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Marketing is one of the industries that change on a daily basis, requiring you to be flexible and find creative solutions to reach goals that seem unachievable. Marketing changes even faster in the iGaming industry. Competition increases at an astounding rate. As of 2021, more than 1000 new online casinos were opened, and each of them usually takes the same approach to advertising its offerings, making it almost impossible to have a competitive advantage. All of this raises a question about how to market an online casino and increase your ROAS (Return on ad spend)? The short answer to this question is to take a strategic approach to online casino marketing and have short and long-term action plans as well as expectations. For a more detailed explanation, you can continue reading the article.
Digital marketing is one of the pillars of launching and running an online casino. A well-developed, efficient digital marketing strategy increases ROAS Indicator as well as KPIs such as impressions, clicks on ads, traffic, and registrations to your gambling website. It helps the business to obtain and retain loyal clients. However, beyond this, many unnoticed, intangible elements are left out when discussing the topic of online casino marketing.
In this article, we are going to investigate the specifics of how to market an online casino. Particularly, we will explore what is necessary to market your casino successfully and what fields of digital marketing you should focus on to increase awareness of your business and convert prospects into customers. We will also provide a guide on how we can help you to market your gambling business and what we can offer to make your marketing strategies easier to run and manage.
Research the market of your online casino
The first step you should take is to understand the market and know what works and what doesn’t. What you read in the article may be close to useless for some markets and a perfect fit for others. That’s why you need to be market-specific, you have to know how people consume the communication, what type of design they like, and what they are used to. What are the advertising channels in the market, what makes people trigger, what are the messages they react to, at what times they are the most active, what payment methods do they use, etc.
In other words, you need market research to identify key customers and create a strategy for targeted communications. As an online casino operator, you have an incredible opportunity to reach a vast number of players. By conducting thorough research, you will be able to narrow your target market and communicate with people who are closest to conversion. If you want to know how to conduct market research before opening your own online casino, you should read our upcoming article about “Marketing Research”.
Gambling attracts different clients, and diversity is especially apparent in online gaming. They can be divided according to online game enthusiasts, fantasy sports fans, gamblers who play game show-inspired games, e-sports fans, slots fans, etc. Needless to say, the categories you choose depend on the games and services that you provide to your clients. Therefore, you have to incorporate a rich variety of casino content into your library to satisfy users’ needs.
On a general level, iGaming has a significant appeal. It is most popular with generation X and millennial clients. The age category of the most active players is 18-35 years, and most of them are male.[G1] On a specific level, the same age group is actively involved in the e-sports industry. Regarding sports betting, the most involved participants are in the 35 to 44 age group. Nevertheless, we also need to note that approximately 70 % of college students engage in sports betting or similar activities.
Nonetheless, this is the general data, and you need to obtain specific results from the base of your consumers. Demographic characteristics and the involvement and participation of the players vary according to different markets. For example, in Europe, Sweden has the highest percentage of involvement in the online gambling market (almost 60% of the bets are made online). The research of your market will help you to identify the potential key strengths, avoid problems for your casino business and accordingly plan marketing approaches.
Online casinos embrace modern marketing strategies and technologies to stay ahead of the curve. There are various digital marketing approaches and channels gaming businesses use to promote and advertise their products and service. In short, it is a high-stakes game involving SEO, affiliate marketing, content marketing, web advertising, creation of bonus systems, social media platforms, paid, earned, and owned media, website modeling, multi-agent systems, etc.
If you are pondering how to market your online casino, the first step that you need to take is to start search engine optimization of your casino’s webpage. Online casinos with high rankings on search engine queries generate much more traffic. Increased traffic means that you have a higher chance of making sales and generating profits. SEO is a practice that involves a set of techniques deployed to make your online casino’s webpage rank higher.
SEO practices can be divided into three extensive categories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. Let’s start our discussion with on-page SEO.
1. On-page SEO notifies engines on how to match the web pages of your site to inserted queries. Search engines track various signals to find out how relevant a certain page is compared to other pages. It involves the codes of your pages, metatags, the content, games that you offer, etc.
Web search engines detect what is appropriate search result to the queries (keywords users search) by scanning the pages on the internet through crawlers, aka spiders. They are assembling a list of the most consistent information. Therefore, using the right keywords in your content (“online casino,” “gambling,” “Casino Games,” etc.) is crucial.
