Why 87% of Russian affiliates would like to enter foreign markets
As is the common practice, most of Russian affiliates working with the gambling vertical drive traffic to CIS offers. As a rule, these affiliates have considerable expertise and are familiar with the mentality and specifics of the market they are working in.
Recently we have been contacted by Alfaleads, a Russian network specializing in gambling. They shared with us some interesting statistics regarding Russian affiliates. They say that 87% of Russian webmasters driving traffic exclusively to the domestic market would like to start working with foreign casinos and betting firms. That’s quite a number. So, we asked Alfaleads to shed some light on the reasons behind this interest and explain the difference between the gambling vertical in the CIS countries and abroad.
Audience: culture and mentality
Let’s start with the obvious: the audience of the foreign gambling market is much wider than that of the CIS market. Taken together, the population of Germany and the UK account for more than that of Russia. And these are only two European countries!
The income level in Europe is also disproportionately higher than in Russia. However, the most important distinctive feature probably lies in different perceptions of gambling. In the CIS countries, people tend to have a more negative attitude towards online gambling, while in foreign countries everybody seems to understand that it’s just a pastime. Most European gamblers are not aiming at winning a lot of money without effort, they just want to have fun and experience intense emotions.
It can be said that there is a certain gambling culture in Europe. Let’s consider the UK, the country where this culture has found its most vivid manifestation. The British are fond of equestrian sport, and betting offices in the UK stop accepting traffic from affiliates when the country is holding horse races. The reason behind this is simple: the influx of bets is so massive that there is no need for traffic from affiliates. Everybody starts making bets, from rough sleepers to the Queen herself.
Advertisers: quantity and quality
One of the major factors differentiating foreign markets from the Russian market is the lack of obvious leaders. While in the CIS counties the lion’s share of traffic is taken by renowned brands, the situation overseas is totally different. In foreign countries, there are a lot more online casinos, and the audience is distributed more or less evenly among them.
It would be hard to point out one or two leaders, as the market does not pivot around a couple of super popular products. Of course, some brands have strong marketing support behind them (including TV advertising), while others do not enjoy the same level of hype. However, this doesn’t mean lesser-known casinos convert more poorly.
We drove traffic both to high-profile and not so renowned brands. It turned out that lesser-known products generated more profit. This can be associated with the fact that a young or small brand attaches great value to every single player. Consequently, they try to generate additional conversions using all means at their disposal.
Foreign advertisers are very sensitive about their reputation. They attach crucial importance to brand safety, namely protecting a brand from being mentioned in an unfavorable context. Therefore, if affiliates resort to misleading advertising to attract players and promise something that contradicts the reality or product description in their creatives, they will be punished.
Some affiliates accept moneymaking traffic, but bids should be negotiated upon separately in this case. If a webmaster runs this type of traffic using the basic bid and an advertiser sees it, his account may be banned.
Reports: stats must be transparent
Advertisers’ reports often raise questions among Russian affiliates. In this regard, the work process in the foreign market is much more smooth: each foreign product has an account attached to it where you can find data on all players.
Working with the audience: generating additional conversions and retaining clients
We’ve observed that foreign gambling brands are working with players very effectively: thanks to the well-thought-through funnel they are constantly staying in touch with the audience in a more native manner than in Russia. Let’s consider email marketing as an example. Every 3 or 4 days advertisers send emails to all registered users trying to get an additional conversion:
Different money: bids and minimum deposits
Let’s move on to the most interesting part: money. In foreign online casinos, bids are usually three times higher than in the CIS countries and constitute 100-150 euros. It must be taken into account that minimum deposits that players should make for you to receive a payout are also higher than in Russia. If in Russia the average minimum deposit accounts for 50-100 rubles (0.70-1.4 euros), in Europe it amounts to 20 euros.
This often deters those affiliates who have worked only with the CIS countries before and have got used to a lower KPI. However, you must bear in mind that 20 euros are not a large sum of money for the average European player. Let’s compare the average income level in Europe and Russia:
Competition: affiliates vs. webmasters
The affiliate market in the CIS countries is huge and prosperous. There are more affiliates there than anywhere else in the world. As regards foreign markets, the business model is somewhat different: in general, people work with sites and invest a lot of money into their development rather than buy up traffic. Consequently, as regards media buying, the competition is less intense.
Here we have a very interesting situation: there are few affiliates but a lot of casinos and betting firms. Probably this is the reason why foreign advertisers are more considerate towards their partners and are more willing to make concessions.
Payouts: stable but time-consuming
In the CIS countries, advertisers usually pay every other week and sometimes even every other day, which cannot but make affiliates happy. When it comes to foreign markets, the situation is totally different. Say, you started driving traffic on May 1. At the end of the month, the advertiser makes a report on the past period and in another two weeks you will finally receive your money. Thus, you will get your payments approximately on June 15. This is how foreign advertisers organize their accounting processes.
However, an affiliate network can lend a helping hand to affiliates. We make advance payments to our trusted partners and they don’t have to wait for payouts from advertisers.
Let’s move on to conclusions. We in Alfaleads believe that the foreign market holds a lot of prospects for Russian affiliates. Of course, there are certain difficulties, but the advantages outweigh them.
The problem is that most affiliates don’t know how to enter foreign markets. That’s why we are planning to launch a large-scale educational course to cover this subject. We are sure that understanding all the peculiarities of this new business area and conversion funnel will enable almost every webmaster to enter foreign markets.
We believe that if top affiliates start working with foreign offers, competition will inevitably arise between Russian and foreign advertisers. In order to retain affiliates, Russian advertisers will have to catch up with their foreign colleagues and improve the quality of their work in the fight for affiliates.