How sports betting is influencing the tools of success in affiliate marketing

Few things inspire more passion from the masses than the draw of athletic competition, writes Erica Anderson, Marketing Director at Paysafe’s Income Access. It pushes athletes at all levels to live up to the motto: “higher, faster and stronger”. 

It also entices fans to make pilgrimages that span thousands of miles, even crossing oceans, to support a beloved team. The voracious appetite for sport also challenges iGaming marketers, data scientists and platform developers, to name a few stakeholders, to design products, campaigns and incentives that will draw players to their online properties.

It’s arguable that the way in which sports betting is analysed, consumed and promoted is evolving at a faster pace than at any other time in recent memory. A chief catalyst for these heightened expectations, which apply to consumers, operators and affiliates alike, is the continued emergence of the US market. 

Looking specifically at operators and affiliates, some key areas where US growth has and will continue to drive constant improvement, include technology, team expertise and education. Therefore, the question isn’t so much whether advancements will be made in these areas – it’s whether they will be sufficiently adopted by those who need them most.

Tools of the Trade

Collaboration is inherent to the affiliate-operator relationship. Therefore, it’s beneficial when both parties are aligned in terms of strategy and the solutions needed to execute that strategy.

One area in which collaboration is important for achieving mutually beneficial outcomes is that of affiliate reporting and compliance, which itself is an ever-broadening subset. 

With global industry standards mounting, affiliates and operators must be increasingly discerning about the capabilities of their preferred solutions and whether they suitably address the needs of a given region. In the case of affiliate marketing, effective campaign management and reporting are dependent on the reliability of data and the subsequent computations used to extract additional context. 

It’s equally important to build a team that’s capable of immersing itself in the performance analytics of an affiliate programme and emerging with strategic insights that contribute to the development of enhanced marketing campaigns.

The importance of this role is amplified by the language and tone with which punters need to be engaged. This is especially relevant in the US where each regulated state represents a distinct community in need of its own tailored strategy and voice.

By matching tools with users that can unlock their full potential, operators and affiliates can successfully cater to specific market needs. An example is the US where, according to the Pew Research Center’s Mobile Fact Sheet (June 2019), 81% of all adults own a smartphone. This tandem could help affiliates and operators understand different mobile user experiences (i.e. web v. app) and which corresponding tactics (i.e. SEO, ASO, messaging, visuals, etc.) are most likely to optimise acquisitions.

This path ultimately leads to a more cohesive set of internal processes that can draw on additional resources from marketing, legal and compliance teams. While different operator and affiliate operations will understandably have unique departmental structures, the fact remains that entry into a complex, burgeoning market creates a scenario that promotes a greater sharing of information and expertise.

The unique challenges presented by the US sports betting market are ones that stakeholders would certainly prefer to circumvent, were it possible. The takeaways associated with this endeavour, however, can also be integral to finding new methods of collaboration that are transferable to acquisition and retention initiatives in other global markets. 

A Persistent State of Growth

A cursory review of recent developments in the US online sports betting sector provides all the context needed to understand that the current rate of growth demands adaptation. This also provides a convenient opportunity for a maturing of internal processes.

For example, it was announced earlier this month that theScore, a Canadian based media and sports betting firm, had reached an agreement through which it will receive a $40 million investment from Fengate Asset Management. News of the deal broke the same week that theScore launched its sports betting app in New Jersey.  

Other telling news items included the NFL expanding its data deal with Sportradar as well as the launch of FOX Bet in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Product launches, partnerships announcements and legislative updates are all indicative of a healthy market, worthy of inspiring confidence. Considering the time and resources that are dedicated to establishing footholds in the US market, there is a corresponding need for solutions experts to keep pace and demonstrate heightened levels of preparation and knowledge. The productive habits adopted as a result have the potential to benefit stakeholders at all levels, in broader markets.

Erica’s role focuses on developing the marketing strategy for the Income Access brand. Holding a decade’s industry experience, she also oversees the company’s in-house affiliate management team and its suite of digital marketing services. Income Access manages close to 20 affiliate programmes.

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