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Q&A with Leadstar Media: Named ‘Affiliate of the Year’ at EGR Operator Awards

Leadstar Media was crowned ‘Affiliate of the Year’ for delivering outstanding results in the affiliate marketing industry on October 28th. At the EGR Global Awards, the Oscars of iGaming, which was hosted in London, several awards were handed out in various categories such as Casino Operator, Sports Betting Operator, Rising Star, Affiliate of the Year and Safer Gambling Operator of the Year. 

But Leadstar came out on top with the following statement from the judges: “Leadstar Media has the balance of the company approach and results. There are good things about their performance and conversion rates, which is evident in their volume. The affiliate has a breadth of markets across quite a few areas, and revenue is growing at a good rate. It has come out of nowhere and has not been showy. It has built up an incredible business and stood out among everyone else on many levels. The way Leadstar Media runs the business by hiring junior staff, promoting from within and running a clean business is innovative in its own right.”

We caught up with CEO Eskil Kvarnström who shared his thoughts on the company’s success, what it means to be recognized by the industry and what the future holds for Leadstar Media.

First of all congratulations on being named Affiliate of the Year. How was the awards evening for you?

Thank you, thank you, thank you, far too kind. The awards evening was great as it was, it’s nice to meet our partners and people in the industry during these events. Obviously it got even better when I heard Leadstar Media was named the Affiliate of the Year. 

Why do you think you won this year?

It’s hard to pinpoint one reason for it as we’ve been taking big steps the past year in several areas of the business. We have expanded into several new markets and launched 10+ new products in different verticals, sending valuable traffic to our partners at scale. All of which, I think, play a part. 

But, more importantly, we’ve doubled down on our beliefs in how an organization should be built and run for long-term success and that is shown in the outstanding results we deliver to our partners.

Leadstar Media is an organization where every member has ownership of their products, where previous experience doesn’t matter, where learning is a central part of the work and where great growth opportunities exist. Who can say that they have a 24-year-old Senior SEO Specialist who told me that he could have been a pizza delivery guy if it wasn’t for Leadstar Media?

And I must say that all of the people at Leadstar Media have taken on that responsibility in a great way. Everyone from the product team, account management, HR and not least recruitment for finding the right people, has worked hard for our vision. I’d like to thank them all for the success we’ve enjoyed and I’m convinced we have the right people here to continue that trend going forward.

How important is it to get this recognition from the industry, do you think?

On the one hand it’s not important at all really, winning awards is not how we measure success at Leadstar Media. At the same time, I would be lying if I said it doesn’t feel good and it is very flattering and fun that industry colleagues are noticing us and what we do. We are located in Stockholm, far from the iGaming hubs that many others in the industry operate in. For that reason, it feels especially good to return home with an award and show the team that our efforts don’t go unnoticed. 

Can you talk about the success you’ve had and how you managed to get to where you are today?

I truly believe that our approach to building an organization is what makes us successful and sets us apart from much of the competition. We have an infinite mindset, which means nothing we do is for short-term gain. Rather, we constantly build for the future and that goes for creating new and developing existing products as well as our recruitment philosophy. 

We recruit talents that we see potential in and develop them into stars. Once they become experts in their respective fields they can teach new people coming on board. This allows us to scale our business quickly while keeping quality high in both education and product development:  “teachers” have been through the same process as new starters and know what it takes to make a product successful.  

You’ve been in this industry since 2009, what would you say it is that makes an affiliate great?

It’s hard to say, I don’t think there is one way to be a great affiliate. Everyone has different approaches and goals for their businesses. One thing everyone has in common is that we want to send high-value leads to our partners and this is an area I believe we excel.

Keeping a close relationship with our partners is another important thing. Communication and transparency are key in this industry, not least because of the many different (and often changing) regulations, we must comply with. 

I realised early on that you can never be satisfied and slow down. This industry attracts skilled people and if you take it easy others will overtake you. You need to innovate and to not lose your desire to deliver great results over a long period of time. We don’t have an end goal. Our aim is to always create better products today than yesterday and that’s where our co-workers’ passion stems from. And passion is key for us.

What does the future look like for Leadstar Media, any plans you can share?

We are on a good trajectory right now and we’ll continue to grow even more in the future. We are not satisfied yet, it just keeps getting more fun to do this. Without going into details, our plan is always to make our products better than they were yesterday in all markets that we operate. Happy visitors make us happy.

In terms of specific product launches, we recently went live with our fifth product in the US, Miscasasdeapuestas.com/us, so that will be a focus market moving forward. 

Right now we are in the middle of the World Cup which is very exciting from a betting point of view. Actually, we are in a strong sports period in general and this will continue for some months, which is good for us as we are strong in the sports betting vertical. Other than that, we’ll continue to expand, create new products and hire more talented people that can help us take the next step in the Leadstar Media journey. 

If you are interested in more affiliate and social media marketing insights, take a look at our blog for all the latest news and advice. Or for a more personalised approach, book a free call with a member of our team.

Or, for the very best advice from industry peers, get your free tickets to gain access to our Amplify Virtual Summit. Coming in January of this year, Amplify aims to bring you the latest affiliate, performance, and partner marketing insights from across the globe. Don’t miss it.

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