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This week we chat to German affiliate consultant Jan Dellman, one of the most recognisable faces in the igaming space. We discuss the state of the affiliate nation and how digital is changing ahead of our next Digital Marketing Forum.
AffiliateINSIDER: Hi Jan, can you begin by telling us a bit about your history in the marketplace and how you currently provide services to DE brands?
Jan Dellman: Thanks for having me. I’ve been operating in the German market for four years now. Back in the day I started an affiliate for the German casino market. With 15 years experience in online marketing and gambling, I found my perfect place in the world of business. After gaining experience within the igaming industry, I discovered that operators were in need of native gambling know-how to increase and build real USPs. With this in mind, I founded Forscher Consulting.
I began to advise operators with regards to user experience, brand communication, promotions and consumer behaviour in the German market. As a passionate affiliate marketer, I also started to educate new affiliate businesses, helping them to compete in the market. At the moment we consult with a very interesting German project: AlleCasinos. We are also looking to get into the operator business in the future, since the opportunities in the German market are so great and I know how we could make a big difference here.
AI: What makes the German market complex, and what should brands, business owners and affiliates keep in mind when targeting this area?
JD: In my opinion, the German market is one of the most complex markets in European igaming. This definitely has something to do with the German political and legislative culture. Since Germany is split into 16 different states, there is no common sense when it comes to gambling legislation. As you probably know, the very small state Schleswig-Holstein (SH) opened the igaming market several years ago to get the ball rolling. Rumours say that there will be a regulation for all states coming in late 2020, but you never know in Germany.
For now, the situation is very chaotic since all states behave different when it comes to igaming businesses. This is why several operators have withdrawn from the German market. Even Paypal, the most important payment method for German players, withdrew from the German market earlier this year because of the political situation. For affiliates, the situation is an opportunity and threat at the same time. A lot of keyword markets disappeared, while others are bumping in out of nowhere. For smart affiliates, who know about consumer behaviour, the actual situation can be very attractive and exciting.
AI: Tell us about your experience in this igaming space. Who have you met, and what interesting stories can you share about your time in this sector?
JD: Usually Germans are very offish and distant when it comes to meeting new people. I made completely opposite experiences from the very start. Back in the days at my first affiliate conference in Amsterdam, I knew nobody and was even to shy to go to affiliate managers and talk in English to them. I just saw a guy with a German name on the badge and asked him if he could spare some minutes to talk with me. At the end we spent hours of talking and drinking beer and nowadays this guy is one of my best friends and not just a colleague.
From what I see, there are not many Germans in the industry and I think this is why this small group is well connected. One of the most important German networkers is Jochen Biewer (Chevron Consultants). He really helped me a lot in my career and is definitely one of the guys who increased the quality and belonging together of the German igaming scene. There is a German saying in our industry that puts it in a nutshell: “Wir Deutschen müssen zusammenhalten” (We Germans need to hold together).
AI: The German market is unique in that the culture is completely different to that of other Euro regions. How should brands be considering this when they operate here?
JD: From what I see, most of the brands in our industry have no clue about the culture and psychology of German players. The interest in education is very small, maybe because of the grey market situation. But even now, the operators could do a lot more stuff to improve their conversion rates and player value. Landing Pages are still a big issue and the selection of software is also not wisely chosen when it comes to the psychology of German players. The most important cultural element in the German igaming market is the land-base to online transaction.
We noticed a huge increase of land-based to online players in the last years and its still just the ‘prelude’. Since Germans are very sceptical when it comes to online gambling (bad press, rumours of no cashing out, strength of land-base slot halls), the transition to online is going slowly. Through the regulation of the sports betting market, accompanied by massive ads in the mainstream television, the mindset of Germans is changing and more and more players looking out for online gambling. You can just imagine what full regulation in Germany means for the industry – we happily looking forward.
Having a solid affiliate program contract is vital to any affiliate marketing partnership. It’s important to lay out what