ZorbasMagazine: Gambling Vertical
Affiliates find gambling attractive because of high ROI, big payouts and lesser competition. This vertical still has a lot of profit to offer, there are many fresh interesting products. Moreover, here quality of call center operations does not affect webmaster’s income as it often happens with nutra. In addition, gambling has a well-developed conversion flow on the side of advertisers: betting shops and casinos constantly draw users’ attention via SMS and email newsletters.
Today we will see the features of this vertical in detail: top regions, traffic sources, work approaches and trends. Alfaleads, the best gambling/betting affiliate program in 2019 (according to Affbank), shared the invaluable information.
Table of contents
- Budget in gambling
- Special features of the offers
- Payout models
- Traffic sources
- GEOs: top regions
Budget in gambling
Gambling is a vast vertical, which includes several components, the main are casino and betting. Casino is more of a money vertical, but during huge sports events, such as the FIFA World Cup, sports betting brings maximum profit.
Gambling is one of the most difficult verticals to enter, affiliate needs to be tech savvy: know about cloaking, farming and spy-services, as well as have sufficient funds.
The average budget for a start in the vertical is about $1000. This is an approximate figure for a webmaster who launches from scratch with one source, one GEO and one offer. It is enough to get into the swing of things and get neutral or even positive ROI. Note that this amount does not include expenses on cloaking, proxy servers or account farming, this is just the cost of advertising.
Special features of the offers
Gambling offers usually have rates of €100 — 150. These offers often have longer hold than in other verticals due to a more complex system of traffic quality control. However, trusted affiliates usually enjoy the minimum hold in CPA networks (e.g. Alfaleads). The larger the network — the more traffic it has, consequently, advertisers are more likely to cooperate and provide special treatment for it. It often happens that reliable networks effect payouts to the affiliates before getting paid themselves by advertisers. It is possible because such networks have all the necessary financial resources. That is the reason why it is extremely important to choose reputed CPA networks in this segment.
The advertisers want the most active and solvent traffic. In gambling vertical offers have a tight KPI threshold users have to reach so that affiliate gets his payout. Let’s take a quick look at the common target actions.
Registration is one of the easiest target actions, when affiliate receives payout for each registered user. Today this type is quite rare, payment for registration is about $1-3. Advertisers usually have an additional KPI that must be met by the registered user.
Deposit — payout is effected only if the gambler places a certain amount on a deposit in a casino or betting shop. You can often find the term “accumulative deposit” in description of gambling offers. This means that the user may make any number of payments in a specified time interval to reach the specified amount. The term is equal to “baseline”.
The average minimum deposit for Europe is about €20.
Qualification — the user must meet several conditions in order to qualify. For example, register on the platform, make a deposit of $20 and wager $20.
CPL (payment for registration) is quite rare and has narrow KPI, for example, a highly elaborated registration with mobile or email confirmation. CPA model is well-known among the affiliates and it allows to recoup the investments quickly.
There is also a RevShare model (Revenue Share) — casino shares the income with webmaster during the whole period of player’s activity on a platform. This model is a good choice for affiliates who are confident in the quality of their traffic, especially if they do not buy, but receive it naturally (e.g. via SEO, ASO). In general, RevShare is very profitable, but it’s a long-term game. There is always a chance of attracting a couple high rollers and making a scoop: we know such examples when affiliates skyrocketed on SEO and attracted gamblers who kept bringing a considerable monthly income for many years. Just a few people are enough, thanks to their activity the casino will pay you about $10 000-20 000 on RevShare basis.
There are also hybrid payout models (CPA + RevShare), each payout is lower on its own, but here webmaster receives money via CPA, which compensates for the cost of traffic, and he receives multiple payments via RevShare.
Such traffic sources as SEO, context, mobile applications and Facebook are the most attractive for advertisers in gambling vertical. Let’s consider these sources and the work process and in more detail.
Context is seen as a premium source of traffic — the audience there shows the greatest interest. CPA networks provide affiliates working with this source with higher rates, even during testing.
Google search is affiliate’s Klondike. However, nowadays it is quite problematic to enter with high-frequency keywords because of Google’s strict policies. And complex source means less competition and more income for webmaster.
The main difficulties here are providing cloaking and farming accounts. The essence of cloaking is as follows: moderators, bots and all the traffic we don’t need see a “white” page, whereas target users and ardent gamblers see the real casino/betting page.
It is highly not recommended to enable cloaking while warming your account up. And be sure to check your cloaking before sending the ad campaign for moderation. The average period of farming is 4-5 weeks from start till campaign launch, including the period of “white hat” warm up.
