Connect with us
European Gaming Congress 2024

Interviews

Q&A w/ Dan Kersley, Product Manager at 2mee: Why influencer marketing is the next big thing in gambling advertising

Published

on

 

The way online sportsbook and casino brands market to players is changing. While TV ads and million-dollar above-the-line campaigns still have their place, paid media, affiliates and influencer marketing are now the chosen tactics for many. This is because they offer the ability to be highly targeted with campaigns, which in turn generates superior engagement rates and unrivalled ROI.

Influencer marketing in particular is being embraced by a growing number of brands as they look to tap into niche but highly engaged audiences and use the trust the influencer has built to drive consumers to their websites and apps. This can be highly effective for sportsbooks and casinos, which often struggle to truly engage players and quickly build trust.

To learn more about the power of influencer marketing, and how sportsbook and casino brands can maximise the tremendous opportunity it presents, we sat down with Dan Kersley, Product Manager at influencer marketing platform, 2mee.

 

Before we get into this topic in more detail, can you start by outlining just what is meant by influencer marketing?

Of course. Influencer marketing is just a form of social media marketing that involves using individuals with a significant following to promote a brand and/or product. These individuals, known as influencers, have built a loyal following of people who trust their opinions and recommendations and will ultimately engage with the products and brands they promote. Influencers can be anyone from household name celebrities to social media personalities, bloggers and even industry experts.

 

What makes influencer marketing so effective?

Trust is the ultimate reason why influencer marketing is so effective and successful. Followers trust the influencer in a way that can never be achieved through traditional brand-building methods. People trust influencers more than TV commercials, radio campaigns and print ads which often come across as insincere and salesy.  This is because influencers create authentic content that resonates with their audience, and this is what generates the high levels of trust and loyalty they enjoy. When an influencer promotes a product, it comes across more as a personal recommendation rather than a sales pitch.

As well as being more authentic, influencer marketing is highly targeted. Brands can work with influencers whose audience aligns exactly with their target demographics. For example, a sportsbook brand can partner with a football influencer with a following of football fans primed and ready to convert, ensuing their message (and ad spend) hits the right people.

 

Just how big is influencer marketing right now?

It’s pretty big and is on a serious upwards growth trajectory. According to a recent report, the global influencer industry reached $16.4bn in 2022 and brands are now recognising the power of influencer marketing. As such, they are investing more heavily in the channel. By working with influencers, brands have the ability to influence consumers outside of social media where they have been trapped for so long – by giving brands the power to use influencers at different touchpoints on the sales/conversion cycle, consumer decisions can be, well, influenced to a much greater extent than with other marketing tactics.

 

Can you share some ways in which online sportsbooks and casinos can use influencers?

At 2mee, we believe that influencer marketing should extend beyond social media channels and that the relationship with the consumer should carry through once they have connected with the brand or product, in this case, the sportsbook or casino.

Our platform allows operators to deliver influencers as human holograms across their websites and apps. Use cases include Welcome message – Trigger a message from the brand’s influencer when a user first visits the site, Cashier abandonment – Retarget with a bonus delivered by the influencer if the player does not make a deposit, Last point purchase persuasion – Deliver an influencer highlighting key features and recommending the book/casino to reinforce at the point of purchase, and Responsible gambling – deliver safe gaming messages to players using the influencer.

Our HoloMessageTM product is leading the way in defining new openweb and AR channels, allowing brands to use influencers to engage, acquire, retain and inform at key moments on the customer journey beyond social media.

 

What would you say to operators considering using influencer marketing for the first time?

Do it. The results generated will far exceed expectations while delivering an unrivalled ROI. It is still early days when it comes to online gambling brands using influencers, so there is a first-mover advantage to be had right now for those that get in there ahead of their rivals.

George Miller (Gyorgy Molnar) started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

eSports

Exclusive Q&A w/ BETBAZAR’s COO, Max Sevostianov

Published

on

 

BETBAZAR’s COO, Max Sevostianov, is preparing to travel to Georgia this month to discuss the ongoing development of eSports at the SBC Summit in Tbilisi. What are the key messages he wants to get across while there, and how does he view the importance of eSports in the region currently?

