Elliott Resnick at First Look Games, says that studios must ensure that affiliates are publishing accurate information about their games if they are to maximise the marketing opportunity they present
Slot studios have come to realise the importance of game promotion, both in terms of driving awareness of their brands and titles among players as well as getting their name and content in front of the casino managers that ultimately decide whether to stock their slots or not.
But promoting games to players and operators is not without its challenges. Studios need to identify which affiliates to work with, and then also ensure that all content published about their titles is accurate and correct. There are also compliance issues to contend with.
Affiliates are a powerful marketing channel for studios, so long as the information they publish about their games is right. It’s very common to see an affiliate confuse the aggregator with the studio, with SOFTSWISS being credited as the developer instead of Stakelogic, for example.
Another area of concern is incorrect game stats being published for the reels, rows, volatility and RTP. This may seem like a small issue, but if a player is expecting a highly volatile video slot with a decent RTP based on the affiliate’s review, but finds a low-volatility classic with a low payout, they will be disappointed.
Ultimately, this can damage the reputation of the studio – as well as the affiliate – and mean the player simply stays clear of the developer’s games in the future. Given the hundreds of slots that launch each month, it’s not like they are starved of choice.
So how is this situation coming about?
The asset pack and game sheet should be the only place that affiliates take information about a slot, but in most cases, they are not given access to these documents. This means they try and pull information from other sources – casinos, other affiliate reviews, etc.
In the event they are able to access an asset pack or game sheet, they will often find the size of the file is too big to receive over email and the information it contains has been hastily thrown together – the person responsible for doing so often overrun with other tasks that take priority.
Of greater concern is that within these asset packs, there are often links to the studio’s demo game server which affiliates can embed in their sites so that players can try and few spins on the slot before heading to the casino and playing for real money.
The issue here is that if the affiliate is active in a market such as the UK, it’s a regulatory requirement that the demo link sits on top of a fully-fledged player identification system. If it doesn’t, the studio is non-compliant and can and will feel the wrath of the regulator.
While there has yet to be a fine issued against a studio, we have been made aware of several developers that have received a warning letter from the regulator about their demo games not being age-gated so it’s only a matter of time before someone is hit where it hurts – their cash reserves.
This could be end-game for a smaller studio which simply would not have the financial resilience to ride out a million-pound regulatory fine and come out the other side. And that’s before knock-on effects such as operators not wanting to work with them any more are taken into account.
So what’s the solution?
Studios need to ensure their asset packs and game sheets are given the attention they deserve. They should be put together in a way that file sizes are sensible and that all of the information contained within the pack is correct.
Then it comes down to how these asset packs are delivered to affiliates.
Emails and WeTransfer are not optimal and that’s where First Look Games comes in. Studios can upload their asset packs to a dedicated library where they can be downloaded by more than 900 approved affiliates with a combined global audience of 20+ million players.
Studios can then take advantage of our accuracy tracker which pulls information back from the content written and published by our approved affiliate partners and identifies any incorrect information. An email containing the correct stats is then set to the affiliate.
The biggest concern is of course the age-gating of demo games. We provide that via our partnership with 1account, allowing studios to verify a player’s identity quickly and easily before they can access the demo – this can be done when the player clicks to launch the demo from an affiliate site.
The issue that most studios face when it comes to affiliates is the heavy lifting involved and this is why most just work with a handful of publishers. But with First Look Games, we have streamlined the entire process and provide direct access to a huge global network of approved affiliates.
This allows any studio to take game promotion to the next level in a way that ensures any and all information published about their games is accurate and, most importantly, compliant.
Blaze Gaming turns up the heat by joining First Look Games
Rising star studio gets serious about game promotion by partnering with award-winning marketing platform that directly connects providers and affiliates
First Look Games, the ultimate marketing platform for game studios, has partnered with Blaze Gaming as the up-and-coming provider looks to drive awareness of its titles among affiliates and players.
As a partner of First Look Games, Blaze Gaming gains access to a fully branded library where it can upload information and assets for each of its games. This can then be downloaded by a network of approved affiliates and used to create reviews and previews.
The First Look Games library is powerful and sophisticated, with providers such as Blaze Gaming able to upload game sheets, logos, images and videos for each title in their portfolio.
The provider can even offer demo links for each of its games, with player verification that is carried out seamlessly by 1account. This means that affiliates in highly regulated markets such as the UK can still offer demo games to their audiences.
Blaze Gaming has complete control over the assets it shares via its library, and when those assets are made available to affiliates. It can even offer a “first look” to certain affiliates up to two weeks before a new game launches.
This allows affiliates to build anticipation of the game ahead of its launch – when it goes live, players can then fire up the reels without delay.
Elliott Resnick of First Look Games, said: “It’s great to see Blaze Gaming engaging with affiliates by using our award-winning platform. First Look Games provides cost-effective game marketing that is proven to work, and Blaze can now take advantage of its unrivalled power and reach.”
Keith Goddard, CEO at Blaze Gaming, added: “We are excited to leverage First Look Games and its suite of features and tools to directly connect with affiliates and make them aware of the awesome games in our portfolio so that more players can discover Blaze Gaming and our innovative, entertaining slots for the first time.”
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.
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