The Sports Betting vertical had it all — a proven track record of successful campaigns, great advertising strategies, a variety of well-paying offers, dedicated audience, and a fresh wave of e-sports fans coming into the business. All the 2020 prognoses foretold its booming success… until the COVID-19 came in and caused all the sporting events to be put on hold till next year the earliest.
Has the global lockdown reflected on Sports Betting affiliate campaigns? Oh, very much so.
Will the stagnation continue? Absolutely not.
In fact, the Sports Betting vertical is alive and kicking! And if you want to learn why or how to make money with it… just keep reading and learn everything you need to know about running sports betting campaigns post the COVID-19 outbreak.
People have always been drawn to the idea of winning. Placing a life-changing bet that could possibly turn you into a billionaire within split-seconds seems worth the risk. We all love a good thrill, and once we add sports into the equation, it only gets more interesting.
That’s why the Sports Betting vertical is one of the most prominent angles in affiliate marketing.
Sports Betting vertical in a nutshell
The Sports Betting vertical is very much connected to the gambling business, yet it makes sense to distinguish it as a separate category. In fact, this vertical takes from a few popular niches in affiliate marketing, that is regular sports betting, fantasy sports, e-sports, and even casino-style games, too.
Originally, the biggest boost in sports betting traffic could be seen around the time of big sporting events. These have naturally become a trigger for user-interest and a key-reason for the vertical to become so lucrative. The World Cup or The Olympics would usually do all the marketing for themselves and all that’s left for the affiliate marketers would be to capitalize on that.
COVID-19’s impact on the sports betting industry
The sports betting industry has been affected by the virus outbreak that caused the global lockdown and cancellation of any big sporting events until next year the earliest. But for every cloud, there’s a silver lining. The fact that affiliate marketing happens in the digital sphere and hasn’t been that heavily affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is this silver lining.
It basically means that although live events have been called off, the online sector of the sports business thrives. Especially e-sports and the online sports betting industries.
Yes, we’ve all seen some stagnation when the virus first occurred and then hit full speed ahead. But as we’ve already established, affiliate marketers have a lot less to worry about than other entrepreneurs. After a momentary drop, the sports betting vertical has been slowly going up, and now it’s on top of the game.
How e-sports betting saved the day
E-sports industry has been on the rise for the last few years, quickly gaining a fresh, dedicated, and constantly growing audience. And the global lockdown has only sped things up.
Let’s have a look at the e-sports betting market during the 2020 sports halt.
E-sports, meaning live-streamed competitive gaming, powered with modern technological solutions and the rise of influencer marketing, has quickly evolved into a multibillion-dollar business. It is estimated to reach a whopping $12 billion in global revenue this year, taking into account the current geo-economic situation.
What’s especially interesting is that global sport, gaming, gambling, and marketing industries have already recognized its potential. E-sports fits into the puzzle just in time when all live-sports events are put on hold. This sector of iGaming presents itself as a great alternative to regular sports betting, offering a colossal amount of engaging content and betting markets. That’s why e-sports has quickly positioned itself at a top spot for all sports punters looking to place a bet.
- 65% of punters who used to place bets on regular sporting events just prior to the lockdown stopped.
- 41% of punters who didn’t place bets on regular sporting events just prior to the lockdown (but generally have a record of betting) are now e-sports bettors.
- 10% of the punters who had placed bets on real sports before the lockdown made the transition to e-sports betting.
The come back of sports betting vertical
After a few months of stagnation, things are slowly coming back to normal for the sports betting vertical. Even though the big games are still on hold. This much-desired outcome is mainly caused by demand on the bettors’ side — if they can’t bet on this year’s football games, they’ll bet on something else. And when there’s demand, the industry provides.
Here are some of the smaller niches within the sports betting vertical that are especially worth focusing on right now:
The regular sports betting
Even though things are on hold with the big live sporting events in most parts of the globe, the smaller games, especially in Tier 3 countries, still take place. That’s why the betting business still works in those parts of the world. People are happy to place bets on their local teams as well as teams located on a completely different continent.
Bet is a bet, and affiliate marketing operates worldwide.
