Author: Sebastian Scheplitz
Affiliate marketing roles are fast changing in today’s cutthroat marketing space.
Traditionally, affiliate marketers have played indispensable roles in acquiring and retaining customers for all sorts of industries, iGaming included.
And, as we can see, those roles are evolving – and evolving fast.
Now, affiliates can be seen as somewhat like influencers that directly engage with clients to help them make that connection and gain the trust that brands so crave.
And with the advent of influencer marketing, taking on a larger portion of the marketing industry every passing day, it’s essential to have a good grasp of what exactly it is – and why it is one of the top talkers in today’s marketing environment.
The iGaming industry is no stranger to influencer marketing, and the latter has greatly influenced the former. However, there is some uncertainty about how such “influencers” directly affect the industries they cater to.
Let’s explore what influencer marketing for the iGaming industry is all about from this summary video:
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Let’s lay down some ground rules and define influencer marketing first before understanding how iGaming brands can leverage it.
Influencer marketing is the use of branded content from high-profile social media personalities, bloggers, vloggers, and micro-influencers to create a personalized message from their own social media accounts for their base of trusted followers.
One of the common misconceptions about influencer marketing is that it is something entirely new.
Well, it’s not.
The notion of influencer marketing as we know it nowadays has always been around – across all verticals.
The only difference is that the term “influencer” wasn’t inextricably linked to earlier marketing campaigns until social media erupted in growth and popularity in recent years.
See, iGaming brands have always gotten celebrities or otherwise well-known individuals to endorse their products and services.
For instance, we can recall Paddy Power’s 2019 campaign featuring former Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and Manchester United skipper Jose Mourinho promoting its then-latest offering.
The campaign even played on Mourinho’s moniker as “The Special One”, in an effort to drum up interest for its Daily Jackpot. The tongue-in-cheek reason being anybody and everybody can literally win up to £40,000 on a daily basis.
You don’t have to be “special” like “The Special One” to win anything at the Dublin-based sportsbook, or so the idea went.
However, today’s iGaming brands no longer have to solely rely on celebrity spokespersons and sports figures to represent themselves. That’s because they can tap into the immense potential of social media, work with influencers, and get them to endorse their products, services, and brands to their loyal followers.
The logic isn’t rocket science. Every time a familiar face we’ve seen on social media or the TV somewhere endorses a particular product or service, it gets attention. All the more so when it comes to that individual’s fanbase.
The old reliable practice of getting celebrity endorsements done right doesn’t limit itself to increasing the brand image of a particular product and company. Rather, it tends to result in an increase in sales.
Here’s how it would work in the iGaming context: an influencer might share a piece of content like a bet slip or something they find cool about an iGaming app’s interface along with a link to the brand in their post, which would then lead to an online casino lobby or a betting platform. This would give the audience a trustworthy example of what they’ll get as far as the iGaming app is concerned – from a voice they trust.
(Making sure that your advertising communications pass European/UK advertising standards is another thing, which we will be discussing later.)
The key takeaway is that more and more companies are harnessing the power of influencer marketing to recreate impactful word-of-mouth advertising that simply doesn’t translate as well on television, radio, or those ubiquitous online ads we all tend to click X on anyway.
Influencer Marketing vs. Affiliate Marketing
Understanding the Differences
Firstly, an important distinction must be made between influencer marketing and affiliate marketing.
Influencer marketing allows direct-to-consumer brands to collaborate directly with social media influencers to create genuinely fresh, authentic, and relevant content.
Influencers, in essence, serve to unite individuals to build communities united around a common lifestyle or interest. These highly-sophisticated social media users earn the elusive trust from their base of followers because of their authority and expertise in their respective fields.
On the other hand, affiliate marketing isn’t strictly limited to dealing solely with relationships between influencers and brands. Affiliate marketing is mainly involved with providing commissions for brand or product endorsers. This is just as common among B2B brands and distributors as B2C sectors.
Another fascinating thing about affiliate marketing is that it almost has just one singular goal: to drive traffic to a brand’s website to get prospects to complete an action. This is similar to the pay-per-click model attributed to affiliate marketing.
Brands don’t reimburse affiliates for promoting their brand or increasing their traffic or cold leads. Due to this setup, affiliates must constantly be working to improve their conversion rates and remain motivated to stay ahead of the game.
Which Model Is a Better Fit for Your iGaming Business?
Both approaches have a place in today’s marketing environment, and they are both undoubtedly effective when executed well. However, the lines often blur where the practice of the revenue sharing model is similar to one another.
But just because both offer commission-based compensation schemes doesn’t mean they are exactly the same – although they do share similar traits.
Affiliate marketing remains an attractive option due to its cost-effectiveness and its performance-based structure. This ensures advertisers pay precisely what they get while allowing their better performers more compensation from increased sales. The market is massive, too: by 2022, affiliate marketing spending in the U.S. alone is expected to reach $8.2 billion.
On the other hand, social media personalities drive the influencer marketing machine, and marketers utilize longer-term key performance indicators like user-generated content, increased SEO, and CTRs. Influencer marketing has a distinct focus on creating content when promoting brands or products.
According to a recent study, 40% of respondents bought a product or service because they saw their favourite social media influencer promote it. That’s the reason why marketers team up with influencers for legitimacy, credibility, and robust, sustainable inbound traffic.
That’s also the reason why compensation for influencers often includes commission, flat rates, and perks like free products or a combination thereof. And there’s little doubt that influencer marketing is one of the best marketing strategies to bring traffic to your online casino or iGaming brand. Here’s why.
Does Influencer Marketing Work for the iGaming Industry?
The simple answer is yes – influencer marketing works in any industry, iGaming included, for as long as it is done the right way.
