Being a part of the gambling industry, betting is so popular to press luck in the field of your passion. Many people use betting to experience the thrill of joy and victory. The betting industry is continuously growing; a pandemic 2021 year gave it a new burst as people were locked home.
Following global market trends, marketers just couldn’t miss a chance to capitalize and benefit from a booming market — why not to have a piece of cake from the sports business. In 2019 the global sports betting industry was estimated at around 216 billion U.S. dollars; in 2022, sports betting revenue in the United States is forecast to reach 2.5 billion U.S. dollars and, by 2025, the number is anticipated to reach eight billion U.S. dollars.
Some gambling platforms offer in-house affiliate programs, so marketers can apply directly. Another option is joining one of the affiliate networks which are intermediaries between advertisers and marketers (publishers). Advertisers and publishers benefit from partnership: betting platforms need traffic while marketers seek a source of income, so affiliates send the most relevant traffic to betting platforms, and betting platforms pay commissions to affiliates.
Definitely, you’ve seen multiple times affiliate campaigns in action: sport news platforms are loaded with sports betting banners, numerous betting tips on sport-related Facebook pages, or basketball-dedicated YouTube channels with links to several betting platforms.
Revenue share (or Revshare). This payment model implies that an affiliate receives a percentage of a platform’s net revenue from a referred client. Depending on the program, the commission usually varies from 25% to 45% as long as a client uses betting services. For example, if you refer 20 people who spend $50 a month on the sports betting platform, and Revshare is 25%, you will earn $250 a month. If you have a list of 50 active referrals that spend a mere $50, you’ll get $625 for simply generating traffic to a betting website. The more your referrals spend, the more you earn.
However, there is one important thing to keep in mind: when clients lose, you win (earn money), but when clients win, you lose. Some platforms apply a ‘no negative rollover’ policy when the negative balance is zeroed at the end of the month. In any case, you have to consider this aspect while selecting an affiliate offer and a payment model.
CPA model (Cost-Per-Action or Cost-Per-Acquisition). This is the most popular and common payment model. Usually, affiliates receive payments for deposits; sometimes there are flexible payments for downloads and registrations too. Rates vary significantly, some sports betting platforms pay up to $50-75 per referral (note that in some cases (platforms that offer high commission rates) you need to fit some requirements, such as minimum deposit from a referral).
Hybrid model. As the name implies, the hybrid payment model represents a combination of CPA and Revshare models. In this case, an affiliate is paid for a deposit (a lower rate than in the CPA model) and for all consequent deposits. Usually, platforms offer $20-$35 CPA + 5-10% Revshare.
Affiliate marketing is all about traffic. Bookmakers provide affiliate programs to keep replenishing their client numbers. Additionally, bookies are in competition as customers drift away continuously. That is why there is no lack of betting affiliate offers. There is an evergreen question on what traffic source is the best. Marketers can’t reach an agreement as the choice of traffic source depends on your resources (whether you have a website/blog, YouTube channels, or social media pages with a loyal audience), experience, and affiliate offer details (some affiliate programs set specific requirements to traffic sources). In fact, all major traffic sources might deliver good results in betting affiliate marketing.
Social media. Despite all difficulties and bans, Facebook and Instagram are major sources of targeted traffic. Facebook’s policy prohibits direct ads related to gambling but there are alternative routes. Ads may lead people to specialized apps or channels (Telegram, YouTube, etc.). Besides, many marketers still use cloaking as a workaround tool. There are affiliate programs that reward affiliates for downloads: you can promote an application, and when people download it you are paid.
Push notifications. Not expensive but an effective traffic source. This is a great choice for betting affiliate campaigns as users receive your ad directly in a user-friendly, native form. Push traffic is more expensive than pop traffic, but the quality of traffic is much better. Yes, you should prepare ad creatives with call-to-action to stimulate high engagement and conversion rates.
Streaming (YouTube, Twitch, etc.) An existing YouTube channel or new channel in the gambling niche is a great source of targeted traffic. Videos can be in the form of video reviews or live streams with affiliate links in descriptions. There are video bloggers with loyal audiences, so you can cooperate with them.
