The gambling industry continues to thrive in the UK, with Gross Gambling Yield between April 2017 and March 2018 up 4.2% on the previous year. £5.3 billion of this was generated by the remote gaming sector .
For small to medium sized enterprises looking to get a foothold in this competitive industry, affiliate marketing remains an option, though not one that should be taken lightly or without meticulous planning and forethought. Online gambling is incredibly competitive and tighter regulations and increased taxation mean the days of ‘bedroom affiliates’ making it big with a basic marketing site on google are long gone.
Here we look at five key considerations for new gambling affiliates in 2018-19.
Find a Niche
A quick glance at the affiliate landscape in 2018-19 will tell you very quickly that in the same way that the operator market is dominated by big players like Bet365 and 888, so too is the affiliate industry. A search on any high-volume keyword on google will frequently return results topped by names like Ask Gamblers and Gambling.com. Competing with these brands requires big budget. For small enterprises looking to make a mark the best approach is to find a niche and create unique, valuable and useful content for players in that area.
For example, recently launched affiliates like The Slot Buzz focus on slot site and game reviews with detailed content and information for ardent video slots fans.
There are many other examples. Building a site around bitcoin casinos and provably fair gambling, or boxing betting with history of the boxers in the latest bouts could give you a competitive edge.
In short it is better to offer your users detailed content in one area than it is to cover every vertical of the industry with scant, thin content.
This will also potentially build your reputation as a brand and foster a posse of repeat visitors who come back to your domains time and again for the latest odds, news, game and site releases.
The Perils of SEO
Many small affiliates will be hoping to make their mark in the area of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – the power of ranking your site organically on Google, Bing or other search engines. When done well this can be the source of valuable traffic to an affiliate site. However, the landscape of dominant search engine Google has changed drastically in recent years, and ranking for valuable keywords now requires a lot of patience and care.
The Panda (2011) and Penguin (2012) updates to the Google Algorithm mean that simply creating weak content stuffed with your keyword, then pointing hundreds of cheaply-acquired backlinks to your site is not an option. Google rewards quality, purposeful content and backlinks from quality websites.
New affiliates should look to build products that offer something unique and worthwhile to their users. Quality content that satisfies this need is also the only way to build a long-term presence in Google SERPs.
Regulation and Compliance
The UK Gambling Commission has come down hard on operators who have failed to adhere to the terms of their license to protect vulnerable gamblers with addiction issues and prevent fraudulent activity on their platforms. High profile operators including 888, Casumo and Video Slots have all fallen foul of the commission and have faced big fines as a result. As an affiliate you must also follow rules on transparency relating to promotions and bonuses. Attention to detail in these areas is important as a matter of law, but also in presenting a professional client-facing business for potential punters as well as potential operator partners.
Pick Your Partners
One of the first tasks to address when putting your product out there is deciding who to work with. Which operators and gambling brands do you want to promote? There is certainly no shortage of options. From top tier brands like Leo Vegas to the plethora of new entrants to the market each month, there are many to choose from.
As well as choosing brands to suit your traffic, also consider the deals offered by each operator. Many advertise 25% rev share as a starting point on all new referrals, but with some persuasion may go to 40% or higher. Look for a member of your team to be responsible for building relationships with affiliate managers. This will help you develop better deals over time.
Hedge Your Bets
Finally, hedge your bets!
Veteran affiliate marketers in the gambling industry, and particularly those working in the SEO sector will advise new entrants to run a diverse portfolio of sites rather than concentrating their efforts on one. Google itself is a volatile entity with regular algorithm updates that affect site traffic. Meanwhile, the ongoing risk of penalties make it wise to hedge your bets so that losses on one site can be mitigated by continuing revenue from others.
In conclusion, the gambling industry in the UK becomes a tougher market with every passing month, but for small businesses who are thorough, patient and careful with their strategy, there are still opportunities to succeed as an affiliate in 2019.
*As reported on the UK Gambling Commission website.