Panel discussion recap: ‘Africaffiliates’

At iGB Affiliate London, Affiverse CEO Lee-Ann Johnstone participated in the ‘Africaffiliates‘ panel discussion. The session took place last Thursday in ExCeL London.

Lee-Ann was joined by Sarafina Wolde Gabriel, Vice President of Strategy for Income Access. Also present was Eazibet Director Mark Tipping, plus Alessandro Pizzolotto. Alessandro is the Founder and CEO of STM Gaming.

The four of them discussed affiliate marketing opportunities in Africa, plus the growth of mobile gaming here and more. In this blog post, we’ve dissected the session’s key points into a digestible piece to read.

The early adopters, rising stars and powerhouses 

The loosening of regulation has, according to Tipping, led to South Africa being what he quotes as “interesting” in recent times. Because of this, revenue share deals between sportsbooks and affiliates have become easier to strike.

Although online casino is currently illegal here, the Eazibet Director also mentioned that sports betting operators are “getting smart”. This has led to some brands offering games that look similar to casino, but are fixed-odds.

Johnstone also mentioned the growth of affiliate marketing in South Africa. In her words, this form of marketing is becoming “quite apparent”. Part of this is down to the infrastructure, but it can also be attributed to the increase in online shopping. Uganda is another country getting more into affiliate marketing, according to Pizzolotto. He also mentioned Zambia and believes that each country is opening up more to this channel. This, he believes, is because operators can understand the benefits affiliate marketing can bring.

An advantage in Africa

When talking about South Africa, Johnstone said that “people have quite a lot of traffic – they just don’t know what an affiliate is”. This appears to be a recurring theme across the continent, as Pizzolotto agreed. He thinks that because Africa is still inexperienced in this field, “we need to teach them” about how it works.

For established affiliates this also poses an opportunity. If they’re able to target players from regulated markets here, then the extensive knowledge they already have will highlight to operators how they can benefit from this.

Regulations for affiliates

One of the biggest differences between Africa and Europe, in terms of affiliate marketing, is the establishment of regulations. For example, EU-based sites have to comply with GDPR and the like. There isn’t a similar continent-wide law for Africa.

Johnstone believes that this provides an ideal opportunity to “build a brand really quickly”. However, she also emphasises the importance of localisation. Thus, in her words, affiliates must “approach the market in a different way”.

Content demands 

Trust in the online space is somewhat new here, which means that affiliates need to act accordingly when it comes to developing content. To begin with, according to Lee-Ann, they must educate players on various areas. These include safe depositing, how to bet on sports and regulation.

It’s also important to partner with brands that already have high levels of trust locally. This will show users that you’re not trying to scam them and make them more inclined to re-visit you.

You should also think about where players are hanging out. For example, players in South Africa aren’t on Facebook. Instead, they hang out on the likes of WhatsApp. It’s therefore not just about creating the right content – you need to target them where they’ll see it too.

Final thoughts 

Africa has been talked about for a couple of years, but there are still opportunities for affiliates. This form of marketing is still a new concept here, meaning that it’s the role of established sites to educate the market. But to be successful here, understanding their existing preferences is also important. This means not just localising your content, but also where you share it. Affiliate marketing will only continue to grow across the continent as mobile and internet penetration increases, along with markets opening up and players becoming more knowledgable.

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