SBC News Data, partnerships and flexibility: Angelika Antonova on the foundations of Affilka

Data, partnerships and flexibility: Angelika Antonova on the foundations of Affilka

Angelika Antonova, Head of Sales at Affilka by SOFTSWISS, spoke with SBC News at the recent iGB Live about the key challenges facing affiliate managers in 2023 and the reasons why data is “the new oil” for igaming businesses.

She dives into the need for personalisation of affiliate management platforms, before discussing the reasons why commission structures require further flexibility for the relationship between affiliates and igaming operators to be successful.

SBC: Hi Angelika, can you begin by introducing yourself and your role at SOFTSWISS? 

AA: So, I am the Head of Sales at Affilka by SOFTSWISS. I joined the company three years ago as a sales specialist, and since then it’s been an amazing journey. 

In my current role, I not only oversee operations of the business development team but also play a key role in cross-departmental coordination. On top of that, I engage in direct sales, communicating with prospective clients on a daily basis.

SBC: For those that might not know, can you give us an overview of Affilka? What is it, and how is this helping igaming operators to build a “foundation for productive operator-affiliate relationships”? 

AA: Affilka is a sophisticated affiliate marketing platform purpose-built to cater to the specific needs of igaming operators. Its core mission is to empower businesses in creating highly efficient affiliate programs for their brands, while establishing and managing successful collaborations with affiliates and meticulously monitoring marketing performance. This all-in-one platform provides a range of tools and features to streamline the entire affiliate management process.

Affilka operates through two interfaces, each catering to specific needs. For affiliates, it offers a user-friendly functionality that empowers them to access unique tracking links, create campaigns using uploaded materials, monitor their performance statistics through reports or postbacks and conveniently withdraw earnings.

The other interface is tailored for operators, providing a comprehensive set of tools and functionalities. Operators can customise individual commission plans, upload media and landing pages, assign bonus codes, approve automatically generated invoices and process payments through integrated payment systems. What is more, operators have access to valuable insights into affiliate performance to strategise and plan future development initiatives.

Affilka plays a pivotal role in fostering collaboration between igaming operators and affiliates, ultimately driving successful affiliate marketing campaigns and nurturing mutually beneficial partnerships.

SBC: In your view, what do you believe are the biggest obstacles that operators encounter when handling their affiliate relationships? Are there any specific issues or common mistakes that your partners often seek assistance with when using Affilka by SOFTSWISS?

AA: In my view, there are four biggest obstacles that operators face when navigating the intricacies of affiliate relationship management.

One of the significant challenges operators encounter is the limited flexibility in commission structures. Affiliates may have diverse preferences when it comes to commission models, such as revenue share, cost per acquisition (CPA), or hybrid models. 

At the same time, operators may struggle to accommodate these varying preferences due to rigid systems or a lack of customisable commission options. In response to this obstacle, Affilka can provide expanded commission options that enable operators to tailor commissions based on different geographies, traffic types and sources as well as product categories.

Another challenge for operators is slow data updates. Timely and accurate data is crucial for both operators and affiliates to assess performance and optimise their marketing strategies effectively. Delays in data reporting can deteriorate affiliates’ ability to make informed decisions, potentially leading to frustrations and hindered collaboration. 

To address this critical concern, Affilka has taken a proactive step of integrating with igaming brands via an API. This integration allows for almost instant reporting on player activities, ensuring that data can be synced with our platform at a remarkable frequency of every 15 minutes. With access to real-time information, both operators and affiliates can make well-informed decisions to drive their mutual success.

Limited postbacks or challenges in work with specific trackers is another hurdle for operators. Postback URLs play a crucial role in affiliate marketing, enabling marketers to track conversions and monitor their campaign performance accurately. Unfortunately, some operators may face restrictions on the number of postbacks they can support or encounter compatibility issues with certain affiliate tracking systems. These discrepancies in data can diminish the efficiency of affiliate partnerships. 

