As developments in technology and the spread of regulation continue to drive change in the international betting and gaming industry, the challenges of running a successful affiliate programme also evolve. To find out more about what that means for operators, SBC News spoke to Betsson Group Affiliates’ Head of Affiliates Triston Smook.
Ahead of participating in this week’s iGB L!VE Amsterdam, Smook told us how artificial intelligence can be a good thing for the industry, why affiliates should help to spread the responsible gambling message, and why the sharing of information is crucial to a successful partnership.
SBC: Betsson operates in more than 20 markets around the world. Are there any which have particularly strong – and possibly untapped – potential to achieve great results via the affiliate channel?
Triston Smook: There are some exciting opportunities we are developing within our portfolio. A few markets stand out for us in LatAm, namely Peru, Argentina and Brazil.
Betsson’s investments in sponsorships illustrate our commitment to establishing our brand and presence. We secured the main sponsorship for Peru’s top Football League – Liga 1 Betsson – and Chile’s top Football League – Campeonato Betsson. We also secured the sponsorship of Racing Club in Argentina and to crown it off, we have just become the main sponsors of Boca Juniors in Argentina.
These investments help to solidify the message to our partners that we are committed to long-term success and support our vision of becoming market leaders wherever we go.
SBC: A growing number of regulated markets are introducing restrictions on advertising and promotions by gambling operators. How does that affect your job and how do you ensure Betsson’s affiliate partners are following the regulations?
TS: We rely on our highly-skilled and diligent compliance team within Betsson Group Affiliates. They work closely with Betsson Group’s compliance department, as well as legal, to ensure our partners are educated on all the latest developments, trends, or changes. They monitor all affiliate partner accounts, maintaining our commitment to the licences we hold.
We are highly attuned to working within the regulatory framework of any of our licensed markets and back this up with solid process and procedure.
Compliance is extremely important to how we promote our brands, it’s part of our DNA. We will always prefer to work with compliant partners as they are invested in the same ideals, playing by the rules to be recognised as a trusted source for the players.
SBC: There’s an increasing and, in many people’s eyes, welcome focus on promoting player safety programmes. What sort of role can affiliates play in this player education process?
TS: Affiliates should take an active stance on promoting safety programmes if they have the capability to do so. Not all affiliates have an SEO site or a forum. A lot are limited in how they can be involved.
But it is always welcomed to find like-minded partners who make reference to educating players on responsible gaming and other safety programmes. At Betsson we take responsible gaming very seriously.
SBC: There’s a lot of excitement, together with some trepidation, about the potential for AI to revolutionise marketing. What’s your view on how AI might impact the operations and effectiveness of igaming affiliates?
TS: AI has rapidly evolved to become a necessity for igaming companies. We all know of its ability to analyse large amounts of data with accuracy and speed. It increases efficiency, and helps to level the playing field when identifying new partnership opportunities, to validate and support sound business decisions.
We already make use of AI and we can confidently state that we save time, we get accurate information, and our efficiency has improved. The positives outweigh the negatives on this topic, especially considering all the fraud that is prevalent in the industry. AI helps to detect this much quicker and eliminates an emotional decision from solid statistical facts.
SBC: From traditional news outlets and SEO-driven comparison sites to streamers and social media specialists, there are now lots of different types of affiliates. How do the challenges of recruiting and managing relationships with the various sorts of partners differ?
TS: At Betsson Group Affiliates we take the approach of actively seeking new affiliate sources and to provide them with an opportunity to work with us. We screen each new affiliate partner, their traffic source/s, the markets they promote, their website, their strategy, and their approach. It’s always easier working with partners that are available and ready to engage.
The traffic source for affiliates will differ from a traditional SEO affiliate to native mobile apps or PPC, and this means we need to understand the value that each source may bring to our brands and the player values associated with it.
When partners are willing to share information about their traffic, it helps us make an informed decision about the deals we can offer and forge a business case for the opportunity in front of us. In addition to this we do make use of various other tools to aid us in discovering true values.
SBC: Whatever strategy an affiliate uses to bring you customers, all of them want a positive relationship and a good deal. What’s the secret to a successful operator-affiliate partnership?
TS: There is no secret formula for success and if there was, we would likely all pay a lot of money to get it and keep the competition away from it!
What it comes down to is the basics. If you manage to smartly execute the basics consistently, you create opportunities to be creative.
The main purpose of every affiliate relationship is to generate revenue that will translate into a lucrative profit-share collaboration. By offering great service at a consistently high level and responding to every chat or email, you develop trust and reliability. A partnership is valued by the willingness of both parties to engage, share and be available. The more information shared, the easier it is to make suggestions or accept criticism for improvements.
The fundamentals of a successful long-term partnership is for it to be a win-win. If we both put in the time and effort, we should both reap the rewards.
BGA will be meeting with affiliate partners at iGB L!VE Amsterdam on 12th & 13th July at booth E30.