How to Win in the Gaming Vertical: An Interview with Sjors Land
18 May 2018
"Work hard, play hard"
This cliché has spread through the affiliate marketing industry like wildfire, and most of us are burnt out on the phrase (and rightly so).
But what if you could combine them… and make your play become your work (or vice versa)?
Meet the Gaming vertical - a well-established, multi-billion-dollar industry that brings the joy of games to massive audiences around the world. It’s fun, rich with opportunity and only getting bigger.
The best part? We’ve been working behind the scenes to secure some of the best offers on the market… a market that’s hungry for fresh new perspectives from affiliates like you. There’s never been a better time to begin.
To explain why, we turn to Sjors Land - Advidi’s Gaming Business Development Manager. He’s not your average gamer - while others immerse themselves in virtual worlds, Sjors has always taken a step back. With one foot in the digital world and one foot in the world that surrounds it, he has long studied both the games and the gamers who play them.
In this interview, Sjors reveals the opportunities available to current Advidi affiliates… explains who the ideal Gaming affiliate is… highlights upcoming trends… and, of course, reveals his personal favorite games.
Why is Advidi entering Gaming now?
First and foremost, this came from our existing network. Some of our affiliates were finding success in Gaming, and they wanted to keep running it, but with Advidi - they wanted a closer ally, a network that thinks like they do.
We flirted with the idea for a while… testing and putting ideas out there. At the end, it was an opportunity too sweet to pass up:
Our affiliates are already excited about it.
The vertical is stable and growing.
You can scale really well without worrying too much about offers going down.
Almost all current Advidi affiliates can find success in Gaming if they choose to pursue it.
We wrote a blog post about our Gaming launch that contains a few more reasons, so you can check that out if you’re curious. You’ll also get a rundown of the top traffic sources, GEOs and more.
Why should affiliates consider entering Gaming?
In short: it’s stable, easy to enter and offers valuable lessons that apply to all aspects of affiliate marketing.
To most affiliates who work in our current verticals, Gaming is new and different - making it a great choice for long-term thinkers who recognize the value of diversification. It’s stable, it’s white hat, there are a lot of resources available and relatively few hurdles to getting started.
You can launch a new campaign and count on it to become a steady money-maker with greater consistency than you might find in other verticals.
Gaming affiliates don’t face the frustrations that others do with rebills, changing regulations, chargebacks and so forth. As long as you’re not running fraud, you can always expect to get paid. This is a huge benefit to anyone who is learning the ropes, as their cashflow will be steady from the start.
For those who really want to develop their business, Gaming is a great starting point for branching out. Learning to build successful Gaming campaigns also has benefits in other verticals and industries. There’s a huge audience for games, and lots of competition. However, it’s also relatively easy to carve out a bit of success. Once you find that formula, you’ll be surprised to learn that it works in huge, mainstream industries, where there’s even more opportunity to diversify.
Who is the ideal Gaming affiliate?
No, seriously. That’s one of the reasons we chose to launch the vertical. It’s simply good money for everyone involved, so any affiliate-minded business can jump in.
Of course, it’s also a lot of fun. If you enjoy games in your free time, you’ll be able to transfer that passion into your work. Not only does it make work more exciting, but it gives you an edge - because you know the players, the games, the things players want.
You can learn this and approach it academically, too. There are a ton of resources out there (more on that later). It’s a smart vertical to choose right now. But if you also enjoy the product, you’ll be more driven, along with bringing a natural instinct for what works.
What factors go into a successful Gaming campaign?
Being prepared is key.
Before starting, ask your AM for details, and then make use of them:
Read all the offer details.
Check out the game itself - play it!
See what the competition is doing.
Pick the right lander (your AM can help).
From there, you can optimize, listen to feedback, make sure subIDs are in place to improve that feedback - when you make everything clear and easy to analyze, we can really help you scale your campaigns optimally.
So I’d say it’s two factors: getting the right information to start strong, and being organized properly so you can build on that start.
What does the Gaming advertiser ecosystem look like?
It’s a diverse field. There are a lot of big advertisers, of course. Think Electronic Arts, Wargaming, Epic Games, Square Enix… you know these names, and their games convert well.
But there are also plenty of small advertisers with niche games or small but dedicated audiences. They can be gold mines for attracting players that otherwise aren’t drawn to games.
It all results in a relatively standard pyramid structure, with lots of variety in between. The result is that we build partnerships with advertisers of all sizes. The most important part for everyone involved is that the games convert and attract players. You see small independent publishers stumbling upon massive hits, and big advertisers releasing flops.
Sorting through this landscape is a big part of the benefit we offer affiliates. When you come to us, you should expect to gain access to a full range of advertisers, along with shortcuts to the best possible payouts. We eliminate the bad apples so you can make your decisions based on factors within your control.