To combat the issue, Affilka steps in to enhance data transparency for both operators and affiliates, fostering confident and trustworthy relations between the parties. The platform offers a variety of postback options and the possibility to work with any tracker globally, simplifying affiliate tracking processes and streamlining operations.

The last obstacle I would like to highlight is insufficient reporting metrics. Transparency and comprehensive reporting are essential for building trust and fostering successful affiliate relationships. If operators fail to provide affiliates with sufficient reporting metrics and insights, it becomes challenging for them to evaluate their efforts accurately. Fortunately, Affilka comes to the rescue offering flexible and fully customisable reports that empower affiliates to conduct in-depth analysis of affiliates program’s performance.

SBC: How important is flexibility and customisation in reporting on the Affilka platform?

AA: The importance of transparent and customised reporting is paramount for operators and affiliates, and to ensure this, every team member plays a crucial role with their specific responsibilities. For example, affiliate managers diligently assess performance of their referred affiliates, traffic sources and results of campaigns. Supervisors oversee aggregated metrics, including conversion rates, player value and return of investment (ROI). Meanwhile, finance managers review accrued commissions and earned rewards.

What sets Affilka apart is its user-centric approach, empowering each user to create tailored reports catering to their needs, with varying levels of granularity. By saving these reports as favourites, quick access is guaranteed. Most notably, all this information can be consolidated into a single report that can be effortlessly exported in API, XML, JSON or CSV formats, without the trouble of merging and organising data. So, this functionality grants users the freedom to structure and analyse data in the way they need.

SBC: And how can this help your operator partners effectively optimise affiliate marketing spend?  

AA: Indeed, data has emerged as the new oil in the world. Continuous analysis of affiliate performance metrics and leveraging data insights to optimise strategies have become indispensable to maintain a competitive edge and achieve market leadership. 

For operators, effective data handling is pivotal in identifying top-performing affiliates and implementing efficient commission plans, enabling them to finetune marketing efforts and make data-driven decisions based on the info they retrieve. 

Data fairness and transparency are the main pillars helping to build a fair and trustworthy reputation, and Affilka is at the forefront of fostering these principles. By providing equal reporting features to both operators and affiliates, the platform reinforces robust relationships between them.

SBC: Looking on your site, I saw that Affilka is live with more than 200 brands and more than 128,000 affiliate partners. Can we expect this number to grow in 2023? 

AA: Definitely yes, we experienced remarkable growth in the first half of the year. With 60 new brands already launched and many more in the setup or migration stage, we expect even more significant expansion in H2 2023. Keep an eye out for our upcoming press releases, in which we will unveil the addition of major industry names to our platform. 

Speaking about affiliate partners, I am glad that you’ve raised this issue. Affilka doesn’t function as an affiliate network – instead of recruiting affiliates or connecting gaming operators with them, we furnish the latter with advanced software to build and manage affiliate programs for their brands. 

It’s worth noting that we have witnessed significant traction in this regard, with over 128,000 affiliate accounts already registered in affiliate programs of our client operators. As new affiliate programs are launched and our existing operators venture into new markets, we anticipate continuous growth in this number. Our primary focus is on delivering cutting-edge software that facilitates the establishment and management of relationships between our clients and affiliates they attract.

SBC: What developments can we expect to see from Affilka this year?

AA: Our development team is currently working to expand the traffic report to include detailed analytics on clicks, breaking them down by country, user agent, device, OS and other parameters. 

Even though our commissions constructor is proven to be the most flexible on the market, there is always room for improvement, and now we are focusing on advancing its usability, creating reusable commission rules, adding new types of deals and rewards, exploring ways to combine them effectively.

One of the most exciting developments in our pipeline is the introduction of the ‘Refer a friend’ module. This meticulously designed feature empowers players to invite their friends to join a particular project directly from their player accounts, all while earning referral commissions from their friends’ activities. This feature has gained substantial popularity among crypto projects, making it an important tool to boost traffic and foster organic growth.

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