First was a talk with Corey Padveen about influencer marketing and the reach of streamers that are not subject to regulations.
Addressing the subject of marketing, Padveen said: “Marketing these last few years has enabled online brands to connect with new communities and has been a great help, but we have also seen concerns regarding reach and problem gambling. We have seen related changes in everyone. Twitter has banned certain types of content, as have some countries, like the UK and the Netherlands, which has affected non English regulated sites.”
“The influencer space has also seen changes. Restrictions on the use of role models, such as top footballers, have appealed to particular demographics as well.”
The conversation then shifted to celebrity endorsements: “When it comes to celebrities, we actually had someone from an agency reach out the other day with an offer to market with a pretty big celebrity. I won’t say who it is, but the potential reach was 370 million users.
“Which sounds great until you realise that 370 million users are not customers. There’s not much noise in demographics.
“Basically, what you’re seeing is that streamers are getting into that soon. And obviously, at the centre of it all is Drake. He won a million dollars, but then lost two million dollars last time. I saw him this morning and he was down to $700,000.”
Later in the conversation, Padveen addressed the issue of regulations in streaming advertisements, telling the audience: “The lack of oversight is a big issue when it comes to gambling advertising and marketing.
“Even when you see a ‘play responsibly’ message in commercials for land-based and online casinos like Paddy Power, there is no oversight of that capacity when it comes to streaming. It’s really up to the networks themselves, like Twitch, to police what can and can’t be shown. If they don’t, then government intervention is not far behind, but we all know the speed of bureaucracy is slow.”
Following the first conference, Sharon McFarlane took to the stage. As Managing Director of Digital Footprints, she gave her presentation on the uses of TikTok and how to use the social media platform to grow an affiliate business.
McFarlane’s address was well-rounded and captured a significant audience, as the use of TikTok has only grown more widespread and important to businesses that want to funnel traffic to other websites – which is the entire premise of affiliates in the gambling industry anyway.
In speaking about how to use the social media giant, McFarlane covered an array of subjects, including age restrictions, TikTok strategy and how to be successful.
In speaking about age restrictions, McFarlane outlined the protocols in place to stop younger viewers from coming to gambling-related harm, saying: “If you are a user, and you’re registering for protection and you’re under the age of 18, you’re automatically put on a restriction, which means that technology will not serve any content that may not be suitable for individuals under the age of 18. Should somebody try to change that, they will not be able to unless they have some sort of valid identification to prove that they are of legal age.
“However, when you are of legal age, there are other options available to you. For example, if somebody wants to use live streaming as part of their technical strategy, you can age-restrict that content so that you can ensure it remains within safe boundaries.”
Then McFarlane spoke about the ‘myth’ that TikTok only has the capability to appeal to young users, adding: "What’s most important to note is that the myth about the demographic being too young is actually untrue. In fact, 75% of TikTok users are over the age of 20. This means that a large portion of the audience, that can be served with content relating to your brand, are in their 20s and above. In terms of finding influencers, as we discussed on the panel earlier, previous studies have shown that the engagement rate on TikTok can be as high as 18%."
Further, the Managing Director also touched on how to succeed on the platform:
“To succeed on TikTok, you need to focus on approachability. You want people to get to know your brand and support your team. Be active and engage with your audience. It’s important to keep your content fresh and updated, just like you would on your website.”
Finally, iGB featured a conference, titled Startup Stories: Breaking the US as an Independent Affiliate.
Discussing the pitfalls of the two types of startup funding, the panel openly described the investor route and the bootstrap route, with Ben Robinson saying: “When you need to make a quick decision, you need to be able to act on it and make changes. All of us have been affected by focus. If you have an investor encouraging you to pivot, then you need to go talk to them.
“Having the money is great if you need it, but I always tell people to start and see how things go. If your product or idea is good enough, you can always get more money. Even today, there is money out there. When you are bootstrapped, you can’t expand as fast, and you have to be more cautious about your personal level of risk. However, when you bootstrap your company, like we did at Media Troopers, and grow into the market share we have today, it is amazing.”
Then the panel moved on to regulatory processes and the difficulties of the regulatory process in the US – with Benjamin Truman saying: “The regulatory process is difficult. You have to have your ducks in a row. You have to be clean. You have to have everything ready to go and deal with the regulators. And by the way, they’re a lot nicer than you think. They really talk to you. That’s not even the hardest thing about the US. The hardest thing about the US is the relationships.
“Brits don’t want to talk to non-Brits. Americans don’t want to talk to non-Americans. Israelis talk to everybody – in America, they only want to talk to you if they know you.”
Finally, Ben Truman spoke about the impact of a looming recession and the cuts made within the industry: “Well, I think we’re in a good place, but if you’re small in India, I’m very concerned. The rumbling going around is that companies are cutting, cutting, cutting. Caesars fired 15% of their marketing, and DraftKings, FanDuel and everybody else are firing too. So, it’s just a matter of time before it starts hitting us, and it’s already happening.”
Meanwhile, Rachel Fitter added: “I definitely think it’s recession-proof, but I think that the unit size of the turnover that people will be betting might be recession-resistant." Ben Robinson said: "It’s not completely immune to the impact of consumer spending, which will be impacted. It just won’t fall off a cliff."
Then Alex Kostin commented: “I believe that the US customer is still strong. Let’s look at the Super Bowl predictions - how much they’re going to wager, $16bn or something, it’s huge. The only thing that I feel is, cost are increasing to gain links, everything is double the price, and content is increasing, even though the companies that are producing the content are using some artificial intelligence tools, so it actually should cost nothing this season.”