Online money making demands not less, and sometimes even more work than any other business not directly related to the Internet. The phrase "make money online" has already become a cliché, but let’s run it down — we live in the digital era that brings us more opportunities and allows earning from the comfort of the home. Actually, comfort doesn’t mean less work.
So, if you’re seriously into online business and ready to invest some time and money, this post might be useful. It’s not about ‘how to make $10 000 in 3 days with no investments’. It’s about knowledge, instruments, and tools you need to make business as a betting affiliate. Yes, it’s a business.
Simply put, betting platforms need more clients, they pay affiliates for driving traffic to their websites. In other words, you’re paid for new customers. One of the best aspects of betting affiliate programs is that you do not sell any products or services, you just advertise the services. However, in the gambling vertical the stakes are pretty high, and with no sales, you’re still able to make quite an impressive amount.
When we talk about the sports industry we mean billions of dollars. There is no secret that sportsmen are quite wealthy; for instance, recently Ronaldo has become "football's first $1 billion footballer". Sport never comes out of fashion; it’s not related to a specific age group or a gender, it is always a hot trend, and so does sports betting.
We love numbers and prefer accurate statistics: an average person spends $250 yearly on various gambling activities. The betting industry is estimated at around $225 billion per year. This is more than New Zealand’s GDP. According to Statista, almost 50% of the US population of 18+ is involved in some kind of sports betting.
Sports betting is available for so many kinds of sport, with the most popular being football, boxing, basketball, hockey, tennis, and wrestling. Therefore, sports betting affiliate programs will always find their audience. In other words, the sports betting affiliate industry is full of multiple opportunities.
This case study is dated 2018, but it represents a clear idea of making money on sports-event betting. The match between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor was a long-awaited event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). It was held on October 6, 2018, in the US (Nevada). The match became a headline in all media sources and attracted unprecedented attention, especially in Russia, which is a home country of Khabib (this fact explains the choice of GEO).
Some information for those who don’t follow the UFC events: this match "set the record for the highest ever mixed martial arts attendance and live gate in Nevada…, set the record for the biggest MMA pay-per-view event, with 2.4 million buys in the United States…, and set the viewership record in Russia for the country’s most-watched MMA event".
Offer: Pin-up bet from Pin-up Partners
Period: October 4, 2018 – October 6, 2018
GEO: Russia, Ukraine
The traffic was generated a couple of days before the match and during the match. There were 2 campaigns: mobile and desktop. For sure, all creatives were designed in Russian and Ukrainian languages. One of the best-working creatives you see below.
Here: “Bonus 25 000 rubles! Place a bet!”
And the example of the landing page:
Now, some stats from PropellerAds:
The profit was $122, not that much but it was a test campaign (3 days) for a marketer who worked with sports betting for the first time.
The majority of betting affiliate programs offers four types of commission plans:
Initially, numbers seem not to be impressive, but with hybrid and Revshare plans you earn on your players’ activity for life. Add here some really high-rollers and gamblers, who play high stakes, so your affiliate account is topped up regularly. If you stick with this vertical long enough, you’ll be making an impressive amount of money eventually. The point is that some marketers quit this vertical too quickly because they have to compete with numerous affiliates, and it takes time to find a working combo of a traffic source, landing, and prelanders. Those who don’t give up at once are usually paid off for their efforts and patience.
One aspect of affiliate betting programs should be discussed separately because it markedly affects your commission. Yes, it is a negative rollover.
Negative rollover means a negative commission value at the end of a month. As you should know already, as an affiliate you (and the betting platform itself) earn, when players lose, but you lose, when players win. In case a referred client is so professional and experienced that wins almost all bets you might land with a negative balance at the end of the month.
The ‘no negative rollover’ policy refers to the cancellation of the negative balance at the end of each given month. Hence, affiliates can earn commissions the following month without paying back the previous losses. As of now, the negative rollover issue is the subject of contention in the industry because it seriously impacts affiliate commissions and distribution of player’s profit. A very lucky player may cancel income for the next consecutive months for an affiliate if the company doesn’t apply the "no negative rollover" rule.
