Bojoko chief business officer Joonas Karhu discusses how online gambling operators can identify new markets and what they must do to localise their products for launch.
The online casino affiliate space is highly competitive, particularly in regulated markets such as the UK and Sweden. The sector is dominated by a handful of super affiliates, with smaller networks and brands doing their utmost to compete with more limited budgets and resources.
This is not a bad thing, of course. It has led to a clean-up in the online casino affiliate space and now only the most reputable and professional organisations can survive, let alone thrive. For those that do run their affiliate businesses to high standards, there are plenty of opportunities to be had.
Even in the UK and Sweden it is possible to claim a solid share of the market by taking a unique and innovative approach, focusing on creating authentic, high value content and constantly developing additional features and tools to provide consumers with what they need to find new casinos.
This is exactly what we have done here at Bojoko, positioning our brand as the Airbnb and Trip Advisor of the online casino space. This has led to great success in the UK market, and just like any other affiliate business we want to continue to drive growth.
There are many ways to achieve this. We can increase the number of operator partners we work with, ramp up our content efforts, better incentivise players to keep selecting casinos through Bojoko and also pursue different marketing methods.
But perhaps the best way to drive growth is to expand into new markets, a tactic that online gambling operators also use. For online casino affiliates that have enjoyed success in highly competitive markets, replicating their offering in other countries is fairly straight forward.
Actually, that is not entirely true. Entering any new market requires significant research, a clear understanding of consumer needs and preferences in that country and, of course, the localisation of your product and service offering. This is no small task.
The biggest decision is deciding which new market to enter. This means considering a wide range of factors including legal, consumer propensity to gamble, language and culture and whether there are any requirements for the business to be located in that country.
There is tremendous appetite among the Canadian population to play online casino, but the affiliate space is nowhere near as cluttered as new and emerging markets such as Sweden, Denmark and even the USA where the race to enter the fray is very much on.
For us, this presented an opportunity to enter the Canadian market with a blueprint and a brand that has enjoyed success in the challenging and competitive UK market but where we are one of only a few online casino affiliates in the space.
Canada will not be the right fit for all online casino affiliates considering expanding their geographical reach, but there are plenty of other jurisdictions that present similar opportunities to Canada. In particular, I am thinking about Asia, Latin American and Africa.
Once you have identified the new market you wish to enter, the real hard work begins as you have to completely localise your product and service offering for that country. This means stripping your site almost back to its digital framework.
For Bojoko, we completely re-wrote our content in Canadian English as this is key to driving trust and loyalty among consumers. Imagine reading a UK-facing website that has been written in American English, for example. It would seem less sincere and genuine.
Perhaps obviously, we have changed all currencies into Canadian dollars, too. But the biggest change for us was the online casino brands that we work with – our UK facing Bojoko site has more than 300 listed online casino operators but not all of them accept Canadian players.
This has meant starting from scratch with Bojoko.com/ca and only listing those that market to and accept Canadian players. This is important because we want our users to have the best possible experience, so there is no point in sending them to a site where they can’t sign-up and play.
Online casino affiliates entering other markets must take the same approach. Not only do players want to be able to find casinos where they can play, but operators only want to be sent traffic that can actually convert.
It is also vital to take a responsible approach. We are using the exact same approach to our Canada site as we do our UK facing site, providing our players with the same information and tools to ensure they can keep in control of their play.
So, it is clear that there are plenty of opportunities for online gambling affiliates to use international expansion to drive growth, with a wide range of markets and countries offering potential. But to succeed in these markets, affiliates must take a strategic and localised approach.
Those that do will be able to turn their one market business into a truly global one.