Because of mass penetration of mobile phones and also its popularity in major markets like United States, iGaming or online gambling was having a great growth in 2019, but with the start of 2020 and especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a huge demand increase of iGaming and online gambling services.
Marketing is the backbone of iGaming, especially in the B2C sectors where competition is high. The controlled sectors are all fully saturated, supplying buyers with a plethora of options. Faced with a daunting challenge ahead of them in the customer acquisition, new iGaming businesses have to focus primarily on numerous online / offline channels.
Importance of iGaming Marketing Regulations
Gambling is a very delicate topic with very unpleasant implications in several countries around the world. Offline advertising is specifically banned in many countries. In uncontrolled markets in particular, governments commonly prohibit access to offline marketing channels such as TV and publications for iGaming firms.
Except in digital advertisement, lack of enforcement typically meant limited access to sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and most notably, paid advertisements on search engines such as google.
Regulations offer much-needed transparency and credibility to the marketing world of iGaming. Entry to various networks is made easier after the legalization and control of iGaming in the industry. The United Kingdom is a very good example of this trend in action.
Different Customer Acquisition Channels for iGaming Startups
Now let’s analyze the four key sources of customer acquisition for B2C online gambling and iGaming start-ups and how they work in controlled and uncontrolled markets:
Many of the online casino and betting companies provide affiliate marketing services. Websites specialized in online betting reviews and related areas are participating in these initiatives and support these iGaming companies in exchange for the commission.
There are various perspectives on the affiliate channel. Some pages offer reviews of casinos, some others provide links to bonuses offered by casinos, and last but not least are partners that provide free play variations of the available slots for real cash play at the real casino.
Affiliate marketing is very useful for targeting unregulated sectors and those that prohibit access to other channels such as offline TV advertising and Google ads. Their productivity and Return on investment are higher in these areas and marginally lower in regulated markets.
Small companies and start-ups are most likely to benefit from affiliate marketing because of the budget factor. Huge deep pocket companies can manage more lucrative customer acquisition channels, namely sponsorships by sports clubs, for instance. As a more inexpensive and versatile alternative, affiliate marketing is more effective.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Almost all online companies invest at least a small portion of their marketing budget on search engine optimization. As one of the biggest digital marketing techniques in existence, Search Engine Optimization is all about getting visitors to the website.
For iGaming firms, SEO helps to get better scores on Google as well as other search engine pages, attracting potential users to the website. While a common alternative in regions where iGaming advertisements are forbidden on Google, Search Engine Optimization success depends on a variety of other factors.
If there are many competing companies, especially those with large marketing budgets, they will control the heavily contested keywords. This used to be such a problem in iGaming, in which the set of target keywords or phrases is quite small.
With the development and progress of Google search algorithms, organic search outcomes have been increasingly significant in recent times. Using strategically located blog articles and organic backlinks, even minor iGaming startups will obtain online exposure in intensely competitive regulated markets.
For iGaming sector in 2020, media buying will include both offline and online customer acquisition channels. Unlike Affiliate Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, media buying is typically a more passive method of customer acquisition. It’s all about increasing awareness for your brand on a demographic target, via TV advertising or online channels such as blogs and social media.
In controlled markets for iGaming, both online and offline forms of media buying are really an option. Gambling-related advertisements are also specifically off-limits for TV platforms and social media in many countries.
However, in countries like the United Kingdom, advertisements can be put on TV, according to certain stringent timing laws. The concern with offline advertising is always the expense involved – you need a reasonably large advertising budget and some great branding strategies to make it a feasible choice.
Online is a much more accessible alternative, especially for companies in the B2C markets. Youtube channels and Twitch accounts of the influencers are all fantastic choices, but they can come under the jurisdiction of the PPC (described below) based on how the payment system is organized.
Some people confuse PPC with online media purchasing. In the latter case, you pay upfront for the placement of the advertisement, irrespective of how many customers you buy. In pay per click ads, the compensation of the website that shows your ad / link is calculated by the real number of users who come to your site upon clicking on the advertisement.
That would be a more proactive and results-driven strategy of the customer acquisition. In comparison to media buying, it may also focus more on the unique demographics of prospective customers. Google ads are by far the most popular example of PPCs that are readily accessible online.
And much as media buying, PPC advertisements are still subject to gambling laws. In iGaming-friendly markets, PPC are a very successful way to draw consumers without joining the SEO rat race for startups.