A great alternative to regular sports betting, a thriving industry with high user-engagement and a dedicated audience. Another reason for its booming success is the hype around e-sports streamers and influencers which only helps affiliate marketers to tap into consumer demand.
Streaming platforms like Youtube, Twitch, Facebook Gaming, or Mixer are a go-to place for teenagers, young adults as well as people aged 30-35 looking for online entertainment. For many of them, gaming and/or following pro-gamers has always been a routine. And the virus lockdown has only strengthened the streaming hype as well as the platforms’ and streamers’ position in the modern world.
It’s yet another branch of the sports betting industry. It hasn’t been negatively affected by the virus outbreak since it happens on a virtual level only.
Fantasy sports bettors don’t wager on an actual outcome of a live sporting event. Instead, they create a fantasy sports team and compete against each other to win prizes and money. And the money placed on a fantasy sports bet is very real, indeed. With people sat at home during the virus lockdown, often bored and seeking online entertainment, this was a go-to solution for many, and a not-to-be-missed opportunity for affiliate marketers.
Although this niche seems to be closer to the gambling vertical in general, it also falls into the sports betting category. This is because games like poker, craps or baccarat require players to know and skillfully operate a set of rules. Luckily for affiliate advertisers, drawing a fixed-line between when or where these games are yet a sport and already a gamble is not necessary to run related ad campaigns.
And be it for sport, boredom or thrills, the casino games/betting niche has been working great both throughout the lockdown and in recent weeks, too.
Just have a look at the graph below showing this month’s performance of the sports betting vertical in Zeropark.
Where to get sports betting offers from?
Most of the top sports betting companies run their own affiliate programs. But if you’re more interested in getting an offer from a trusted affiliate network, then there’s plenty to choose from as well.
Sports betting affiliate programs:
- Bet365partnership program for affiliate marketers
- 1xBet affiliate program with a variety of advertising options
- Betway partnership and affiliate program
- ComissionKings representing BetOnline, SportsBetting, and TigerGaming
- William Hill affiliate program
Affiliate networks providing sports betting offers:
- Gambling Affiliationaggregating various sports betting offers
- ClickDealer global marketing agency
- Mobidea mobile affiliate network
- OneHash affiliate program
- OliMob affiliate network
Zeropark’s Offer Wall
Also, if you’ve got a Zeropark account, we’ve got you covered. We have recently partnered up with the industry’s finest networks and direct advertisers to bring you top offers and affiliate programs. To top things off, each of them provides you an exclusive deal, if you run their offers with Zeropark’s traffic.
So if you’re ready to explore and make some extra profit, simply click on the Offers tab in your account dashboard to see available offers. Remember to check it regularly as we’ll be expanding the list of providers and updating their offers. See some of the Offer Wall opportunities below.
Traffic type advice for successful betting campaigns
Once we established that sports betting is vertical to run right now, gathered insights as to what’s currently trending and learned where to get sports betting offers from, let’s think what type of traffic would be best for your affiliate campaign.
There is no golden rule as to which ad format is ultimately the best. As always, it depends on your experience, offer details, whether ad creatives or pre-landers are required, as well as targeting and optimization choices. Season trends are also a factor to consider.
Pop, domain redirect or push traffic? Which ad format to choose
The decision as to which ad format to choose shouldn’t be based on general traffic insights or statistical CRs and ROIs. What’s most important is the advertiser’s experience running campaigns with a given type of traffic.
→ If you’re only a beginner affiliate, run pop ads.
Pop traffic is always recommended for less experienced advertisers. It’s been on the market for almost 30 years and it’s still rocking.
- Easy to run and optimize.
- No creatives are required.
- You may use your own pre-landers, but they’re not necessary.
- Usually, you get a landing page with an offer.
- There’s lots of traffic to test.
- Traffic is cheap.
- This means you can spend more on testing and optimizing.
- There’s a lot of helpful content and tips on the subject.
→ Already experienced and want to try something new? Go for domain redirect ads.
Domain redirect, or zero-click traffic, is based on keyword matching. Its targeting is more precise but submitting the right keywords is crucial for the campaign’s success.
- It’s not as cheap as pop traffic but it converts really well.