That is why affiliates prefer working with affiliate programs with ‘no negative rollover’ policy. Even if a company features "no negative rollover", it is highly recommended to check the conditions under which the policy is applied: only high-rollers or all players. So, make sure that there are no unpleasant surprises.
Most affiliate programs provide detailed statistics with daily (in some cases hourly or even real-time) updates. To track the number of referrals you just enter your cabinet which opens access to the data: not only the number of clicks but also deposits, losses, and wins. The same chart automatically counts your commission.
Payouts are performed monthly in most cases with no need to send an invoice. Naturally, betting companies offer several e-payment systems, bank wire, and credit cards as methods of payment. Actually, you enter all payment method details during the registration process.
So, you have decided to become a sports betting affiliate. Where and how to begin? The process includes the following steps:
Besides, you consider the reliability and popularity of the brand, a commission rate, traffic and GEO restrictions, and a set of promotional materials.
Other features of good offers: a mobile version of the platform (handy to play anytime and anywhere); simple registration for the newcomers; easy-to-use and with no glitches platform; bonuses (only real ones).
Let’s give a look at the financial side of betting offers. Besides the commission plan (Revshare, CPA, or hybrid), you’d better also check commissions for withdrawals (only a few platforms apply commission, but it is always recommended to make sure in advance), the minimum amount for withdrawals, and a holding period (withdrawals by request or monthly).
The next step is to pick out several of the most appealing offers and to compare them to define the best one. We recommend using some online services to figure out what offer is the best. If you’ve never used Offervault, give it a try. To compare several offers you might like visiting affiliate networks, like Casino Affiliate Programs, Gaming Affiliates Guide, or any other, which provide numerous affiliate betting offers.
The huge advantage of the betting vertical is that some sports events attract so much attention all over the world; therefore, betting on sports events jumps in numbers as well. Actually, experienced marketers prefer working with event traffic. People show a much greater interest in some major sports events, such as Champions League finals, any kind of World Cups, Wimbledon or US Open championships, etc.
During these periods affiliates can significantly increase their income by driving “hot” traffic. However, you have to keep in mind that betting is considered a gambling activity in some countries, so betting ad campaigns might be banned. Thus, check-up regulations and legislation before GEO selection. Betting programs have an indisputable advantage in comparison with affiliate programs in other verticals – they accept various traffic sources, including websites, social media, contextual advertising, app stores, push networks, etc.
It’s always quite challenging to select a traffic source that matches your campaign. There is no perfect solution for this task; the decision depends on your experience, available resources (i.e. an existing blog/website or a YouTube channel), and offer details (some advertisers implement restrictions on traffic sources).
The comforting idea is having a gambling-oriented website or a blog. Another option – to create a new one. Here you are to consider the guiding theme of the platform and the direction you’re going to work on: reviews of betting platforms, betting advice, or whatever else. The major advantage of running your own blog is in cost-efficiency of the traffic. Native ads work pretty well (maybe because they do not look like ads but as recommendations). A website works for your round-the-clock.
Google permits betting ads if they are compliant with local regulations. There is another option for marketers without their own blogs. They can use various content websites without ads of betting services and agree with owners to place banners, reviews with affiliate links (fees depend on the popularity of a platform.) Sport-oriented websites with heavy traffic are very efficient in terms of traffic with pretty good conversion up to 8%.
The main platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Despite some restrictions applied to gambling ads, many marketers succeed to get high-quality intensive traffic that converts well. Both existing and newly created personal pages and some communities can be used for hidden promotion of betting, like announcements of large events, sports forecasts, reviews, and analysis of matches. Or, you can tweet some tips and odds related to a sports event with an affiliate link attached to it.
This traffic source is capable of generating quite impressive traffic if used properly. Again, you can promote the offer via your own YouTube channel or enter into a partnership with a popular YouTuber (granted that his channel is related to sports activity). Videos with tips on sports betting, results, and earnings on betting, reviews of some major competitions along with proper use of SEO will attract the targeted audience, which you can redirect to the betting site.
