Top Partner Marketing Strategies for iGaming

Jonatan Parski CEO

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Top Partner Marketing Strategies for iGaming

“No man is an island.” The old saying comes from the English author John Donne from the 17th century. It means no one is self-sufficient; everybody needs somebody. The same principle stands in business, even more so in industries that rely on partner marketing. Finding the right partners to reach a larger audience is vital. So, the development of more collaborative strategies in the online gambling industry isn’t surprising.

The iGaming industry is all about competition. Yet, not all brands are competing against each other. Partnerships help brands go further, reach new audiences and break new ground. An online gambling business might need partners for many different reasons. 

In this article, we’ll talk about the best partner marketing strategies today and their relevance in the gambling industry. Also, we’ll explain how iGaming companies are stepping up their game by using partner marketing strategies.

The Global Landscape

The online gaming sector is massive and continually growing. It encompasses several industries like IT, marketing, e-commerce, and fintech. The global market size of the iGaming industry was valued at $63.53 billion in 2022, with growing prospects until 2030. In the United States, gambling apps and casinos generated revenue above $54 billion.

There are many reasons behind the expansion of this market. The increased access to mobile technology is one of the factors. Over 80% of the global population have smartphones with 4G connection. It means a huge potential market for online gambling operators and related businesses. Even more so if we consider that 5G widespread coverage is around the corner.

Also, more countries are passing friendly laws towards online gambling. This situation opens new opportunities in regions once opposed to online gambling. It’s an auspicious period for the online gambling industry, and innovative new trends are rising up to further shape the sector.

The Role of Influencers in the iGaming Business

The rise of social media has affected the online business world deeply. The online gaming market isn’t an exception. Social media advertising has the power to speak to interested audiences. Often influencers are used for the task. Influencers are like online celebrities with scores of enthusiastic followers. Their popularity turns them into strategic allies. In partner marketing strategies, they play the role of affiliates.

Consider influencers like Lady Luck, Payne Insider, and Vegas Low Roller. They attract hundreds of thousands of followers to their content. It means they would be highly valuable affiliates for iGaming companies.

About half of the audience following a Super Bowl game watches half-time ads. That’s a much larger number than most affiliates could ever reach. Yet, how many people with their TVs on during half-time ads are actually paying attention?

Not by chance, influencer marketing is considered to give a higher ROI (return on investment) than more traditional methods, according to 60% of marketers. It’s also one of the best options in the toolbox of marketing affiliates. 

Social media has a significant role in online gambling, and it’s particularly effective in reaching younger audiences. Undeniably, influencer marketing has a crucial role in this success among young players. 

Paying Attention

Online gambling companies have already realized that Gen Zers and Millennials are less interested in online slots and other games of chance than older generations. Instead, they prefer skill-based games, where their abilities matter. Sports betting is also quite popular among this audience.

This trend is also affecting land-based casinos. Some of them are replacing the old slot machines with next-generation consoles. The increasing presence of online gaming brands in social media is also part of the attempt to reach younger audiences where they are.

Best Partner Marketing Strategies

Simply put, partner marketing is when two or more businesses collaborate in marketing campaigns. Also called partnership marketing, it can happen between companies and celebrities or public figures as well. Partner marketing is a rising trend across several industries. Online gambling sites can benefit in very clever ways.

There are many reasons to resort to partner marketing strategies. It can increase brand awareness in different demographic groups. It also helps to enter new regions and bring in new customers. 

Involving affiliates in partnership marketing campaigns is prevalent among iGaming companies. You’ve probably seen it already. Celebrities advertise online casinos, athletes advertise sportsbooks, and brands sponsor teams and events. Here are some of the most popular and trendy partner marketing strategies for 2023. 

Marketing of Affiliates

Social media has opened an entirely new field: affiliate marketing. Some affiliates are very popular influencers in their niches. Affiliates can be individuals or companies. Companies usually have marketing teams working on them, and since they invest more, their share also tends to be higher.

They don’t always speak to large audiences if we consider traditional marketing campaigns. Still, they speak for very specific and attentive audiences. So their message is less likely to become white noise, as it would on radio or TV, for instance. There are countless social media celebrities trying new online casino games. They teach strategies for different games or broadcast their own games. They do all that while advertising a brand or product, which makes affiliate marketing a worthwhile strategy for most industries.

There are also ambassador programs, which are improved versions of the marketing of affiliates. Ambassadors usually have a closer relationship with the brands they advertise. Ambassadors tend to be actual celebrities. That’s why online casinos and sportsbooks often associate their faces with the brand. It contributes to the uniqueness of the brand since clients will remember a recognizable face every time they hear or think about that brand. 

Referral Marketing

Here’s another top partner marketing strategy. This kind of partner marketing involves businesses referring each other to their own customers. The logic is that loyal clients from one company are more likely to visit and try products from the other.

It happens because the reference comes from a brand they trust. It’s also considered referral marketing when affiliate partners generate traffic for their brands. Affiliates can do so by advertising or placing links on their pages, leading back to their brand’s page. 

