Industry trends: the importance of affiliates

Player-focused entertainment is an integral part of creating highly popular titles that engage their audiences and in turn, generate providers’ and operators’ revenue. However, the ways in which the general public consume media and seek entertainment have changed dramatically in recent times.


What we have at our disposal today is a far cry from what most imagined, even as recently as 5 or 10 years ago. Of course, this is down to the rapid progression of technology and with it, shifting consumer behaviours.


This is true of many industries, not just within the iGaming ecosystem. We have all witnessed the rise of entertainment on-demand with Netflix and other streaming services replacing traditional television, along with radio and newspapers becoming antiquated for many, compared to podcasts and 24-hour rolling news channels. Add consumers’ changing behaviours throughout the numerous global lockdowns to this and we as an industry, find ourselves at the precipice of sweeping marketing changes that are both highly innovative and lucrative if handled correctly, specifically those of affiliates and other gambling influencers.


A parasocial relationship

Over the past few years, many affiliates and streamers have developed a strong parasocial relationship with their readers and viewers. This relatively new term is defined as “a collective audience coming to feel that they know, familiar celebrities or personalities almost as friends.”


Perhaps this is most obvious when considering why most chat shows have their sets designed like a living room? It encourages these parasocial relationship behaviours and infers to their audience that what they are watching is a conversation amongst friends, with their television being an extension of their own living room.


Mirroring these intimate and dynamic relationships are iGaming streamers and affiliates, many of which are often sat in their bedrooms or living rooms filming streams, encouraging these relationships.


Given that many audience members spend countless hours watching streamers or reading reviews of the very slots that providers create, affiliates are quickly becoming more and more important to providers and operators alike from a marketing standpoint.



Streamers

Gambling streamers and affiliates will play a studio’s games and talk about them regardless of the relationship they have with the creators, many building content from the information provided on an operator’s ‘new’ page. It is inevitable that these gambling influencers will present titles to their highly engaged and easily influenced audience with the limited resources they have to hand.


That being said, it’s more essential than ever that studios leverage both streamers in order to directly tap into their core player base, establishing a key marketing strategy that can prove lucrative when done correctly.


It should be noted that these audience members are actively consuming gambling content and it can therefore be presumed that they are more engaged than casual players. The message is clear – support the influencer and their audience will support you in turn.


Affiliates

Leveraging the power of reviewers and news publishers who generate their income through clicks is also a key part of affiliate marketing. Many informed players want to stay ahead of the curve and will actively read about game launches before a title’s release date to decide whether it is worthy of them spending money.


Additionally, they’ll also use the information to ascertain whether a game is one they’ll enjoy; if its bonus is intriguing and innovative and if it builds on features they liked in other releases. Marketing your upcoming release through a preview, review and final game launch increases the excitement and anticipation for a title’s release window and generates guaranteed engagement during launch.


Influence

The influential power of streamers and affiliates is perhaps demonstrated best when looking at their revenue streams. Many of these influencers generate funds by recommending operators to their audiences to deposit their money with and in turn, receive payment for each individual customer that has joined or a share of a customer’s losses. These affiliate businesses can generate enough income to rival the providers they talk about, and play depending on the size and reach of the streamer’s audience and this reveals the true power that their endorsement carries.


Knowledge is power

If you were to ask players a few years ago to define RTP or variance many would have struggled. However, the increase in the consumption of gambling content has now also created informed customers that understand some of the finer nuances of gambling. They will actively seek operators with a higher RTP and avoid those without.


Today’s savvier players should also be impacting companies’ marketing strategies. They increasingly want to be spoken to as equals, not as a number. Stats such as max wins, RTP and variance should no longer be hidden away at the back of game sheets and can be used as a way of marketing titles.


This was demonstrated by Relax Gaming last year when it released Book of 99 which used its 99% RTP as part of its core gameplay and marketing, which players not only understood but welcomed.


Region Specific Marketing

With opportunities and success only being a webcam and microphone away, the rise of these gambling streamers has gone global. Launching your products in a new region? B2B marketing can make operators and the general industry aware of this but making players aware of your entry into this new market would previously have taken months of building brand awareness, word-of-mouth advertising and media buying.


Now the option is there to build a relationship with an influencer whose audience or they themselves reside within this market and will actively support, play and welcome your games into this new region providing a huge increase in your brand profile.


If you haven’t begun affiliate marketing or have a small contingency as a part of your overall marketing activities, let this be your wake-up call.


The future of marketing is upon us with affiliate marketers and streamers not only changing the landscape of our industry but all industries. Square In The Air has developed an affiliate and streaming platform over many years to bridge the gap between providers and affiliates, making it easier to grow within this highly lucrative part of the industry.


Contact us at enquiries@squareintheair.com to find out more about how we can facilitate your use of affiliate marketing.

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