Every time a major sporting event comes around, the world of betting advertising heats up. The FIFA World Cup. The Super Bowl. The Champions League Final. Operators spend big and compete for key real estate to attract and convert customers.

For Bojoko’s Head of Sports, Jussi Viljanen, these highly competitive periods are where affiliates shine – providing an already existing, engaged audience that operators can leverage. Speaking with Insider Sport, Jussi breaks down what is needed for operators and affiliates to get the most out of marketing partnerships during these big events.

IS: How can operators look to work with affiliates to drive new player acquisition around major sports events such as the World Cup?

Operators should look for affiliates who create content around specific sporting events and tournaments throughout the year.

Quality affiliates are diligent in creating content and driving traffic across the entire sporting calendar. Your World Cups, Champions League Finals, NBA Finals and more are high-interest, high-traffic events, so it’s essential to create content and acquire customers during these periods.

People are actively looking for content around these topics and betting for these events, so exposure on affiliate sites and pages can be very valuable for operators, even from a brand awareness perspective.

IS: How can they get the most out of these partnerships?

Both parties should collaborate closely to deliver maximum value out of the partnership. The earlier an operator begins working with an affiliate on an event campaign the better, especially around big tournaments. Extra time in hand allows more time for creativity and innovation in advertising, as well as positioning the operator to be front and centre for all of the traffic that will invariably start long before the tournament itself begins.

Beyond your standard bonuses and offers, exclusive, events-specific betting offers to drive new player acquisition and activity are a useful engagement tool when excitement is high.

And it might sound obvious, but if you’re advertising to prospective customers and new players about a specific event, directing them to the right place to bet on this event is essential. Specific landing pages for an event that affiliates can use to direct traffic will yield better conversion rates.

Operators also need to have enough content and investment into the event on their own site. Ensuring a rich, consistent experience for the whole user funnel from affiliate to operator keeps driving player activity and retention after the initial sign-up and deposit.

IS: Do affiliates provide a more cost-effective acquisition channel than, say, bonusing and TV ad campaigns?

Affiliation is definitely one of the most cost-effective ways to do marketing as an operator. Not every bookmaker has the resources for large TV campaigns and big-name brand ambassadors. The ones who do are the biggest in the industry and operate across multiple jurisdictions.

Other operators and challenger bookmakers seek out alternative channels that provide a high return per dollar spent – affiliate marketing is a proven channel with a strong record of delivering results that are effective and quite easily trackable. For example, Bojoko works closely with new betting sites that are looking to drive new player sign-ups for a sensible ROI – in fact, affiliates are often the only viable options for such betting sites to gain exposure.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising often carries some weight in marketing circles, but in a highly competitive market with an abundance of advertising, it very often gets drowned out or ignored by the end user. For operators, PPC is quite expensive to run as a channel and requires a lot of technical knowledge, usually in the form of a well-salaried programmatic marketer or team. This can push marketing teams outside of their core competencies.

In comparison, affiliate marketing is one of the most proven ways to leverage audiences larger than your own and get the traffic you need as an operator. All the other customer acquisition methods you develop – better bonuses, exclusive offers, bonus bets – won’t have the eyeballs on them you need. Without quality traffic, you can’t convert.

IS: What makes affiliates such an effective acquisition channel?

Any partnership between an affiliate and operator shares the same interest and the same goal: drive as much traffic as possible.

The life of an affiliate depends on the performance of the operator and how well they use the traffic generated. The early steps of the marketing funnel are handled by the affiliate so the operator doesn’t have to. Affiliates have already established audiences and their own teams dedicated to innovating and finding new ways of generating traffic to an operator’s site.

That way the operator can focus on optimising the betting experience once users are on site. With the affiliate focused on the marketing side of things, there’s freedom to explore and experiment with many different channels. This ranges from your traditional digital marketing avenues like SEO, organic search traffic and email marketing to social media marketing, streamer and influencer marketing and more.

Depending on the audience and event your campaign is targeting, an affiliate has the knowledge, expertise and tools available to deliver results.

IS: When working with affiliates, what can brands do to stand out from others listed on the site? What key factors (bonuses, payments, odds, etc) do players consider?

In a competitive market, it’s essential that you get the basics right while differentiating yourself.
A good overall user experience at the operator’s own site is something that can’t be understated, it’s vital for an operation. Continuity and a smooth experience is something users expect and a baseline that any operator-affiliate partnership should aim for.

Brands should also provide an incentive in their welcome offer that sets them apart from their competitors – be it a better version or a unique offering. This could be the size of the welcome offer, better terms and conditions or other inducements.

This can also be coupled with targeted offers for major events to harness the energy and excitement around the biggest matches and tournaments in world sports. And of course, with any partnership, exclusive offers that the affiliate can offer their dedicated audience are usually met with a positive response, increased traffic and conversions.

And whether it’s quality pricing or odds boosts for selected games, tournaments or matchdays, good odds are always appreciated by players.

Lastly, operators need to ensure that the right payment methods are available to users in their respective jurisdictions. This is to ensure compliance but also ease of use once the bettor is on your site.

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