As Value Marketing enters its third financial year under their new business model, they have already conquered 12 countries. 2020 is going to bring more exciting plans and goals, and the founder, Reza Shojaei, is ready to expand the company’s casino portals across the globe. The journey so far has been interesting and meaningful – and there is more to come.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Reza Shojaei and I am the founder of Value Marketing. I have been an avid poker player for the past 15 years, which is why operating a business in the iGaming market is a great passion of mine.
Value Marketing changed its business model in 2017. It used to operate in the face-to-face sales market. What made you want to switch business models?
Face-to-face marketing was an excellent field to operate in, but it was not really a passion of mine. iGaming is something I really like and playing poker is one of my favorite hobbies. So, when it was time to figure out future plans for Value Marketing, switching to the iGaming market was only natural. Though I am a fan of the market, it was not only a personal choice. We also saw a big problem in the iGaming market that we wanted to solve.
As the market grows more and more every year, new online casinos open constantly, and so do other gambling related companies, like software providers. Competition is wonderful, but sometimes it is hard for players to pick and choose the trustworthy casinos that are also high quality. In fact, starting out in the world of online casinos can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. The mission of Value Marketing was to change that.
So, what does Value Marketing offer its readers that other affiliate sites do not?
The biggest difference between us and many others is that our two brands, CasinoTopp.net and CasinoTop.com only recommend online casinos that are 100 percent safe and secure. Also, we review the casinos honestly and ensure that each review is transparent and thorough. We pick the online casinos that are high-quality and a great choice for players.
In addition, we want to build a big network of casino portals that covers multiple countries globally. Right now, we service 12 countries, but in 2020 the goal is to open more markets. This allows us to provide valuable information for players internationally.
Another thing we do is that we allow our readers to contact us and share their experiences. This is not something that all affiliate sites do.
How do you see the next few years in the iGaming market? Any new trends we should wait for?
The iGaming industry changes all the time and new trends can take over the market very quickly. Recently, pay & play casinos have been a big hit, so we can definitely see more of them. Also, more and more software providers have improved their game selection and especially the graphics are stunning. NetEnt has done excellent job with that for a long time, and we are excited to see what happens in the next couple of years.
In terms of regulations in the iGaming market, we might see some countries relaxing the regulations a bit. Sweden already opened their markets by offering their own license, and we hope that Norway and Finland follow in their footsteps, too. The US opened Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware to online gaming as well, so change is in the air.
Another interesting thing to see is what happens with Brexit. It might also affect the iGaming market a little bit.
What does it take to run a big global iGaming business like Value Market?
It takes a lot of work, honestly. CasinoTop.com services 12 countries so far, and there is more to come. We have multiple copywriters for each country, editors, designers, and developers. We produce new content constantly, as we want to keep our readers up-to-date and stay relevant. Also, as all countries and areas have different regulations, it is important to keep up with all the ever-changing laws and rules. This helps us to give valuable information for our leaders.
Days are sometimes pretty long, as many of our copywriters live in different time zones. But as iGaming is a great passion of mine, I look forward to work every day.
Is Value Marketing going to take on the US market as well?
At the moment, CasinoTop.com services Canada, but we have not entered the US market yet. The biggest reason for this is that in the US, online gaming is not yet allowed in all the states and it is still strictly regulated. Hopefully, in the future, the US will relax their laws more and allow online gaming and we can get our foot in the door, too.
What is Value Market looking to achieve in the next year?
We are looking to improve our existing content and to improve ranking for our current sites and countries. Also, we want to open more markets and extend our network of casino portals. Making new connections and partnerships is important in terms of success and staying relevant, which is what we will also be working for.
What is the key to succeeding in the area of iGaming?
I believe that succeeding in business, no matter the market, the key is putting people first and money second. The bottom line is that when you put people first, money will follow. That is how we look at our business as well, and the main aspect is to put the readers first. As they know they can trust us and communicate with us, they will recommend us and come back to us. Evidently, that will result in profits in our part. But money cannot be the only driving factor, whether we talk about iGaming or anything else.
Catena Media Updates its Financial Targets
Catena Media has updated its long-term financial targets for 2024-26 to reflect a change in revenue streams as the group transitions towards a more sustainable revenue model following the completion of the strategic review in November last year.
The group expects a resumption of organic growth in the second half of 2024 and full-year adjusted EBITDA in the range of EUR 20-30 million as the first operational impacts begin to show from an extensive programme of technology- and data-based investments.
The new targets are:
- Double-digit organic growth in both revenue and adjusted EBITDA for 2025 and 2026 at group level.
- Net interest-bearing debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 0-1.75.
The shift towards a more sustainable revenue model involves recruiting more players via revenue-share agreements with operators compared to cost-per-acquisition (CPA) contracts and implementing a programme of investments in tech and data innovation that is being rolled out in Q1 and Q2 2024.
These investments, planned as a result of the strategic review, will reinvent the group’s core technological focus by strengthening the organisation with new product offerings that prioritise technology, innovation and immersive user experiences. The primary initiatives include investments in artificial intelligence (AI), paid media, sub affiliation and further strategic media partners to broaden audiences and deliver greater value to partners.
Investments into AI include the establishment of a joint venture with a specialist AI partner to develop a generative AI application dedicated exclusively to content production for online betting and casino gaming affiliation. This initiative launched its first minimum viable product (MVP) in February 2024.
AI innovations and other tech-facing enhancements will enable Catena Media to scale the business, develop new revenue streams and generate synergies while also delivering a more personalised user experience as the group positions to become the data- and technology-driven leader of online affiliate marketing in its target sports betting and casino gaming markets.
