Even casino operators shouldn’t fall for the myth that if their product is good, people will eventually find it on their own. They need some other tools as well.
Let’s say a casino operator starts by hiring some SEO people and a content writer that writes for the company blog about new online poker tournaments… and nothing changes.
People still come to your website, traffic fluctuates, and you have a hard time telling if this is because you did something or was it because of some changes in global market trends.
If you want to get more people to visit your site or play your online game, there’s seemingly little you can do:
- There are a finite number of topics for the blog
- Each article can only be optimized for search engines only to a certain degree.
SEO, content marketing, and a working social media profile aren’t your only options. There is a whole world of paid advertising for casino operator which:
- Brings measurable outcomes – SEO marketing doesn’t provide any feedback. With paid advertising you can track what works and what doesn’t.
- Puts your message in front of people that weren’t actively searching for igaming-related terms. Without paid advertising, you will be discovered only by people that already had an intent to find a casino or specific igaming services. Paid advertising for casino owners allows you to introduce the idea of online gaming to a wider public.
- Scales up easily. Bringing more people is usually as simple as purchasing more traffic. There are hardly any limits to how big you can go. With the market’s growing popularity, sky’s the limit.
So, in this article I will introduce you to the world of paid advertising: what this is, the best channels for reaching people you want, and if paid ads are for everyone.
The beautiful simplicity of paid advertising
Digital marketing consists of a lot of domains, with SEO and content marketing being just some of them. The majority of activities connected to digital marketing are variations of paid advertising.
In paid advertising for casino owners, you pay for ‘digital real estate’, so an ad space where your ads will be displayed. You buy this space from someone that is referred to as a ‘publisher’. A publisher is someone that has one or more sites that they want to monetize.
So: publishers have ad space that they are willing to sell. You have ads that you want to be displayed and you are willing to pay for that.
If only there was an easy way to find each other…
The two sides of the equation meet on a platform often referred to as an ad network. This acts as an intermediary between a publisher and you: the advertiser. The inventory they sell can be adjusted to your needs: you may decide to display your ads in a specific country only, and for a concrete device type.
You can make sure that your ads are only visible to your model customers. Or choose to expand to new markets and audiences. No matter what your strategy is, you have control over what is happening with your ads.
Why paid advertising?
On the surface, SEO marketing costs nothing. People just find you and visit your page all by themselves. All profit that they generate goes straight into your pocket.
Why spend money on something that you can get for free?
We’ve already mentioned the limitations of SEO marketing. But also, you shouldn’t think about money spent on paid advertising as wasted resources but rather as an investment. You just simply factor in the costs of running ads into your overall budget. If those ads perform well, you will earn more from new people that you get than you spend on attracting them.
Here comes the whole topic of marketing campaign optimization. With specialized tools, called ad trackers, with Voluum being industry’s leader, you can learn which parts of the audience respond best to your ads, and therefore, are worth investing into.
Can you even advertise igaming offers legally?
It depends. There is no global ban on it.
When advertising any product or service online, you have to follow two sets of regulations:
- The laws of a country or region where you advertise
- Your ad network’s compliance policy.
The first part is complex and changes vastly even within the same country. We’ve covered the legal status of iGaming in the US recently and found out that 7 US states have legalized online gambling and 30 have legalized online sports betting. The US consists of 50 states, mind you. And ‘legal online gambling’ means that it is legal only for residents playing on state-licensed sites. Gambling on offshore sites is still illegal.
So you have to be very sure that you can run ads in a given GEO.
When it comes to compliance policies – well, you just have to read them. And I don’t mean (air quotes) read them (air quotes) like you read privacy policies but really find information about if you can do what you intend to do.
Different faces of paid advertising
What I’ve described above is a model that was supposed to familiarize you with how paid advertising works. Paid advertising – so, paying for putting your marketing message out there – visible to the public, can be done in various ways.
For a casino operator, there are three main ways to go:
- Performance marketing
- Creating a partner network
- Cooperating with a globar operator
Of course, these approaches aren’t mutually exclusive, depending on your ambition (and the size of your marketing expenditures) you can gather new customers using all three approaches mentioned above.
Let’s go over them one by one.
Performance marketing for casino operators
We’ve already discussed the topic of performance marketing on this blog before, so please forgive me for being brief.
In short, performance marketing is any marketing focused on delivering measurable results. Usually, it involves running paid ads. These ads can be displayed on:
- Various sites from publishers found in ad networks
- Social media
- Search engine result pages
Advertising on ad networks
If you advertise using ad networks, you have limited traffic targeting options. You can usually target your users by:
- Country, region, city
- Device type and OS
The benefit is that you have more freedom in advertising your casino. Ad networks, while still requiring you to be compliant with their advertising policy, usually have a much more loose approach to igaming ads than the latter two mentioned before.