One of the main topics we want to discuss at the summit is the ongoing development of eSports in the region and how BETBAZAR can help operators and suppliers tap into this lucrative and fast-growing market.

eSports is one of the most popular and engaging forms of entertainment for millions of fans worldwide, showing continued growth in regulated markets worldwide.

The Black Sea, Eastern Europe and Central Asia regions are no exception. In fact, these regions have some of the most passionate and dedicated eSports fans and players in the world. Georgia has a thriving eSports scene, with several professional teams competing in international tournaments such as Dota 2, CS:GOe and League of Legends. Ukraine is home to some of the most successful and influential eSports organizations, such as the multiple championship-winning Navi (Natus Vincere). At the same time, Uzbekistan also has a flourishing scene, with their team recently picking up 22 gold medals at the 2023 Asian Games.

These examples highlight the huge potential for iGaming and sports betting operators to offer innovative and exciting eSports products and services in these regions. However, some challenges will need to be overcome, such as regulatory uncertainty, lack of infrastructure, cultural differences and consumer preferences. That is why I believe that BETBAZAR can be a valuable partner for anyone who wants to enter or expand their presence in the eSports market in these regions.

 

With Tbilisi having recently unveiled plans to construct what will be the largest arena in central Europe, what do you expect the knock-on impact to be for online bettors in Georgia to be? Do you think the presence of large, international events will help to drive further interest in online betting in the country, and does this also create further opportunities to introduce bettors to eSports?

I think that the construction of the new arena in Tbilisi will have a positive impact on the online betting market in Georgia. It will allow the city to host various sports and entertainment events, attracting more visitors and helping shine a spotlight on everything the city has to offer.

It will also create more interest and demand for online betting in Georgia. The country has a liberal and regulated online gambling market, with the number of active bettors growing yearly.

In turn, this should generate more interest from sports bettors in eSports. eSports have huge and loyal fanbases that engage using live streams, social media, and other modern platforms, and this is something that operators in the region would love to tap into. The opportunities this could present could be hugely beneficial for the Georgian economy.

 

As a general overview, what are the main sports that are currently popular in the Georgian market and what eSports equivalents are available?

Football, basketball, rugby union, wrestling, judo, and weightlifting are the most popular sports in Georgia. Some of these sports have eSports equivalents, such as EA FC and FIFA for football, NBA 2K for basketball, and the UFC games series for MMA. However, other sports like rugby union, wrestling and weightlifting do not have widely played eSports versions.

As such, there may be an opportunity for operators to introduce new eSports games that cater to the Georgian market’s preferences and culture.

 

I think it’s fair to say that one of the main barriers to iGaming growth in Georgia in the past has been the country’s technological infrastructure. How would you say this situation has improved in recent years to the point Tbilisi is now viewed as a bit of a technological hotspot?

Georgia has made significant progress in improving its internet infrastructure in the past two decades. The country is actually ahead of the rest of the EU in terms of fibre penetration, and up to 70% of Georgians are now using the internet daily.

The country’s geographical location and modern infrastructure make it an attractive place for routing and storing data, and efforts are underway to enhance its potential as a regional internet hub. Tbilisi, as the capital and largest city of Georgia, is naturally benefiting from these developments and attracting more iGaming operators and providers to base their operations there.

 

Although Romania is probably the Eastern European market that has received the most interest from operators in recent years, many industry experts believe there’s a similar opportunity to be found in Georgia. What is it about the country that you think makes it a potentially lucrative market for betting companies, and what are the local cultural differences they should be aware of?

One of the factors that makes Georgia a potentially lucrative market for betting companies is its relatively liberal and stable regulatory environment. Georgia legalized iGaming in 2005 and has since maintained a low-tax regime for operators. The country does not restrict foreign ownership or licensing requirements for online gambling companies, allowing them to offer a wide range of products and services to Georgian customers.