In the iGaming industry, this kind of partner marketing can include refer-a-friend programs. Gamified referral programs are becoming more common, as they motivate players by adding different challenges and rewards to the mix. Referral marketing has also come to the attention of iGaming companies for negative reasons, though. 

According to Statista, frauds in affiliates and referrals represented nearly 20% of e-commerce frauds worldwide in 2021. For this reason, many iGaming companies avoid offering cash bonuses, offering free games and other rewards instead. 

Brand-to-Brand Partnerships

This is one of the hottest partner marketing trends. Here, different brands join efforts to attract new audiences. Brand-to-brand partnership marketing is different from business-to-business partnership (B2B). Naturally, this kind of strategic collaboration is only possible between non-competing brands. 

The successful cases of this kind of partnership marketing are many. For instance, a Fortnite all-female team was born from the partnership between Bumble, a dating app, and Gen.G, a multinational eSports brand. Another example is Lenovo sponsoring a professional team of seniors for CS: GO, showing that tech fun is also for the elderly. 

Brand Licensing

Brand licensing isn’t new for video games. Maybe, you’re old enough to remember Jumanji on Super Nintendo. There were also those FIFA games with square graphics and cheap sound effects. Yet, they used real teams and real players’ names. This concept has also been applied to the online gambling industry. Also, it’s been expanded to movies, other video games, and even music bands. 

You can find plenty of examples of partnership marketing like that in slots. You’ll find successes like Narcos, The Walking Dead, and Star Wars; the list is endless. Brand licensing marketing partnerships aim to bring fanbases into the game. For this reason, it counts on high brand awareness from the start. 

Product Placement

This kind of partner marketing advertises products and brands indirectly. In-game ads are a common example of this strategy. In-game ads don’t disturb the gameplay and still manage to get the message across. Fortnite is a fantastic example of effective product placement. 

Fashion companies like Nike and Louis Vuitton have developed items to be purchased and used in-game. The game has even hosted a live concert by DJ Marshmello. Fortnite was nominated by Polygon as the best platform to promote a product. 

Business-to-Business (B2B)

There are many companies focused on developing B2B solutions for online gambling brands. Typical solutions include software aggregation, licensing, white-label platforms, and cryptocurrencies. Pretty much anything a gambling site could need software-wise involves B2B solutions. 

There are also companies specialized in adapting gambling sites, making them compliant with local regulations. B2B partnership marketing can also involve the development of bespoke bonus structures. Some of the main names in this industry are Playtech, Slotegrator, and 7777 Gaming, among others. 

B2B strategies are also often used by the iGaming industry to work around local regulations. Such partnerships help online gambling platforms access new markets despite local licensing processes. Recently, the British company, Entain, purchased a Dutch operator, BetCity, for €450 million. This move gave Entain access to the Dutch market. 

Joint Ventures

A foreign iGaming business can partner up with a local one for its deep market understanding. It can also help those companies to enjoy the brand awareness of locally popular brands. So, it’s quite an effective strategy for entering new markets. 

When the Malta-licensed iGaming company, Wunderino, entered the German market with its own name, it struggled with local regulations and conversion rates. The solution came from a tech startup, Regily. Regily helped Wunderino adapt to local regulations and marketing demands. 

The Future of Partnership Marketing

Online gambling is a well-established and regulated market in the EU and North America. Still, there’s a lot of room for expansion. There are thousands of online gambling sites operating worldwide today. Finding the right business partners can be a key factor to success. 

The choice of words matters a lot here. When we use the word “partner” instead of the term “employee”(or, in some cases, “provider”), there’s a deeper commitment implied for all parties involved. It can be very profitable for affiliate partners. However, affiliate marketing is a sure win for online gambling companies. 

Do you remember those days when the internet was so sluggish that songs had to be downloaded overnight? Influencer marketing simply wouldn’t be possible back then. Not only because social media platforms weren’t as interactive as they are today. It’s also because it would be impossible to upload so many videos and pictures – and even less so – live streaming gaming sessions. 

Now, we have a much superior internet, 4G. It’s 500x faster than 3G, without which live dealer casino games and live sports betting wouldn’t be possible. However, 5G coverage is expanding and is 100x faster than 4G. Several tech specialists talk about a “new industrial revolution” while talking about 5G. However, the actual potential of this technology is yet to be discovered. 

Conclusion

We can surely expect more complex and immersive games. Also, new technologies will likely come with more interactive and refined marketing strategies. Partnering up with big techs and local brands seems to be the way forward for iGaming companies. 

We’re likely to see new business opportunities coming up, just like it happened in the transition between 3G and 4G internet connections. Partner marketing isn’t an exclusive concept for the iGaming industry. Several other industries use similar strategies to reach their target audience. They include food and beverage, software providers, fashion, sports gear, and more. 

A licensing partnership can increase brand awareness. It can also help iGaming businesses navigate regulatory issues. Companies with different expertise can work together toward common goals in many ways. Internet gambling companies can hardly survive as standalone businesses these days.

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Chantelle

Chantelle started her career in IT before eventually finding her way into Marketing. This eventually became her passion, along with Digital Marketing, SEO, and Brand and Web Development. Today, she helps businesses find their voice and grow online.

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