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IGaming is an extremely competitive business. Often, the competitive nature is the main reason for extensive investments made to attract new players. Thus, ensuring they will be loyal to the casino in the future. As you can see in one of our articles (“How to start an online casino”), most of the casino startup cost is usually spent on marketing, more specifically 50%. This shows us the importance of marketing, advertisements, and promotions. The costs for online casino marketing will vary according to various factors, including the market size, your goals, and your chosen strategy.
A shedload of strategic planning is required to develop a marketing strategy and achieve recognition. But it’s not always recognition what you might want to achieve from marketing communication. Usually, the marketing strategy consists of several parts: awareness (AKA Recognition), conversion (more registered users, more deposits, etc.), and retention (did your users continue visiting your website, or did they leave without a trace?). To summarize, you have to spend a significant amount of expenses (on average, 11% of your initial revenue) on marketing to create awareness, gain new users and retain them. For more detailed information about online casino marketing approaches, you can check our article about how to market an online casino.
Obtaining a detailed analysis of online casino marketing costs is nearly impossible. Countless different variables shape the overall cost of your marketing activities. Mostly, online casinos reflect advertising models from other industries, such as e-commerce and online services. Nonetheless, unlike other industries, iGaming advertisements are regulated. That’s what makes online casino advertisements more expensive and tougher to execute. Before we explain different advertising channels, strategies and methods, we should mention that offline advertisements could be neglected since they are much more expensive, making it unattainable to calculate the ROI, measure KPI, and finally, they might not even reach the target market. Therefore, when we are talking about marketing in the iGaming industry, we always mean digital marketing.
Approximately 80% of marketing expenses are spent online. SEO optimization, affiliates, custom bonuses, and, in some cases, advertising networks are the main and only channels for promoting your online casino on the web.
If you are coming from an industry other than iGaming, what you hear may seem illogical and probably unbelievable as well. However, SEO is still overlooked in the iGaming business. The main reason for this is that SEO takes time. Yet smaller operators don’t have enough time to dedicate and execute long-term SEO strategies. More specifically, 9 out of 10 operators are not SEO friendly. As a result, they do not create content, their titles and descriptions are what their software providers give them, and most of the software providers do not even have the necessary fields for operators to customize meta information and content on their own.
Nevertheless, SEO still is one of the most important parts of digital marketing strategy, which will help you to reap profits in the long term. The digital marketing strategy itself can be divided into several categories based on the communication channels:
• One that gives you profits ASAP, like affiliate marketing and direct advertisements.
• SEO to give you results over a longer term (estimated to give you results after 6 months).
• Building a brand, which will probably take 2-3 years.
Developing an online casino marketing plan is not a short-term task. It will demand strategic thinking and finding creative outlets. SEO should be the major aspect of your marketing strategy since it will give you the highest ROI. When establishing your plan, you will also need to consider how much you will spend on SEO.
Your monthly, quarterly, and annual spending will be one of the determinants of how fast you will rank. SEO will require an important part of your online casino marketing costs. Nonetheless, it should also be mentioned that spending budget is not the only thing that will help your website rank higher. You might pay for backlinks or create networks for ranking your website on your own, but the first step should be doing Technical and on-page SEO for your website. This way, your returns and authority generated by backlinks will be maximized.
How to do on-page and technical optimization for your website is a topic for another article. However, you should know that almost all of that should be provided by the iGaming Platform provider.
The amount of money you spend on ranking your website depends on the market you are operating in, the number of keywords you want to rank for, and the keyword difficulty rate.
Keyword difficulty rate (KD) is a rough estimate of how hard it is to rank for a certain keyword compared to other keywords. For instance, if you want to rank for the keyword “Online casino” (KD=90), it might take much longer and require more budget than “Real money online casinos” (KD=72) and “Online Casino Bonuses” (KD=69). Nonetheless, there are over 58 000 different keywords (In English) related to the iGaming industry people search on google. So, you should find the best ones with the lowest competition and difficulty. Ultimately, it depends on what you want to rank for.
SEO is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Thus, if you plan on expanding your online casino and staying in the industry for a long time, you should develop a dedicated strategy and expectations for it. Nevertheless, if you plan to take risks, you might choose the black hat strategy. It will help you rank faster on Google. Nonetheless, if Google finds out about it, you might get penalized and never get shown in search results again.
Corner-cutting techniques are known as black hat SEO. These practices are aimed to lift site rankings with tricky methods such as link farming, hidden text, duplicate content, spam blog, etc.
Search engine algorithms can detect such patterns and implement appropriate penalties, such as reducing the rankings and dropping the website’s listing. Consequently, it will lead to lost organic traffic and revenues.
Improving the aforementioned details will help you to eradicate ineffective practices and increase conversions. You will be able to change tactics in your online casino marketing strategy and develop a full-funnel approach with long-lasting results.
To execute an affiliate marketing plan, you need to have affiliate software. It will let you track, manage and pay your affiliates from a single platform. Once you have the software, you need to create an affiliate network and draw in people that are ready to share and advertise your products. Bear in mind that it is very important to drag in valuable partners with trusted, reliable web platforms and not initiate collaboration with suspicious websites.
Once you acquire the traffic source and get a service they provide, you need to pay your affiliates. This is a very important part of your online casino marketing costs. As a beginner, you might want to avoid high payout offers, but it’s easier to say than done. You should consider that online gambling and casino businesses belong to the higher budget verticals. Thus, you need to offer a proper share to your affiliate partners. In general, smaller casinos have to pay more per user.
