By Kenneth Williams
Esports betting sites experience different marketing challenges from their traditional counterparts. Most importantly, they have to appeal to gamers, a notoriously opaque market compared to football or basketball fans. Bookies need to account for the differences between the two when planning their marketing efforts.
This distinction is further exacerbated when choosing affiliate marketing sites. Luckily, bookmakers can leverage a handful of esports-specific traits to improve their campaigns.
Esports fans differ greatly from physical sports fans when it comes to media. While NFL or NBA fans are more likely to watch established networks such as ESPN or FOX Sports, esports fans are much more open to independent sources. This means that affiliate sites can serve as great educational resources or even entertainment for esports fans, especially those interested in betting. By keeping a handful of criteria in mind, you can maximise the percentage of visitors clicking through an affiliate to your esportsbook.
What esports betting operators should look for in affiliates
Many media groups have tried to become the “ESPN of esports”, but none have quite succeeded. Pro gaming is still young, so fans can’t look to existing mainstream news outlets for news and analysis. Content creators have stepped in to fill the void. Twitch, Twitter and YouTube are the primary platforms for esports content, but the lack of a centralised platform means that curious would-be esports bettors are more likely to just Google their questions and click whatever comes up.
Because of that, search engine optimisation (SEO) is a must. Any affiliate site should already practice a clear SEO standard. Proper SEO dramatically increases the number of people finding the content through search services, therefore increasing the number of people clicking through to your site.
Potential video game bettors also appreciate certain kinds of content more than others. They’re internet savvy and more familiar with how online businesses work, so sponsored reviews don’t mean much to them. News, historical information and general betting advice are much more appropriate for the esports market. Gaming bettors are generally younger than traditional sports gamblers and don’t have the same experience or comfort in the sportsbook. Instructional content specifically geared towards esports hit several valuable notes.
Lastly, the golden rule of affiliate marketing always applies. Perform your due diligence when researching a potential partner. Investigate what other betting sites they work with and how they’re represented. If you’re explicitly pushing esports, see if they’ve worked in the field before or just pay it some lip service. The quality of content also matters, so go to the site yourself and read some of their articles yourself. Affiliate partnerships create a link between their content and your site in the eyes of esports fans. If the SEO stands out like a sore thumb or the content is completely outdated, esports fans will be less encouraged to visit you.
Examples of good esports betting affiliates
If you want an example to follow, many affiliates have found great success. Betting operators should consider Esportsbets.com a standard. Its homepage is updated frequently with new designs and new content – scroll down and you’ll see in-house esports news, educational content and useful tools for bettors. It offers free odds trackers for CS:GO, League of Legends, Dota 2 and Overwatch. Esportsbets.com takes advantage of SEO to score hits from search engines, but readers have a reason to return to the site. Recurring visitors are much more likely to eventually click on a website.
For a hybrid site, TheSportsGeek.com does a good job of balancing their traditional and digital sports content. Its SEO is mostly geared towards attracting sports bettors, but an entire section of its site is dedicated to pro gaming. All of the content is entirely unique from its existing traditional sports content, so esports players feel the same sense of importance as football or basketball bettors. Your affiliates should match your sportsbooks, so choose dedicated or hybrid affiliate sites based on what you offer.