There are very few industries that are tuned-in to their marketing strategies quite as well as the online casino industry.
There are a plethora of different ways that online casinos use to attract new players to their sites. These range from traditional methods such as email marketing and television advertisements to cutting edge techniques such as influencer marketing and viral video stunts, each with a specific goal, budget, and tailored outcome.
However, one of the most important strategies used is one that takes some control away from the casino companies as they turn to bloggers and webmasters for help promoting their sites. I am, of course, talking about affiliate marketing and although it isn’t unique to the online casino market, it is perhaps the best example of it done well.
So, how does the casino industry use affiliate marketing to leverage their position in an incredibly dynamic online market?
What is affiliate marketing?
For those of us new to the business, it’s the clarification of what affiliate marketing consists of that can often be the most difficult to both understand and communicate to others.
Looking to the dictionary for the perfect phrasing, affiliate marketing is broadly defined as: “a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.”
Breaking this statement down, we see that affiliate marketing simply involves an external website (independent blog or website) referring to potential customers (via custom tracking URLs) to an online retailer’s site of whom they have a prior agreement.
In the casino industry, the product is the site itself with the games and gaming opportunities presented to players. Affiliate marketers are required to sign up to the required affiliate scheme of the sites that would like to promote, agreeing to base terms before they are given trackable custom URLs.
Rather than marketing the chosen casino directly, an affiliate marketer will often create a blog post, article or unbias review of the said casino with an additional link for site visitors to find out more or sign up to the Gclub casino. It is this carefully crafted content that is so valuable to online casinos. Good summary here.
Why affiliate marketing?
At this point, you may be scratching your head and asking why online casinos would be working with small affiliate sites and one-person-shows to promote their brands.
You’d be right to do so, at a glance, the industry is one of the most profitable in the world and working with small bloggers could be thought of as both risky and wasteful, but there is a tremendous value provided by these affiliate marketers.
It’s all about trust and legitimacy
In the casino industry, it can be incredibly difficult for new players to decide on an online casino to spend both time and money.
Unlike many other industries, online gambling is subject to prejudices and stereotypes of corruption, unfair means, and even criminal operations – something that the industry has struggled to shake off. Although traditional marketing formats help to remove this stigma from a new (or existing) online casino, it can be difficult to build those layers of trust between players and providers.
That’s where affiliate marketing comes in. As these independent sites are often run by gamblers for gamblers, the recommendations made will come with a level of trust and legitimacy that’s hard to match in any other marketing practice.
If we take a look at the larger affiliate marketing gaming sites such as “AskGamblers” or “ThePogg”, articles, blog posts, and reviews are written with truth placed on a pedestal. Without truth as the main focus, these sites lose their value and appear that they’ll advertise anything or everything for a quick buck.
These affiliate sites give new players looking to find a “legit” and “trustworthy” site a place to browse with facts, opinions, and real player reviews to sift through before making their decision.
The relationship between affiliate marketers and online casinos
The successful lead generation of players visiting an online casino via an affiliate marketers site can be incredibly profitable for both casino and marketer.
In an industry predicted to be worth $94.4bn globally by 2024, it’s no secret that it’s incredibly profitable and the casinos aren’t shy when it comes to sharing the wealth. Relationships between affiliate marketers and the online casinos will differ according to the number of leads generated and different marketers can opt for different deals.
For some, cash on signup deals are chosen with an agreed number paid to a marketer for each successful lead provided, but it’s the longer-term percentage of profits that most marketers opt for. By generating successful leads, marketers can expect to earn anywhere between 30% and 60% of the total profits earned by said generated lead.
It’s clear why the industry is attracting so many online professionals from around the world and just how highly valued these marketers are to the online casinos. With some of the most successful affiliate marketing companies ranking in seven or even eight figures annually, it’s a business that’s very much booming.
Although there are a number of different, successful methods that casinos opt for when promoting their site, it’s affiliate marketing that often proves the most valuable.
Affiliate marketers often find themselves in trustworthy positions that can otherwise be difficult for online casinos to achieve. With an industry littered with prejudices and stereotypes of shifty and unlawful behavior, the associated trust with an online casino is incredibly valuable.
By working with affiliate marketers, online casinos are able to create a valuable relationship surrounding lead generation that not only builds this trust between new players but gives a platform to advertise promotions, offers, and bonuses to those searching for a site. One of my favorite sites is OnlineCasinoGems.com. The reason why I like them the most is that they don’t mince words. If a casino sucks, they tell you that. This is an important point though. Most affiliate sites will say every casino is great, because every casino will give them commission. But that’s against the interests of a player. Reality is online players need unbiased reviews.
To make things simple, affiliate marketers can often be thought of like car insurance comparison sites. Players (customers) are able to look through different options before choosing the site (product) that’s right for them and as a thank you, the casino hands them a percentage of the profits.
Players find a new site that they can trust, casinos earn a new player and marketers earn a slice of the profits. It’s a win-win-win situation.