One of the recent trends in betting affiliate marketing due to numerous restrictions and bans in the gambling industry. Ok, this is not really a traffic source, rather a method of traffic conversion for social media traffic. You promote an app (mobile version of a gambling platform) through Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and users sign-up to a platform via an app. As a bonus for you, push notifications might serve as a reminder to the user not to forget about the app.
You can refer traffic from Facebook/Instagram to your Telegram channel and then — to the landing page; one more option is buying posts on existing and popular entertainment channels.
Relatively inexpensive and doesn’t need cloaking. Creatives are necessary, but in exchange for investments, you get high-quality traffic.
The same situation as with pushes, inexpensive traffic but with junk included; ROI can be still surprisingly high. Among other advantages of pop ads, we can specify: no need in creatives; easy to optimize; no specific need in prelanders or you may use your own.
Let’s state the obvious: mobile traffic reins. Several studies have confirmed this fact; just give a look at mobile traffic stats from Statista or Newzoo. As for gambling in general and sports betting in particular, mobile traffic is not only predominant but trending too. Pop ads and push notifications are widely used by affiliate marketers to promote betting offers.
By the way, new traffic sources favored the spike in the popularity of betting affiliate programs. Besides, that betting is seasonal, it also has its own “high peaks” (true to all gambling activities): in spring and summer during weekdays the activity is high, while on weekends it’s low; the opposite situation is in winter — during weekdays users’ activity is low, while on weekends it jumps high. Keep the data in mind especially for paid ads.
One more option to consider is GEO. Actually, in any part of the world, there are people involved or interested in gambling, but you need the largest audience. This makes the difference. Some countries have very strict legislation in the field of gambling (see below); in other countries, gambling is prohibited by the religion. It turns out that the US audience is very prone to e-sports betting; FR, UK, DE, CA, AU, and IT are active in everything related to sports betting as well. The Middle East and Asia are growing markets with great potential despite some existing regulations that limit gambling activity. Give a look at the casino case study published earlier, where players from Pakistan saved the case for the marketer.
Since the US audience is considered one of the largest in the industry, and the online gambling business is licensed and regulated, affiliate marketers should be aware of some limitations. In many regulated states, sports betting affiliates should be registered and licensed before promoting legal sportsbook companies. Moreover, there are states with laws unfavorable to online gambling operations. In most cases, gambling and betting companies specify all the requirements to affiliates on their platforms. However, there are no requirements to be licensed for the promotion of horse racing betting.
Who should you target? The betting audience consists mainly of men (some women place bets, but not often). The main audience can be divided into two major categories: professionals and beginners. Professional players follow statistics and develop their own betting strategies. Novices are more impulsive; they trust their own intuition and put their faith in luck. New players often consult (and even buy forecasts) and rely on experts’ predictions; they are easily attracted by large sports events, special offers, and bonuses.
When it comes to the creatives, prelanders, and landing pages many marketers get confused. In fact, you shouldn’t be worried. First of all, sports betting offers come with their own landing pages, so marketers just need to use the URL correctly. Second, if you decided to run the campaign with pop ads, you shouldn’t be concerned about creatives as there is no need for them.
Many seasoned marketers recommend using prelanders to keep up the motivation of an audience. Some companies provide affiliates with an array of prelanders, which can be used directly or can be modified. Prelanders indeed are capable of increasing conversion rates significantly.
Below is the list of some ideas that might help conduct a successful ad campaign within the sports betting vertical:
Of course, sports events are seasonal and, consequently, the interest in predictions and reviews spikes before major competitions and events, such as the Olympic Games, World Cups, or any other large tournaments. Following the sports calendar is very beneficial.
The marketer, who has been doing doorways for a long time, got a private betting offer from 3snet. Well, maybe the case isn’t dated 2020 but it is a very indicative example of earning on betting affiliate offers.
