Following the cancellation of many major sporting events this year, as well as sport itself for a period of time, Parimatch’s head of affiliates Maxim Makovetskyi can only look back and laugh at the high expectations he had for Parimatch’s affiliate partners last January. However, after a year of taking on challenges together, Makovetskyi believes the operator’s relationships with its affiliates is stronger than ever, with Parimatch taking unprecedented measures to support its partners through 2020’s unprecedented market changes.
iGaming Times: What kind of year has 2020 been for affiliates? How have Parimatch supported its affiliate partners through its challenges?
Maxim Makovetskyi, head of affiliates at Parimatch: It will not be news if I say that this year was the year of the most radical changes and challenges for all business areas, not only for affiliate marketing. In betting, affiliates and operators were waiting for major world sporting events, everyone was preparing to get high ROI. These plans did not come true, but in my opinion, affiliates are the best marketing experts, and the market was able to quickly restructure into relevant adjacent niches.
The most important thing we were able to do for our partners during this period was to prepare a converting product, integrate it into our affiliate platform, and issue the offer to our partners. In addition, we took unprecedented measures and offered our partners credit for the traffic – it had a very good effect – we strengthened ties with our partners, showed their importance to us, and were able not only to not lose in volumes, but also increase them.
IGT: They say that “necessity is the mother of invention”, has this been the case for both Parimatch and its affiliates over the past 12 months?
MM: Yes, the situation on the market has forced us to change. I wouldn’t call it literally innovation, but the time of change has forced us to be creative. It concerned both the technical part and marketing of ideas to promote the brand of the partner program. In the technical part, we managed to integrate several products into a single game account and a single affiliate platform. This allows us to accept all the partner’s traffic by one link, and the ability to drive the player between the products gives a higher ROI for us and, accordingly, a higher payout for partners. In the context of affiliate program promotion, we were super active and non-standard – we signed the brand ambassadors for the affiliate program and opened a line for the final ROI media buying campaign.
IGT: When player trends and expectations change quickly, how important is it that Parimatch reacts in coordination with its affiliate partners? Is communication key?
MM: Responding to the needs of players with minimal delay and as comprehensively as possible is the main task of our business. Affiliates on their side are also doing everything to adjust the funnel to the user’s needs. Without communication, this is definitely impossible to do, but in my opinion, the key to successful interaction with the needs of the user is technology. From stability and adaptability of the platform to the developed TDS, which will show a particular user the right banner, will land them on a relevant landing page, and will promptly send information back about this event to the affiliate with maximum detail on the sources of traffic. This is the way we go at PMaffiliates.
IGT: On reflection, has Parimatch’s affiliate strategy this year been a success? Is there anything you would do differently?
MM: Definitely, the betting business was waiting for a bigger economic surge and financial expectations, before lockdown, were higher. However, in the context of the affiliate program, I would certainly call the year successful. We managed to adjust to the market realities, focused on traditional gambling, entered new emerging markets and increased the affiliate segment volumes by five times compared to the beginning of the year. This year we have moved to a new affiliate tracking platform. If we had had the opportunity to change something, we would have made this move more efficient, allocated resources differently and made it faster.
IGT: How does Parimatch expect the market to develop over the coming 12 months? Will affiliates continue to be an important part of the company’s marketing strategy?
MM: Affiliates are the main way for Parimatch to develop the brand in new markets. Parimatch has signed a number of large contracts with Juventus, Leicester, Everton, LaLiga – all these partnerships, as well as our main brand ambassador Conor McGregor, put Parimatch into the world, and our affiliates are the main driving force of this movement. It is under this banner of global expansion that we plan out our next year.