Sports betting is a booming industry, despite the hardships that crippled the sports industry at the start of 2020. A year ago, sports venues closed one after the other as whole national leagues were paused indefinitely. We had to socially distance and could not gather in large numbers – all vital elements of the sporting world in general. And with no sporting events, affiliate marketing in sports betting suddenly came to a standstill.
There was some innovation – eSports events briefly filled a gap, and some more obscure country’s football leagues were still playing live games – but in mid-March when IOC postponed the 2020 Olympics, the sports industry needed to find a strategy to adapt to a new normal. Strict hygiene measures, online events, and a gradual re-start with empty stadiums – as odd as they first seemed – eventually made it possible to give the sports betting industry a path forward. Affiliate marketers working in the sports betting vertical needed to overcome the shock and quickly adapt. Affiliate marketing in sports betting got a second wind and once the live events were back on, the industry found it had a captive audience, as quarantine measures meant most users were spending more time online. Things quickly got back on track.
The State of Sports Betting in 2021
There is no country in the world where sports betting is not happening. Online betting activity, however, faces multiple and varying restrictions throughout the world. Sports betting itself is the largest sub-category of the gambling vertical, accounting for over 30% of the gambling revenue. The United States – one of the world’s most restricted markets – is gradually opening and legalizing online sports betting state by state. This opening up of one of the world’s biggest markets offers a huge opportunity for affiliate marketers! Today the annual sports betting marketplace generates over £2b in the UK, and over 50% of Americans have placed at least one bet on a sporting event.
With the sporting world slowly getting back in the saddle and new markets opening up, affiliate marketers can anticipate that 2021 will be a lucrative year for sports betting offers. For example, March Madness, the frenzied month-long college basketball tournament in the US saw a 206% increase in the number of bets this year. While looking into the future, Europe – the biggest betting and gambling market in the world – is expected to grow by at least 10% in the upcoming 4 years.
What Does Sports Betting Vertical Mean for Affiliate Marketers?
As we mentioned, sports betting is the largest of the sub-categories within the gambling vertical. However, within sports betting, we can also distinguish different niches. The most lucrative ones are:
- Regular sports betting is the most traditional type. This is betting on your favourite team to win, or your favourite player to score a goal or throw a touchdown! This is a vast area covering events such as football, horse racing, basketball, golf, baseball, and so on.
- In fantasy sports players create their fantasy sports teams, consisting of real players from different teams. The aim is to follow the performance of ‘your’ players and win the most points. You earn points for saves, touchdowns, goals, penalty saves, etc. Players compete in leagues and against their friends to earn prizes.
- E-sports also offers a great alternative to regular sports – and has been relatively lockdown proof! Players bet on sports matches that take place in a virtual realm – for instance, an online FIFA 2021 tournament, where all the players play from the safety of their own front room!
Sports are not immune to digitalization, which is great news for affiliate marketing in sports betting. Any kind of betting is mostly done online via mobile or desktop. That means all the big sport betting brands are investing in online marketing to promote their business.
That poses a massive opportunity for online affiliates.
Affiliate channels provide a cost-effective way for brands to connect with their target audience. We should not be surprised that sports betting brands are increasing their performance marketing budgets.
Affiliate Marketing Models in Sports Betting
Most of the sports betting advertisers will offer programs with the following affiliate pricing models.
The revenue share model is one of the most preferred models for affiliates and advertisers alike. Both parties aim to find a new betting ‘punter’ with a high lifetime value. After referring a customer, affiliates will earn a certain % commission over the entire lifetime that punter bets with the sports betting company. Find a ‘whale’ (slang for a high stakes gambler) and you are set to earn for years to come!
Cost per acquisition (CPA)
CPA campaigns pay the sports betting affiliate marketer when the acquired player deposits money on the betting platform. Affiliate is hence receiving a fixed price for every customer they have referred if the punter finished an action that counts for acquisition (first deposit). This is less attractive to the betting company as they tend to pay out more in the CPA rate (say $60) than the deposit needed to qualify (usually around $20), so they assume the risk that the bettor will continue to bet with them over time.
Hybrid (Mix of Revenue Share and CPA)
Evident from the name, the hybrid model combines both above-described pricing models. Instead of a straight CPA, or a % revenue share, the advertiser would pay both. Affiliates receive a one-time referral payment along with the percentage of lifetime profits the punter brings to the advertiser. Each rate will be slightly lower, of course, than a straight CPA or straight revenue share.
Each model has its positive and negative sides. Every affiliate should pick the model that suits their business model and the traffic they produce. If you are looking for upfront quick payments, CPA is the way to go. When you are building a trustful and highly engaged sports betting audience, revenue share will bring more money over time. A hybrid structure often works as a testing model to get the best of both worlds, then focus on the most lucrative model.
Quick Advertising Tips for Sports Betting Performance Marketing
Sports bettors are a diverse group in terms of demographics. That means that the motives for placing a bet vary widely. You have the ones who are looking for a quick thrill; bettors who are betting just to brag to their friends they win; casual recreational bettors, or super analytical ones. Each requires a slightly different approach. If you are looking for a common denominator, pay attention to the following:
- Numbers. Back your point up with stats, facts, percentages. Betting is all about the numbers in the end.
- Testimonials. You are asking a stranger online to trust you with your credit card data. Build trust with client’s testimonials and ratings.
- FOMO. Betting is a fast sport. The bettor needs to place a bet today otherwise they will miss the big prize.
- Be real. Real images work better than drawings or animations. For this reason, use sharp contrast images to attract attention.
- Offer a preview. Ad copy should offer the user a little sneak peek of what awaits behind the ad copy.
- Do not hide the money. After all, it is a major motivational force. Users should feel the money in their hands to be attracted to your ad copy.
- Good luck. Believe your audience can win the big prizes.
Bet on Seasonality: Events Every Sports Betting Affiliate Should Prepare for
Affiliate marketing in the sports betting vertical is heavily influenced by seasonality. Since most sporting events have annual schedules, bettors have predictable activity patterns. Here is a brief overview of the most notable events you need to add to your calendar today.
Upcoming Sports Betting Events 2021
Betting estimate: $10m per game
Date: May 18 – 23, 2021
Betting estimate: $701m in Italy alone
Date: June 11 – July 21, 2021
Betting estimate: $11.2m in the UK alone
Date: 28 June – 11 July
Betting estimate: $1b in the UK alone
Date: 23 July – 8 August 2021
Past Sports Betting Events 2021
Betting estimate: $7b
Date: February 7, 2021
Betting estimate: $8.5b
Date: March 2021
Betting estimate: $600m
Date: March 16 – 19, 2021
Betting estimate: $1b
Date: April 1 – October 3, 2021
Viewership: 10.8 m
Betting estimate: $11.5m
Date: 5 April – 11 April
Betting estimate: $400m
Date: April 10 2021
Betting estimate: $210m
Date: April 30 – May 1, 2021
Are you ready to elevate your sport bets campaigns to the next level? Reach out and learn how our platform can benefit your affiliate marketing in sports betting.