Reflecting on 2018, the year has been one of great change and development for the affiliate sector. Among the ten most read articles of the year, industry experts have offered advice to new affiliates seeking to run or operate an affiliate business, as well as stories pertaining to betting operators and company acquisitions.
It is unsurprising that a story pertaining to the FIFA World Cup was the most read story on AffiliateINSIDER in 2018. Revealed as the most popular SEO term by Google in its ‘Year in Search’ list, the World Cup attracted a lot of attention from affiliates.
FTSE bookmaker William Hill announced in June 2017 that throughout the entire World Cup tournament, it would guarantee to accept single bets with a minimum £10,000 liability on all 90 minute markets.
The operator received praise from racing punters following its decision to lay customers to lose a minimum of £5,000 for win bets placed in shop on all ITV races. Online customers were also able to bet to win a minimum of £1000 at the available price.
William Hill took the World Cup offer one step further by guaranteeing to accept both online and in store bets with a minimum of a £10,000 liability for the first round of games.
CEO of XL Media, Ory Weihs spoke to AffiliateINSIDER back in February 2018 to discuss some of the key elements in ensuring that affiliates can maintain strong partnerships with operators, and how its best to produce prosperous content in the iGaming industry.
In the interview, Weihs discussed that starting or running an iGaming affiliate business is dependent on five key elements: creating a business, technology, networking, sustainable thinking and talent.
He emphasises that while running a business can be a big task, an affiliate still needs to remember to have fun! He joked that “a couple of hangovers could lead to great deals in the next quarter!”
AI also caught up with AXL Group Founder and CEO Alex Munteanu, and discussed predictions for the future of the affiliate market as well as sustainable expansion and how to continue success.
The interview was the third most read story of the year, as readers expressed an interest in Munteanu’s advice. He emphasises that strategic planning and specific short, medium, and long term goals are fundamental to AXL’s growth throughout 2018.
Munteanu added: “Finally, to grow is above all a question of will. To live such an adventure is planned and you have to prepare for it.”
The fourth most read story for 2018 was pertaining to the US Supreme Court’s decision to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection act of 1992 (PASPA). The decision made headlines across the world, as it gave individual states the green light to legalise sports betting.
The decision has created a new era of opportunity for a wide array of stakeholders: operators, suppliers and affiliates. AI analysed the impact that the ruling will have, and primarily suggested that affiliates should have a general awareness of the states and their markets. The licence process is set to be difficult to navigate, and so it is essential for affiliates to have prior knowledge prior to operating in the US.
At number five in the most read stories of the year, AI’s chat with VSodds.bet CEO, Dalius Dabashinskas discussed what is needed to create a successful sportsbook.
Innovation, adapting to a new audience and refocusing on pre-match odds are, according to Dabashinskas, what is needed to form the basis of sportsbooks today.
He noted how much of the growth in the sportsbook sector in recent years has been through the development of in-play technology, however bookmakers have lost connection with their roots. Everyone is seeking to expand their presence in the in-play sector, but there are a number of other ways to compete with other market operators.
“And in a competitive landscape where operators are struggling to create a unique voice that resonates with punters, it is about time odds were placed at the centre of the race towards differentiation.”
Global Gaming’s recently launched affiliate program allowed partners across Europe to work in conjunction with Global Gaming to promote its products, including flagship brand Ninja Casino, which offers one of the fastest and most hassle-free online casino experiences in the world.
Back in September, AffiliateINSIDER spoke with the company’s Head of Affiliates, Elaine Gardiner to discuss maximising affiliate partnerships. The article offers insight into refraining from offering sign-up offers in favour of allowing players to go straight to playing games.
Global Gaming has grown considerably since its inception in 2009, and with the development of new products and affiliate programmes, it is set to continue growing.
The seventh most popular piece for AffiliateINSIDER in 2018 was the profile of Stoiximan Head of Marketing & Communications Christos Tzalavras, who reflects on his firm’s decision to sponsor a number of football teams.
Tzalavras offers advice on budding firms looking to build successful affiliate programmes, suggesting that long-term partnerships and implementing feedback is key to success. Firms often revert to “the way we do things”, but Tzalvras emphasises the need to challenge this and adapt to the changes in the affiliate industry.
Chris Grove, Consultant to Catena Media, also offered advice for affiliates, but this time, the advice was considering the US market and expansion following a new wave of state-regulated online gambling products.
“A U.S. market without regulated sports betting may still be worth your attention, but a market with regulated sports betting is one that you simply can’t afford to ignore.”
The advice recommended affiliates are aware of legal, but less-regulated gambling options, in addition to watching the US lottery and being prepared to be licenced.
In December, AffiliateINSIDER spoke with Paysafe Group’s Income Access VP of Strategy Sarafina Wolde Gabriel who discussed the need to embrace new market opportunities within the affiliate sector.
Sarafina discussed how marketing strategies used by affiliates have evolved in the last 15 years, particularly following the emergence of mobile and social media marketing. Affiliates have grown “from solo businessmen and businesswomen to large and publicly-traded companies” which allowed more focus upon brand endorsement and customer retention.
For 2019, Sarafina predicted that it will be a year of further innovation in products and that the mobile market will continue to dominate the affiliate sector, particularly in emerging markets. Africa, Latin America, the US and India are set to experience continued growth, and more opportunities for affiliates becoming readily available.
Rounding up the ten most popular stories on AffiliateINSIDER, it was reported in March 2018 that Catena Media would be continuing their trend of affiliate acquisitions by taking over online betting comparison site betfreebets.uk.
The group continued expanding earlier in the year with deals to purchase football analysis and news portal Squawka, as well as a conscious effort to build a German footprint with a €9.5 million acquisition of Dreamworx Online Ltd.
Looking ahead after the group released record breaking results, Catena’s CEO Henrik Persson Ekdahl stated: “Innovation is one of our strategic pillars and is critical to our strategy for creating organic growth. During the fourth quarter, we significantly increased our efforts in product innovation and the plan for 2018 is to continue this focus.”