Spotlight on Africa – Expanding your affiliate reach

We caught up with Paysafe’s Income Access VP of Strategy, Sarafina Wolde Gabriel, ahead of the Affiliate Insider Bootcamp, which takes place on 21 March 2018, alongside the Betting on Football conference. Here she offers a sneak peek at what their session will cover at this year’s inaugural sports betting affiliate event.

Sarafina, thank you for sharing your insight on the emerging market panel, we know you’ll have a lot to share with our delegates. Ahead of the panel discussion you’re planning, could you share a quick opportunity analysis of where the emerging market value sits for sports betting affiliates looking to expand their businesses in 2018?

Africa’s digital landscape presents a unique set of opportunities for online businesses and their respective acquisition strategies. Chief among these is that internet penetration within the region is expected to increase as fledgling markets like Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda were all below 50% penetration in 2017.

Given that regional growth relies heavily on significant increases in mobile users, brands need to be very deliberate in how they segment and market to this prospective customer base. Part of that approach is increased receptiveness towards the affiliate channel, which is well-known for performance-based models that boast stronger ROI than online media buys and offline advertising.

While growth and opportunity are both prevalent, it will still require savvy affiliate and merchant stakeholders to tap into the market by forming strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships.

Can you give us some examples of successful brands operating in market?

Africa has continued its emergence as a region of increased interest and excitement in the iGaming industry. We’ve enjoyed first-hand experience through our partnerships with African brands, including Nigerian sportsbooks NairaBet and Bet9ja, Kenya’s Betin and Safaribet, and South Africa’s BetOlimp.

How does the Income Access technology support operator and affiliate growth in these emerging regions?

When looking at emerging markets, particularly in Africa, there are numerous entry points for our core product and the supporting services that we provide.

For example, the expansion of mobile access and usage in the region presents a unique opportunity to affiliates.  Facilitation of mobile payments along with SMS marketing and social media has been a major driving force to market growth in the continent. These, combined with traditional marketing via newspaper and billboard advertising, deliver an opportunity for strong brand awareness.  Our tool offers both merchants and affiliates the ability to use powerful marketing materials, create simple SMS tracking codes and utilise the offline tracking mechanism to reach their primary audience.

Additionally, our software platform facilitates mobile app tracking with the ability to segment target markets to appeal to them with distinct messaging and tone. A key feature of our platform is the ability to track and report on the performance of campaigns across multiple channels and compare online, offline and mobile acquisitions.

Why do you think these markets provide opportunities for growth in a competitive market – and why should affiliates looking to expand their business revenues consider entering these markets?

The African market has tremendous potential for affiliates. Local sports bloggers and social media groups are proving to be an effective source of traffic and referrals. International affiliates have also shown a keen interest to assume a larger role as mobile and internet penetration, as well as disposable income, continue to rise.

From a technological angle, the increased prominence of mobile advertising and integrated payments, along with easier registration processes, are also moving the market towards a more lucrative future.

How sophisticated is the payment and money transfer process in the African region – especially regarding customer conversion, which is key for affiliates to consider?

As mobile money continues to assert its dominance within African markets, the availability of reliable payment solutions has become increasingly important.

While the region already has an array of local solutions providers, the growth of iGaming creates an opening for experienced firms to provide access to products that more thoroughly address the industry’s unique set of requirements. The key is for these firms to be able to integrate alternative payments, which can help companies achieve their goals by overcoming regional challenges and finding the optimum local payments types.

Incorporating these optimum payments methods plays an important role in encouraging stronger retention rates and enticing customers to engage with online operators at a level that matches, or even surpasses, local betting shops. As payment solutions providers that also happen to run affiliate programmes, Skrill and NETELLER are uniquely positioned in this regard.

By partnering with payment providers that combine a robust offer with a focus on growth and flexibility, affiliates promoting African brands can acquire knowledge concerning available solutions and action it in turn. This is accompanied by the added benefit of earning commissions for increasing awareness and transaction volume.