With top notch customer service and a flexible approach, Clickadu stand out for their expertise in the affiliate arena
George Minski - business development and cooperation Team Lead, gives an exclusive interview to SiGMA News as part of our latest series on affiliates.
How did your affiliate business take off? Were you always focused on the iGaming sector?
Clickadu was founded by a group of enthusiasts as a multi-vertical network. However, since then, iGaming has grown significantly. Back in 2014, we had a couple of big partners in a betting niche and now, we’re handling a portfolio of more than 20 brands (direct and networks). The high level that we achieved was made possible by a huge traffic boost, new tech features, and ad formats development. Last, but not least – we have increased our expertise in iGaming.
Clickadu has come a long way since being founded in 2014 - what does the picture look like for 2020?
The current corona crisis is already leaning its heavy hand on all of us, no doubts in that. Live sports betting is going through hard times. We have learned how to be flexible and can easily transfer our resources from one niche to another. Moving from live sports events betting to cybersport was a hard challenge, but necessary to survive. So the picture for us in 2020 looks more like a canvas where we are going to paint our future by ourselves.
How is your affiliate business structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
Our business is structured as a completely self-sufficient unit. We have our in-house tech solutions for both advertisers and publishers. The team consists of Legal and financial deps., strong business developers, account managers with years of expertise and clear goals to achieve. We’re not aiming for big names only and are open to all sizes and budgets, without loss of client service level for inbound brands and WW companies.
Can you tell us more about the different types of advertising formats you offer?
Back in 2014, we started as a popunder ad network, but now we can serve about 3+B daily traffic volume through 5 ad formats. We offer classic pops, push notifications, instant text messages, video (pre-roll) and SE redirect. Each of these ad formats has its benefits and can produce great results.
What features make your platform stand out?
Our platform is a marketplace where we put advertisers with direct publishers together. It’s a great opportunity for advertisers to get traffic directly from the website owner.
The vending is available on multiple payment models: CPM, CPC, SmartCPM, SmartCPA, which can be used for media buy or set up for performance-based campaigns.
Within our platform, you can find all the necessary tools to make creatives for push notification and instant text ad formats. Plus, you’ll find a wider choice for the top-ups, postback set up, and many other features at your disposal.
Clickadu has a 10 second response time, why are good support services so crucial?
These days, the level of competition in digital marketing is super high. So, why do you have to sit and wait here, when you can get a faster response there? Providing the top-notch tech tools and higher traffic quality is important, but sometimes you won’t put it in use without any guidance. The other part here is the quality of support services – you can be fast as lightning, but you need to be on point with data as well. Therefore, in Clickadu, we aim for both speed and quality.
Has COVID-19 impacted the affiliate arena? Is it still profitable to be an affiliate in 2020?
“Affiliate arena”, you say? That is a great way to describe the current market status. It is an arena and affiliates are like gladiators, fighting for glory and freedom (financial). In 2020, it is still profitable, but much more competitive than in 2010.
What are your predictions for the future of the sector?
From here the future is hard to predict. There are too many factors involved, which we cannot take into account. How soon will the so-called self-isolation end? How soon will governments permit the mass sports events? How much money will be left in the pockets of people after all? And there are many others. However, from here I can tell you for sure that many brands will suffer and only the strongest will survive. The market will be wiped clean and renewed.
Which emerging technologies like AI and Big Data will affect the affiliate industry in the coming years, what changes can we expect to see?
Like always, there should be a light in the tunnel after each crisis. Those tech solutions that can offer automation and fewer manual resources involved will be on top. Tracking solutions, automated ad serving tools, new user acquisition and follow up patterns and innovations in products will be highly appreciated by affiliates.
Would you consider investment to scale your business? Or, with such a big M&A market, have you ever contemplated selling the business?
When your business is struggling, you have limited options to work with. Human resources and costs optimisations are #1 and #2 on the list. However, in Clickadu we have passed many market/niche difficulties and learned to be flexible and focus our resources in different directions. So “selling the business” is not an option. On the other hand, this time is not the best for investments to scale either. Therefore, we are going to be cautious and conservative here – steady invest in our in-house tech solutions to improve the performance and quality of ad services.
