iGB Affiliate 55 Feb/Mar - Page 61

INSIGHT “A moderately complex app with a database, API and social media integration can cost £3,500 to £7,000. Development costs for more complex apps with 3D graphics and animation can reach £35,000.” affiliate’s app can then be served in-app adverts. While Parvis says that though PokerNews’ main promotional focus is native advertising, the affiliate does leverage in-app banners and interstitials, and has fixed-fee deals with partners looking to increase their mobile exposure. Easyodds.com’s apps also feature in-app banners. However, the affiliate’s development of its betting basket allows players to place bets on a range of brands’ sporting events without ever leaving the app. Other affiliates have adopted a more exclusive partnership approach: bettingexpert.com is only partnered with Bet365, offering betslips on the brand’s live sporting events in-app. While affiliates can adopt a range of advertising approaches, challenges remain. “Mobile tracking issues for many operators makes direct ads in-app even harder,” says PokerNews’ Matthew Parvis. Meanwhile, Anna Woodward of Easyodds.com emphasizes the issue of data. “Two of the largest challenges for affiliates and operators alike are the management of users’ data securely and the processing of data, ensuring it is visible to users within real time,” she says. Data and tracking remain important issues for affiliates and operators. However, new software solutions are increasingly making it possible for both parties to overcome these challenges. Affiliates’ app marketing Aside from technical challenges, affiliates will only maximize their apps’ revenue if they also maximize installs through an effective marketing strategy. Their primary focus can be on targeting existing users, as these consumers generally account for most installs. “We can still see a large number of users choosing to sign-up and join the site as well as partner sites via desktop and then utilizing the Easyodds app once sign-ups are complete,” says Anna Woodward. Poker News’ Matthew Parvis agrees. “We focus on organic growth as our primary marketing channel – most of our app users come through our own sites,” he says. “When users come to our sites and are detected as mobile or tablet users, we will display download options for the corresponding app.” Ideally, on-site advertising for the mobile app will feature prominently on the affiliate’s homepage, so that users don’t have to search for the relevant tab. The site’s app section will succinctly detail the app’s features and end with a compelling call-to-action that drives traffic through to the relevant app store to install. Existing consumers can also be targeted using off-site marketing channels. In the countdown to an app’s launch, affiliates can develop email marketing campaigns that emphasize the benefits of installing the app. These mailers can be supported by their social media channels. Subtly promotional Tweets and Facebook posts can be used to drive the affiliates social following to either their site’s app page or directly to app stores. As a secondary focus, affiliates will also target new users. According to Nielsen, the main way apps are discovered – 47% of iOS and 53% of Android apps – is through organic search within app store. This makes app store optimization (ASO) a key secondary marketing focus for affiliates like PokerNews. Keyword research is the foundation of effective ASO. Once affiliates have defined both generic keywords (“casino reviews”) and long-tail phrases (“breaking US poker news, tips & views”), they can develop their title, which ideally will include a tagline, as well as the app’s description. User reviews also factor into app stores’ search algorithms, so negative feedback will need to be addressed by the affiliates’ app team as a matter of urgency. Of course, app discovery is irrelevant if a user doesn’t convert by installing. It is important that the app page content is enticing as possible. The description will ideally express the app’s USP in its first 200 characters, so consumers don’t have to expand it to discover more. Screenshots and even 15 to 30-second video previews for iOS apps will allow players to visualize the app before making the decision to install. Whether affiliates develop apps or place more emphasis on their mobile sites, one thing is for sure: affiliate marketing will become more mobile-focused going forward. Some affiliates, including bettingexpert.com’s Marc Pederson, argue that tablets and smart phones are iGaming’s future. “Internet usage is going towards mobile-only,” he says. “There is no compelling reason to assume it should be different in our industry.” If this forecast is correct, 2016 may be the year to develop an app. Manager of Affiliate Services, ALLAN PETRILLI oversees the Income Access Group’s in-house team of affiliate managers for iGaming brands operating in Europe, the US and other global markets. He holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce with a specialization in marketing from Montreal’s Concordia University, in Canada. iGB Affiliate Issue 55 FEB/MAR 2016 55