Can you highlight any trends and upcoming opportunities in Gaming?
The vertical is stable enough that trends don’t totally rock the industry, as you might see with other verticals. But there are definitely opportunities to get ahead of the game (sorry) by staying up to date with traffic sources, genre fads and changing audiences.
As far as traffic sources go, Native is getting bigger. Combining content with great visuals can really attract a wide range of players.
Facebook has always been great, along with media buying, Google and advertorials.
The trend to watch, though, is influencers and streamers. Video is big… Twitch and other streaming services are leveraging the hyper-enthusiastic eSports fanbase, while YouTube videos give affiliates the chance to show the game in action while warming the potential customer. It’s a very natural way of marketing that I expect to become even more prominent.
Following genres and fads can be tough, as every gamer has their own preferences. Battle Royale games are all the rage right now (e.g. Fortnite, PUBG) and I expect more shameless copies of these games to pop up, but the next hype could be right around the corner.
You can always find players for fantasy Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) and First-Person Shooter (FPS) games. From Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft to League of Legends and Overwatch, you can trace the popularity of these favorites to the early days of online gaming. The trick here is to highlight the unique aspects of each game, as these players tend to be experienced and have developed specific preferences.
As for the other end, I’d say MOBA copies have been going down lately as several attempts failed, the genre has reached a saturation point and the playerbase is consolidated into just a few popular games (eg. Dota 2, League of Legends). Other genres don’t work as well beyond the console environment, such as platformers and fighting games.
As a final note, which I think is really interesting for our affiliates: there are many people who currently don’t game, but can be tempted into gaming more frequently. Think of the audience for Candy Crush - they love gaming, but haven’t been exposed to the types of games that will turn them into a serious gamer. It’s just a matter of showing them that there’s a whole world of games out there that can satisfy their adrenaline needs in the same way.
There are big markets out there that are relatively untapped, and if you have an affiliate mindset, you can do what others were unable to - convert them into “real” gamers.
How do you follow industry trends?
Reading the news, attending conferences and, of course, playing the games!
The Gaming industry is fun, man. The events are a blast. E3, Gamescom, GDC… these are big gatherings where you can catch up on the latest in one space. You’ll learn about things before they’re even released, and you can usually identify the next big hits if you’re savvy enough. That’s a big advantage for affiliates.
As a bonus, Gaming conferences are also very fun to attend from a personal perspective… I’ve seen some really cool developer showcases and met with the people responsible for stealing many, many hours of my free time. I love it. You can’t deny that this is an enthusiastically passionate industry!
For day-to-day learning, I have a few go-to sites. Some focus on the marketing side, others on the player side - both valuable. My favorites now are:
What advantages can Advidi affiliates expect when entering the Gaming vertical?
We included a lot of advantages in our recent blog post, but I think it really boils down to our mindset and value-added support.
We begin our exploration of new games with a simple question: “Can we convert users?” That’s what matters. It’s up to affiliates to come up with creatives and campaigns compelling enough, and for advertisers to create the experiences that keeps bringing them back. On our side, we lay down the foundation for both of them to become successful.
What inspired you to get into Gaming?
Honestly, I never made a conscious choice!
Like many Gaming affiliates, I’ve had a profound interest and love for games my whole life. It was a natural decision to make this my career, and I feel lucky that it’s worked out so well.
Of course, the fact that it’s good money doesn’t hurt. This is a continuously growing industry with a ton of potential. I’ve watched it grow over the years, building connections… I love the community.
At the end of the day, though, it all comes back to the fact that I live and breathe Gaming.
I personally play some of the games we promote myself… they’re fun, interesting and captivating. We’re able to make great money while connecting people with exciting gaming experiences. Makes me feel proud and satisfied!
What is your favorite game?
Do I have to pick one?
Okay, my all time favorite is… Doom.
No, wait. Diablo II.
Or… maybe Half-Life?
GTA… Hearthstone… Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Let’s go with Breath of the Wild. That game made me feel like a kid again - the sense of exploration, just trying out things to see if they work… and that elation and surprise when they do. That was just a really profound game to me, Zelda.
Of course, I’m also a regular Hearthstone player. And I’m into hardcore PC gaming, like PUBG, Fortnite… Subnautica… Truck Simulator…
Okay. I give up. I only have one real criterion: it has to be good. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of quality in this industry.
Get started with Gaming
Has Sjors pushed your buttons? Are you excited to test out this huge vertical? Then we’re excited to welcome you!
It couldn’t be easier to get started. Just let your current Advidi AM know you’d like to check out Gaming offers. They’ll hook you up with everything you need to hit the ground running!
Not signed up with Advidi yet? No sweat - takes a few minutes to apply. Be sure to mention Gaming in your application: