, and analytics play their role.
If the partnership facilitates the development and global expansion of markets, it is a big benefit. For example, if the affiliate can choose from different offers beyond the CIS borders, they usually contain a detailed description and CLV on different markets.
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MiAC: What are the most efficient and modern ways to lure affiliates that an operator can use?
N.R.: Building relations with affiliates is a modern trend, so operators are trying to pay more attention to the acquisition of affiliates. It happens because the market has grown, more and more brands are appearing, and all of them require affiliate services.
Affiliates are assessed depending on traffic and the quality of resources. Companies find top-class affiliates through direct contacts, if available, sometimes via social media, email letters. There is a practice of exchanging contacts among operators and it is usually beneficial to all parties.
Besides, affiliates can be found at specialized conferences, forums, and affiliate communities. For example, the most efficient way to engage a top arbitrage specialist is through personal contact during the afterparty.
To interest a high-profile affiliate, you need to have a product that meets market requirements, 24/7 technical support, as well as the professional performance of the team, understanding of the industry and the specifics of work.
MiAC: What should one rely on when choosing gambling creatives?
N.R.: You need to define the pursued goal very clearly, and you should not forget about the technical characteristics of such a creative. You can make play with hype events, as it always attracts attention. There is no universal form of a creative. It always depends on the target audience and the specifics of the market.
Emailing can be efficient if you take into account the peculiarities of the niche: for example, betting companies need to lay emphasis on the upcoming sports events, and casinos benefit from special offers in the format “here and now”. For example, the offer to play at the nearest time and to get a cashback after.
MiAC: What are the main mistakes when working with webmasters?
N.R.: The most common mistake in the process of partnership is the situation when the operator does not have a competent team that would understand the problems of webmasters, peculiarities of their work. Therefore, webmasters usually focus on a certain affiliate program. It is simpler in terms of payouts and the collection of statistics data.
The lack of feedback and the possibility to communicate also negatively influence the performance. The operator needs to be in contact with the affiliate, to understand his needs, as it helps to get a mutually beneficial result. Productive communication increases the webmaster’s loyalty toward the operator and grows the reputation among affiliates.
Advertisers should not hope that after the arrival of a new affiliate everything would work out by itself, as he has to help and collaborate with the webmaster. It means that he has to provide useful information, creatives, inform about new markets. Otherwise, the affiliate will find all of it in the affiliate program.
MiAC: Tell us about the difference between the audience of betting and gambling sectors: how does it influence the work of affiliates?
N.R.: The work with the sportsbook is considered to be much simpler, as the audience is more prone to conversion, but everything depends on the situation and specific markets. Betting differs from gambling by the scale of reach and a more positive tint: sports betting is allowed in many countries that ban gambling. At the same time, messages are ad hoc, connected to certain events and matches.
The target audience of gambling has some intersection points with the betting sector’s audience, but it is still different. Here, deep targeting, themed websites, work with social media, search engines, and messengers are important. It is necessary to take into account the peculiarities of markets, for example, gambling is very popular in Sweden.
When working with the audience in a certain niche, the message communicated to people is important. For it to work, it is necessary to factor in their expectations and wants, to understand what can hook the customer and what can scare him away.
MiAC: According to your forecasts, what innovations are waiting for the online gambling and betting markets in the next years?
N.R.: Wide adoption of Pay’n’Play and active use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. A growing number of operators will come to the market, specializing solely in mobile. Social media will be the main source of information, and native advertising will be the main trend.
I can also mention scoring models and automation of customer support service using chatbots as popular market innovations. AI-driven retention and responsible gaming algorithms will find active use. Important changes will take place in the field of grey market legalization, which is expected in the nearest two to three years.
Nik Rudenko will act as a moderator of the panel discussion “Operators and affiliates – how to build a win-win strategy” where industry experts will talk about main aspects of collaboration, as well as trends and promising markets. The discussion will take place at Minsk iGaming Affiliate Conference on March 5.