Offer: Private betting offer
CPA: First deposit
Period: December 2016 – January 2017
Advertising format: Doorways
Income: $20 020 ($3 955 + $16 065)
Profit: $19 713
The case doesn’t reveal details of creating user-friendly doorways; however, he mentioned several key points:
The main idea of the campaign was warming, not advertising; different solutions were used but the marketer recommended beginning with WmsnDorgen. In fact, WP-doorways work pretty well too. He didn’t disclose (well, we do understand his reasons) the sites (doorways), keys and the offer. However, he revealed the stats for two months of working with the offer:
The difference between December and January is significant. The doorways generated an impressive volume of traffic with 100% approval of all conversions. In the declined column you see only leads because the offer was about the deposit, so leads weren’t paid and were declined automatically by the 3snet system.
Let’s state the obvious — COVID-19 arrived and changed all plans for 2020 sporting activity and events. The international quarantine resulted in the cancellation or delay of all major sports events, including the Olympic Games 2020. However, people didn’t stop betting; there are alternative variants, such as e-sports, gaming, etc.
If you expected sports betting affiliates to redirect to other verticals, you would be mistaken. The most experienced marketers redirected within the vertical, to sub-verticals within the gambling and betting industry. Quarantine and the global lockdown caused a new trend — now e-sports fans got into the focus of affiliates.
Besides regular sports betting, the betting vertical includes fantasy sports, e-sports, etc. Actually, despite the cancellation of live sports events, online sports thrive. It took some time for affiliate marketers to adapt to new circumstances, but now the sports betting step-by-step comes out from the decline.
As of now, the e-sports business is roughly estimated as a $12 billion per year industry (yes, the current economic situation is taken into account). E-sports fill a shortage when live-sports are on hold. What is e-sport? It means live-stream gaming based on advanced technologies. It is a great alternative and a thriving industry with an active audience. Its success is explained by the hype around pro-streamers, who undoubtedly help affiliates to match the trend.
Don’t forget about fantasy sports, another subvertical in the sports betting industry. The lockdown hasn’t influenced this business as it exists in the virtual space only. In case you haven’t heard about fantasy sports, let’s explain what it is. Players create non-existing ‘fantasy’ sports teams and compete for prizes. Though teams are virtual and do not exist, bets are quite real. During the stagnation period, this kind of online entertainment gains popularity attracting more and more new players. As a tennis fan, I followed the virtual tennis tournament with so many active tennis professionals as participants.
Online entertainment attracts not only teenagers with limited pocket resources, but young people aged 27-35 as well. Various streaming resources, such as Facebook Gaming and YouTube, became a ‘hangout’ place for fans.
Here are some recent statistics (dated May 2020) from The State of Esports Betting study carried out by Every Matrix:
In fact, before the intervention of the virus around 15-20% of the profit on an average betting platform was generated by e-sports and fantasy sports (the European market).
Being a Dota 2 player, the marketer has chosen The International 2019 event for a cyber-sports betting offer. Again, it was a test campaign. Before grand events, the number of streamers increases considerably. Around a week before the event, the marketer has collected a database of regular Dota 2 streamers (with a schedule and regular online streaming). Initially, there were 82 streaming channels. Then, the platforms with the negative dynamics and stats spikes were sifted out. The result: 46 channels. Later, he contacted channels for their ad rates and some of them agreed to cooperate.
At the same time, he used Offervault to find cyber-betting offers with a simple interface and fast registration for beginners. So, CyberBet was chosen. The company provided numerous versions of banners to be used for the campaign. First week — 3 streamers, second week — only 1 streamer (the most efficient platform).
Period: August 16, 2019 – August 31, 2019
Earnings: 476,46 Euro
First of all, the leading companies in the betting industry run their own affiliate programs (Bet365, 888sport, Unibet, and so on). Read thoroughly reviews, rankings, and scrutinize all terms of the partnership (commissions, negative rollover, additional conditions, restrictions, and requirements).
Second, there are affiliate networks that lighten the burden of marketers as they provide multiple affiliate programs on a single platform.
Affiliate networks are specialized platforms that serve as mediators between advertisers and affiliates. It is clear, networks are interested in attracting as many advertisers and affiliates as possible. You can find two main types of affiliate networks: multi-vertical and single-vertical.