Although Google accounts don’t live long, we nevertheless recommend optimizing campaigns: compiling a list of negative keywords, creating relevant ads, optimizing the quality of ads.
Also remember that not all advertisers accept context traffic, they believe that webmasters try to sell their own traffic back. Possible sanctions may include ban or reduction coefficient on payouts. It will be indicated in the description whether brand traffic is prohibited, please read the terms of the offer carefully.
Facebook is another premium source, as its audience is considered to be the most solvent. Today, video format converts the best and has easier moderation process.
One of the most profitable methods of 2019 is “Facebook + mobile app” campaign. The application contains a WebView of the advertiser’s website with a native part that allows you to visualize the casino as if it were a real application. In your Facebook campaign you provide a link to the app, and in your ad you encourage the user to try gambling via the app. Then the user downloads the application from Google Play.
So, user has the application on the smartphone and uses it more often, and this scheme allows you to optimize campaigns and cut expenditures. Moreover, it is easier to pass moderation as you send Facebook traffic to the app.
There is a stereotype that SEO is a complex and inaccessible traffic source. However, it is even easier to work with the “black hat” topics, because the competition is lower than in the “white hat” niche.
The approach is as follows: webmaster creates a branded or unbranded one-page website with several articles for the offer. Next, you need to optimize it (the principles are the same as in the “white hat” SEO: create titles, descriptions, lists, alts for images, etc.), buy links, test the articles, and regularly fill the website with fresh news and articles.
However, here in Russia we a unique body that does not exist in any other country in the world. It’s Roskomnadzor. Therefore, when working in the Russian segment, you need to insure your websites from blocking. To do this, you need to use services like SaveMyAss, which analyzes the IP address of the user who requests the code. If this user is identified as “undesirable”, he will be redirected to a different resource, or gambling content of the page will get hidden.
We recommend services such as Ping-Admin their notifications to know whether your sites are in the “blacklist”.
Push and Pop up
This source is an easy option for beginners, because there is no need to cloak and farm accounts. Three things are important when working with this source:
- looking at the quality of the push network;
- making white and blacklists;
- repeatedly testing pre-lands.
In most cases, when working with push and pop up traffic, there is no way for detailed targeting and affiliates drive traffic to a wide audience. You can optimize the ad campaign only by compiling white and blacklists: websites that do not convert should be sent to the blacklist, and, vise versa, the best performing should compile the whitelist.
GEOs: top regions
Traditionally, gambling vertical is most profitable in Tier 1 countries, including Germany, Canada and Scandinavian countries. Currently, the vertical is rapidly gaining momentum in Latin America (Mexico, Colombia and Brazil) and Africa (e.g. Kenya, Mali, Nigeria), so we recommend you consider these GEOs.
Alfaleads tells about the top most promising GEOs during their MBA — Master of Benchmark Attribution course. This course is for managers of affiliate teams and top market players who seek to go abroad with the gambling vertical. During the lessons, Alfaleads experts tell about the specifics of each GEOs’ target audience, what traffic converts there and what indicators should be considered before the launch.
Trends: what’s coming in the future
One of the most prominent trends in this vertical is webmasters’ desire to enter the international market. We are confident that in the coming year you will see a growing number of Russian affiliates working with international offers and advertisers. And it is not only about Europe or the US, soon our affiliates will start searching for routes to Asia (India, China and other regions), as well as to Africa.
The UAC (Universal App Campaign) format in Google is gaining popularity among affiliates. It is easy to launch, and it perfectly fits the gambling vertical. The main advantage of UAC is the ability to configure target actions (for example, repeated deposits) and automatic optimization of the campaign for each action. Ads within this format will be displayed on Youtube, Google search and КМС Google Adwords. After the launch you need to gather some statistics — about 70-80 conversions. After that, the system will be working as efficiently as possible due to optimization.
PWA is another very promising trend, it is an alternative to traditional mobile applications. We insert the offer in a look-a-like of a mobile application, similar to the classic WebView, but it is easier and faster. PWA does not require to be installed or added to the store, and for the user it looks like a standard application.
It’s actually just a lite version of a website that creates a bookmark on the home screen. It is impossible to ban a PWA as it’s neither downloaded to the phone nor uploaded to Google Play or App Store. In addition, the webmaster does not pay for the application development. You can try working with PWA using free Alfaleads tool kit, that will be provided by your personal manager.
We hope that this article makes gambling vertical more approachable for you, our fellow affiliates.