Affiliate Grand Slam by SiGMA
Viktor Atanasovski, CEO & Co-founder of Affiliates Perform, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Viktor Atanasovski and the rest of the team of Affiliates Perform aim for keeping their sites simple, and at the same time providing all the information needed. Closing 2020 in profit they have big plans for 2021 - follow his story below.
How did your affiliate business take off? Is iGaming your only vertical?
I have started the company together with Dimitar, my childhood friend. One day during a coffee break, we were discussing about the opportunities in the industry. At this time, I was working for a UK headquartered iGaming business and I had experience in the industry. As we both have entrepreneurial mindset, we decided to start an affiliate business. I quit my job and we did it.
The industry is pretty exciting, joining as an affiliate is the first step, we are testing few countries, few channels, few products. We have an ambition to penetrate other segments of the industry, but at the moment we are focused to grow as an affiliate initially. Currently, iGaming is our only vertical.
Tell us a bit more about your business model, concept, and culture.
Affiliates Perform is already working with the top iGaming operators. We are focused on promoting “Gambling for fun” and Responsible Gambling. Our comparison sites offer clear overview of the top offers that are available for the player to be able to see what works best for him. We aim for keeping it simple, and at the same time providing all the information needed.
We are a team of 6 exceptional people and few more are joining in the next couple of months.
Tell us a bit more about your different products and sites.
Our first product is GamblersKnow, live in the UK. This will be redesigned and rebranded until the beginning of March.
SlotsSelection is launching next week, initially as a PPC product, and the SEO version is going to be launched in April.
BestNewCasinoOffers will be launched in May.
Beside UK, we are testing Canada and we in process of obtaining NJ license, to penetrate the US market.
Other European markets are in our pipeline too.
What sets you apart from other affiliates? What helps make your performance successful? What makes your traffic unique?
The difference is that we do not compete with other affiliates. We compete with ourselves. As a new company, we have strong drive, know-how, ambition, and determination. “Without data you are just another person with an opinion” – we are pretty data driven, following KPIs, and we do strong and deep optimisation. The company uses proprietary tools and methodologies to generate high value users for our partners. The value we have sent to our partners so far is high, we are continuing to deliver with better efficiency. We are also exploring a few new areas of competitive advantage but it is too soon to discuss it.
Tell us a bit more about your Affiliate Network.
AdMoment is launching on the 11th of March, our affiliate network which will conquer the top niches in the affiliate marketing industry. We are starting with iGaming and Finance. Cake is used as an affiliate software. Leading publishers are already onboard and we are focused on growing the Lead Generation part of the business.
We know that you have won a grant for the Inviso Hub from the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development from Macedonia and that you have also closed a Seed Round of investment from the CEED Macedonia Business Angels Club. What can you tell us about these two?
2020 was a difficult year for the world, but we were lucky enough to overcome it with few successes. In September 2020, we have started with the development of our Data Visualization Software, Inviso Hub as a Spin-off project. Fund for Innovation and Technological Development of Macedonia supported us, we have won a grant which allowed us to kick off with it. We expect the demo version of the software to be live in September 2021.
Besides that, we have closed the first round of investment in December 2020, Angel Investment from the CEED Macedonia Business Angels Club. The company is growing constantly and we are more than happy as a startup with the results.
2020 was closed in profit, strong investment into product, human resources, SEO, marketing for 2021.
How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
Affiliates Perform has three sub-companies actually. Beside our core business which is an iGaming affiliate, we also are launching an affiliate network, AdMoment in March 2021. Our third part of the business is Inviso Hub, a software that we are developing, Data Visualization Business Intelligence Tool, which will provide automated reports, integrated with all the affiliate platforms, not limited to iGaming. The affiliate business is our top priority and main focus for us in 2021.
Which markets do you focus on and are you targeting any new markets? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We are live in the UK. Canada is being tested. We are in process of obtaining a NJ license and enter the US market. Other European markets will be entered until the end of 2021. Regarding emerging markets, we believe there is a huge potential, especially in Columbia and India.
A couple of questions about SEO: (i) How did SEO change in the last few years and what should one expect in the next year or two? (ii) How can SEO experts innovate and remain ahead of the curve in such a fast-paced vertical?
It was pretty easier back in the days, a lot more techniques were available. As the black hat SEO techniques are a no-no and Google updates the algorithms on time to time, now the main focus is a content-quality and proper link-building strategy. Sites that load quickly, fixing the technical errors, strong technical structure of the site, right keywords strategy (decent search volume and low competition), long tail keywords, low competition markets are just a few things to have in mind.
How important is social media activity for your affiliate business? How difficult is it with Google's constant updates?
Social media activity is important, presence on the key platforms is a must, but is not our focus at the moment. Compliance is crucial, also knowledge to get the accounts approved. Although FB often blocks the accounts for ADS previously approved, with no explanation, but it is part of the game. We need to be proactive, react quick, adapt to the changes, sometimes the updates are frustrating, but we need to keep going.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
Strong drive, proactivity, technical skills, passion for the industry, and business acumen are some of the essential skills.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Technology is crucial for us, we use several tools, we are developing a software too. Growth of mobile usage and also focus on the user-experience, mobile optimisation of the products.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2021 and beyond?
AI and collecting player data are important from few aspects: Player Aspect (Personalisation, Prevention of Gambling Addiction, Risk Management (KYC & AML), Operator Aspect (analysing data, predict outcomes, manage day-to-day operations, player behaviour). Affiliates will also use AI.
Growth of VR & AR, VR casinos are also technologies that will impact the industry in 2021.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
Specialising in few areas, focus on markets they are strong in, markets with low competition, unique products, player mindset, follow the technology trends.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators? What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
We are communicating often with our partners, via email, Skype, on calls, checking for new offers, asking for deeper insights and feedback in terms of value, possible improvements, optimisation, and creatives.
In terms of support, exclusive offers, co-branded landing pages (simplify the process to get one), exclusive bonusses, and bigger budgets.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? SiGMA Europe, Africa, Asia, or Americas - which of these four expo shows would you likely book on your diary for 2021, COVID-19 permitting?
I have attended SiGMA in Malta in 2018 & 2019. The conference is great, amazing people, great energy. Hopefully, COVID19 will finally settle, so we could meet again in 2021.
Tell us a bit about yourself – after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies or whether you are into Gaming yourself, etc.
I start the day walking my dog, getting some fresh air, and focusing for the day. Attend dog shows on time to time. I love good food and wine. Traveling is always on the list, but Covid19 has ruined the plans.
I also ride a motorcycle; naked style bikes are my passion. I love cars too.
Occasionally playing some roulette, slots, and lottery for fun.
Fan fact: There is no Coca Cola in North Korea.
And how about your favourite book or favourite quote?
“Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki. Quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” - Gandhi.
Great, thanks Viktor!
Thank you SiGMA.
We wish you the best and look forward to catching up at SiGMA Europe...
Oh for sure!