The Internet has become a real game-changer of the 21st century. It’s a go-to tool for almost anything right now — communication, business, relationships… or gambling. Since there are very few limitations as to what’s possible or accessible within the digital space, the growth rate of online casinos surged significantly. And where’s demand, the affiliate marketing follows.
Read on and discover how to break the bank running gambling vertical ad campaigns!
Gambling isn’t anything new. This phenomenon, in one form or another, can be traced back all the way to ancient times. What really counts for digital marketers, though, is that gambling can be truly named an ever-green vertical. It’s been on the market for…well, quite some time. But most importantly, it adapts — fast.
Gambling vertical explained
Gambling is one of the most prominent verticals in affiliate marketing. It consists mainly of online casino games such as slots, lotteries, roulette, card games with online poker being a huge part of the niche, as well as regular betting, sports betting or even bingo! Recently joined by the so-called fantasy gambling, which covers fantasy sports betting.
All these angles are intertwined and it’s hard to say when or where the regular online gambling finishes and, for example, online betting starts. Often it’s just a matter of naming or keeping the categories separate for the accuracy’s sake.
When it comes to the vertical’s performance, a recurring pattern can be observed. It would usually go up in Q1, which is when the various sports seasons start. Then slow down in Q4, around seasonal hypes like the Black Friday or Christmas, since that’s what most people spend their money on. But then it’d quickly regain its usual track.
Interestingly, the online gambling industry seems to be almost crisis-resistant. Even if turbulent times cause it a momentary pause, gambling comes back right on top. Much faster than other verticals.
Who’s into gambling ads? Target audience
Identifying your gambling ads’ recipients shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, there are tens of researches on who’s most prone to gambling and what are their characteristics such as age, gender, marital status, professional occupation, country of origin or even possible personality traits.
The truth is we don’t really need to know all these details when it comes to affiliate marketing ad campaigns. Yes, focusing on the main ideas is recommended but that’s as far as it should go.
Men vs. Women — who gambles more?
Men are statistically more likely to gamble than women — as nearly every research available proves. Nevertheless, the female audience is reportedly growing. That’s why, as much as targeting your ads at men should be a primary focus, throwing in a few women-focused ads could be worth giving it a go, too.
How old are online gamblers?
Age demographics tend to vary slightly depending on the country. Generally speaking, online gambling ads should be usually targeted at people between the ages of 25-45, closely followed by the age group of 45-65.
The financial status of online gamblers
Although it cannot be clearly stated that either those affluent or less-prosperous are the ultimate target for your gambling ads, one thing is clear. People gamble to win. Regardless of their financial status. That’s why emphasizing the chance and importance of winning money should always be the main selling point for your ads.
Regular bettors or curious-visitors?
That one is easy — people who gamble tend to do that regularly. That means advertisers don’t need to introduce their audience to what the online gambling industry is. These people know it very well, and what they’re looking for is either a chance of winning with a small investment, a quick and easy way to make money online, the thrill of being in the game, or simply entertainment — with or without money involved. It’s worth noticing that some, if not all of these points, are especially relevant during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Where is gambling trending? Top GEOs
There are at least three ways affiliate marketers could go about learning where online gambling is currently trending and where to focus their attention. One is the demographics statistics we’ve already covered, the other is monitoring the online trends, and the last one is simply inquiring into your traffic source. Let’s have a closer look.
1. Demographics statistics
As mentioned above, there are numerous researches available online telling us where online betting is taking its toll. Some of the demographics stats findings differ from the other two methods, but most of them agree on the three general areas of focus: English speaking countries, LATAM and APAC.
2. Online trends monitoring
- Top 25 companies to receive the most online traffic connected to online gambling
- Show online gambling-related traffic dynamic throughout 2018/19
- AS well as the GEO distribution for this kind of traffic, which is exactly what we’re looking for.
3. Traffic source data
This method is naturally a part of whitelisting data during or prior to setting up your campaigns. Advertisers can usually start with broad targeting, that is, use a multi-geo option if possible, or simply ask their traffic source representatives for top-performing locations and launch their campaigns there. Remember to never start your campaigns using narrow targeting, unless a given campaign has one purpose only — to scale up already proven and profitable placements.
Looking at Zeropark’s data, similar locations can be highlighted as top areas for the gambling vertical. These may vary depending on momentary spikes in demand or traffic type chosen for given campaigns. The countries included are:
- English speaking countries like the United States, Canada, Australia or the United Kingdom.
- joined by the Asian areas such as India, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam.
- followed by Latin American countries, for example, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil.
- and topped with European locations such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, or Estonia and Ukraine.
