Clas Dahlén, CEO at Casino Hacks, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
With a focus on producing tailor-made and entertaining TV shows for their partners, Clas Dahlén and his team at Casino Hacks are leaving competitors 12 months behind - follow his story below.
How did your affiliate business take off? And, is iGaming your only vertical?
I got this idea last year after creating the MetalCasino Live Stream as CMO. Actually, it was two insights that I came across. Firstly, I felt that the affiliate market needed new energy with more live video content. I also felt it was a potential need for operators and suppliers to come much closer to their customer base with a streamed bonus show, broadcasted directly from an established brand to their audience. We are naturally looking into other verticals such as finance, rentals, etc.
How did you first get into the affiliate space? And, were you always focused on the Gaming space?
The affiliate and SEO space have always been attractive to me. Our firm vision is to develop a strong brand to combine our verticals in focus: CASINOHACKS, BETHACKS, and POKERHACKS.
How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
Currently, we have our operational company and streaming studio, Brand Streamers AB, in Sweden and we are looking to set up three more studios globally. We want to stay close to our customers and be fast, agile, and portable.
What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
With us, the operators can awaken their customer base and get a true and fun reactivation of non-active clients. Therefore, we must share knowledge and insights so we can create a win-win scenario. We are more than just an acquisition tool; we are also the perfect partner for the operators CRM team.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
Our philosophy is to work much closer with the operators, creating great shows together, and flexible business models in order to create a win-win scenario. For us, that is key.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
Our unique position is that our channel is dominated by streamed live material that no other affiliate has. We are a content-driven affiliate and need to be alert on what is really going down in our markets.
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?
Yes, we are raising more capital in Q4 2020 in order to uplift our presence in our markets and boost our SEO work. Strategic partnerships could be interesting as well with the right partners.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
SEO skills of course. Branding and Marketing Strategy in order to create substance and brand equity. For us, again, listen to our customers, and how can we create win-win.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
Our focus on Live streamed TV-entertainment and CRM techniques for the operators. Most affiliates focus on acquisition it seems. We also have good business with suppliers and 3rd party brands.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Super important! We are now developing cutting edge features on our site that will technically leave the competition 12 months behind.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2020 and beyond?
Both I believe. Following customer journey and predicting lifetime value, etc. is getting more important, even for affiliates to properly interact with the operators.
Is the grass greener on the other side - have you considered going down the operator route?
I have actually already been there for 9 years, in leading positions at MetalCasino and MrGreen. I loved it but I find affiliation very exciting and attractive at the moment. It is great to use the knowledge from the operator side and use it to create win-win scenarios.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority in 2020, and why?
Canada, NZ, Iceland, and India since they are non-regulated and fairly easy to operate in.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
It’s very simple. We just don’t enter those markets as yet. There will be changes there in a few years I believe. The regulations are sometimes absurd and create more illegal operators to flourish.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
It is getting better and better, however the competition is increasing as well.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
That SEO takes longer than my low patience threshold is ready for haha
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
None so far. Actually, everything has gone according to plan.
What are the main challenges for the sector in 2020?
Shaping the operators brand loyalty via affiliate partnerships, and how to develop that skill. There is also a challenge to navigate in the regulated world and become smarter in pricing.
What are your predictions for the future of the sector?
As a streaming affiliate, with audience, it is likely that we will be more loyal and engaging, making it more feasible for brands to reach their acquisition goals. Moreover, we deliver customer relationship management (CRM) tools to manage audiences and cultivate strong partnerships.
Fostering strong business and affiliate relationships is essential to boosting return on investment (ROI) associated with marketing strategies because these relationships can very well influence the way consumers engage with brands.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators?
Fairly easy, daily communication through digital platforms with transparency and open mind set.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
Clearly it is super important to connect with people, our business partners. We like close, tight partnerships so we really understand the operators’ and suppliers’ needs.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
Yes, I have in Malta. Next gathering in Manila, I will go of course.
Tell us a bit about yourself - after all, business is done with people, not just companies!
I’m a passionate gambler myself in table games mainly. I prefer the live action; however, I find some slots really exciting, especially from Evolution Gaming and NetEnt at the moment.
I live most of the time in Stockholm where I have four kids and practice karate and work in our studio. Travelling on business is a natural part of my life so I’m away from home and the studio a lot.
What’s on your must-read list right now?
“Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker. I realize that I need to sleep more and better haha
Another one is “Lifespan” by Dr David A. Sinclair.
Which quote do you live your life by?
It’s the same as our company values: “What if? Why not? Hell Yeah!”