Thus, you need to have well-researched, well-written, and original content. Search engines know how to spot bad or duplicated content, and it will definitely put the ranking of your website below or subject it to search penalties.
Furthermore, web search engines also analyze the Meta tags of the web page, which are an intrinsic part of on-page SEO. Meta tags include the information (Metadata) about the webpage in the HTML document. Even though Metadata is not visible on the page itself, it can be read and analyzed by web crawlers and search engines.
For instance, Google uses Metadata to gain extra information about the page that can be deployed for ranking or displaying the short snippets below the search box and the link to your webpage. Thus, you should consider including the topic of the page or article and the name of your online casino in the Meta tags (<title> and <description> elements) of your web pages.
Nevertheless, there are other important factors to consider. Your online casino website won’t be perched at the top of the search engine results just by incorporating the relevant keywords and content and submitting proper Metadata.
On-page SEO informs engines on how to match the content of your website to inserted queries. Nonetheless, ranking pages that may fall into the same query is much more complicated. Search engines analyze a variety of other factors to detect the relevance of the page to the inserted keywords. At this point, the off-page SEO comes into play.
2. Off-page SEO includes anything that’s used outside of your online casino website to propel the rankings. Thus, it encompasses paid ads, guest posts, backlinks, reviews, etc. These mechanisms can increase your search ranking so that users will be able to find your casino on the first page of Google.
The most frequently used technique is acquiring the backlinks, a link from a specific website to your online casino page. Consider backlinks as some kind of votes for your website. Search engines recognize and inspect the links to expose the credibility and value of your content.
Moreover, search engines also examine the value of the backlinks based on the website’s popularity that is linking to your online casino. The high quantity and quality of backlinks significantly improve the search engine rankings and increase the organic traffic to your website.
3. Technical SEO is a comprehensive, all-around set of SEO improvements that deal with your casino website’s behind-the-curtain architecture and code. Overall, one of the major parts of technical SEO is your site speed and the mobile-friendliness of your platform.
Players don’t like waiting for slow websites. This aspect is very important when it comes to loading your pages and slot games. Your casino will be ranked lower if the loading speed is hampering gamblers to access your slot games. In such cases, the solution might be to cache your website on a CDN or lower the file size of your images.
Mobile-friendliness is a significant factor as more than 50.5% of all bets are made through smartphones or tablets. Consequently, if your casino looks bad on a mobile device, it won’t only damage your ranking but will also affect the overall number of bets made on your website.
You have to work on all of these three areas to improve your result in SERPs and drive traffic to your online casino. It will be an excellent step to start website optimization with a total website audit so that you can inspect your best and worst rankings. Furthermore, you can dig up the unclaimed keywords by performing a gap analysis and evaluating your opponent’s rankings and content.
On the other hand, you can also engage in in-app advertising to boost casino app downloads or increase visibility. In-app advertising is a common practice in the mobile ecosystem. It can quickly generate leads or drive players to your casino platform.
Affiliate marketing is a low-cost but high-converting strategy to gain leads and attract potential customers. Accordingly, affiliate programs connect online casinos to websites and online portals, ready to promote their products for the prearranged, agreed payments. Usually, online gambling companies pay a certain amount when users click on the ad and open their websites.
In particular, affiliates are third-party companies that build lead-generating apps and websites in exchange for a piece of the action – their share, per se. For instance, it can be a site that reviews and rates online casinos. Users visit this site and choose the casino they like. When the conversion happens, the website owners get their slice, and the marketing-qualified lead becomes the sales-qualified lead.
Such referral programs help the growth of the end-user base. Affiliate marketing is also used for generating revenue or as a side hustle. It is undeniable that word-of-mouth drives the conversion rates higher. Affiliate networks use this knowledge to promote specific products/services for a favorable price. In short, affiliate marketing is a win-win situation for both parties – online casinos and gambling marketers.
In the iGaming business, affiliate marketing occurs in two forms.
- The first model implies the existence of an affiliate network. Online casinos sign a contract with the network, and affiliates share the casino’s ads and banners on their online portals.
- According to the second model, online casinos can create their own network and fetch the affiliates to join in. Nonetheless, the last option is rare. Only well-grounded, large iGaming brands have enough resources to take this step and gain profit from it.