Regardless of the currently trending locations, advertisers should always make sure to rely on up-to-date data only and optimize their campaigns according to what’s working best for them.
Traffic that converts
Deciding which type of traffic is ultimately the best choice for gambling campaigns is not possible. This vertical has been on the market since affiliate marketing came around and has been run with all available ad formats. As always, we advise choosing the ad format you’d want to run your campaigns according to the advertiser’s experience, budget, resources, and time that can be dedicated to the task.
What can serve as a little aid in the decision-making process are the Zeropark’s traffic insights. Since we only rely on what we know best. Have a look!
Zeropark offers four ad formats advertisers can run their online gambling campaigns with. These are pop ads, domain redirect (also known as zero-click), push, and in-page push ads.
Let’s divide them into two groups.
The classics — pop and domain redirect ads
First, the all-time classics, pop and domain redirect ads. These have been long known as the tools many affiliate advertisers made their six-figures results with. If someone tells you that pop is over, they’re simply wrong. Pop’s not dead and is doing well, thank you very much.
The same goes for domain redirect traffic, which can be especially worth trying given the keyword targeting options. Just have a look into Semrush’s report, check out Google Trends, or ask your traffic source for top keywords related to the online gambling vertical and voila!
Using keyword targeting allows you to be as precise as it can get with your campaigns. It basically means you’re able to show people the exact content they’re looking for while they’re looking for it. And it can be done with both — pop and domain redirect traffic in Zeropark.
The same yet different — push and in-page push ads
When it comes to push and in-page push ads, for the end-user, it’s essentially the same thing. The two formats vary in technicalities, with in-page push ads emerging on the market as a response to the Chrome 80 update rolling out at the beginning of this year.
What’s worth mentioning at this point is a very positive side-effect of the dreaded launch. With the market’s need to implement in-page push ads came the ability to target a whole new and still growing audience of iOS users!
Targeting and optimization tips
Once you’ve got your mind set on the traffic type you want to run your gambling campaigns with, the next step is to think of the targeting and optimization practices for your campaigns. Remember it’s never the case of mere coincidence or luck — the success of your campaigns depends on well-thought and planned advertising strategy.
We’re sorry but you need to think virtually of everything… at least three steps ahead. Try to ask yourself the following questions.
- What’s your budget? And by budget, we mean the testing budget, campaign’s daily budget, and the total budget.
- How much do you want to bid? Have you checked the average bids per category, source, keyword, etc.? And have you accounted for the average bid part, meaning you probably need to bid slightly higher in order to win the RTB auction?
- And what happens if you don’t win? Or you win too much, too fast? That’s what capping is for.
- Also, think of where exactly you want to run your campaigns, whether a country is enough or you want to narrow it down to the region targeting. Or how frequently you want your ads to be shown and at what times of a day.
- And once you get to the device and OS targeting — are you sure you know what you’re doing? Remember not to block yourself from receiving potential conversions, and don’t go too narrow on that either.
- Then ask yourself all the what if and what if not types of questions and try to figure out the possible steps. Luckily, that’s what the Rule-Based Optimization is for.
- And then remember to go back and ask yourself what placements to bid up on, and what placements should you pause.
Mobile or Desktop… or both?
A question of device targeting is a crucial one. We usually recommend to start broad and only then decide on limiting the traffic.
But the device split can be actually decided regardless of the remaining targeting set-up. One of the reasons could be the offer details — if it’s a mobile gambling app it’d be reasonable to focus on mobile traffic only. Or the amount of won traffic on the given device — if the difference is major, then we can save ourselves some time and effort and focus on what’s converting better.
There is no golden rule as to which device targeting works better for a given category. Again, our assumptions can be based on general research and industry trends, as well as your traffic source internal data.
The online gambling industry may seem to be dominated by desktop users, which seems like a fair point given the vertical’s nature. But the rapidly growing adoption of mobile devices and adjustments made for the previously desktop-only services to answer the mobile-driven demand quickly turned things upside down.
Both Zeropark’s internal data and external studies prove mobile (including tablet devices) to take over the online gambling stage. Just have a look at the traffic split per device type in May.
Creative hacks for gambling ads
No matter what affiliate niche or traffic type we’re talking about, your ads need a bit tailoring in order to make that CTR rise. Both the landing and pre-landing pages, as well as ad creatives need to match the target audience, occasional or seasonal trends, and simply tap into consumer demand.
Landing and pre-landing pages
One of the most frequently asked questions regarding the creative side of your campaign is whether pre-landers are necessary. And as always, the answer is NO.
But the truth is they may be very helpful in creating a top-converting funnel for your ads so it’s entirely up to you. The good thing is that such visual aids are often a part of an offer, or can be quickly fixed with a little help of spy tools.
