iGaming Affiliates 2021: Time to Grow Up? With Tara Wilson, COO of Income Access

As the affiliate market continues to flourish and cement itself as an integral part of the iGaming ecosystem, the time has now come for a more robust governance framework to be adopted industry-wide. But how easy will it be for the affiliate industry to make this transition into the corporate world?

Tara Wilson is the Chief Operating Officer of market-leading affiliate service provider, Income Access and she believes the key to this transition lies within enhanced transparency and the ability to implement sustainable partnership models. In this article, we find out what these attributes might look like in more practical terms and what else we can do, as an industry, to secure the future growth of the affiliate sector.

How important is it for affiliates to have strong support from operators in order to optimise promotional campaigns? How can a company like Income Access help with that?

“The dynamic between affiliates and operators is very much a symbiotic relationship that continues to evolve and is rooted in consistent, transparent communication and trust. Establishing a strong, sustainable affiliate community requires active collaboration from all sides and an ongoing effort from the operator to provide transparency by sharing upcoming news, relevant data and results, product updates, targeted campaign materials and marketing goals, etc. It’s also important for operators to provide an open space for feedback where affiliate insight can be leveraged.

“As an experienced business partner, we understand that this relationship thrives when brands and affiliates are working together, collaboratively, and transforming insight gained into strategic marketing campaigns. We provide support in many ways, both on affiliate marketing software and services, with the most notable example being our dedicated affiliate management team. A team that is adept at implementing effective acquisition and retention strategies and diligently works to support brand partners while empowering affiliates to run a successful campaign.”

Some industry commentators have argued that the average revenue share deal for affiliates is too low and in some cases as small as 8%. Do you think this is acceptable and what can we, as an industry, do to improve this going forward?

“I think the broader discussion is how do we encourage brands to maintain transparency when communicating the terms and conditions of an affiliate program? How do we empower brands to openly communicate fee structures and other costs that create potential inflexibility while ensuring affiliates are given space to negotiate and understand? As part of our business strategy, we are focused on supporting both affiliates and operators. Part of this approach is to encourage our partners to be fully transparent and provide sustainable commission models. Our platform is designed to facilitate the sharing of in-depth commission data and models between operators and their affiliates. This is all an opportunity to drive a more inclusive dialogue between brands and affiliates; the inclusion of both sides contributing, sharing each perspective, and then working together towards a mutual benefit.”

Your recent partnership with Kwiff was focused on providing increased support to their affiliate partners; providing strategic materials, creative assets and even their very own dedicated affiliate manager. Is this a sign of things to come? Do you expect to see closer collaboration between operators and affiliates going forward?

“We recognise that the greatest strength of a successful affiliate program is the collaborative approach towards activating a campaign strategy. When effectively implemented, affiliates drive engagement opportunities and help audiences connect with the brands they represent with the goal of enhancing customer loyalty. What makes this so effective is the level of support affiliates receive. When brands partner with us, we are committed to delivering high-calibre solutions for their affiliates. In addition to the support our team provides, we also encourage operators and affiliates to build a strong relationship that favours trust and collaboration.”

Is marketing the only way affiliates can be supported? Many believe that affiliates need to become more professional and corporate in their approach. Do you agree? What can operators do to help affiliates make this transition? 

“As traffic acquisition specialists themselves, affiliates also provide strategic insight and aid operators in product evolution beyond marketing campaigns. With this expanded role, affiliates and their expertise should be leveraged regularly by operators. To encourage this, operators need to actively build relationships as well as work with all types of affiliates of all shapes and sizes.

“There’s a wide variety of affiliates in the iGaming industry and many of them are large corporations as well as smaller businesses, but commonly maintain a high level of professionalism and focus on solutions. What’s really interesting about this space is how it’s evolved to adapt and adhere to various market changes and regulatory groundwork.”

Should the UK market be following North America in its implementation of an affiliate license framework? What impact do you think this would have on industry growth?

“Approaching from a broader lens, we see affiliate marketing in the iGaming space as very much a global venture. While each area has its own regulatory framework, there’s still this presence of interconnection and growing alongside the other. Markets tend to influence one another, which often results in the development of new opportunities for both operators and affiliates to thrive. In many ways, this could be seen as an opportunity to establish clearly defined boundaries and expectations, enhancing the value of affiliate work and allowing affiliate partners to move more fluidly within the market.”

Editor’s Note: After speaking with Tara it’s clear that there is still some progress to be made before the affiliate market can reach its true potential. Affiliate, Operator relationships need better support and better partnership deals. New initiatives such as Income Access’s partnership with Kwiff are the perfect tool to help affiliates take a more corporate approach and optimise their efforts. A trend we hope to see continue well into the future.


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