YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR AFFILIATE MANAGER


Just how are the dynamics between sportsbetting affiliates and their affiliate mangers different or unique in comparison to other gaming verticals? Jonathan Chapman, Sportsbook Affiliate Manager at Ladbrokes, explores.


I FIRMLY BELIEVE the dynamics between sportsbook affiliates and their affiliate managers are very different from those in other products. This is primarily in respect ofhow the products work and, then, the diversity of the events in the product calendar. On a basic level all the relationships are the same across all verticals; the affiliate manager is there to support the activities of the affiliate base. As we know, it's the effectiveness of the operator in providing these basic services that allows the dynamics of the relationship to grow.

"The event calendar for a sportsbook affiliate is set in stone usually months, if not sometimes years, in advance. This enables the affiliate and the affiliate manager to have long lead times to the next big event"


These basic tasks shouldn't be hard to achieve with the necessary resources in place. I won't go in to them in too much detail, but the one key service an affiliate manager should be providing is an open corrrmunication channel. This sector of the industry is unique as, usually, you will have to deal with a network or an agency/ network combination, unless you are a "super affiliate', of course (tongue in cheek). The communication is, therefore, only as good as the service level and quality of that provider. However, this sector allows affiliates to talk to the operator directly, something I believe is key, and if for any reason this isn't happening then you need to ask yourself why.

Direct communication to your affiliate manager, and vice versa to your affiliate base, is crucial to the success of any affiliate program. The affiliate manager should have an open dialogue with all their affiliate partners and both sides should be using this to mutual benefit.

Uniqueness

There are certainly manyunique differences between the relationship between sportsbook affiliates and their affiliate manager compared to other verticals. I think the role of the affiliate manager changes slightly; still providing the same basic services, but the sportsbook affiliate campaign calendar enables the dialogue to be a lot more defined and focused. The event calendar for a sportsbook affiliate is set in stone usually months, if not sometimes years, in advance. Sporting events like the FA Cup Final, World Cup Finals and the Grand National are always going to happen. This enables the affiliate and the affiliate manager to have long lead times to the next big event. This is somewhat different from other products.

Sportsbook affiliates are, therefore, capable of building bespoke niche event sites with large amounts of content in place to capture key traffic determined on certain keywords they have mined. The affiliate can then, well ahead of time, be talking to the operators about bespoke deals, placements and providing relevant content for the site. It's having the time to build these event-based niche sites, writing content for them and working closely with the sportsbook affiliate manager on this standalone project that is the key uniqueness, in my experience. As a sportsbook affiliate manager, meeting affiliates, brainstorming ideas, brokering deals, providing unique content and, ultimately, enjoying the wins and learning from the losses is where the differences from the other verticals originate.

Organic ranking

A key element for the success of niche sites will be giving the site the best possible chance of ranking in the search engines' organic results, unless you have money to burn in paid placements, of course. Let's assume you have your strong URL, list of keywords you will be optimising the site around and a back-linking strategy in place. You still need to remember that without relevant content, the site won't rank. As we've seen recently with the movements of one rather large search engine, maybe the only search engine you should be optimising for, content is still very much king, but it must be relevant, up-to-date and not farmed.

Overall, the more interesting and useful the content a website has, the more successful it will be. This is because more people will want to visit it again and again, and this is especially true if a website is constantly adding more and more content on a regular basis - be it articles, tutorials, news and opinion, etc. Keep it fresh and keep it relevant. The big 'G' will score you more favourably and, ultimately, it will help you in climbing the rankings. This is very much where the operator comes in. They should be pushing this content to you anyway. If you're building a site way in advance of the event, they should be able to help and they will probably have more insight to key events on the whole.

It's good to talk

As I've discussed, it's important that operators work closely with their affiliates and remain proactive in providing the basic services that will build a successful program for all parties. As we've seen with 'Black Friday', the industry changes fast and open communication channels between the operator and the affiliate is vital. The subtle differences between the verticals can then be explored, ultimately driving the sportsbook market forward.
 
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