Author: Sebastian Scheplitz
iGaming isn’t just a highly lucrative industry overall; it’s also a high-performing niche in the affiliate marketing space.
Such tantalizing propositions incentivize every online casino affiliate to get the massive numbers of new potential players to choose a particular casino or sportsbook over the rest of the competition.
With juicy, tempting commissions and competitive promotions, online casino affiliate marketing has become one of the most hotly-contested niches in the business – especially with the rising number of online casinos entering the game.
Thousands of casino affiliate sites in multiple languages and iterations are out there, all seeking to take a piece of the proverbial pie. But the truth is, only a fraction actually make considerable profits with their websites because they found the right approach commensurate with their time and capital.
Therefore, if you are asking yourself how to start an online gambling affiliate website, you might also want to look into what you can do wrong. Here is a quick overview:
And in this article, we’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes that online casino affiliate websites make that lead to them not getting picked – or dropped by – iGaming operators.
1. Low-Quality, No-Value-Added Content
“Content is king” is one of the most often-repeated mantras in content marketing, and for a good reason: low-quality content is one of the most common iGaming Affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid in the iGaming industry.
But it’s amazing how many online casino affiliates are still reluctant to invest the appropriate time and resources in creating top-notch content that will pay for itself for years to come from the traffic and engagement they generate.
And with the constant innovation in iGaming, there’s always a demand for the most up-to-date information about promotions, online casino reviews, sports betting offers, competitions, events, and tournaments happening in different places.
Regardless of your format, the content you produce must, above all, add value for the reader, the brand and not just be written for search engines and robots.
You want to write for real people looking for real solutions to their questions.
People that want clear, precise instructions, tips, and actionable informational content suited to their needs, with a tone matching the brand you represent. Not haphazardly-written drivel or AI-generated content – they won’t return for that.
2. Lack of Authority
There’s no shortage of marketers in the online casino affiliate marketing game who have never spent a single minute (or any reasonable amount of time) on an online casino or sportsbook operator’s website.
You’ll see affiliates actively promoting casinos while privately burying their clientele and making derisive comments about their choice of leisure. But they don’t get it at all. And these people won’t be in the affiliate marketing industry for long.
To promote online casinos, affiliates need to understand the motivations as to why people play at them. They have to put themselves in their shoes and get into their mindset.
And then it all starts to make sense: players often don’t have too much time to waste, but they have money to spend. What they need are trustworthy, authoritative websites with skin in the game.
As an affiliate marketer, your prerogative is to establish your brand as an authority on the subject. While the prospects of making a quick buck might seem foolproof, taking shortcuts won’t help you over the long run.
They know when you DON’T know what you’re talking about.
Focus your efforts on connecting with your audiences, understanding their language, pain points, and aspirations, and tailor your content on those.
3. Hard Selling Without Building Rapport
Today’s internet users are savvier than ever. And one of the things that jump right out at them is being unsubtle about shilling products and services. People just plain dislike being given the hard sell and can smell it from a mile away.
Resist the temptation to do the hard-sell because the only thing that it will achieve is to turn away conversions.
The best online casino affiliates know that their value lies in educating their readers and providing an answer to their pain points. Consistently doing this is exactly how you build trust and legitimacy as an affiliate, which results in a close, mutual relationship with your readers.
4. Not Providing Transparent, Honest Reviews
Trust is the foundation of iGaming. That’s what makes it more reliant on the veracity and the objectivity of the reviews written about online casino and sports betting providers.
Just as reviews greatly influence how individuals choose between hotels and restaurants, the same can be said for online casinos and sportsbooks.
The trouble is, with the sheer amount of affiliate sites doing online bookmaker and casino reviews, there are bound to be dishonest reviews mixed in with honest ones.
Affiliate sites that publish the former may not be 100% upfront about a particular online casino or bookmaker’s real intentions. Some referrals get paid, others get played. Some affiliates don’t think twice about leading lambs to the slaughter when greed overcomes prudence and push comes to shove.
When creating content for online casinos and sports betting sites, readers demand an objective and informative critique showing the positive and the negative aspects of the casinos or game titles you are reviewing.
