Andre Machado, Sportradar, Head of Publishers Relations and Affiliation

"If operators understand their fans’ interests and habits, they can target and engage them with personalized content"

Reading time 3:47 min

Before taking the stage at the Eastern European Gaming Summit (EEGS) upcoming Free Webinar, 'The Relevance of Media Buying Activity in the Affiliate Space', Sportradar's Head of Publishers Relations and Affiliation, Andre Machado, sat down with EEGS for an exclusive interview.

In this in-depth conversation, Machado shares his expertise on the importance of media buying, affiliate marketing, and navigating the complex compliance landscape. 

Can you share some key insights into the evolution of digital marketing within the
iGaming industry over the past decade, and how it has influenced affiliate marketing

Operators are subsequently turning to automation technology to scale their campaigns and streamline their marketing processes. Automation has been the key and is being used within programmatic advertising technology to efficiently acquire new bettors at this critical time. Programmatic automates the buying of online advertising in real-time to serve highly targeted adverts to the most relevant audiences, which is highly efficient and limits ad wastage.

In fact, our proprietary ads programmatic marketing service has enabled our global operator clients to increase click-through-rates by up to 60%, while increasing net gaming revenue by as much as 110%. We estimate that reducing the manual inputs in this process saves our clients up to two months' worth of productivity annually.

Automation is similarly enhancing operators’ advertising performance across publisher
sites, such as high-profile sports and media news websites, and for their sponsorships. By using data to understand fans’ most consumed online content, Sportradar’s Engagement Tool, the ad tech we are using in our Affiliate Project, uses automation to display contextually relevant betting ads across both premium publishers and rights holders’ websites.

The range of these adverts and the speed at which they are delivered increase click-through rates by up to 2,2X which would be impossible to replicate manually. The affiliate space is following these macro trends and we are seeing a more sensible vision from the Operators to new ways of cooperation, and Media Buying is one of them.

With your extensive experience in digital marketing, what do you believe are the
most critical factors for success in affiliate media buying specifically within the iGaming sector?

If operators can better understand their fans’ interests and browsing habits, they can more effectively target and engage them with personalized content. This is key to acquiring new customers, re-engaging existing players, and building brand awareness. Marketing solutions that would enable them to fully understand where and how bettors were interacting with their brand.

These customer insights power digital marketing technologies, which decide the most relevant bets to serve to players, on the right platform at the right time. This personalized approach engages fans more deeply and delivers greater conversions, customer loyalty, and revenue growth while limiting advertising waste and compensating the right partners/affiliates.

How do you see the role of data analytics shaping the future of affiliate marketing,
and what tools or methodologies do you find most effective in optimizing media
buying campaigns?

AI’s role cannot be understated, but it needs data to deliver marketing efficiency. Similarly, data is a resource that is only as useful as how effectively you use it. Therefore, the real game changer is when the two are combined. Operators possess deep pools of anonymized customer data, which offer valuable insights into fan behaviors and interests, such as previously bet-on teams or most frequented digital channels.

AI algorithms within digital marketing technologies process this data to create personalized dynamic football adverts that can be delivered on fan-favorite channels. For instance, an FC Porto fan who regularly uses Instagram might receive dynamic ads containing the odds for their team’s next fixture across the platform’s story’s function. With this data readily available, the AI capabilities within marketing services allow operators to truly create highly targeted and customized fan experiences that achieve greater acquisition and brand awareness.

Given the dynamic regulatory landscape surrounding iGaming advertising, how do
you advise affiliates to navigate compliance risks effectively while still maximizing
their efforts?

By focusing on the content that fans care most about, AI-driven personalization tools can drive efficiency and limit advertising waste, everything aligned with the current local regulation. This is essential at this moment when operators must supply advertising creative for the hundreds of weekly matches played across football’s biggest competitions, as an example.

While this was previously a protracted, manual process for creative teams, AI and automation technologies are powering Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) solutions to address this operational challenge quickly and at scale. We use DCO in our industry-specific Dynamic Display solution to engineer an unlimited supply of personalized betting advertising creative, based on fan content preferences and the most popular pages on operators’ websites. The customized content within these creatives engages end users more deeply and improves click-through rates, while automation saves valuable time and money to achieve more effective budget spend and higher ROI.

Given the ever-changing landscape of digital advertising, what emerging trends do
you foresee shaping the future of affiliate media buying, and how should marketers
adapt to stay ahead?

In the same way that football clubs allocate their transfer budgets effectively to deliver the best performance on the pitch, operators who execute efficient marketing strategies are most likely to succeed in the marketplace. By leveraging data and AI within the latest advertising technologies, operators can better understand their customers, find their audience quickly, and serve them with the content that’s most relevant to them.

As with player scouting, to find a hidden gem, you often need to search where others aren’t looking. Similarly, with betting customer acquisition it pays to have exclusive access to audiences. With our Engagement Tool, we work with a single operator in each geographic market to gain visibility on premium publishers in the region, while using our unique ad tech to deliver automated, contextually relevant ads that subsequently deliver strong acquisition performance. This might be a trend, but it would help to balance the competitiveness within the markets.

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