Nonetheless, there is always a solution that helps you to settle on the middle ground. Upgaming offers an affiliate system that enables you to create your own affiliate network. With the help of our affiliate system, you will be able to track, manage, and optimize your marketing and advertising activities. Besides various conveniences, you’ll get the system, which is equipped with data analysis tools that can lead you to actionable insights for your marketing strategies.
Why is affiliate marketing effective?
Let’s explain briefly why affiliate marketing can be an effective method. First of all, payment is always based on performance, which means that you are paying for something you already have. Thus, affiliate programs can guarantee a high return on investment. You get the traffic that is appropriate and transformed into actual sales.
On the other hand, with affiliate marketing, you can always measure and compare the invested amount to the earned amount so that you’ll know which marketing activities are successful and working better for your online casino. Furthermore, an affiliate system also ensures the simple tracking and evaluation of various affiliates’ performance. This information can be used to analyze what banners and ads work better and make subsequent adjustments to your affiliate program.
Types of commissions in affiliate marketing
Affiliates are paid for the traffic they deliver to online casino websites. Nonetheless, there are different types of commissions for them. These types include revenue sharing, pay-per-click, pay-per-acquisition, and hybrid models.
- With the revenue-sharing model, affiliates receive a percentage of the casino’s net revenue produced by referred players. It’s a very profitable commission strategy as both the affiliate and the online casino operator are rewarded for their performance – the more sales and revenue produced for the operator and more commission for the affiliate partner. In fact, the Rev-Share model is often associated with online gambling and casino verticals. As long as gaming traffic is generated by affiliates, they are receiving a stable and fixed profit for a long time.
- It brings us to a third strategy known as the pay-per-acquisition model. In this case, a payment rate relies on a specific action, such as a user’s registration to a casino website or making deposits to start wagering. It is probably the best affiliate marketing model for new online casinos and one of the most popular after the Rev-Share strategy.
- The hybrid model is a mix of the aforementioned approaches. It incorporates revenue-sharing and pay-per-acquisition in itself. For instance, with this model, you can offer your affiliates 50$ per acquisition and +5-10% of your revenue. A hybrid model is also one of the most popular commission strategies for affiliates in the iGaming industry.
Needless to say, commissions can be mixed and you can pay according to different models to different affiliates. In fact, it can be more flexible for your partners to choose between various methods.
To market your online casino and target a clearly defined audience, you need relevant and valuable content. The content encompasses the landing pages, FAQ pages, and blogs to increase reader engagement. Good content is an essential factor in increasing traffic and leads.
Engaging content and up-to-date information are the key factors you need to present on your website. The most requested gambling sites deliver content addressed to frequent gamblers. For example, it can be information about the exclusive promotions and rewards offered by the site or newsletters about the release of new games.
The conversion won’t happen without relevant and concise content. Under such circumstances, retaining the clients will be difficult. They will probably search for other online casinos that meet their expectations.
When users get to your website, the first thing that they see is your landing page. Therefore, it must have an attractive design and appropriate content located properly to gain users’ attention and make browsing easier. If it is appropriately designed and catches the attention of the clients, then they are most likely to return to your website and express interest in your products.
When creating a copy for the landing pages, try to be concise. You shouldn’t use jargon or professional terms your reader won’t understand. Make it simple and easy to comprehend. Do not use lofty words and complex sentences.
The other profitable practice is to create a blog with fresh and updated content. It can lift your rankings in search engines and help you to gain prestige with your customers. A blog is a cost-effective, simple and efficient method to ensure your website visitors that your platform is modern, active, and has a lot to offer.
You can write articles about the new trends in the online casino industry, popular games, the mechanisms behind the programming of your games, the psychology of gaming, practical guides about the iGaming business and starting an online casino, etc. These topics are excellent ways to gain clients’ attention and increase traffic to your casino website. By doing so, you are spreading your brand awareness without an actual investment.
Blogging is an effective prospect for getting a leg up on the competition and attracting new players. The online casino industry is just like any other business when it comes to competition. Thus, you need to employ the best possible marketing strategies to meet the market’s requirements and stand out from your competitors.
Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms transformed from interactive spaces into strong marketing channels. Nowadays, it is crucial to establish a social media page to promote the growth and credibility of your brand. The most proliferated and widely used platforms are Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
IGaming businesses can’t be left behind when advertising on social media channels. Online casinos actively utilize Facebook and other platforms to market contests and challenges and post new updates. In addition, Twitter can be used to respond to the users’ feedback and create a strong bond with an existing user base.