It also has a growing middle class with increasing disposable income and internet access, creating more demand for online entertainment and gaming options. However, there are also some local cultural differences that operators should be aware of when entering the Georgian market. For example, Georgians are known to be very hospitable and sociable people who value personal relationships and trust over impersonal transactions. Therefore, operators may need to invest more in customer service and loyalty programs to build rapport and retention with their clients.

Georgians are also very patriotic and proud of their national identity and heritage, which may influence their preferences regarding online gaming. Operators may need to tailor their content and marketing strategies to appeal to the local sensibilities and tastes of Georgian customers if they want to succeed in the region.

 

Regardless of how the betting industry in Georgia develops over the coming years, it’s true that many companies have already chosen Tbilisi as the base for their Eastern European and West Asian operations. What is it about the city that you think makes it an attractive location to base an iGaming hub, and do you believe we’ll see many new providers begin to emerge there in the coming months?

As mentioned earlier, Tbilisi is an attractive location to base an iGaming hub because of its advanced internet infrastructure, favorable regulatory climate and strategic geographical position. It also offers other advantages such as a low cost of living, a skilled and educated workforce, a vibrant and diverse culture and a rich history and heritage.

These factors make Tbilisi an appealing destination for both iGaming professionals and customers who are looking for quality services and experiences. I believe we will see many new providers begin to emerge there in the coming months as more operators recognize the potential of the market and the benefits of operating from Tbilisi. I also think that Tbilisi will become a hub for innovation and collaboration in the iGaming sector as more local and international players join forces to create products and solutions that cater to the needs and preferences of regional and global audiences.

 

Of course, BETBAZAR is always looking for innovative new start-ups to invest in or top-quality products to add to its online B2B iGaming marketplace. Are you currently working with any Georgian content providers, or are there any B2B businesses that have caught your eye there?

I’m thrilled to let you know we’ve stumbled upon a really cool startup in Georgia. We can’t wait to tell everyone about it, but you’ll be hearing more as soon as we add it to our collection of awesome offerings.

We’re always searching for fresh, innovative startups or standout products to spice up our online B2B iGaming marketplace. So, while this new Georgian startup is our star find, we’re not stopping there, and our eyes are always peeled for the next big thing.

So, to answer the question – while we’re super excited about this one startup, we’re always open, looking, and ready to jump on other fantastic opportunities in Georgia or anywhere else. Stay tuned for all the exciting details!

About BETBAZAR

BETBAZAR is a B2B worldwide iGaming marketplace. Company mission is setting a new sales standard sourcing specialist iGaming products and advising on their role within existing strategies to deliver growth to our partners.

 

Continue Reading

Interviews

Q&A/Twitch bans gambling streamers w/ Michael Pedersen CCO at Livespins

Published

on

Q&A/Twitch bans gambling streamers w/ Michael Pedersen CCO at Livespins

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What do you think of Twitch’s decision to ban casino sites from being streamed on its platform? 

Twitch’s decision to ban remote licensed online casino sites from being streamed from its platform has made waves right across the industry. But at Livespins, we have long expected this moment to come, and what is now certain is that gambling on mainstream media platforms is, and likely always will be, volatile. That is why it is important for the industry to control the space and provide a healthy, highly engaging and, most importantly, sustainable solution. The opportunity that sits at the intersection of gambling and streaming is far too big for us not to.

How has this situation come about? Has the writing been on the wall for a while?

The ban comes in the wake of a campaign to oust gambling from the platform after top-tier streamer ItsSlicker admitted to having a gambling problem. It’s fair to say some sort of ban was already in the works with recent events likely to have forced Twitch to act sooner rather than later. For us, the writing has been on the wall for some time now.

You just have to look at the surging popularity of slot streaming, the increased competition among streamers and the lengthens they have been going to grow and retain their following to see things would have to change. Many streamers were opting to play with increasingly large and unsustainable bet amounts as well as partaking in sometimes offensive studio behaviour to generate clips and moments that would gather attention online – behaviour that was also starting to gather the attention of industry insiders, watchdogs, and regulators.

