Affiliate advertising and marketing on the web is nothing new, of course. In fact, it’s continuing to grow like Topsy as social media continue to gain ever-increasing importance, and this is, perhaps, truer in the online gambling and gaming sphere than anywhere else.
But whilst the landscape has changed a great deal, particularly over the last three years, human nature, of course, has not; as the old saying goes – the more things change, the more they stay the same.
What is seldom recognised, however, by the big brands is the fact that affiliates can really bring creativity and an added dimension to all forms of online advertising. They are able to do so as this is their specialist niche and the information can be presented as completely “objective” (i.e. whether it actually is or not, in practice).
And as the gaming industry matures, this creativity becomes increasingly important. Many affiliates have a very high degree of brand loyalty as users join discussion groups and the like and come back time and again sharing views with fellow users. Others are seen as an absolute pre-requisite by gamblers who take their activity very seriously – such as Oddschecker for gamblers seeking value.
Those who are less serious about their gambling tend to look for more entertainment. So casino and slots devotees looking to play slots now or roulette etc., for small stakes are far more likely to be swayed by creativity through affiliates’ efforts – as well as the more obvious signposting to generous introductory offer etc.
Affiliates offer an alternative which is almost virtually cost-free and risk-free to ‘merchants’ (i.e. the frontline sellers of goods and services such as casinos, bookmakers etc. in the online gaming industry). This is the central tenet of successful marketing for al affiliates across industry types.
Effective affiliates link their online advertising in an unobtrusive seamless way to relevant news stories which prompts genuine interest in the subject matter from gamblers. This factor tends to rely on the creativity and editorial skills of the affiliate organisations in guiding users to merchants – and is very much a balancing act when done well.
When affiliates work well with merchants, then each complements the other’s efforts in a combined desire to recruit customers. In other words, affiliates’ and merchants’ commercial objectives are complementary.
Given the competitiveness of the market place, there should be no sense in which the affiliates perceive that merchants think of them as parasitical – adding in another layer of commission and so taking money out of the industry. They should be seen, instead, as an add-on; a way of attracting more customers to merchants depending on the quality of content of the affiliates’ sites and, of course, the effectiveness of their marketing techniques (the latter being almost exclusively online). And in this way, the real added value that affiliates can bring to online advertising comes through engaging content.