- Broad or exact keyword matching allows for targeting users who are interested in a given product or service.
- Users are redirected to your ad as soon as they enter a parked domain URL.
- No ad creatives are required but pre-landers are recommended.
- Lots of traffic to test and buy when scaling.
Both Zeropark’s historical and the latest data show that pop and domain redirect traffic perform equally well with the sports betting vertical. Have a look!
→ Push traffic works great, but be ready to put some work into it.
Push and in-page push ads are a great choice for sports and betting vertical. Users are delivered your message straight to their devices in a native, non-intrusive, user-friendly, and highly-engaging way. Isn’t that the best way for advertisers to connect to their audience? Other benefits of running push ads are:
- Top-quality traffic.
- A bit higher prices in return for some great CTR and CR.
- Ad creatives are required, but they’re quick and easy to assemble.
- Push ads work as interactive messages delivered directly to users’ mobile or desktop devices even when they’re not actively engaging with them.
- High engagement rates leading to more conversions.
- In-page push ads give advertisers a chance to target iOS users.
Desktop or Mobile traffic? Which converts best
Mobile reigns supreme. There’s no way to deny that and it won’t change any time soon… if ever.
Zeropark’s platform data also prove mobile traffic to be predominant with sports and betting vertical. Have a look at the following graph showing the device split per pop and domain traffic based on user clicks.
Followed by push and in-page push traffic as divided between mobile and desktop traffic.
Both graphs show that the sports and betting vertical has not only spiked in the last 30 days (both in terms of desktop and mobile traffic) but also which targeting wins. That’s why mobile traffic is a highly recommended option regardless of whether advertisers choose to run their campaigns with pop, domain redirect, or push and in-page push ads.
Where sports betting thrives — top GEOs.
Naturally, another very important aspect of planning out your sports betting marketing strategy is finding out where such ads convert best.
One option would be to conduct a little research as to where sports betting, e-sports but also fantasy sports and casino games have the biggest audience. It turns out though that sports betting is popular in all parts of the world, though there might be some significant differences based on the offer advertisers choose to run and where a particular theme works best.
Let’s have a look at the following regions of the world and what we think works best per each.
Tier 1 countries
Countries like the US, CA, AU, and some European countries, for example, UK, FR, IT, and DE are up for grabs when it comes to all niches included in the sports betting vertical.
These should be also especially prone to e-sports betting or e-sports related content in general, with the US occupying the top spot when it comes to e-sports streaming betting.
Tier 2 countries
Countries usually assigned to the second tier, that is SE, PL, JP, MY, RU, and ZA are in the game, too. These are proven to work slightly better with regular sports betting or casino games rather than e-sports but this niche has recently gained in popularity, too.
Tier 3 countries
Though it may seem odd for some people, well-experienced advertisers know that targeting tier 3 countries may equal hitting the jackpot.
Both the APAC region and the African countries of the EMEA sector are holding a big potential of becoming large and very attractive markets for the sports betting vertical.
The APAC countries, closely followed by the Africa region, show strong demand for betting services and the top results for affiliate sports betting campaigns, too. Some of the reasons for such an outcome may lie with:
- high population density,
- the growth of the sports betting popularity,
- treating sports betting as both entertainment and a way of earning profit,
- relaxing some of the betting legal regulations in the APAC region,
- investment in the industry due to its growing popularity,
- adoption of blockchain and AI technologies.
Simply put, though gambling isn’t new to those regions at all, the sports betting vertical is gaining momentum. In fact, betting and wager is often deeply rooted in those cultures and has always played a significant role in both the entertainment and financial sphere. But the progressive digitalization, universal access to the Internet, and possession of mobile devices at a mass scale have changed the way people bet.
As reflected by the Zeropark’s data, showing top GEOs for the sports betting vertical in the last seven days — all coming from Tier 3 countries.
TOP 10 GEOs:
- South Africa
Ads that convert — copy and creatives ideas
When it comes to running pop or domain redirect sports betting campaigns, advertisers don’t need to worry about ad creatives. Offers consist of their own landing pages so all one needs to do is set the destination URL right.