Website/blog. Webmasters can build a new niche website/blog focused on betting and use the platform for the promotion of affiliate offers via banners and affiliate links. This includes betting advice websites and blogs with expert predictions and picks. Of course, you will need targeted content and a well-thought strategy to promote an affiliate offer. The disadvantage is that building a new website and driving traffic to it takes time. Marketers can also make deals with owners of relevant sites with an extensive audience to place their affiliate promo materials.
Pop traffic (pop up & pop-under). Less experienced marketers can use pop traffic as this traffic type is cheap and easy to optimize. There is no need for creatives for this traffic. Betting affiliate offers usually come with landing pages and a variety of promo-materials. Well, there is a lot of junk traffic, but you can make multiple tests as traffic is really inexpensive.
Naturally, GEO is one of the key parameters of ad campaign strategy. You need to figure out where your ads convert better and faster. It is no secret that sports betting is popular all over the world, though there are some peculiarities and restrictions (including state regulations or religious bans) to consider before you run a campaign for a specific GEO.
Tier 1 GEOs traditionally (and betting niche isn’t an exception) include the US, the UK, Canada, Austria, Italy, France, Germany, and some other European countries. Note that e-sports are extremely popular in the U.S.
Tier 2 GEOs include Sweden, Russia, Japan, Poland, South Africa, etc.
Tier 3 GEOs are usually referred to some African countries of the EMEA and the APAC region. Many marketers avoid working with tier 3 countries, but affiliate gurus know well that with the right strategy the affiliate campaign may hit the jackpot.
A recent market research showed the following top GEOs for the sports betting: Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey, Zambia, Brasil, Russia, Mexico, and Indonesia.
To carry out successful ad campaigns you need to know the target audience. Usually, the main clientele for betting is a group aged 25-35. However, usually, people aged 18-45 are responsive to ads related to betting. Thus, while planning ad campaigns, prepare several sets of creatives targeting different age groups, test them and optimize campaigns accordingly.
As for the gender, Statista shows the share of male and female respondents that participate in sports betting in the United States as of February 2020:
As you see, females are also interested in betting. To target a female audience, you can make slight adjustments in creatives and landing pages.
Another interesting aspect of the target audience is income. People with high incomes are less prone to gambling. Actually, the largest betting and gambling audience has low to medium income.
License and security. Some affiliate programs announce very high commissions that are never paid. Therefore, before joining any particular affiliate program ensure that a bookie is licensed to provide betting services. Besides, you can also check reviews of specific platforms on various marketing forums, such as WickedFire, WarriorForum, BlackHatWorld, etc. Note that in some states (regarding the U.S.) sports betting affiliates should be registered or licensed to promote betting affiliate programs.
Decent payments. Undoubtedly, you don’t want to feel on the wrong end, so look for fair compensation.
Major sporting events. This is a way to get tons of traffic in a short time. Big sporting events trigger user interest, be it the World Cup, Wimbledon, Olympic Games, or Tour de France.
Strategy. The strategy includes the choice of traffic channels and instruments, as well as testing and optimization. Never skip testing. Never.
Creatives. High-quality visual and media materials favor a high conversion rate.
We’ve already mentioned that affiliate marketing experts recommend running affiliate campaigns before major sport events. Here is an example of a small campaign linked to the most interesting matches in the English Premier League. Spoiler: The marketer received $335 in a few days with almost no effort.
Affiliate offer: 888Sport
GEO: Great Britain
Traffic: Push notifications
Income: $1 232
The marketer chose push notifications as a relatively inexpensive traffic source. Creatives were quite simple and based on upcoming matches of the English Premier League. Every campaign (for every match) was active for 1-2 days, mostly at the weekends, before upcoming major matches. In fact, the ads were active for 14 days. With almost no effort and an automated campaign, no one will say ‘No’ to $335 in a couple of weekends.
On average, people spend $260 a year on various kinds of gambling, including sports betting. This is a huge niche with unlimited opportunities. Apparently, the betting industry is very competitive but profitable for those who know how to generate and manage traffic. So, give it a try — select an offer to promote, choose a suitable traffic source, test your creatives and run the campaign.