The online gaming business is rapidly gaining momentum. As more and more casinos appear online, operators are seeking the most effective ways to stand out in an increasingly crowded market. One popular and effective solution is to use affiliate networks, and an increasingly popular affiliate marketing model is CPA.

Article summary

  1. What Is CPA Affiliate Marketing?
  2. How Does It Work?
  3. The Main Advantages of Working With CPA Networks
  4. How to Choose an Affiliate Network
  5. How Do Affiliate Networks Cooperate With Online Casinos?
  6. Revenue Share and Hybrid Programs
  7. The Difference Between Revenue Share and Cost Per Action Models
  8. Successful Affiliate Networks for Online Casinos

Affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy where businesses offer rewards to affiliates who direct traffic to the businesses’ websites. Affiliate marketing models like CPAs and Revenue Share are especially popular, so we’ll explain what they are and how to take full advantage of them to promote an online casino. At the end of the article we’ll outline some prominent affiliate programs.

What Is CPA Affiliate Marketing?

CPA is short for Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition. CPA affiliate programs are a model of internet advertising where businesses pay affiliates each time a certain action is performed by a user on a particular web resource. For example, these actions could include completing the forms on the website, subscribing to an email newsletter, or making a deposit.

Cost Per Action is popular in online retail and other sectors, but in the world of online gambling, businesses almost exclusively use Cost Per Acquisition. Cost Per Acquisition requires a higher level of commitment, as affiliates are usually paid only after new users have made a deposit and then played through it. In this article, we’ll use CPA to refer to Cost Per Acquisition only.

Using CPA affiliate programs can simplify and streamline your marketing process. If you can incorporate the right CPA model into your marketing strategy, it could bring significant amounts of traffic to your online casino by effectively using publishers to do your advertising for you.

While affiliate marketing programs have long been a mainstay of B2C marketing, they have recently become popular in B2B marketing strategies. Regardless of whether the target audience is a customer or another business, CPA and other affiliate marketing programs are efficient and cost-effective internet marketing strategies.

How Does It Work?

Affiliate networks connect companies seeking lead-generating traffic with web publishers whose platforms provide avenues for traffic acquisition. The affiliate network provides different offers for publishers to choose from. Publishers will often choose which offers to advertise on their site based on the product or type of product they think will interest the highest number of visitors.

Publishers feature advertisements on their website that channel interested users toward the business. By clicking on the featured advertisement, users are directed to the business’ website, and often they are presented with a contact form or landing page. The website records the visitors' activity, and if the user performs one of the required actions, the business then pays the affiliate for generating a lead. The required action is usually making a deposit and then playing through the entire amount deposited.

The steps are outlined clearly below.

  • The advertiser determines the desired action to be made by a potential client.
  • Publishers provide the advertiser with traffic through their online platforms.
  • Target users perform a specific action.
  • The business pays for the action performed by the user.
  • The CPA network deducts a commission, usually 20-30 percent, from the total amount and pays it to the publisher.

Web publishers, in this case, could be influencers, bloggers with a large number of subscribers, owners of high-traffic forums and online magazines, or other websites with large amounts of traffic. Publishers generally need to attract a certain amount of traffic in order to be accepted as an affiliate member.

Networks and businesses very often use software programs designed to track affiliate marketing data. These enable businesses to evaluate the success of their program in order to make important decisions about future strategies, such as which affiliates direct the most valuable traffic to their site and generate the most leads. They also let businesses see which affiliates are failing to generate enough of the right kind of leads.

The Main Advantages of Working With CPA Networks

In addition to its key benefit (payment based on actions instead of views), CPA networks have some other advantages:

  • Publishers often provide a variety of options to engage customers: contextual advertising, social networking, newsletters, teasers, pop-ups, mobile applications, etc. This allows businesses to choose the promotion channels best suited to their goals.
  • Businesses only pay the publisher for each target action performed by a legitimate user. Businesses often use statistic-tracking software that allows them to see whether the action was performed by a legitimate user or a bot. This provides protection against fraud.
  • Reputable CPA affiliates use tracking platforms. These analytics systems track the name of the publisher and the channel through which the user was referred. This will enable you to understand which methods of promotion work best for your business.
  • Affiliate marketing networks create stable, mutually beneficial relationships between the advertiser, the network, and the business. Networks guarantee transparent financial transactions, and publishers keep traffic levels high to remain a valuable member of the network. High performance from one member of the arrangement translates to benefits for all.
  • The business’ commitment to the publisher only extends as far as the payment for one action. After the initial payment, the business keeps all revenue from the player directed to the site.

However, bear in mind that in CPA models, the publishers are only incentivized to direct a high volume of traffic to your site, regardless of the player’s longevity. The publisher won’t have any motivation to discern between a serious gambler who plays three times a week for thirty years and a video game enthusiast who tries his hand at online slots a single time out of boredom.

How to Choose an Affiliate Network

Affiliate marketing networks are often used by online vendors, different internet services, banks, and, of course, online casinos. Some affiliate networks cooperate with a variety of organizations while some only specialize in one particular market.

When choosing a CPA network, it is important to focus on your field and the main interests of your target audience. The best affiliate network for you will depend on which one caters to the same niche that you do. Otherwise, instead of bringing in a flood of new customers, you could waste your whole marketing budget on useless leads.

Almost all CPA networks provide a wide range of offers, programs for tracking and managing statistics, and strict rules for fair and profitable cooperation. Those can be good baseline requirements for an acceptable affiliate network.

