With the UK regulating the casino industry increasingly as time progresses, casinos both online and offline are having to spend more time and money promoting and improving themselves when it comes to marketing. Although the channels used to market their businesses and offerings are certainly nothing new, the emphasis which online casinos in the UK are placing on online marketing is steadily increasing.
Moreover, promoting casinos in the online space is tougher than many other industries; pay-per-click (PPC) costs are high, search engine optimisation (SEO) is hugely competitive and other traditional marketing channels like PR are notoriously difficult to navigate.
Perhaps the most commonly used route of marketing to increase their customer-base when it comes to online casinos is the affiliate marketing model. Uniquely in the casino space, when it comes to affiliate marketing, marketers are more willing than in most other industries to work on a pure commission basis. This is partly due to the potential money to be made as a casino affiliate and partially due to the risk taken by casino operators.
Excitingly for online and digital marketers interested in getting into the casino space, it is not just small brands who are willing to work on an affiliate basis. The likes of Betway, William Hill, Spinland and many other well-known casino operators all have affiliate models which can be profitable.
Why are casino affiliates so sought after online?
Pay-Per-Click Marketing for Online Casinos
Pay-per-Click (PPC) marketing can, at the best of times prove quite costly for any business. The basic premise of this type of marketing is that Google and other search engines (such as Bing, Baidoo and Yahoo) offer ‘premium’ positions on their search engines. These positions are the first any online search will offer us to users. Hence, the more popular the search terms and keywords ‘bid’ upon, the higher the bidding price will be.
When it comes to casinos, PPC bidding costs are some of the highest to be found anywhere on the internet. Online casinos, gambling and gaming is not unique in having expensive bidding costs though. For example, the payday and short term loans industry in the UK, although tightly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), also has high costs associated with any search terms of real value to a business in that online space.
Hence, for those companies, marketers and affiliates who do not have initial funding or investment, it is simply not a sustainable business model to market purely via PPC channels.
It should be stated that PPC and paid advertising can, when implemented and optimised properly, drive very high-quality users and players which in turn can provide healthy profits for all involved in the marketing process.
Search Engine Optimisation for Online Casinos
SEO is arguably the online marketing technique which all businesses, brands, affiliates and marketers want a piece of. Also known as ‘organic’ traffic, SEO users are time and time again, proven to be the most engaged, most relevant and most sought-after audiences anywhere on the internet.
What Makes Organic Users So Valuable to Casinos Online?
When dealing with online casinos and players of online betting and casinos, they are already looking for what many casino sites offer. Consequently, so long as you can put a decent offering in front of the users in question, they are more likely than with any other channel to engage with your site.
For example, some of the highest value players in online casinos and gambling are those known as ‘VIP players.’ These players spend big and are usually more experienced and better engaged players. Hence, every online casino wants to capture these players. However, being savvy enough online means that they will be aware of the positions in the ‘premium’ spots, paid for in the case of PPC. They will therefore, as with many other users, scroll past the few ‘sponsored’ positions to the organic results which are more trusted.
Because organic users, particularly in the case of casinos online always prove to be more engaged and of the best quality, more and more casino operators are turning to using SEO affiliates. This works by the affiliate marketer(s) getting a website or sometimes multiple websites higher up search results. Then, as with all affiliate marketing, as users click through from the affiliate to the operator and sign up and play, the affiliate gets a percentage from the operator.
How Does SEO Work in Online Casinos?
SEO is more of a science than an artform. Therefore, there is no tried and tested methodology when it comes to what does and doesn’t work in the casino industry online. However, as with other industries, there are factors which every online marketer, affiliate and SEO marketer should take into account when it comes to the online casino space:
- How Easily is the Site Crawled? – If search engines have any difficulty in crawling [reading and understanding] your website and its offering, you will not perform well. So stiff is the competition in the casino space that this is an essential starting component of any website
- What is Your Site Actually Providing? – Is your site an affiliate site, an operator site, or a casino information site? Depending on the exact angle of your site, you will need to make sure the offering is clear to users; if it is not clear to the users it will not be clear to the search engine algorithms that will be determining your online fate
- Website Performance – Website speed and performance are some of the most important SEO factors for casinos. Players of games like roulette, blackjack, Baccarat and all others will not entertain the idea of waiting around whilst a site loads slowly. It is crucial that everything necessary is offered up as soon as possible to users for a seamless user experience
- Mobile First – It is common knowledge in the SEO world that Google now ranks mobile versions of websites before it does the desktop versions. Although sites without mobile sites are not penalised, those with well-optimised and well performing mobile sites are more heavily rewarded. Furthermore, with more users of the internet than ever using mobile and tablet devices, ensuring your mobile website performs perfectly allows Google, other search engines and users alike to appreciate the site in its entirety
- Review Your Casinos – Online casino players tend to veer towards casino reviews online. This is in large part because players are eager to understand how the affiliate rates their operators. Reviews are also a very good way to rank for some of your provider and operators’ brand terms. For example, a Casumo Casino review, may end up ranking the affiliate site for terms associated with the well-known online casino, Casumo, allowing affiliates to cash in on the brand as well as the ‘generic’ traffic
Why Are Online Casino Users So Valuable For Affiliates?
In many industries, affiliate marketing is used to drive relevant traffic but is not given the same level of respect and importance it is afforded in casinos and online gambling. There is no specific reason for this, but the likely reasons include the very nature of how affiliates work in online casinos and the value of players who play and gamble online.
Unlike in other industries where affiliates are simply paid per lead at a very low rate, in general, casino operators pay for the lifetime value of an affiliate-driven player. This means that if the player stays with the operator in question for longer, the affiliate(s) continue to make residual income from the same player. Multiply this by hundreds or thousands of players, and affiliates can pocket a tidy profit.
Another potential reason for the aggressive use of affiliate marketing in online gambling is that players of online casino games like poker, blackjack, keno and indeed others, are often a more captive audience than in other industries; they are more hooked to their game than say a payday customer to their loan.
Whereas in other industries an affiliate may drive users who make one or perhaps two time purchases, gambling and playing at a casino online, is a lot more captivating than taking out an insurance policy or signing up to an accounting software package…and it probably always will be.