More worryingly, to afford these large bet sizes and increased hours spent gambling, many streamers were becoming sponsored in one way or another and not disclosing this arrangement to their audiences. This meant they were essentially misleading their viewers to think that their gambling was being done with their own funds when the reality was very different. Add into the mix the recent ban on the use of gambling links and ads within Twitch streams and it was clear to us that the house of cards was about to come tumbling down.

What impact will the ban have on online casino brands, slot studios and of course slot streamers? 

It is going to take a little time for the true impact of the ban to be understood. Twitch has been a touch ambiguous when it comes to exactly who the ban applies to – online casino brands that hold a licence in the US, or from another reputable jurisdiction, can continue to use the platform while the ban appears to only apply to online casinos and not sportsbook, etc. Streamers that have built their brands on slot streaming will also be heavily impacted for obvious reasons. I think it’s fair to say Twitch will be off limits for most operators, slot studios and streamers for quite some time, if indefinitely.

Does this spell the end of the relationship between streaming and online gambling? 

Not at all. Livespins was founded on the insight that a significant player segment clearly loves the slots streaming concept and the opportunity to engage with a community of like-minded individuals, the authenticity of streamers over more rigid live dealers and the overall organic nature of the streaming entertainment experience. We wanted to retain all of those features but leave behind the unsustainable behaviour that we have seen on Twitch. Our platform does just that – it integrates directly into the online casino game lobby with our team of superstar streamers playing slots from our roster of approved studio partners.

How does Livespins allow casinos, studios, and streamers to leverage the tremendous popularity of slot streaming? 

We bring all three parties together in one powerful, responsible, compliant solution. For licenced operators, the Livespins stream takes place directly within their casino and allows them to generate revenues from the bet behinds that players can make via our unique system. For studios, they gain high levels of exposure among players but in an environment where said players can wager directly on the action happening in the game. We also pay studios to be on the platform, opening up an additional line of revenue. For streamers, we provide a platform for them to be able to do what they love while earning a living and the security that comes with being an employee and part of a big team.

But let’s not also forget viewers and players. Livespins allows them to not only watch the explosive action taking place across the reels, but also get involved in a direct way by betting behind each spin. This creates a group bet and a shared experience, but with each player able to select their own bet amount and number of spins. They can also interact with the streamer and each other throughout, as well as add reactions and emojis. This takes the foundation of what they could experience on Twitch and supercharges it.

How does it do this in a responsible way? 

Livespins brings the streaming entertainment we know to be so popular and puts it in the hands of the operator – those that are working diligently to create safe and sustainable play for their customers and who have the tools to do so. From the very beginning, we at Livespins have also worked relentlessly to deliver pure sustainable entertainment to players all over the globe. Our streamers are recruited by us, vetted and trained for months on content and responsible gambling. And, we ensure moderators 24/7 making sure we are building a healthy community.

What does the future have in store for slot streaming? 

Some might consider Twitch banning online casino from its platform as the end of slot streaming, but we see it as just the beginning. Livespins is the platform and product to allow operators, studios and streamers to unlock the massively untapped potential on the table here and to do it responsibly and compliantly. The appetite for slot streaming content is only going to increase, and we are here to help all stakeholders leverage this and provide socially-charged, highly entertaining experiences to their players.

Continue Reading

Interviews

Exclusive Q&A with Eric Stoop , Co-founder of Infinileads

Published

on

Exclusive Q&A with Eric Stoop , Co-founder of Infinileads

 

Let’s begin with something about yourself. Our readers love to learn more about top technocrats and their vision. How do you come into the gaming industry? What’s the backdrop?

E.S.: I got into the gaming industry through poker like many other people. I was there when it boomed back in 2004, when a poker set back in 2005 was voted the Christmas gift of the year in Sweden and “everyone” was making money and thought it would last forever. That was the good old days and I can really miss it sometimes.  During that time I meet my future wife who was one of the first employees at the gaming operator called Maria Bingo which was acquired by Unibet(Kindred) in 2008. I got a bit involved with her work and it was a very different time back then. I particularly remember in the beginning of Maria Bingo, management had forgotten that players can win money and want to withdraw but they only had support for deposits in the system.  It took some time to add withdrawal support and players were finally happy, but it pretty much speaks for how businesses were operated back in 2005.

