06 2019 | INSIDE

 11 Traditionally offline industries like lottery are increasingly embracing affiliate marketing as they move online. © Shutterstock

Continuing to diversify

in 2018 Rakuten Marketing estimates that US affiliate marketing will grow to US$6.8 billion by 2020. This year is already paving the way to fulfil that forecast, as American industries like lottery diversify their marketing strategies to include affiliates.

Elsewhere, industries in markets as different as sub-­Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe have also been recognising the channel's many benefits in 2018 - supported by ­Income Access' technology and marketing services.

It's been more than 20 years since the launch of the ­pioneering Amazon Associates programme back in 1996. Performance marketing's strengths have only ­increased over the years. The affiliate channel is today ­unparalleled when it comes to cost-effective ­marketing. Its ­performance-based model involves advertisers only paying affiliates, content-relevant online publishers, when they convert a user. The channel's strong ROI has made affiliates an ­increasingly indispensable ingredient in merchants' ­marketing mixes. In the two decades since Amazon Associates launched, the affiliates themselves have evolved almost beyond recognition. The SEO-centric blogger of the early 2000s is now an expert online ­publisher with numerous sites, an app and sophisticated, multi-channel traffic-driving strategies.

With a mature programme responsible for as much as a third of customer acquisitions, it's no surprise that traditionally offline industries like lottery are increasingly embracing affiliate marketing as they move online. This ­January, Michigan Lottery launched the US industry's first ever affiliate programme, which is both powered by Income Access' software and managed by its affiliate team. Other markets such as Eastern Europe are increas­ingly moving into the affiliate space. In February, Poland's biggest bookmaker STS launched an Income Access-­powered programme. Meanwhile, the African sports-betting affiliate market has evolved so rapidly that Income Access VP of Strategy Sarafina Wolde Gabriel chaired a panel discussion on the subject in February at the London Affiliate Conference. It included executives from company partners BetOLimp.za (South Africa) and NairaBet (Nigeria).

From sportsbooks in Africa to lottery brands in the ­American Midwest, affiliate marketing is the channel no savvy merchant can afford to do without. When merchants launch a programme, they require a granular tracking platform with sophisticated campaign-optimi­sation, ­reporting and analytics functionality combined with an experienced team of affiliate managers. In short: they require the support of Income Access.