Affiliate GGR Doubles in 2023: Affilka by SOFTSWISS Recap
Affilka by SOFTSWISS, a leading affiliate management software provider, registers a two-fold increase in affiliate Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) in 2023.
In 2023, Affilka by SOFTSWISS significantly bolstered its reach, welcoming 120 new brands into its partner network, now exceeding 320 brands. Moreover, almost 100,000 new affiliate accounts were registered during the same timeframe, marking a 176% increase over the previous year. The number of new affiliate accounts registered in 2023 represents 43.5% of the total registrations since the platform’s establishment in 2018.
The rise in new affiliate accounts has led to a notable acceleration in new player registrations, exceeding 24 million over the past year. Compared to 2022, this metric has increased around 2.4 times, highlighting the impact of effective affiliate management on success within the iGaming landscape.
In 2023, the number of unique clicks on referral links with Affilka by SOFTSWISS increased notably, jumping 4.4 times compared to 2022. This growth can be credited to the expansion of the affiliate partner network and the improved brands’ capabilities using Affilka by SOFTSWISS.
In the financial review of Affilka by SOFTSWISS, notable growth is evident over the past year. Notably, the player deposit amount surged 2.4 times, the affiliate GGR nearly doubled, and affiliate payments increased by 70%.
Anastasia Borovaya, Head of Affilka by SOFTSWISS, remarks: “Our recent performance boost can be attributed to our robust referral infrastructure, ensuring smooth traffic flow that converts into higher player deposit amounts. We’re seeing an uptick in partner payments because we refined the commission constructor, allowing for more flexibility and customised management of partner rewards.
We invest consistently in innovation and improving user experience in affiliate marketing, recognising its crucial role in iGaming. Our mission is to provide clients with a comprehensive affiliate marketing software solution vital for their operations. We prioritise exceptional service to attract new clients and ensure their continued loyalty.”
In the last quarter of the previous year, the world’s leading agency, Kantar, conducted a customer satisfaction survey for Affilka by SOFTSWISS. The average score obtained was 8.1 out of 10, with 91% of respondents expressing satisfaction with the product. Additionally, the satisfaction score for account managers was also high at 9.1 out of 10, with 97% of clients expressing contentment with the quality of work provided by Affilka’s account managers.
SOFTSWISS is an international tech company supplying software solutions for managing iGaming projects. The expert team, which counts over 2,000 employees, is based in Malta, Poland, and Georgia. SOFTSWISS holds a number of gaming licences and provides one-stop-shop iGaming software solutions. The company has a vast product portfolio, including the Online Casino Platform, the Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, the Affilka affiliate platform, the Sportsbook Platform and the Jackpot Aggregator. In 2013, SOFTSWISS was the first in the world to introduce a Bitcoin-optimised online casino solution.
A little news about Fabrizio Romano x 20SHOTS
Affiliate marketing product provider 20SHOTS has kicked off the launch of its newly enhanced department with a loud, proud, “Here we gooooooo!” as it signs football journalist and influencer Fabrizio Romano.
The signing is part of the suite of services 20SHOTS is providing to Stats Performa’s Opta – the first being the creation of a bespoke Premier League fantasy football game, Opta Five, which will feature on the data analytics’ company’s Players Ratings Game Hub.
Now, not only is 20SHOTS creating the game, it’s also managing the marketing activities from inception to conclusion. And part of drumming up buzz and attention for Opta Games Hub has been signing football transfer legend Romano.
“This partnership represents a great step forward for us,” remarks 20SHOTS co-founder and CEO Jacob Kalms, “as it shows off our skills not just as a product builder and operator, but as a marketer and 360° partner for our clients”.
As part of the new campaign, Romano has already written an article for Opta Analyst alongside running two separate tutorial videos taking his users through the new Opta Five and Opta max products, shared with his millions of followers.
The second part of the campaign had Romano competing against his audience on a new game, Opta Streak, which was released to the Opta Games Hub 26 Jan, with Romano playing against his followers all over the world the following weekend.
20SHOTS marketing and content production
This partnership is just the latest major news 20SHOTS has shared, from major investment partners to taking the Brazilian market by storm. And now, signing major players to boost its marketing offerings.
Romano said that he’s proud to partner with both 20SHOTS and Opta for the campaign:
“The partnership just made sense to me,” he says, “as both companies are making waves in the football and iGaming worlds. Opta’s new Players Ratings Hub is a great place for football fans to spend time looking at stats and using their knowledge to win prizes. And 20SHOTS Premier League fantasy football game is incredibly fun and also offers a lot of chances to win big.
“Partnerships like this also offer value to my followers and align with their interests, which is a primary goal for any partnership I enter into.”
Considering that Romano’s other media partners include Google Pixel, the fragrance Laverne and other high profile products, this is a major win for 20SHOTS and Opta.
Kalms says: “This is another win that shows 20SHOTS has not only the reach to get big personalities on board, but also the intrinsic knowledge of our customers’ target market – sourcing relevant partners who will help increase brand awareness of the new platform and in turn convert to paying customers.
“We’re thrilled at the attention Romano has already brought to Opta Games Hub and this is only the beginning,” he concludes.
20SHOTS’ marketing services mean handling campaigns from start to finish: from sourcing partners to content, timing, tracking, reporting and analysis.
“Clients don’t need to get involved or go back and forth with personalities or media partners,” Kalms explains. “We handle it all.”
Further marketing work for Opta includes signing what Kalms refers to as a “big personality in the fantasy football space”.
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