Jonas Støvring, Operation Manager in Spudo.com joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Through their affiliate network, own media sites, an upcoming mix of fantasy sport and social gaming community, Spudo is breaking new boundaries, in their strive of becoming the next super affiliate in the iGaming industry.
How did you first get into the affiliate space, and were you always focused on the iGaming sector?
I got into the affiliate space around 2 years ago when I joined www.spudo.com . Spudo is an iGaming Company where I am the Operation Manager for our iGaming Network. I have always found the iGaming sector interesting, but it was when I first joined Spudo that I got an understanding of how complex and big this industry is, which just kick-started my eagerness to make Spudo a big player in the iGaming industry.
How is your affiliate business structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently
We have two departments in Spudo. The media - and the network department where I spend most of my time. I make sure that a publisher can enter our network and choose between a wide range of operators. We are collecting all operators in one platform with CPL and CPA deals with live tracking & invoicing running smoothly.
Through big data, we can tell the publisher what traffic channel fits to what operator, making sure the publishers who work with us have the highest possible ROI on their traffic. As the iGaming Network grew bigger, new iGaming related projects emerged and the birth of SpudoMedia was established. This department now operates our inhouse SEO sites and expanding quickly. We have done a few acquisitions and now operate multiple sites such as www.casinoerdanmark.dk and www.betkingcompare.co.uk .
With these sites, we have been able to work as a publisher and thereby get a look under the hood of being a publisher. All this information is unique for us as a network and has helped us to provide our publishers with quality content. At the same time, we are bringing some of the highest quality players to our operators.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We operate in both regulated and non-regulated markets but DE, NZ & DK are probably the biggest. We have a wide range of publishers requesting different geo's worldwide, so we work together with our operators to test new markets. At the moment we are testing India and Japan, where we see huge potential.
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?
As a network we have multiple traffic sources that bring multiple qualities of players. Finding the right balance between what works for our operators and our publishers is the name of the game. We are currently building software that can detect the quality of each player coming from the Spudo platform. This means we can detect high & low-quality traffic and make the adjustment accordingly.
From our media department, we are also developing our own sports- and eSports betting community that will deliver high-quality players to our operators. We believe fantasy sport and social gaming will grow even bigger in the future, and we aim to be a part of that movement with a new site launching mid-2020. I can’t tell you much more. When we are ready to launch, we will bring the news to SIGMA readers!
Is the grass greener on the other side - Have you considered giving white label casino or sports betting
We have no plans on operating our own white label. The idea has been discussed, but we always come back and focus on what we do best: pushing traffic. We have plenty of work ahead of us and believe growing our network and own media sites are our future for us in this industry.
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)
New regulations can always be a bit concerning, but I am sure that with regulation the affiliate industry will still thrive. What I mean by that is that the affiliate business needs to adapt to these regulations, and find new ways to push traffic in a way that makes both sides of the industry happy. We believe this movement will end with a higher degree of quality traffic, better-educated players and more focus on responsible gambling which we believe are the future for this industry.
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?
From a publisher's point of view, we can make your traffic more profitable by connecting your traffic channel with the right operator. This has a huge impact on your ROI! From an operator's view, we can help you with acquiring customers worldwide while always having quality & volume in mind. All from PPC traffic to SEO traffic.
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?
At the moment we are not looking for outside investors, even though a few already contacted us. We are doing a lot of proof-of-concept projects inside Spudo, so if we need external funding at some point to grow even bigger, we can put that investment into machinery that already has a proven track record. But at the moment the owners of Spudo have been able to fund our strategies and do not have plans to sell the business.
What can operators do to increase support from affiliates?
Operators should not underestimate the power of easy to grab and easy to read statistics. We know that
operators today are bound to the affiliation back-end they choose when launching. But for any future operators, take a look at what the market offers before choosing. And maybe, more importantly, choose a back-end not only with an operator's perspective in mind but also a publisher's mindset. Another and probably more critical thing is tracking - it is one of the biggest obstacles for us as a network. What we see in the industry today, is that the tracking seems to be stuck in the ’90s. One of the reasons for that is the broad variety of affiliate platforms all the operators are using. But in this era data is crucial to run a business, so we have our fingers crossed for better tracking in the future.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
I already learned that being adaptive is the key to keep growing in this industry. What works today, might not work tomorrow. If you're not the type that loves constant changes, then this is not an industry for you. We always put a lot of effort into being reachable at Spudo, both for our operators and publishers. We believe that you can come along way by being responsive and caring about the people you work with. This is one of our core values in Spudo.