Remember to keep an engaging tone and format because the ultimate goal is to get them to start playing right away.
Decide whether you want to be one of those black sheep out for the quick buck that are discrediting our industry or do you want to build an established and trustworthy business that shares honest information – one that your readers want to come back to and read more about new casinos to play or new sportsbooks to bet on.
5. Lack of a Professional-Looking Website
Some online casino affiliates take shortcuts as far as their website design is concerned, assuming that what’s underneath the hood of the website doesn’t matter as long as players have access to great content.
The trouble is, people wouldn’t want to spend time on a slapdash website that looks like a fly-by-night operation had designed it. That would set off alarm bells.
Keep texts easy to read, implement an aesthetically-pleasing color scheme that’s easy on the eyes, and keep the layout simple so that potential players can get the information they need with as little friction as possible.
That means keeping your website elements professional and well-structured, so it runs like clockwork. Keeping a professional appearance also improves trustworthiness and authority – something most readers will demand.
6. Providing Inaccurate Information About Operators
Affiliate marketers and site owners need to focus on creating a trustworthy brand and an engaged following that keeps coming back for more.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to cost a ton of investment–it all starts with creating the best possible content and delivering the most accurate information possible.
Players want to know the most up-to-date information about the online casinos or sports betting operators they are looking to play at.
They want to learn about what games are available, what software is used, offers, bonuses, promotions, payment methods, site performance, security, and user-friendliness.
Moreover, iGaming providers are highly unlikely to work with an affiliate that doesn’t represent their brand accurately.
7. Not Focusing on UX
Taking care of your affiliate links and keeping them updated at all times is part and parcel of success. But it’s also a good idea to go over your money content and ensure that everything works as it should.
Lots of commissions have gone unpaid because of simple UX issues like faulty site elements and broken links. That’s why it is important to perform sanity checks on your affiliate links every now and then.
8. Employing Inappropriate SEO Tactics
The extremely competitive nature of iGaming has led to affiliates employing black hat SEO tactics (e.g. spamming blogs with links, peppering texts with keywords, and article spamming, to name a few) that may generate short-term results but ultimately become detrimental to long-term profitability and reputational damage in the process.
Worse, that quick ranking boost might just lead to getting the banhammer from Google. Not exactly worth the risk, is it?
Therefore, affiliates shouldn’t agonize over getting one over Google and game search results to get ahead. You can try gaming the system as much as you want to gain top rank, but if your content ultimately fails to deliver, those interactions will be a one-and-done affair.
Stuffing keywords and spamming links won’t work in 2022!
Black hat tactics won’t result in clicks, signups, or opt-ins. It might just torpedo your SEO and ranking irreparably, not to mention the iGaming providers you are marketing. And iGaming brands won’t take too kindly to working with marketers that tarnish their reputation by employing such tactics.
Keep things simple: structure your website with players in mind, and then adjust your SEO according to the results you obtain when your affiliate commissions start coming in.
9. Link Visitors Not Converting to Sales
Many affiliate marketers are puzzled why they can’t seem to score conversions even as people use their links. It’s frustrating to have invested plenty of resources in online casino affiliate marketing and still manage to turn in a loss.
It’s also troublesome when the affiliate commissions go elsewhere by virtue of players deciding to use affiliate links on other blogs. It’s much like preparing yourself a meal and having someone else take it away.
Peppering your site with as much of your affiliate links isn’t the answer either. Rather, a better approach is to use a select number of affiliate links contextually inserted within the content. It’s less jarring to the reader when the links are delivered within the right frame of reference.
So, What’s Next?
First of all, thank you so much for reading our post to the end. And before we conclude, here is a checklist of all the points we’ve mentioned in the article.
Affiliate marketing will only become more challenging and competitive as years go by and as algorithms change.
What once worked in recent years won’t cut the mustard in 2022, and it will take more than just creating quality content and following iGaming SEO best practices to break into–and succeed in–the online casino affiliate game.
Tighten your strategy up and avoid making these nine common mistakes that keep affiliate marketers from unlocking their full earning potential.
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “Online Casino Affiliates: This Is Why iGaming Operators Aren’t Working With You”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