BRAND AWARENESS


The terms 'online casino' and 'brand' have often shared column inches in recent years


The terms 'online casino' and 'brand' have often shared column inches in recent years, but more for the comic book/Hollywood-themed games that suppliers have been busy licensing for their customers But, what about the operators themselves? How important is the power of 'brand' for the affiliates that are acquiring business on their behalf? Joshua Krimberg, Affiliate Manager at AffStars.com, explores the difference between promoting well established casino brands versus their newer counterparts.

BRANDS... THEY ARE everywhere. Their 'personality' gives a product its identity and even leads a consumer into what every marketer dreams of as the 'brand experience' - well, a profitable one at least.

Affiliates, full of eagerness to become tomorrow's super affiliates, are often faced with the challenge of deciding whether to promote well established brands or new ones. This is not a decision that can be taken lightly as it will have a direct impact on an affiliate's ROI, thus, there are a number of considerations for affiliates to take into account when deciding which brands to promote within their portfolio.

Strategic advantage

After looking at all of the brand variables, affiliates must first assess the strategic advantages of promoting their future brands before asking themselves which online casinos and/or products to promote. Initial components to look for include the affihate commission rates and average comission made per sale, who manages me program, if there is a 'micro-niche' offer within the program and whether the brand focuses on offline activities in order to better build awareness (that will help you make me sale). Most importantly, you must ensure you research the technical and organisational factors behind the brand licence software, games offered, etc).

The establishment

Once you have finished your first stage of brand investigation you can then weigh the not-so-obvious advantages and disadvantages of promoting well established casino brands over new ones, or vice versa. The second stage is delving deeper into these pros and cons, and how they can impact on your affiliate pocket.

One clear advantage with established brands is that they may already have developed a strong brand identity -something that will only help to entice new acquisitions. The perks of this identity are that the brand's reliability (for affiliates and the end-user) will not usually be in question and, more importantly, they generally aren't victims of cash flow problems, meaning that you can expect few problems with commission payments.

There is a very significant disadvantage of promoting an established brand, which many affiliates do not take into consideration, and that is that hundreds, possibly even thousands of affiliates will be hitting their list, site and promotional venue with the same value, causing the acquisition channel to become saturated, which will have an adverse impact on conversion rates and, ultimately, an affiliate's profits.

Small change

On the other hand, one of the biggest advantages of promoting a smaller brand is the fact that there is no affiliate saturation and the potential player 'hit list' is much larger, which translates to a larger potential player target audience and, hopefully, larger profits. Newer brands can also be a great place for affiliates (particularly newer affiliates) to get their 'foot in the door' and grow together with the brand, building a strong and mutually beneficial business partnership.

There are disadvantages to promoting new brands that cannot be overlooked, usually being in the form of financial issues such as cash flow, late affiliate payments and overall lack of organisational infrastructure (relative to the level of an established brand). Another problem is that some new brands may be running a non-managed service whereby they run their own customer support. This means that it is a new and inexperienced support network that hasn't had the benefit of years of fine tuning in squeezing player revenue.

Regardless of choice, affiliates really have to research which brands they add into their portfolio as making the right choice can really add that extra bang to their portfolio. This means more than adding brands because of hearsay; it means performing the proper due diligence, speaking to the affiliate managers and affiliates behind the brands, and, most importantly, researching the brand as a consumer in order to understand the user experience (by checking out the download speed, the registration funnel, the customer service and brand offering) while calculating if the brand in question fits in with both the market and vertical demographic that the affiliate is acquiring players from.
 
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