Affiliates get paid for the result they deliver to online casino websites. Accordingly, there are different types of commissions for them. You have to choose your favorite type of commission and pay a fair price to your partners. These types include revenue sharing, pay-per-acquisition, and hybrid models.
• With the revenue-sharing model, affiliates receive a percentage of the casino’s net revenue gained from referred players. The rev-share model can be either with negative carryover or without negative carryover that is going to be part of the negotiation with the affiliate.
• In the case of a pay-per-acquisition strategy, the payment rate relies on the specific action, such as the user’s registration to a casino website or making deposits to start wagering.
• Hybrid – is the mix of both approaches. For example, you may pay 50$ per acquisition + 10% of your revenue.
The most popular methods in online casino marketing practices are revenue sharing and pay-per-acquisition. Nonetheless, consider that we cannot give you the exact blueprint of how much you should pay to your affiliates. It will depend on the revenue you’ll get from your affiliate programs. Thus, if your network brings in high traffic and the conversion rate is also high, affiliates will also have to get a high commission. However, it will always pay out. As it is one of the most effective methods of driving converting customers to your online casino. In other words, how much you spend on affiliate marketing is up to you. The affiliates you get, the offers you make, and how well you negotiate with them completely depend on you.
If you want to learn more about affiliate payment methods, you can check our article about how to market an online casino.
All things considered, affiliate marketing is a very profitable and cost-effective approach for promoting your online casino. It will increase awareness about your online gambling website, create traffic, and help you to build effective off-page SEO.
Blogging is a very profitable, cost-effective, and efficient action that can drive players to your online casino. By creating a blog, you can increase organic traffic and provide precise information and analytical articles to your users.
It won’t cost you anything. You just need to register on a blogging platform, such as Wix or WordPress, choose the design for your blog site, and start writing analytical articles and blog posts about the news.
There can only be nominal prices for hosting, domain name, theme, and plugins. All of these aspects relate to the technical side of your platform and do not require too much of your spending.
To engage your players, you can create articles about various themes, such as new trends in the online casino business, reports, the most popular games and updates about new games, the psychology of gaming, how-to guides, etc.
Blogging is a very useful and efficient practice for increasing SEO results and driving traffic to your online casino website. Furthermore, it will help you to retain existing clients and enhance the credibility of your website.
Bonuses are one of the most important, if not the most important, part of online casino marketing. They help you to obtain new customers quickly and retain them. You might want to send bonus offers to the players who have not played in your casino for a few days or weeks. Bonuses are the best encouraging stimulus for players to start and continue wagering. Clearly, if you are about to open an online betting site, you need to think about developing a strong bonus strategy to entice gamblers.
The bonus system itself is not a service that will cost a pretty penny. Nonetheless, you must be ready to develop a robust system that will become an effective tool for engaging and retaining your clientele.
You need to consider the types and categories of bonuses you want to include in your marketing approach. Keep in mind that diversity and a great variety of bonus services are always profitable approach. With a proper bonus strategy, you will gain customers through display advertisements and will retain them. Furthermore, you can use bonuses in every channel, including SEO, Blogs, Affiliates, emails, and push notifications. In short, it does not matter which of the aforementioned channel is a pillar for your strategy. Without the bonuses, the pillar will not hold up for a long time.
Frequently asked questions
- What are the main challenges of promoting an online casino?
When promoting an online casino, the main challenges you may face are tight restrictions on ads, government legislation, and high competition. Some countries have made it difficult for operators to send ads to consumers as part of their responsible gaming initiative. You’ll see that advertisements on popular online media platforms are sometimes prohibited or expensive to spread. Furthermore, the quick rise and increased success of the iGaming industry draws in multiple operators, increasing competition rates and making it more challenging to find a unique niche marketing the online casinos.
- How to attract the most valuable affiliate partners?
Sites that rank at the top of the search engine results for the key queries related to iGaming business or related fields are the best partners. You will need to offer these partners large transactions from your marketing budget, sometimes ranging from 40 to 50 percent of your expenses. Nevertheless, strong and reliable partners always deliver good results, increasing the conversion rate of your online casino.
- Why ranking an online casino website can be hard and time-consuming?
Getting your business from an obscure online casino to the first page on Google for difficult keywords takes patience and time. Don’t expect your organic traffic to increase immediately. It may take several months or even more. Although it will take some time, you will eventually see the fruits of your labor. According to research, nearly 53% of all internet traffic is generated by organic search. Therefore, a detailed, long-time SEO strategy is essential if you want your website to grow and attract loyal customers.
Marketing activity is directed to online channels. Online casino marketing costs have doubled over the last decades. The main advertising routes for online casinos include affiliates, SEO, social media advertising, and sponsorship of other companies. TV gambling advertising has lost its popularity as almost every form of traditional media.
The online casino marketing costs will vary and oscillate according to various factors. These factors may include the emergence of new opportunities in the market, the performance of your competitors, upcoming festivals and events, etc. Nevertheless, estimated expenses for marketing a successful, high-quality online casino will change from $20 000 to $50 000 per month. It includes the costs for SEO, affiliates, and every other form of online advertising.
The rapid improvement of the online gaming business opens up new windows and possibilities for promoting your casino business. It may increase the costs. Nonetheless, it also augments the effectiveness of marketing campaigns to raise awareness and gain and retain new customers. You must capture these opportunities to enjoy the fruits of success in the iGaming business. Your online casino will achieve favorable results if you spend your marketing expenses wisely.