Affiliate Grand Slam by SiGMA
Riccardo Busato, CEO at GameRevolution, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Offering tailor-made services to their VIP customers, keeping their customers engaged, and creating interesting content are some of the daily tasks that make Riccardo Busato and his team at GameRevolution excel - follow his story below.
When and why did you start considering affiliate marketing business as a career?
Well, we started as a poker school back in 2009, and then in 2013 we decided to expand our reach to other verticals, and with the explosion of social media we jumped into it.
From where did you start your affiliate marketing business and how?
We began using mostly social media to promote our partner’s sites and from there we grew to run multiple affiliate sites, covering all the different verticals.
How much were you willing to commit to it?
Back in 2009 the market was pretty wide open, we started as a small business and we grew it step by step, and by reinvesting all our profits for the first 5 years we managed to grow it into a mid-size company that today is the market leader in the poker market.
What were your biggest challenges when first starting?
Trust was the main issue at the beginning; getting customers to trust you and to play with you is the biggest challenge of all. After that, finding a good scaling strategy proved tricky.
How did you scale up your affiliate marketing business?
We started mostly as a poker related site, and once we reached the size that we were looking for, we started reaching out to the other two main verticals, Sport betting and Casino. Right now, our focus is to acquire even more knowledge in those areas to allow us to scale even further.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
Well, every company has a learning curve and that is something I would never trade since it made GameRevolution what it is today and taught me valuable knowledge. If I could say something to my younger self, it would be to focus even more on Social Media marketing.
What helps make your performance successful? What are the main challenges?
What makes us different is the tailor-made services we offer to our VIP customers which make sure they get the best experience when they are playing. The main challenges today are to keep your customers engaged, and keep creating interesting content.
What motivates you to promote more, and what helps you boost your motivation?
The gaming industry is an ever-evolving ecosystem and it is really motivating and challenging to have to adapt and to innovate to keep up with the market.
How is your company, including the affiliate team structured? What aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
Well, we have different team members covering all the aspect of affiliation, from acquisition to retention to support. On top of that we have our in-house team which takes care of design, marketing, and content creation. My main focus is finding new revenue streams, and ways to be innovative.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
By providing services. The time of the “big deals” are over. Everyone has them now, and the games are moving towards the companies that provide the best services.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority and why? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
Our main focus is still Italy, but due to the recent changes in the law we are now forced to look outside, and Africa and India seem very interesting markets, which we have started to look at closely. Overall, the emerging markets are the ones we are interested in the most, but it will be a long road ahead.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
We have 2 different approaches: one where we reach out to final users with EvBets, and another channel GameAffiliations, where we reach out to all the small/medium affiliates who need a comprehensive solution to manage all their affiliations in one place, using our management software.
The combination of very competitive offers and multiple options in terms of operators, combined with our expertise and our supporting software make our proposition very appealing in Italy.
Have you considered going down the operator route?
Yes, we did. However, the ever-increasing regulation in Italy always put us off, now more than ever.
How important is social media activity for your affiliate marketing? How difficult is it with Google's constant updates?
We base most of our acquisition on social media activity, and as I said before, a big part of my job is to make sure the team and myself keep up with the innovations and changes, because as you said both Google and Facebook and the others keep updating their algorithms.
Can you foresee any growth for the affiliate marketing industry?
Well, in our core market which is Italy we do not see growth, actually we believe many of the smaller companies will go through a really hard time in the coming months. However, we are excited to look elsewhere, especially in the emerging markets where we can replicate what we did in Europe.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators? What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
We keep very close relationships with all the operators we work with and that is the most important part of our business. We work in very close contact with them to try and create new and more appealing promotions, to increase acquisitions. It is not always easy since sometimes we have different agendas, but we have been working with some operators for several years now, and it is a testimony of the good work we are all doing.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
We always try to attend the most important events like SiGMA, since they are fantastic tools to meet new Operators, or just to meet up with the ones with whom we are already working and on top of that it gives us a feel of where the market is going, and allows us to always learn something new.
Have you ever been to SiGMA?
We have been attending SiGMA for the past 4 years and we cannot wait for this COVID-19 situation to end so we can attend the next one!
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Riccardo.
It's been my pleasure.
All the best for the future and thank you for your time.
Thank you SiGMA.