Affiliate Mergers – How can you stand out?

Over the last year, affiliates and operators have been merging fast and furiously. PaddyPower and Betfair (now FanDuel) through to Catena Media’s recent purchase of ForexTraders.com  We have more super affiliates dominating the iGaming industry than ever before, more brands have been consolidating too, so it’s getting hard to understand who you’re working with or against these days.

Acquisition roundup

Let’s start by looking at some of the biggest deals to be struck within the space of the last year. Unsurprisingly, Catena Media is getting a lot of attention, as they seem to be purchasing fast the affiliate portals that are helping them diversify their traffic offering. This super affiliate now owns ForexTraders.com, Squawka, Paris Sportif and BayBets. Looking at these acquisitions, we can clearly see that Catena Media are going for global expansion. They’ve got French, German and American sites on their roster, which seem to be all stacking up. This is an interesting strategy for the market, as they may be looking further afield for their expansion than the UK, which is getting more difficult to operate in. 

XL Media were also in the news recently, as they purchased Which Bingo, one of the biggest bingo affiliates out there. This was entirely out of the left field and there was very little notice that this would be happening. XL Media already own more than 2000 different sites, with 300 independent affiliates under their umbrella. With this acquisition, they will only get more powerful within the affiliate and media buying industries. 

Better Collective has a fantastic M&A team in place and that’s helped them secure noteworthy sites such as goal.pl. Their strong focus on european expansion and the ability to scoop opportunities like releasing new sites fast into markets like the US with us-bookies.com is what really sets them apart.

Alongside all of these big affiliate mergers taking place, there have been a whole host of other, smaller ones too. Brands are coming together and consolidating efforts to become more These aren’t to be discounted however, as they have the potential to snowball into super affiliates.

How will this impact the overall landscape? 

This kind of consolidation is tricky, as there are a range of pros and cons to the changes. It’s easy to see that in terms of mergers, there’s safety in numbers. By merging, affiliates can pool their resources and potentially create more of a splash in the industry. This makes it easier for the affiliates that have merged, but it does mean that they may be making the market more difficult for smaller affiliates. 

With all of the legal and regulatory changes coming into play, this means that the larger groups can pay for legal advisory services to ensure compliance across all of their sites. This is a considerable expense that can potentially wipe out a lot of profit for small affiliates.

In terms of the overall landscape, it also means there are fewer players and more competition for the money that is in the industry. SEO and PPC are more expensive for smaller affiliates too, and they don’t always have the marketing budget to be successful in their industry. 

In the future, operators may only need to deal with two or three affiliates to get their brand out there on thousands of sites but this will still be risky as nobody wants to put all their eggs in one basket. This can be lucrative for the operator, but in this scenario the affiliate also has a lot of power. They command a larger following and negotiate deals to their advantage, which may not always suit the operator in question. 

Smaller affiliates still have bargaining power as they can provide diversity but the message is the same as always, only the strong will survive. Being aware of the landscape, working on new tactics and innovating fully will allow you to flourish in the most competitive of industries. This will be your key to standing out against the bigger players.

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