Before entering into a partnership, businesses and web publishers may be subject to a review by the network. For your part, it won’t hurt to check the reviews of an affiliate network before signing up. Don’t expect to find one without a single negative review, but look out for things like frequently delayed payments and unhelpful managers. These could be a red flag.

Before posting your offer, the CPA network will carefully review your resource, paying attention to the quality and popularity of your site, as well as other measurements of viability and potential. Once all the checks are completed, the parties enter into a contract and the business provides specific offers for publishers to choose from.

Once you’ve entered into an agreement with a network, you can help your publishers by providing them with materials and information about your business. This will make sure they have a clear idea of who you are, what your goals are, and who your target audience is. Also, you should make it easy for the leads that the publisher sends your way to convert with simple contact forms and inviting landing pages.

How Do Affiliate Networks Cooperate With Online Casinos?

Before choosing an affiliate network, you need to determine the specific action you expect from a user. When it comes to online casinos, these can include registering on the site, making a deposit, or betting on a certain game.

You should also agree on certain terms in advance:

  • The amount paid to the publisher for each client's target action.
  • Geo-locations of your target audience.
  • Specific traffic sources (for example, only social networks and live blogs, or all available channels).
  • A list of keywords, images, and links that should be used by the publisher to increase your target audience, as well as a list of prohibited material.

In addition, given the high level of competition in the gambling niche, it is necessary to offer the most favorable terms of partnership for all parties, including publishers. Otherwise, there would be little incentive for them to drive traffic to your website.

Very often, the publishers who participate in affiliate networks that target the online casino market are experienced gamblers. Popular gaming blogs can direct significant amounts of traffic to your casino based both on proper affiliate marketing strategies and on the reputation of the player running the blog.

Revenue Share and Hybrid Programs

Another marketing model that has become quite popular is Revenue Share. Here, the affiliate earns a commission from all lifetime revenue earned from each user that the affiliate directs to the business.

The commission offered to affiliates in a Revenue Share payment model is often quote high - 40-50 percent of Net Gaming Revenue (NGR). NGR is calculated by subtracting the payments to the player, bonuses paid to the player, and paxes taid from the amount of bets placed by the player. It’s important to note the difference between NGR and GGR, or Gross Gaming Revenue, which is calculated by subtracting payments to the players from bets made by the players.

Revenue Share focuses on the quality of desired actions, not on the number of new users. The commission varies depending on the program, but percentages tend to be high, often as much as 50 percent. This provides affiliates who sign up for a Revenue Share program with a powerful incentive to put their best efforts toward bringing in long-term customers.

Aside from CPA and Revenue Share, there’s a third option: hybrid programs. These programs combine the payment methods of both the CPA and Revenue Share models.

The Difference Between Revenue Share and Cost Per Action Models

The CPA model involves a fixed payment for each action, payable upon the completion of the action. Thus, the webmaster makes a profit solely from the initial action performed by the client (registration, deposit, etc.), regardless of whether he or she becomes a long-term gambler. In the future, the income from the player's losses in the online casino goes directly to the operator, and the publisher doesn’t receive a commission.

Unlike the CPA model, the Revenue Share system is geared more towards long-term revenue generation. In this system, the publisher receives passive income from the engaged gambler as long as they continue to play on the online casino. Revenue Share is more attractive for publishers who already have some experience with generating traffic and know how to bring the kind of users who will generate constant revenue to online casinos.

CPA affiliate program models are more appropriate for quickly gaining access to high levels of traffic. Revenue Share models incentivize publishers to target potential long-term gamblers.

Successful Affiliate Networks for Online Casinos

LuckyPartners

LuckyPartners is an innovative CPA network that was established in 2014. Since then, the company has proved itself to be an effective and trustworthy affiliate network.

The network’s CPA model offers affiliates up to $150 for any action performed by a referred client and revenue share of up to 60 percent of a player’s losses. Payments are made in euros and dollars via e-wallets Neteller, Skrill, ecoPayz and others.

Online Affiliate World

Online Affiliate World is an affiliate network with a broad choice of offers covering casinos, bookmakers, and poker markets worldwide. The network provides CPA, Revenue Share and hybrid programs. Their CPA plan offers affiliates from $40 to $200 for each player referred, depending on the region. The other programs have standard Revenue Share commission rates.

Payments are made through PayPal, Skrill, WebMoney, and other options.

Betsson Group Affiliates

This affiliate network is also considered one of the largest partners in the gambling market. Publishers earn a profit of 25-50 percent revenue share and a 10 percent sub-affiliate deal for each new affiliate referred. They also offer CPA and hybrid deals.

The main markets are the EU, the UK, and Scandinavia. Their supported payment systems are Skrill, Bank Wire, Neteller, and Player Account.

Europartners

Europartners, a leading affiliate program since 2002, focuses on geo-targeting and cross-promotion strategies to maximize turnover. They offer Revenue Share, CPA and sub-affiliate models. Their Revenue Share commissions range from 25 to 40 percent, and their CPA vary on a case-by-case basis.

PoshFriends

This is another affiliate program that offers profitable solutions for online casino owners and arbitrators. For advertising, it uses live banners and links that entice visitors through catchy phrases and light humor.

Poshfriends cooperates with casino projects like Casino-X and Joycasino, where players are offered permanent promotions, bonuses and loyalty programs that motivate gamblers to make deposits.

PoshFriends offers CPA on a case-by-case basis, Revenue Share of up to 60 percent, and a hybrid model offering $100 for a target action and 25 percent Revenue Share. They support Skrill, Webmoney, Qiwi, and other payment systems.