Robin Reed – GIG – Acquiring Minds: The M&A dynamic in industry affiliate marketing

Robin Reed, Gaming Innovation Group

Mass consolidation has impacted all core dynamics of the industry’s value chain. Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) Chief Executive Robin Reed, speaks to SBC ahead of the Betting on Football Conference (London 3-5 May), on his firm’s unique approach to affiliate marketing and player acquisition.

Reed an industry marketing expert, details to SBC readers GIG’s M&A led strategy, and how industry leadership is faced with new questions and tough decisions regarding operator marketing and player acquisition practices.

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SBC: Hi Robin, great to catch up ahead of BOF. Can you detail to SBC readers GIG affiliate operations and how they have grown through M&A activity?

Robin Reed: Hi SBC, with GIG Marketing we are having a vision of making iGaming universally liked and approachable. We do so by improving the touchpoints where people are finding iGaming online. We are predominantly focused on publishing, with Google as the main channel of traffic. However, we have recently branched out into other online performance verticals including Social Media such as streaming, and PPC such as Ad-Words. Regarding reach and referral traffic our company is a top three marketing business for our industry in the Nordics.

While we are growing rapidly in the organic search by consistently ranking top 1-3 in our markets on highly competitive keywords such as online casino, we are also focused on acquired growth.  There is and has been a range of websites emerging proving high potential which helps us to improve by bolting them on to our leading organisation and technology stack.

Once acquired, we are directing traffic to the B2B partners and B2C brands in the GIG ecosystem. As such, making some of the best products and content of our industry available to an increasing number of users, whilst increasing the activity of our clients and partners.

SBC: How does running an affiliate network differ from traditional affiliate marketing? What has changed with regards to servicing players and advertising clients?

RR: The performance marketing part of the iGaming value-chain is developing at an unprecedented pace. To be competitive the quality of the content, UI and UX across all platforms, as well as the technical competence, is much more demanding then only one or two years back. In essence, you need to be S-Class in order to gain any sort of scale in a market. This has significantly changed from before, where homebrew operations with single underdeveloped sites could rank high, not to mention rogue sites using black-hat techniques. The latter was having a much shorter lifespan these days. With GIG Marketing we have consistently applied a white-hat and high-quality first strategy, with the majority of deals being on revenue share. We had to be patient, but it is paying out in dividends at this stage.

SBC: At a regulatory level, does affiliate marketing need to be reappraised to match its current industry context?

RR: This is not an iGaming specific question. It is in the laws of physics that online marketing will be more regulated. Marketing, in general, is heavily regulated, however online is still the Wild West, as it is very tough to govern. Therefore it is still and will remain for a while, one of the most effective and profitable marketing channels. Gambling related online marketing is probably one of the first verticals in which we’ll see such regulation, as for instance is the case with binary options already. Hence companies should at some stage prepare their brand strategy for a regulated online marketing future.

SBC: As the GIG affiliate networks grow how do you protect against self-cannibalisation of your player base?

RR: As we are predominantly revenue share only, we are not attempting to funnel players from one operator to another, in order to extract multiple CPAs on the same players. We simply want our players to be with the best performing brands, which tend to be those with the best products and service – as opposed to those who pay the most in the short term.

 SBC: From a leadership perspective, how do you maintain a coherent balance between your affiliate network and other marketing verticals used by GIG?

RR: At GIG we believe that innovation lies at the intersection of industries, products, people and services. Therefore we have established our company as a group with a centralised management and functions such as HR, and Legal, which are overseeing executive managers heading up each of the siloed subsidiaries. As such, there is a Chinese wall between each business unit which is intertwined with the culture and strategy of GIG. We do, however, exploit a range of synergies not limited to commercial, technological and human resources.

SBC: You will be speaking at BOF 2017 on player acquisitions and affiliate marketing what do you want delegates to take away from your session?

RR:  I think communication is a great way to drive the industry and our relationships forward. I am looking forward to a robust discussion, in a relatively intimate forum, and to speaking from the heart. I think we have a lot to contribute based on our experience in growing one of the largest affiliate networks in the industry within a community that operates across the value chain and has a 360 degree perspective on the business.

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Robin Reed – Chief Executive Officer – Gaming Innovation Group  

Robin Reed will be speaking on industry affiliate marketing practices and player acquisition at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference (Stamford Bridge- London 3-5 May). Click on the below banner for more details. 

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