Affiliate Grand Slam by SiGMA
Olivier Meier Mattern, CEO & Founder of AffiMedia B.V., joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Olivier Meier Mattern and his team at AffiMedia B.V. are always in competition with themselves and their goal is be among the top 10 affiliate networks in the world - follow his story below.
From where did you start your affiliate email marketing business and how? How much were you willing to commit to it? And, is iGaming your only vertical?
I had a natural passion since the age of 13 trying to send out my first email send outs. Later on, that interest became more corporate by working for some pioneers in the email marketing industry. The last three years, I have built the affiliate network from scratch, up to where it is today with more than 1.000 active campaigns and more than 200 advertisers live on our affiliate marketing platform.
Gaming is one of our very strong verticals along with subscription verticals such as nutra, dating, loans, and, of course, astrology because these verticals have synergy in the gaming industry.
What helps make your performance successful? What are the main challenges?
During the many years I have been in the industry, business associates also became my friends, combined with a fast payout, no shaving and upfront, honest feedback to publishers and advertisers, and I believe this has been a part of the cocktail of success. That combined with a moral compass pointing me towards the direction of truth is the reason for where we are today.
The main challenge in this industry is also the biggest opportunity: advertisers don’t want to get in registrations that are not turning into active players, while publishers are afraid of “registrations not being registrations”. At the affiliate network AffiMedia we are focussing on transparency between both parties and understanding the affiliate space, which means working together.
Is email marketing still strong in areas where GDPR laws are not as rigorous? Which locations would you rate most favorable for conversions in casino traffic?
Email marketing has never been stronger, neither has SMS that are TCPA and GDPR compliant. That is recently reflected by the fact that Sendinblue has raised $160 million in funding.
We’re seeing SG and the Asian markets along with chosen GEOs in Europe going very strong.
Plain text email or a mix of nicely designed images? What converts best? Do you even bother with COLOUR SS, design of action buttons?
Along with the technical knowledge, we have in-house knowledge about how-to inbox instead of ending up in spam, which is the main challenge in the email industry. But that is also reflecting people's “claim” who are not compliant with what the market standards are as TCPA and GDPR. This will only be regulated more in the future. Those who are not following that path will have trouble with the overall market.
What measures do you take to prevent emails going to spam? What makes your ESP unique?
Being in the field for many years, working closely with selected GDPR compliant email SMTP providers, and understanding the technical part of how to ramp up - miracles don’t happen overnight by sending emails, this is a game for the patient and for the ones who really want it. With this, of course, we help our advertisers and publishers, both in-house and externally.
Technical know-how, fraud shields, as well as manual overview of the traffic three times daily allows us to have a deep insight of where the chain may be in hope of being able to tackle this before any damage is done.
What motivates you to promote more, and what helps you boost your motivation?
The success of others and the overall organic growth of the internet; meaning that other “people's success” is our own success.
To smile, eat, explore, grow, train, and repeat this, 365 years a day.
How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
Today, I am the 100% owner and this, combined with a highly skilled management team of people from the industry with over 20 years of experience, allows the affiliate network AffiMedia to have a backbone which is very strong and reliant in terms of growing.
Constantly upgrading our fraud filters, our advertisers' feedback, knowledge and forecasts of budgets, and developing, helping, sharing insight with our publishers to make all synergies stronger and more reliant and this way all three parties involved grow together.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority and why? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We recently hired a Japanese/Chinese fluent speaking affiliate manager with an insight in the Asian market. We have been lucky since we opened our affiliate network AffiMedia that publishers and advertisers are still part of our growth success. These parties are “old in town” which allows us to enter the Asian market fast but also other upcoming markets.
Which niches work best for your affiliate marketing, and which are the most profitable? How did you find your most profitable niche?
Since we are running on a low profit margin in order to grow and scale faster, we have less then 15% profit margin as we’re not focussing on profit but on growth in the right markets and GEOs. Our strategy is to become a top 10 affiliate network in the world over the next 5 years which obviously takes huge investments internally and externally. We only have growth quality and transparency as a key word in our affiliate network AffiMedia.
We didn't’ find our profitable niches by only having a strong management team, in-house knowledge, experience, etc., but also, in the first couple of years of affiliate network AffiMedia by trying again and again, failing again and again, and losing money internally in order to “find the most profitable areas”. However, I guess this is part of the road to success and to becoming part of the top 10 affiliate network in the world.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate marketing business?
Honesty, transparency, and fast response, every day, every week, every month, every year. That combined with skilled people working for us, internally and externally.
What sets you apart from other affiliate marketers?
We are not comparing ourselves with any other and we are only in competition with ourselves and the road map and strategy which is laid out for the next 5 years. We are running with this road map and strategy forward to become the chosen top 10 affiliate network by the top 100 affiliate publishers and top 500 only advertisers in the world.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Everything from AI is essential and a key factor of running any affiliate campaign online is making sure our publishers / email publishers and affiliate advertisers have the transparency which is essential to achieve the goal of online success.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2020 and beyond?
Today we are using AI, “this is part of our secret recipe”, combined with a deep understanding of big data which obviously again, is AI, and this will lead, run, and dominate the online and offline industry. People not jumping on this would be the same people not buying Amazon.com and Facebook.com stocks or Bitcoins.com when the training was coming by.
That being said, there is no doubt that the iGaming industry is being driven by key players and by the biggest micro gaming platforms as software is essentially driving this industry, all others are just followers on a bigger or smaller scale.
Do you create all the marketing material you need to promote in-house, or do you out-source it?
Yes, we do create marketing material in-house and we also get from advertisers. This combined with our publishers creating stuff allows us the best marketing kits in the market for SMS, email, website, and PPC marketing.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators? What can operators do to increase support with affiliate marketers?
This year we decided to grow our relationship with multiple advertisers and to assign a dedicated affiliate manager for every four operators joining our affiliate program. We have seen the operators reacting positively to it and therefore don't mind paying a small fixed retainer fee per month to get this 200% service. This also reflects the quality and number of active players coming to play on their sides where responsible gaming is also a key factor for letting the operators have one of our dedicated senior account managers.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
Networking, networking, and networking like any other business which drives the world.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? If not, would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
We haven’t yet had the chance to visit SiGMA under the leadership of Eman, who we see as a pioneer and leader of facilitating business growth in this industry. So, we are looking forward to attending very soon when COVID-19 is finished. Events allow everyone to come closer to each other with some good food and enthusiastic pioneers of this iGaming industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself - after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies, favourite book, favourite quote, whether you are into iGaming yourself, etc.
My morning starts at 5.30am doing meditation, reading, working out, and taking the top 3 decisions for that day. This morning routine mentally stimulates my calm and inner peace.
I’m currently living in the Netherlands, but I feel quite certain that a new journey outside Europe will soon turn into reality. Will be continued...
Many thanks for your time today Olivier.
It's been my pleasure SiGMA.
Hopefully we see you at SiGMA Malta this year.