Advertising casino offers on Facebook is much more restrictive. In short, you can promote social casinos (casinos that simulate real games but without money being exchanged) or brick-and-mortar casinos without any problem, but if you want to advertise online gambling, you need to get written permission from Facebook.
Although this looks like a lot of hassle, in return you get access a to wide and precisely mapped audience. What the last part means is that you can target your ads with a kind of precision that is unobtainable in ad networks. On top of the targeting options mentioned above, you can also target by:
Want to promote your casino among young women that visited Las Vegas at least once? You can do that. Just remember that your campaign will be closely monitored and if you step even for a moment outside of what is allowed on Facebook, you will get banned without hesitation.
Facebook has a lot of optimization algorithms built in that will help you get to the right people if you feed it with conversion data. The problem may arise with some igaming offers. They are dynamic, meaning that the contests they advertise need to be changed daily. Facebook algorithms in this case can’t complete learning periods, thus they won’t help you with optimization efforts. Keep that in mind if advertising these kinds of offers.
Advertising on search engines
Google requires igaming advertisers to apply for a special license. Again, this may seem like asking for a lot, but both Google Partner Network (which puts your ads on regular pages like a typical ad network) or Google Search give you access to an audience of a size unmatched by almost anything else.
Creating a partner network
You can, of course, delegate all your marketing activities to your in-house marketing department but you can also outsource them.
The way it works is that you create a solution that allows you to manage freelance marketers that will advertise your casino in exchange for a commission. This solution is called ‘partner network’. It is supposed to measure the efficiency of your partners and calculate your revenue and their commission.
Voluum ad tracker can be easily used to create such a network. We’ve covered the detailed setup of creating a partner network with Voluum in one of our previous posts. The outtake is that you can do this intuitively and still use Voluum for tracking your ads.
How does it work?
You need to attract partners to do the marketing job for you. Sometimes all you need is to put an appropriate message on your website.
You prepare attractive commission rates for your partners (digital offers usually have much higher commissions than standard offers). You can also prepare a special deal for any customer that comes through your partner.
Your partners will expect you to provide them with marketing materials (banners and other creatives) and accurate calculations of their performance. You can do that with Voluum.
Each partner that signs up to your network (you can vet them if you want, ask them about experience and so on) will get a special link from you (link will be generated by Voluum. They will put this link under ads they will pay to display. Once a prospect customer sees an ad that was put up by your partner and advertises your casino, they may click it. If they follow up and convert (sign up to your casino, download an app, place their first bet – whatever you set for yourself as a desired goal), your partner will get a commission and you get a fresh new customer without doing anything.
The commissions are usually paid once or twice a month, you don’t want the hassle of paying small amounts of money many times a day to 20 different people.
How do partners get traffic? They have the same two ways as you do:
- Pay for traffic in an ad network
- Attract traffic by generating igaming-related content, such as blogs or news articles
This is it. Setting up your partner network is easy: no developer knowledge needed, no PhD in marketing. This is as simple as it gets.
Partnering with a global igaming operator
Due to the nature of online services, iGaming crosses country borders (and jurisdictions) easily. There are global iGaming operators that offer their expertise and marketing budgets for their partners – iGaming operators.
Yeah, true, you won’t be in full control of your advertising, rather reliant on other parties. And not like with creating your own partner network, where you are the boss. But this may only be one of many channels for acquiring customers.
What your advertising message should be
Lastly, I’d like to talk to you briefly about what and how you should advertise.
The very first important note is that there are hardly any regulations regarding igaming advertising. Some US states mandate that you include basic information, such as legal gambling age or a phone number to a helpline for notorious gamblers. But as far as the core message goes, you can pretty much do whatever you want.
Studies show that casino operators that use paid advertising, both online and offline, use the following angles:
- Thrill and excitement of winning
- Social aspects of gambling
- Sportsmanship and sport-related emotions for sports betting ads
Very few of them put the moneymaking aspect up front. And for a good reason. Some legislations ban the use of phrases such as ‘risk free’, ‘free bets’ and so one – very often, there are huge asterisks connected with such claims.
The outtake is that you should not only know IF igaming is legal in a given geo, but WHAT and HOW you can advertise exactly.
Paid advertising is an obvious solution
Once you realize all the benefits and gains from using paid advertising, you will never go back to using only SEO marketing.
It’s measurable, effective and scalable, allows you to check various approaches and expand to new markets. It’s proactive, unlike waiting to be found by the right people.
With an ad tracker such as Voluum, you can make paid advertising work for your casino and all your igaming services. Mix different approaches: invite partners, run ads by yourself, continue SEO efforts (and measure visit statistics with Voluum!).