The iGaming industry is one that continues to evolve at a fast pace year-on-year. For affiliates, 2020 could well have been a bumper year with so many people stuck at home due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Many land-based gambling venues, such as casinos, arcades and betting shops, would have had disruptions to business last year, as many countries locked down their citizens for extended periods of time. But online gambling operators enjoyed unfettered access to players, eager to fill long ours stuck at home every day. For affiliates, they will have likely found new audiences and increased opportunities among this global adjustment to the way we live our lives.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for online gambling companies though, as many regulators around the world spent time reviewing their gambling laws in the wake of so many people being locked down or having their travel impaired. Countries such as UK, Germany, Spain, Sweden and many more, introduced advertising rules or put pressure on operators to act responsibly. With a clear message that mental health should be at the forefront of their minds when serving their customers.
Sustainable business models
Affiliates very much have an active role in this process and many have had to change the way they go about their business. It is our understanding that focus in the gambling industry is less orientated around volume and more emphasis is being placed on sustainability and affordability of gambling. For affiliates this is a tricky mindset to get into and many of the old practices that once served them so well are either no longer relevant or not legally possible.
For many iGaming affiliates the focus appears to have moved to engaging their audiences and trying to understand their visitors needs better. The likes of visual video marketing and YouTube have started to become a huge part of affiliate marketing, showing consumers how to choose which brands to gamble with, what promotions and offers actually mean and how they can play safely at licensed casinos.
The streaming industry has also seen an increase in customers throughout 2020. More and more people are opting to watch digital videos through paid-for or free services. Thus, presenting a potential opportunity for affiliates, with a knock on effect on players who are interested in live streamed casino games.
Social media is being used to build communities, by offering competitions, free games and interactions for gamblers with their favourite influencers. Connecting with thousands of people in an instant has never been easier and is opening up a whole world of new opportunities for creative content marketing.
As you might expect with all these opportunities in the gambling industry, there are some major pitfalls for iGaming affiliates that they must be wary of. The scrutiny of regulation is going to be increasing ever more over the coming months. The protection of vulnerable people, especially minors and people with mental health related issues, is seemingly a top priority for many of the gambling regulators. Age-gating, marketing consent and pixel tracking are just a few of the areas of affiliate marketing that will gain lots of attention this year. Notwithstanding all the bad publicity attached to marketing practices that are in no way responsible or ethical. Recently Rightlander collected data on a number of marketers who appeared to be targeting players that had previously self-excluded from gambling. This deliberate and irresponsible activity can only harm the efforts of other affiliate marketers trying to do the right thing.
For 2021, affiliate marketing in the iGaming space looks healthy, but success is likely going to be measured on how well you know your audience engagement rather than mass volume. The door appears to be closing on mass mailing lists and never-ending lists of gambling sites and opportunities are arising in creative content, video engagement and communities on social media and in forums. However, this is only a prediction based on the trends we have identified. Things could be very different come the end of 2021!