Ian Fernando, online ad master at ADvengersOnline.com, gives an exclusive interview to SiGMA News as part of our latest series on affiliates
How did you first get into the affiliate space, and were you always focused on the iGaming sector?
I got in the space by accident. I was working 3 jobs and I was working eBay as technically a 4th hustle but was not able to keep up with customer service and demand back in the days. I then googled how to make money online without customers and affiliate marketing came up.
I was able to learn media buying and decided to pursue it. While I was doing so, I was able to let go of each job until I had 1 left. I then decided if I can let go of 2 out of 3 then I should be able to let go this 3rd one. After 3 months, I was able to replace my year salary in just 3 months.
That is when I decided to go all in on this game called affiliate marketing.
I was always in the evergreen niches, but I have used angles of stay at home work with iGaming in the past.
How is your affiliate business structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
I am currently focused on my affiliate community and helping them grow. I also now focus on long term affiliate programs such as softwares and any products that have more of a recurring system for revenue sustainability.
There really isn't a heavy structure, I simply create the ads and find the angles and buy the media. I use to have a VA to help me find images and new angles. Now I am using generic landers and angles to get the user to do what they want to do rather than force them to get excited to do something.
There is a fine balance to do both but it all comes with a strategy from either collecting leads to just pushing them to a story.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
I am always looking for new markets of course, as old markets also come and go. That is the best part about affiliate marketing when one goes down it doesn't affect the business as you can move to another. As long as you can take the lessons learned from one and move it to another then you are fine.
Yes there will be a downtime when adjusting but that is with any business.
What makes your traffic proposition / traffic sites unique? What can you offer that others don’t? Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
My traffic is very unique because it is all about arbitrage, I try to find the cheapest clicks and turn them into aggregated data that Google and Facebook can use. Not a lot of people use a pixel arbitrage method but it is a simple way to get cheaper clicks on the biggest ad networks out there, you just have to spend money to feed data.
Is the grass greener on the other side - Have you considered giving white label casino or sports betting a go?
I have. I was actually in talks with some people in the past but there are too many parts of the business I do not understand and I would rather focus on what I am good at and that is buying media. I have owned white label products before, but I think that is different than actually handling a ‘gambler’ consumer. The way I think about this sometimes is the next person's grass is always greener because they focus on their grass and not others.
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)
I was, as regulations always get in the way of things but that is just evolution in the industry. It happens a lot in the paid ad space all the time, you can't fight it, you just have to adjust to it.
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your traffic? Are you focusing on SEO? PPC? Any other traffic source?
I am a media buyer, I only buy media and I consider myself to be a performance marketer. I do not do organic because it takes time and time is too precious so I would rather pay for time.
Are you contemplating bringing in investors to scale or grow your business? Or, with such a big M&A market, have you ever contemplated selling the business?
No as I do not like the fact that there is interests from investors.
What can operators do to increase support from affiliates?
You have to support the affiliates, provide the tools they need and help they increase their conversions when they ask for it. Affiliates are very creative but also they depend on the owner to make sure they can close them on the backend.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
I think it is the creativity and the fact that they can come up with new angles all the time. Most affiliates are solo with maybe virtual teams which they can split certain repetitive tasks to overseas teams. One major skill of an affiliate is their data analytics this is where the creativity comes in, they see the data and can think of the next picture.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
I do a lot of research and ad spying. I try to get in the niche or vertical with some understanding how other ads are performing. This way I can see what the angles are out there and if they are working or not. I can then analyse this data and see what i can adjust on the pages or maybe even change up the angle.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
They are definitely growing, Asia is a growing market and I definitely think it is going to be a huge part in the coming future.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
This question is unique because I wouldn't say I know everything, because everything is base of experience and if I was starting out I would make sure I understand ad copy the most as it is very critical from ad angles to landing page copy to email copy etc.
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
Losing X figures in ad spend.
What are the challenges in managing relationships with multiple operators?
Seeing who is legit and who is more greedy than others. Every operator likes seeing the cash come in but there are others out there that are more greedy than others. Most operators depend on the affiliates while some operators depend on the relationship with the affiliate.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
To closely chat and know who the other affiliates are and especially the operators of iGaming.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
I have not.
Tell us a bit about yourself – after all business is done between people, not just companies!
The World, I love exploring and have been living overseas in SEAfor6 years.
Favourite book ever read? Favourite book you look forward to read some day?
So many books, The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday is good I think.
Where would you relocate with family if you had to pick one city?
I don't know. This is difficult as I enjoy traveling and there is so much more to explore.
I enjoy football and basketball
CONTACT INFORMATION (if you would like affiliate managers to get in touch with you):
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ianternetmedia
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About SiGMA Expo:
SiGMA 2020 Malta will take place November 17th - 19th 2020 at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali. Positioned at the cutting edge of a very competitive industry, the event has evolved since 2014 into the definitive iGaming showcase, operating on both a European and world stage. In 2019, SiGMA’19 welcomed over 400 sponsors and exhibitors, 200 industry leading speakers and a record-breaking 15,000 attendees from over 80 countries, and in 2020 this staple in the global iGaming calendar is set to grow even bigger. To become a part of Europe's leading iGaming event, book a pass or sponsor & exhibit.
For those planning to attend SiGMA events in 2020, this is the buzzing business environment to be expected: