Affiliate Spotlight: Sue Dawson, FTD Digital

Sue Dawson FTD Spotlight

In this edition of Affiliate Spotlight, we speak to Sue Dawson – Head of Content for FTD Digital. Sue writes all of the content for bestnewbingosites.co.uk, a bingo comparison site.

After last month’s Digital Marketing Mixer, we caught up with her to discuss how the website came to fruition. Sue also speaks about how she got into affiliate marketing, plus more.

Anyway, enough of us talking. Let’s allow Sue to take the spotlight.

AffiliateINSIDER: How did you originally get into bingo and affiliate marketing? 

Sue Dawson: “I was looking to return to the workplace after several years as a stay-at-home parent and needed flexible working hours.

Luke Creigh, our CEO, found my CV online and hired me to do some freelance keyword research for a PPC campaign (nothing to do with online gambling – it was for a hair restorer product).  The next project was Best New Bingo Sites and the rest is history.”

AI: When Best New Bingo Sites was founded, what gap in the market were you looking to plug? 

SD: “We actually started it for PPC and Facebook advertising. However, we soon found that we had unintentionally plugged a gap in the market caused by so many competitors having been penalised by Google Penguin.

“The site started to rank without any directed SEO activity on our part and without any link building. This was possibly the result of an article I wrote, called “Online Bingo – Is It Fixed?”.

“Once that had happened, we started seeking out niche queries where we could dominate and monetise. Some examples are “rainbow riches bingo” and “bingo sites with fluffy favourites”, and later “no wagering bingo”.”

AI: Bingo is a vertical often overlooked, in favour of sports betting and the like. What do you think are the biggest opportunities for affiliates who give it a chance?

SD: “Without wanting to give too much away, understanding the product and the traffic is key. Not only can you then work out how best to serve and monetise the search intent of bingo players, you can also identify opportunities for cross-selling slot products (some of which appeal far more to bingo traffic than others).

“We all know that most of the money’s in the slots. And when the operator correctly uses bingo as an acquisition and retention tool, it can result in some high player values.”

AI: What do you find are the most common player behaviour types when it comes to bingo? For example, what styles of bingo do they enjoy the most? 

SD: “A bingo room is very much like a club night. It needs a critical mass of players to be a success and a good chat host to play the role of DJ. Too quiet and it never really gets off the ground, too busy and it becomes unpleasant.

“In the case of the bingo room, if it’s too quiet the prizes will be very small and there’s no atmosphere, and if it’s too busy the chances of winning will be tiny and the chat will move so fast that it’s impossible to keep up with, especially on a mobile device. Both extremes are big turn-offs for players, so it’s important to strike a balance.”

“In terms of which games are most popular, you can’t really beat classic 90 ball bingo. The line prizes mean that there’s excitement during the game as well as at the end of it and the pace is fast enough to engage but slow enough for players to participate in the chat or play a minigame at the same time without missing anything.  It’s even better when the game has a feature such as Roll On or 1TG which provides more opportunities to win something.

“One change in player behaviour that we’ve seen over the lifetime of Best New Bingo Sites is a big swing towards the use of mobile devices to play bingo, and another is an increasing interest in slots. Both are likely to be the result of demographic shifts”

AI: Bingo is, generally speaking, quite social. Do you think that the past few months of enforced social distancing could see new bingo players as people look for ways to get in touch with others?

SD: “Yes, absolutely. We’re really seeing that both in increased search volume for the more generic bingo-related terms and in the bingo sites that are currently popular with our traffic.  These new players are really going for sites like Tombola and Heart Bingo that have a strong community and lots of player promotions, and trust and safety are also clearly a factor.”

AI: Which other gaming verticals do you believe are the most similar to bingo and why?

SD: “In terms of playing against other players rather than the house, for prizes that are determined by liquidity from ticket sales, bingo resembles poker. They couldn’t be more different in the actual play though as there’s no skill or interaction in bingo once you’ve bought tickets.

“In terms of what resonates with players, lottery is the closest. It’s a numbers game offering a very small chance of winning a big prize (in bingo, that would be the room jackpot) and a better chance of winning a small prize (in bingo, that would be a line prize or 1TG).

“Closest of all are games which have been designed to look and/or play like bingo, but which are not pari-mutuel – Mutuel Play’s Bingo Millions game, Evolution’s Mega Ball and all the different Slingo games. These are great news for operators as they engage bingo players with no need for the critical mass I was talking about earlier.”