With push ads, creatives are required and may be a make-or-break element for an ad to convert. But let’s talk about each case scenario in greater detail.
Pre-lander, lander or no lander?
It’s often and commonly suggested to use pre-landers. They prevent tapping into the unmotivated audience or losing user-interest due to creative fatigue — if an offer consists of a lander, everyone who runs it uses the same visuals. Modifying the flow allows for a greater variety of ads thus lengthening a campaign’s life-cycle.
There are many ways to sort out the lander-overload issue. One is creating them on your own, though let’s face it, it’s tedious, requires lots of work and resources, not to mention the skill to actually do it yourself. That’s why there are either other people, various services, or simply spy tools to aid affiliate advertisers with the struggle.
If you’ve got the time or resources to use those options and add pre-landers to your campaigns, or adjust the ones that come with an offer, then doing so may be a real game-changer for your conversion rates.
Some of the DO tips for well-converting landing pages could be:
- Always add them to your campaign’s flow
- Use them to show or explain the offered product/service/benefits
- Help a user convert — simply explain the steps to getting what your ads offer
- It’s a good moment to ensure users about the safety of engaging with your offer, especially with the sports betting vertical.
- Explain all the benefits, payment options, legal regulation — anything relevant to the betting offer you’re making.
Sports betting advertising ideas
When it comes to advertising ideas for the sports betting campaigns, the best tips are actually the universal ones for all push or native creatives. Also to be used with landing pages.
- Numbers sell. Using numbers, stats, values, facts, data backing up your point.
- Emojis tell stories. As often repeated with push ad creatives — don’t forget emojis!
- Testimonials help. Information about people who scored/won, their success stories, or how much they’d made will always rise interest.
- FOMO’s real. Tell your audience how much others made, how many people are in the game, and how much they can make if they dare.
- Be authentic. Real images work better than cartoons but well-designed and professional-looking visuals work for landers, too. With push ads, simple icons work best.
- Ladies first. Yes, images of women engaging in sports betting-related activities or playing e-sports sell better than men doing the same things.
- Dream a little. Athletes, players, heroes, idols, featuring anyone people would usually look up to causes them to engage further with your ads.
- Give them a sneak peek. Preview what awaits users if they engage further (in terms of landers).
- Show them the money. Let’s be honest, we’re all in it for money. If people don’t see it, your ad may go unnoticed.
- Clock’s ticking. Create a sense of urgency and prompt users into taking actions.
- Challenge your audience. Show them you believe in their luck or skills and help them take the risk.
Injection Traffic — give your campaigns a little boost!
Injection traffic isn’t anything new to the Zeropark’s advertisers. But since we recently noticed it’s working well with the sports betting vertical, we thought it’s worth sharing the news. Note it works for pop and domain redirect ads only, so push traffic is not in scope.
Injection traffic comes from a browser toolbar that inserts pop ads into a webpage’s content. When a user types in a URL, ads are injected under keywords linking to affiliate offers and show in the form of pop ads.
It usually works great with e-commerce campaigns, thanks to using brand URLs as your keywords. The same can be done for your sports betting campaigns, too.
Zeropark’s injection traffic offers excellent targeting with many motivated users. Our team allows selected sources only, so there’s no risk of receiving aggressive traffic. Additionally, you’re able to select from Standard or Premium segments that allow you to target highly motivated users and show people the exact content they’re looking for!
Remember that if you’d like to try it, you need to start your pop keyword campaign in Zeropark and select to pause it after creation. Then, reach out to your Account Manager or contact our Support Team and ask us to switch it on adding #injectiononly in your message title.
For those who have never run keyword campaigns before, or are simply curious how to do that quickly and efficiently, here’s a little help in the form of a video tutorial. Let us walk you through the keyword set-up and explain what to look out for in order for your keyword campaigns to run smoothly.
We‘ve also gathered top-performing keywords related to the sports betting vertical. Try these with your pop keyword campaigns, or give injection traffic a go!
|POP KEYWORD CAMPAIGNS|
|KEYWORD||VOLUME PER DAY||AVG. BID|
Here’s only a portion of the data we’ve got for you, but if you’re interested (there’s like a hundred examples more!) just let our support team know.
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