After Maria was acquired, I started to work with my wife at a new bingo operator called Mamamia Bingo. The plan was to also launch a poker skin targeting the Latam market and I would be responsible for managing that one. It was also quite interesting back then because I usually refer to myself as a “street kid” no education after high school. The threshold for receiving a job in the gaming industry back in 2008 was very low. So, I had a discussion with the owner, and he said, “I heard you play poker”. “Yes, that is correct”. “Great you will be the manager of our poker skin”.
We quickly noticed that the Latam market was not ready.  Mainly from a payment service provider perspective because the internet penetration was there. We had very big volumes playing our freeroll poker tournaments, but it was extremely hard to convert the players to depositing customers.

Through poker I met Jan, my future partner in SEO affiliation, who was doing rakeback affiliation back then.

During this period, I noticed how lucrative the poker affiliation was in terms of margins and no need for upfront investments if working with pure rakeback affiliation and “under the table” deals. So, the poker skin was closed, and I started to be more involved with the bingo which was the core focus of the company. On the side I started to build up a base of poker players which I was in contact with on MSN messenger. I managed to build a huge base in France and business was going quite well. I teamed up with Jan and we started to leverage on our existing network of deals. This was a very hectic time. Combination of day to day work with the bingo operator as well as chatting with 500+ players and being personal on MSN and working on retention and follow up. My wife also gave birth to our first child during this period and I working like a maniac. Starting at 08.00, coming home at 19.00, my wife had prepared dinner, eating it while reading a Donald Duck comic just to clear my mind. Then back to work to 01.00-02.00. 

 Looking back at it, I worked too much during the following 2-3 years and I’m surprised to this day that my wife did not divorce me.  So back in 2010, France regulated online gaming and that pretty much killed 80% of the revenues for the rakeback affiliation business. We decided that we wanted to try organic traffic through SEO as we saw the opportunity in beating existing competition with a high-quality product. We were also a bit tired of the constant communication requirement that followed with rakeback affiliation. We analysed Italy which was already regulated and from experience we knew that this market was huge, one of the biggest in Europa before the regulation but the channelization was low into the regulated environment but we expected it to improve significantly over time.  

We started in 2012 with our first site, we had no experience with SEO and Jan was the one responsible for the SEO part while I was the product and commercial guy. We made all the mistakes you could make, the project became a mess and was not successful. We learned a lot in practical though. At this point we didn’t know if we should continue our focus at our current day to day jobs.  Eventually we decided to give it another try. , We restarted with more experience and took in a 3rd partner, John, who had a broad skill set we lacked which was design/frontend/backend, targeting Italy again, targeting specific games which was popular with exact domain match URLs. Which quite quickly became successful and we launched so many sites, too many with regards to what you should be able to carry. We also entered other regulated markets like Belgium. I quit my day to day job when we started to see traction in revenues and traffic and at LAC 2016, I meet with Erik Bergman who was currently active in Catena Media and presented our business.

They were interested and the deal was closed as quick as 1 month later. After that we worked with Catena Media in an earnout for 2 years and later in 2019 we restarted with a new affiliation business. I am still married to my wife.   I tried to keep that history as short as possible and I left out a lot of details, but online gaming is pretty much the only thing I have focused on all my career. 

You have been there and done that – in terms of developing a successful affiliate company, which was acquired by Catena Media a few years back. When coming back and doing it again, what are the changes that you notice, especially in customer behaviour and marketing strategy?

E.S.: SEO strategies have changed a lot the last few years. SEO used to be a lot about self-owned private blog networks and link exchanges which isn’t being used in the same extent today.
Today’s SEO is involving towards a more general marketing strategy and focusses around high quality content, keeping that content up to date, converting the content into different media and gaining authority by having authoritative writers posting on your site.