Tips for higher CTR
Some of the universal tips for making your CTR higher with ad creatives and/or landing pages are as follows.
- All creatives should appear both credible and appealing to users. People spot shady landers or ad images at once!
- If you’re using landers and pre-landers, it’d be a good idea that the two actually match. It helps to increase credibility and engagement as users won’t feel that much of the difference when going through the funnel and will continue to do so.
- Add positive reviews or user comments to raise the sense of credibility.
- Match the language with the country! You want your audience to understand the offer.
- Loading speed is of utmost importance! And less is more, actually.
- Creating a sense of urgency helps prompt users to action. Add EXCLUSIVE OFFER, LIMITED AVAILABILITY, OFFER ENDS IN…
- All the FOMO and ROMO techniques might be especially useful for gambling offers. Luck and timing is everything for gamblers!
- Countdowns, quizzes, spin-wheels, or roulettes are great elements for engaging users.
- Test your creatives to find the best-performing one.
- Rotate your creatives to avoid creative fatigue!
- Icons or simple images convert better (especially with smaller graphics, like push ad creatives) than a cluttered image.
- Images of people tend to perform better rather than cartoon-like visuals.
- You can always test your creatives using images of men vs. women to see which works better.
- Adjust the theme per seasonal trend, e.g. the Holiday Season, St. Patrick’s Day.
- Hint at a chance of winning something rather than guaranteeing. Don’t lie!
- Use spy tools for research purposes — but don’t just copycat content.
- Keep your ad visuals according to the policy guidelines or nobody will ever see them.
Gambling push ads examples
As always, here’s a little cheat sheet for you to get an idea of what we’re talking about. Always put theory into practice and then test it anyhow to see what strategies work best for your gambling campaigns.
One thing which is great about gambling offers is that they’re really easy to find. You can either try signing up for a direct affiliate program with top-gambling sites, get an offer from an affiliate network of your choice, or if you’re a Zeropark customer, just have a look at our Offer Wall project bringing you top offers with exclusive deals.
Identifying top gambling affiliate programs or sites shouldn’t be too difficult, either. Advertisers can always try simply researching it online or relying on the already existing research. For instance, learning what gambling sites receive the most traffic or which companies are actually expanding their online gambling business may be a good starting point.
If you’re already signed up to an affiliate network, and its inventory includes gambling offers, then you’re good to go. Remember, though, that the naming itself may vary among various networks. Always make sure you ask your network representative or support team whether they’re able to provide you with gambling or casino or whatever-they-call-it offers. A few examples can be found below.
Offer Wall in Zeropak
You’ve probably heard already that we’ve recently partnered with some of the industry’s finest networks to deliver you just the offers you need, topped with exclusive payouts. As we continue to expand the Offer Wall’s partnerships we’d recommend checking it regularly for the latest networks available. And there are a few with gambling offers already available. Just log into your account and check what Offer Wall has in store for you.
Traffic Insights from Zeropark
For those who’d like to give gambling campaigns a try, or are simply wondering what’s been working well with Zeropark’s traffic recently here’s a quick summary. First, have a look at some key facts for the gambling vertical on pop and domain redirect traffic.
Unless you’re more of a push person, then going for a mix of push and in-page push ads seems like the best choice. Remember about all the iOS users!
Why is gambling vertical worth it?
According to the Grand View Research report on the online gambling market:
“The global online gambling market size was valued at USD 53.7 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% from 2020 to 2027. The high internet penetration and increasing use of mobile phones among individuals for playing online games from their homes and public places are driving the market. In addition, factors such as easy access to online gambling, legalization and cultural approval, corporate sponsorships, and celebrity endorsements are also contributing to market growth. The growing availability of cost-effective mobile applications across the globe is further expected to fuel market growth.”
And it’s not just one research alone that confirms the continued growth of the market. What’s also reassuring is that, although such researches are mostly based on historical data, the recently published ones do account for the current market fluctuations caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. And still confirm the market’s stability.
Run successful gambling ad campaigns in Zeropark
Just as Zeropark’s data showing the gambling vertical’s performance since the beginning of 2020. As visible below, despite the turbulent months, the gambling niche remained stable and continued to perform.
Again, for those willing to stay up-to-date with the latest data and traffic insights from Zeropark, we recommend checking out the content that we share on community forums, where we regularly update our threads with the latest news. Check out sources of valuable content like affLIFT, STM, iAmAffiliate, or AffiliateFix.
And if you want to have them delivered straight to your inbox, just sign up to our weekly Traffic Insights newsletter.
And remember that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.