Is the grass greener on the other side - have you considered going down the white label or even operator route?
We are not that type of brand to do so. Regarding the fact that we are growing and developing new solutions, for now, it is not our way to completely diversify our role in the industry. For now…
Are you concerned by the impact on the affiliate sector from shifting regulatory environments? (In particular UKGC, Sweden’s Spelinspektionen, and Germany’s 2020 State Treaty on Gaming Regulation).
We closely watch how these regulations are going to affect the affiliate sector and users. For now, that is all we can do.
How can affiliates stand out from the crowd to attract more audience and drive more traffic?
Always discover and test new sources. Never stick to one source, keep at least 2-3 relevant sources in reserve. Mix your audience, work with your users, try new attraction approaches, just try to walk in their shoes and feel it. And never stop learning! Not even talking about affiliate markets in general. What differs an average affiliate from a successful one? A constant self-education, finding new approaches, new ways of getting more of the very same source, unexpected creativity and many other great things!
Which markets do you currently operate in and which global markets are you eyeing as a priority in 2020 and why?
We have traffic resources for 200+ countries. Our major markets at the moment are Asia – TH, VN, ID, MY, IN, SG; Europe – GB, DE, FR, PL, ES; CIS – RU, AZ, UA. We are looking to scale up there and share our expertise with new partners, providing them our ad services. We had our plans for the LATAM region in 2020 to boost with sports events in the betting niche, but “corona” took place… But you know what, we regrouped for gambling there, closely watching and learning, how the market changed in that regard. Therefore, that is one of our main priorities in 2020 – an approach for LATAM.
What are the main challenges for the sector in 2020 and why?
a) Less funds to spend on entertainment, therefore b) it will be harder to get as much value from the same sources as it was in 2019. Aside from that – users have too much of “offers” in the market, but “demand” will heavily decrease; therefore each user will be much more valuable than he was before. And, of course – an obscure future for a big part of the market, caused this corona crisis.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
Oh, that “Back to the future” thing! Bitcoins, Stocks, Oil – nothing new here. But you know what – sometimes it is better not to know and enjoy the life you live because you cannot turn back time.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
First of all – a chance to meet “industry in personalities”. You can chat via messengers for ages, but one personal meeting can bring drastic changes for your cooperation. Second – you can surely meet new partners and represent your brand. Third and probably most underrated – your constant involvement in live digital events, let us call it “brand awareness” or status. There are always some points of growth in terms of better iGaming events experience, need to be precise with the exact event to criticise.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
I never had a chance, but surely looking forward to attending Malta. Hoping this “corona crisis” will end soon and we can finally meet our partners in person and share our vision on the market with the industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself - after all business is done with people not just companies!
I have been moving a lot to find myself in both – career and life. For the first part, I have started as a wood recycling manufacturing engineer, then committed to indoor tourism, been a scientist for economics and now I am here with you, discussing the iGaming industry and digital marketing. When the lights of the laptop are shutting down, I am a father, a husband, a son, and a brother. Trying to self-educate daily, running in the park every day (yes, even now), being involved in a lot of sports activities and like to cook chicken and fish. That is a short version.
“Alea jacta est”. Sometimes you simply must take risks if you want to survive and put yourself out of the comfort zone to grow and achieve more.
What are you currently reading and what’s on your must read list?
“The Poetic Edda”, translated by Henry Adams Bellows. If you would like to know more about Scandinavian Gods, Vikings, and elder prophecies – dive into that hard reading book and you will not be disappointed. Also, always wanted to read Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms”).
Favorite holiday - which destinations are on your bucket list?
Probably it is New Year’s Eve. Probably one and only chance in the year to gather up all your family in one spot without excuses. In the near future, I am hoping to meet Santa in some exotic country with all my family. At least one time without snow!
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