There can be many reasons why casino operators or business owners would want to use social platforms. Although, mainly your company’s Facebook page is used to interact with customers, increase the awareness of the brand and advertise upcoming games or products.
Social media can be one of the prime sources for obtaining customers. Nevertheless, there are restrictions when using such platforms to advertise gambling businesses. Every online casino must come in terms of legal restrictions and follow judicial requirements.
Gambling ads on Facebook are only allowed in countries where online gambling is considered a legitimate practice. Furthermore, there is a debate that operators should make age restrictions so that their social media pages are not followed, shared, or liked by the under-aged. Thus, online casino operators must embrace legal tactics to ensure the credibility of their service and gain the trust of users.
You would have a very difficult time finding an online casino that does not offer bonuses to the gamblers registered on their site. Every online casino operator needs to set up an effective and competitive bonus system to engage players and retain them.
It is an effective marketing strategy for online casinos since it’s a great incentive for players to start playing and wager more in the future. There are different kinds of bonuses that you have to offer to players at different times. They can be divided into deposit bonuses and no deposit bonuses. Each one of them contains the additional types of bounties, rewards, and prizes that we will discuss in detail.
- Deposit Bonuses
Deposit bonuses encompass the welcome/sign-up, match, reload, and high roller bonuses. The deposit bonuses are delivered after the players make deposits and transfer a certain amount of money into their accounts.
Welcome bonuses are the most frequent types of awards offered to newly registered players who make their first deposits. It consists of an amount of credits that are expressed as a percentage amount of the initial deposit. For instance, the players may receive 100% of their deposit as a sign-up bonus.
Reload bonuses are served to the players after they use the welcome bonus. Once it is offered to a player, it will also be active for several subsequent deposits a bettor makes. Reload bonuses are designed and offered to the players as a retaining strategy.
The last type of the most commonly used reward for deposits is high roller bonuses. These offers are brought to the players who like to gamble large sums of money. As mentioned above, the high roller bonuses are calculated as a certain percentage of the deposit made by the player. Welcome bonuses have an upper limit, and high rollers are not enticed by these offers. If you have a player who deposits €3000-4000, you need to propose a special bonus.
- No Deposit Bonuses
No deposit bonus means that bonuses are not related to a player’s deposits on the account. Furthermore, these incentives are offered as free spins or cashback and not as additional credit as the sum put down to the gambler’s account.
Free spins grant the player the ability to play the most popular slot or casino games without paying money. It can be provided as a part of the loyalty program and help you to retain the existing clients. Nonetheless, they can also be awarded as a deposit or welcome bonus.
Cashback bonuses are used by online casinos as a way to compensate for a player’s losses. It can come in the form of bonus money on the player’s account. Thus, stimulating the player to continue gambling without making deposits.
These are the most common forms of bonuses incorporated in the bonus system of online casinos. Bonus systems can be used and activated at any time. For instance, a rich variety of bonuses can be deployed in various tournaments. It encourages players to take part in the competition and rank higher on the leaderboard.
Nonetheless, it’s not only about special events and online contests. Bonuses must be used regularly, as it has been recognized to be a very effective marketing strategy for online casinos. It increases the amount of new and loyal users who are ready to make the next deposit and push the play button.
Upgaming offers you an iGaming platform that incorporates a highly customized bonus system with an unlimited number of configurations. It enables you to launch multi-trigger bonus programs and design effective approaches for retaining your customers and improving their engagement rates. Thus, you’ll be able to send various types of bonuses to individual users as well as groups of players filtered through the prescribed criteria. A bonus system is an effective tool that can significantly lift up your marketing performance if used precisely.
Frequently asked questions about online casino marketing
- How to conduct market research for your online casino?
In order to conduct market research, you need to design a market-specific approach. Then, you need to develop a strategy that enables you to identify the main customer segments (who are you targeting and who you want to drag in). Creating a strategy for targeted communications is another approach you want to take after the identification of initial segments (what you need to offer to a certain category of players, how can you attract and entice them). Furthermore, you need to categorize the existing players according to their habits and gambling activities. It will help you to design customized solutions. What’s more, it may also give you hints about which aspects you are performing well and what you lack.