Some established multi-vertical networks (like MaxBounty, FlexOffers, etc.) offer betting programs, so you might look for an offer on one of the platforms you are already familiar with. Another option is a gambling-oriented affiliate network (for example, Gambling Affiliation and Kindred Affiliates) with a focus on all kinds of gambling programs.
Joining an affiliate network, both multi-vertical and single-vertical, you’ll be assigned an affiliate manager. If you’re lucky, the manager will guide you through offers and assist to optimize your advertising campaigns. Upon registration, every affiliate receives a unique ID for tracking sales on all programs. Similar to in-house programs, the marketer can access his own dashboard to review the results of his campaigns. One of the advantages of joining an affiliate network is the possibility to work with several offers at the same time. Commissions will be collected in a single place and then sent to your account on a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly basis. Besides, many networks motivate their affiliates to generate more traffic and reward them with higher commission rates and other prizes and bonuses.
While choosing an affiliate network consider the following parameters: reputation (including scheduled and regular payouts, responsive support team, and detailed reporting), vendor vetting (no one wants to get involved with scammers and low-quality offers), and the percentage that the network earns (it is up to you to decide whether network’s services are worth the cost; otherwise you’d better look for networks that charge lower percentage).
The battle for getting new players is indeed fierce. So, betting companies favor and support new affiliates, which bring them new users. Some affiliate marketers are specialized in the sports betting industry and run betting campaigns for a full year, carefully selecting sports for a season.
New marketers, who just get to know the affiliate industry, can benefit from training courses provided by seasoned market players. Some of them are free of charge and explain ‘the basics’. Another option is joining specialized forums, such as Warrior Forum and BlackHatWorld. These are virtual places for exchanging experiences, asking questions related to affiliate marketing, and discussing new trends and technologies.
Whether you will work via a network or directly with a bookmaker, the process is quite standard: you have to apply and get approved. In both cases, you should provide some information (business/personal contact information and bank account to receive your commission) to get paid later.
The world of online sports betting has its own updates and transformations. Currently, we witness the boom of cryptocurrency sports (and e-sports) betting. It appears that many cryptocurrency owners are punters as evidenced by the rapid growth of cryptocurrency betting platforms. Maybe you’ve never heard about crypto betting but this branch of the industry is doing well. Cryptocurrency eliminates some problems of many punters from all over the world.
Many sports betting platforms follow the trend and work with cryptocurrencies: they accept bets and provide payouts in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. So, now you got the idea. This not a large but very active crypto-betting audience you can specifically target in your campaigns using custom-made creatives and pre-landers.
Cryptocurrency is adventurous for players. First of all, it allows them to remain anonymous as they don’t need to provide personal details or details of a bank card or an account. Second, cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals are much faster than regular ones.
When we talk about cryptocurrency betting the first thing that comes to your mind is sports betting with cryptocurrency payments. But recently some users are blown away with Bitcoin betting exchanges. Like in the case of a sportsbook, it is a betting platform. The difference is that users can compete with other players.
One bettor sets up a new event and the conditions. He puts down a wager, other bettors have to take up on his wager. Bitcoin betting exchanges offer ‘Back’ and ‘Lay’. When you ‘Back’, so you bet that the outcome will happen; when you ‘Lay’, so you bet that the outcome won’t happen. So, when you ‘Lay’, you bet against those who ‘Back’. Unlike ordinary betting websites, Bitcoin betting exchanges don’t mind if clients win because the results of bets have no effects on the company.
Gambling and betting is a huge vertical with plenty of opportunities for making money. What you see is just the top of an iceberg, look deeper and you’ll discover hidden options to earn your commissions on in-house affiliate programs or via affiliate networks. The ground rule is to adhere to a schedule and implement ideas on time because sports (hence, sports betting) events and competitions are time-limited.
But always remember to test your traffic sources and campaigns through experimenting with combinations of ads and prelanders, follow trends, new methods, and technologies in the online marketing industry. Making passive income as a betting affiliate is an achievable reality.