Could you describe more about your present business and its focus areas?

E.S.:Our core product is free play slot machines which was something we focused on before. Working with strictly regulated operators where applicable and trying to offer players a huge library of slot machines with an ultra-fast and user-friendly experience.

Currently we target:

The regulated Spanish and Latam market through https://www.slotjava.es
The regulated Italian market through https://www.nuovicasino.it/ and https://www.slotjava.it
The regulated Portuguese market through https://www.onlinecasinosportugal.pt

You operate both in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian markets in Europe and Latin America. How does the business strategy vary across countries and across continents?

E.S.: Latin America is still a very immature marked. You would think that a lot has happened since we operated a poker skin back in 2008 but everything is still very dependent on payments and the possibility for users to deposit money. First, you need to select operators that has focused on a specific country in Latin America with regards to payment methods. You can’t select an operator who says: “Our site is in Spanish and we target the entire Latin America” you need to establish which payment methods they have for each specific country otherwise you will see 0 conversion. The second thing is brick and mortar presence. The consensus by players/people in Latin America is to not trust online. It does not matter if it is casinos, ecommerce or another online based business. So, finding an online casino which also has brick and mortar presence will make the threshold for conversion lower. They usually have the option to fund your online account with cash within their physical venue.  This obviously differs per country, but we see that the development has been going quicker in geos like Chile and Peru. Higher internet and smartphone penetration and payment options available is likely the reason for this. It is a quite funny fact the Betsson brands biggest market in terms of traffic generated is Peru. Which is not so strange as they have been live there since the year 2000.

For Italy we focus a lot on building a brand. Most of the Italian population consumes from the aspect of brand strength, perception and awareness. So, for an affiliate portal it is important to build a brand that has strong values and can be associated with the culture of the Italian gaming industry. The average Italian player also loves to read high-quality content. We were very surprised when we used to track user behaviour on how our users consumed content in Italy and the detailed level they read about it on our sites.

Portugal was quite recently regulated and have a very low channelization. Mainly due to high taxation with tax on handle for sport. So, in Portugal it is important for us to educate the players of the benefits of playing in a regulated environment and informing about the not so obvious risks of choosing an unregulated operator.

Gambling and betting regulations change across countries – even across states, for instance, in the USA. How do you see such varied and sometimes complication laws – as a hindrance for the growth of a budding gambling affiliate or as a real filter that separates a serious affiliate from the rest?

E.S.: The days when three friends could start a gambling affiliation project as a side-business is over. The compliance requirements are very time demanding and the initial financial investment needed to reach results has increased a lot. The affiliates making a living out of regulated markets is now almost only populated by the “real” and established businesses who can afford to deal with compliance. Regulation and compliance that follows will only increase going forward and you need to adapt your sites on market level, and we will see more mandatory affiliate licenses.

Could you name three major factors that play a big part in the success of an affiliate company? It would be great if you can elaborate on them too.

E.S.:I would mention three things.

1. Unique product which makes users engage. Simple comparison sites still work but I believe that you will need to contribute more user value going forward.
2. Established contact network in the gambling industry. This will help a lot in terms of getting links from relevant unique sources which becomes more and more important.
3. Commitment from founders and organisation. The main work tasks are very repetitive and boring. But it needs to get done in a good pace and small errors could have a huge ripple effect.

Finally, what do you foresee for the future of affiliate marketing? Technology disruption? Ultra-targeted, automated marketing? Or the same old wine in a new bottle? What’s your prediction?

E.S.: I expect the future to be all about a unique product, brand and delivering more value to the end user. I don’t believe that the standard comparison sites will exist in the same sense we see them today in 3-5 years. It also becomes harder and harder to sustain the same margins as Google floods the Google search results with more AdWords positions and make them look more like the organic results. That is applicable for the SEO marketing vertical. In terms of other verticals within lead generation I expect the targeting to become more of a creative game to be able to find good sources and ROI.

Continue Reading

Trending

We are constantly showing banners about important news regarding events and product launches. Please turn AdBlock off in order to see these areas.