- How to retain players on your online casino?
You need to develop a strong bonus system and offer various and specialized bonuses to different types of players. Bonuses can also be used to reactivate dormant players planning to leave your platform or already have done so. You can also set up tournaments and send notifications to the players or try to engage them by sending emails. Furthermore, every player has their own taste and it should be reflected in your casino gaming content. Your library must be enriched with diverse and different games that will catch the attention of various clients. By researching your clientele, you can distinguish what games they played the most, what are their preferences, what they like, etc.
- Who are the most valuable affiliates and in what type of web business do they operate?
Affiliates can be found everywhere. Nonetheless, the most suitable types of affiliates for online casino businesses are casino portals and review sites, bloggers, streamers, and influencers. For most players, especially the new ones, online casino portals can be the main entrance leading to the world of online gambling. They are looking up for valuable information and other players’ reviews to find the best fit for their requirements.
Bloggers and streamers are other options. They are filling the vacuum with the information/service they provide to the clients. Thus, clients prefer to stay tuned for new blog posts or videos. These sources provide strong channels that can be used to spread the word about your online casino.
Furthermore, bear in mind that your affiliates don’t always have to be in a gambling-related field. You can find content creators and influencers that have an audience you want to target and let them advertise your online casino for a favorable price.
- What social media platforms are best for the iGaming business?
There is no one definite answer to this question. Each platform has its advantages. Nonetheless, the most basic social networks that you are going to need are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Facebook has the biggest user base. You can use it for publicizing company updates, and spread the word about your services and products. Twitter can be used for instant and direct communication with clients. Linkedin is the network where you can create and establish the professional identity of your company in relation to other companies from the same or related business. Instagram can be used to publish photos about the latest wins, tournaments, new games, etc.
- What keyword research tools can I use during the keyword research?
You can explore and find new keywords by using Moz Keyword Explorer, Semrush, Ahrefs keyword explorer, and Google Trends. By deploying these tools you will be able to find out what people are typing into search engines, how difficult it is to rank for a certain keyword, and so on.
- How often should I update the content of my web page?
Your content should follow the demanding trends in the industry. However, you also need to incorporate keywords of a specific intent to aim for lifting your website rank when users enter those specific keywords in the queries. We recommend you check the keyword difficulty rate by using the aforementioned tools. Thus, you’ll be able to find out what specific keywords you can aim for.
Furthermore, if you are running a blog (and you should be having one), it is recommended to publish new articles at least twice a month. Furthermore, you need to update the news section at every moment whenever your casino updates its contents, runs a new tournament, or forms a new companionship with other iGaming companies.
How Upgaming Can Help You – Additional Marketing Tools
Marketing has primary importance in building and ensuring the long-term success of your online casino. Upgaming can help you in designing an effective online casino marketing strategy and creating a successful campaign that will drive leads to your website. Moreover, we can offer you the tools that will strengthen your marketing performance and aid you in conducting the proper analysis and research.
Our CRM system, built-in our iGaming platform, is equipped with modern AI algorithms. It provides responsive and flexible management tools helping you in conceiving and managing customer acquisition and retention tactics and designing a result-oriented marketing strategy for your online casino. With our CRM system, you will have the ability to target a small group of players. Moreover, you will use the advantage of AI-based predictions and recommendations, robust analytical tools, design custom campaign metrics, and analyze your progress according to multiple criteria.
Furthermore, we can also give you access to our agent system, which will strongly increase the flexibility and effectiveness of your payment system and aid you in providing alternative payment methods for your clients. You will be able to create a multi-level network of agents with various roles, design a chain of command for your agents and manage the flow of credits and deposits. If you are interested to find out more about how we can help, just fill out the form below and let us know what you need. Our representatives will contact you in a very short time.
Digital marketing is a must-to-use practice for online casinos, and it has proven to be a highly efficient one. All the more so, it is the primary source for online businesses to speed up client acquisition rates, retain consumers and facilitate their downward movement through the marketing funnel. It’s not only about the advertisement, but also about how to establish the trust and loyalty of the consumers and create or increase your brand’s awareness.
Moreover, effective online casino marketing helps you to receive feedback, whether it will be analytic research conducted through various portals or a simple comment or review from the client. Subsequently, one must point to the fact that marketing is a cycle, and there are no straight lines. Once you finish or gain something, you start the whole process again.