Why does social influencer marketing for casinos and iGaming brands work, you might be asking?
It’s simple: influencer marketing will work in the multi-billion-euro iGaming industry because the products are fun and can be highly targeted, particularly around sports betting. Its robust growth shows no signs of stopping as more jurisdictions legalize online gambling.
iGaming operators have a fantastic opportunity to leverage influencer marketing’s immense power by working with the right influencers, developing fresh and creative campaigns, and measuring the appropriate KPIs regularly, and making the right tweaks to optimize the campaign’s effectiveness.
Finally, influencer marketing works because it doesn’t come off to the audience as conventional advertising would. Gone are the days of shiny faces on TV telling people they bought and recommended something. Influencer marketing’s peer-to-peer nature is inherently more potent in building brand affinity and user affiliation with the customer.
Why Is Influencer Marketing Important for iGaming Brands?
Influencer marketing is fast becoming an indispensable part of any content marketing strategy for many industries. And, as we will discuss, influencer marketing is an up-and-coming essential pathway for iGaming brands to pursue right now.
Much of it has to deal with the burgeoning and sophisticated millennial market.
What makes millennials so special to the iGaming industry?
Let’s count the ways.
Millennials are collectively defined as individuals born anywhere between 1980 and 2000 – practically anyone aged 21 to 41 at the time of this writing. This makes millennials the largest, most diverse demographic there is right now. That’s 23% of the global population, or practically one in five people right now.
The bottom line? The future belongs to the millennials. They are the bull’s-eye targets of the majority of industries, and they are by far the most highly-educated and most technologically-savvy generation that has ever existed.
Nearly 85% of all millennials have some form of social media presence compared to their less social media-savvy Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts. Just by that fact alone, influencer marketing makes a ton of sense.
Moreover, the unprecedented ubiquity of social media across the millennial demographic guarantees an audience of every persuasion.
It’s also easy to see where the ad spend is going based on the statistics readily available on social media. KPIs like ad spend per thousand impressions and how many people were reached by a particular post are all quantifiable to the cent and spent to market to a particular demographic.
For that reason, we can see the potential of how influencer marketing for iGaming brands can drastically boost traffic and expand their online presence when executed the right way.
It’s not hard to pull off, either. Let’s look at the ways to target millennials with iGaming content through influencer marketing.
Influencer Marketing Campaign Strategies for iGaming Brands
iGaming brands would find now to be the right time to experiment with influencer marketing. Here are three compelling reasons why:
- Increased trust. 92% of people trust word-of-mouth recommendations coming from individuals – regardless of whether they know them or not – over faceless brands.
- Improved lead quality. Over half of businesses believe they get better, more qualified leads from influencer marketing, based on a poll conducted by Tomoson.
- Better ROI. According to Burst Media, brands recouped an average ROI of $6.85 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing.
And here are some of the best practices that iGaming brands should keep in mind when developing an influencer campaign:
- Put together an overview of the campaign. iGaming brands need to draft the overall direction of the influencer marketing campaign. This draft needs to clearly quantify what the campaign aims to accomplish. Some important factors to consider are the budget and projected monthly spend, which services and products to promote, what platforms to use, and which influencers are appropriate for the iGaming brand.
- Engage with potential social media influencers. Once the question of which social media platforms to use has been sorted out, it’s time to determine which influencers to track down to collaborate with. It is important to define criteria that will represent their brand. Not all influencers that show a smidgen of interest to work with a particular brand should be signed up. The last thing iGaming brands want is to find out one of their influencers runs afoul of the law, and the next thing you know, the brand name is sullied.
- Localize for international markets. As iGaming brands expand their market share in new and untapped international locations, they ought to localize their influencer marketing strategy for international markets. Making the right influencer choice for the right market is exceptionally crucial to connect with diverse cultures. The right choice will further solidify a brand’s ties with the local community and improve customer experience immensely.
- Lay down the law clearly. Brands must make the rules abundantly clear as far as what kind of content they should be promoting, how frequently they should be posting, and what milestones/results should be achieved. Non-compliance is an outright no-no.
- Understand the rules of marketing age-restricted products. Gambling is an age-restricted product, and as such, cannot be marketed directly to the under-18 demographic per guidelines from the UK Advertising Standards Authority. Likewise, posts must be clearly identified as advertising. iGaming brands ought to take their influencer’s age and demographic audience into consideration before working with them.
- Fulfil social responsibility. Working with influencers gives iGaming brands more than just a mouthpiece. Influencers are individuals with their own histories and idiosyncrasies. Moreover, their audience knows them like the back of their hands, and they keep that in mind when they see that piece of content.
It’s clear that influencer marketing is the next frontier for iGaming brands to adopt in their marketing strategy; there’s just far too much money to be left on the table not to.
It’s no surprise that more and more iGaming brands are employing influencer marketing. Social media influencers fulfill their clients’ goals by creating top-notch, user-generated content, educating consumers about partner online casino brands, driving action, and delivering SEO gravitas.
In the constantly-changing, media-saturated world we live in, it’s harder to trust a brand just because there are so many messages bombarding consumers from all directions.
People want to patronize brands that are recommended by people they trust. If the iGaming industry continues its unprecedented growth, brands should tighten their focus on the burgeoning millennial demographic with creative marketing techniques. Influencer marketing is the perfect bridge for iGaming brands to tap into the millennial demographic’s vastly lucrative potential.
In closing, the key takeaway is this: knowing your target and executing the right method to lead them to your clients is essential. Choosing an influencer that caters to audiences of a similar background, interest, and demographic is a surefire way for your brand to make the most out of influencer marketing.
Header Image Source: By user3083393 on Freepik
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “Harnessing the Power of Influencer Marketing: iGaming Industry Edition”? 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.” 🙂