Staying updated on new trends and being good at seeing opportunities will definitely help you with becoming a better player in the affiliate business. Staying on your toes and ready to move is a key part of having success in this business.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
The short answer is that technology is everything! We saw the importance of a platform that connects everything from operators to email creatives - so that publisher has everything they need to run their iGaming business under one roof. When developing your own platform a lot of benefits come along. We have been able to develop and implement an automatic invoice system. So that each publisher account gets one auto-generated invoice with all earnings from all the operators that he/she had pushed traffic to.
Another benefit is that we can implement new functions to our platform that can check for quality.
At the moment we are also developing software that allows us to offer revenue share and hybrid deals to our publishers. And at the same time give us estimates of future revenue a few years ahead. We all know player value is important in this game. We are big believers in developing technology which removes manual work. Today we can operate a large operation with very few people - scale up and down with ease.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
The Asian market is kinda like the mysterious market right now. When we are attending different affiliate conferences like SIGMA and speaking to the operators, there is no doubt that they are very interested in the traffic. But when talking to publishers we do not see big volumes. The interest in the market is lacking a bit as well. The Spudo platform is locked and loaded for the Asian market, so if you have the traffic, we have the operators ready for you in these markets as well.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
Well, 2 things come to mind. A more in-depth understanding of a publisher's mindset and how difficult tracking setups can be for each operator.
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
My biggest nightmare so far has been tracking… without a doubt. Even the biggest operators can have issues with the tracking setup. That has caused several nightmares. But nothing in this industry is so difficult that it can’t be solved. To convert my tracking nightmare into a dream come true, would be for all operators to go along with one solution/platform. That would make me a happy man.
What are the challenges in managing relationships with multiple operators?
The biggest challenge in managing a relationship with multiple operators is the lack of face-to-face conversations. Although Skype is a wonderful tool to get the best out of it, you will have to go to conferences to meet them. Another challenge is keeping an overview of the quality of the incoming traffic. In Spudo we take this seriously, but not all operators show the data we need to keep track. The new software we have on its way should help us with this challenge - making Spudo a stronger partner for our operators long term.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
There are a lot of benefits to attending iGaming events - The top 3 for Spudo i would say is:
1. You can talk to operators and publishers that you already are doing business with. Some of them you haven't seen in real life before. When you get this opportunity we feel like we are getting better and stronger cooperation with them.
2. You can talk to new operators and discuss deals and future cooperation face-to-face. In this industry that does not happen a lot, so it is a nice way to start new cooperation or high five with old ones!
3. You can meet new publishers and talk a bit about their traffic sources before you let them try it out on the brands live on our platform. It also gives the best to cooperate with publishers, to have met them in real life, and to get an understanding of how they are doing business. This also opens up for quick filtration of the qualitative traffic and garbage traffic. But a lot of the publishers we meet at iGaming events are very serious about their business - which we love.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some
Actually, the very first iGaming event I ever attended was SIGMA in Malta. I had a blast there with my co-worker. We manage to get a lot of great meetings established from home and made a bunch of new corporations from these meetings. I remember it as an awesome experience, and we are attending again! I would say that we will attend SiGMA Malta again for sure.
Tell us a bit about yourself – after all, business is done between people, not just companies!
My favourite holidays must be my trip to the Philippines that I took last year - it was also where I got engaged.. So hey.. Might just be reason enough to visit it again. This time I can do it when SiGMA is live!
Favourite book ever read?
Favourite book you look forward to reading someday? Must be the “5 am club”! A way of life that I would like to live by. But often it is a hard one to keep up with. We might need to read it again! I have had the book “1 dollar man” on my reading list for a long time, so it must be the next one for me.
Where would you relocate with family if you had to pick one city?
I would like to stay in Denmark, I like it here. But if I could choose I would like to switch to the weather they have in Spain. That would be best-case scenario for me.
“If you love something set it free - unless it is a tiger”
As a more serious quote, I like is: “The greatest risk in life, is not taking one”
Favourite sport and childhood idol?
My favourite sport to watch must be eSport - especially League Of Legends!
My favourite sport to participate in is by far CrossFit and swimming.
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