"Very often operators forget they have to compete for affiliates’ traffic and there is always someone else who can perform better than them," Plamen Petrov

Plamen Petrov, Head of Affiliates at Converting Team, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam

Plamen and his team, the Converting Team, are currently working with several verticals such as casino, sweepstakes, lead gen, and finance, and are looking to expanding into more vertical opportunities - follow his story below.

Plamen PetrovHow did you first get into the affiliate space, and were you always focused on the iGaming sector?

I started my affiliate marketing journey in 2013 when I joined Winner Affiliates as an affiliate manager. Soon after I was responsible for a small team of affiliate managers in the Bulgarian office. There I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the different strategies used by affiliates to drive traffic, promote brands, and promote the business itself. The variety of products such as casino, poker, bingo, sportsbook, and rummy has helped me understand the needs of the affiliates in greater detail so that I understand what they need to succeed.

How is your affiliate business structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?

Converting Team is an Affiliate Network. We work with specially selected advertisers and affiliates. We have a strict no BS policy and only partner with people if they have serious intentions for growth. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to work with newer affiliates or advertisers, it just means that we put the majority of our focus into the people who are willing to put the work in that it takes to grow.

We make it our responsibility to only work with the best advertisers in the industry. If advertisers are able to provide great performance and monetization for our affiliates then we’ll work with them. The same goes for looking after our advertisers. We work hard to ensure that our affiliates deliver high quality traffic that converts.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?

We are currently working with several verticals such as casino, sweepstakes, lead gen, and finance, and are looking to expanding into more verticals very soon. Currently we have offers for almost every GEO; however, I hope to see more African GEOs in the business in the near future.

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?

We have recently launched our own tracking platform for affiliate marketers which is able to provide detailed reports, uncompromised tracking precision, and stability. This helps our affiliates to setup and analyze their campaigns without the need of external trackers and reporting tools. However, one of our most advanced features is the automated optimization per affiliate, per traffic source, and offer. This allows us to have greater precision and responsiveness with our affiliates’ campaigns than optimizing manually.

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)

In my opinion, regulations are definitely a good thing as they really sets standards to help sort the wheat from the chaff. I’m not worried. In fact, I think the iGaming sector will grow even more as a result of the pandemic.

The Converting TeamWhat is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your traffic? Are you focusing on SEO? PPC? Any other traffic sources?

We work with affiliates across many traffic sources including: PPC, SEO, email, SMS, native, Social media, push and pop traffic. A good variety of traffic sources is essential when you are dealing with different markets and verticals. Some sources do extremely well in one vertical and not that good in the other one, so whatever your traffic source is we can find a way to monetize it.

What can operators do to increase support from affiliates?

Very often operators forget they have to compete for affiliates’ traffic and there is always someone else who can perform better than them. Understanding what each affiliate needs, and finding out where you stand in terms of performance, helps to identify what needs to be done in order to offer more support.

Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?

As an affiliate manager, having strong communication skills and the ability to analyze data effectively, are the two biggest factors when it comes to getting results. The ability to deliver value to affiliates and help them grow is essential and if you can keep adding value to their business, then they’ll stick with you.

How does technology play a part in your day-to-day job?

Technology is everything! I am pretty much online 24/7 following stats and talking to people externally and within the company. If I had to choose one technological aspect that has improved my experience, then it’s definitely the new automated optimization of our platform. It helps my team and I a lot and allows us to deliver far more to our affiliates than we could before.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?

The importance of building and maintaining personal relationships with your partners. Not everything is numbers, and working with people you like really makes a difference. You can better understand what people want and need when you get to know them on a human level. After all, it’s real people that make a business successful and if you don’t know who you’re working with, then you’ll always be one step behind.

What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?

In 2017, I worked for a network which used an external tracking platform which decided to shut us down without warning. Working with third-party tracking software was a massive vulnerability and ultimately led that company to disaster. That’s why at Converting Team we do everything in-house.

What are the challenges in managing relationships with multiple operators?

As an affiliate network we are pretty much covered by the Advertising Department who do an amazing job working with all of our advertisers. Of course, there are challenges related to this, such as different requirements when discussing qualified traffic and different performance in different markets. However, our team is more than able to tackle the specifics and reach agreements with each advertiser.

What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?

Human contact is extremely important and conferences are probably the best way to meet your partners and have face-to-face conversations to catch up with life and business. I sometimes travel to meet affiliates if they are not attending conferences. However, for me, these events are a great opportunity to remind myself that we are working with real people who have families, personal lives, and feelings. That human element, as I’ve already mentioned, is crucial to building better business relationships.

The Converting Team at SiGMA Malta 2019_ The Converting Team at SiGMA Malta 2019
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?

We have attended SIGMA in Malta, and we will continue to do so. Attending SIGMA Manila will pretty much depend on the markets course and growth.

Tell us a bit about yourself – after all business is done between people, not just companies!

I currently live and work in Prague, but I grew up in Bulgaria and since I left, I’ve lived in 5 different countries including India and Sri Lanka. I also used to do a lot of volunteer work, which I trained for in the UK. The experience I gained from those times is one of the main reasons why I believe it’s so important to see the people behind the statistics. There are a lot of lives and a lot of stories out there, and if you live your life purely behind the screen then you’ll miss out on a lot. We’ve all got goals in life and I’m lucky to have achieved many of mine. Now, I want to help others who are trying to do the same.

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Get to know other great affiliates, responsible for killer traffic! Click the link to read more insights from affiliates.

SiGMA Calendar:  

SiGMA Americas and AIBC Digital Summit were launched with great success in the past week, pushing the shifting grounds of the gaming industry towards LatAm and discussing the current developments in digitalisationIn a first for SiGMA, both the gaming and the tech segments of the conference were offered in 3 languages, English, Spanish and Portuguese.   

SiGMA will launch its next series of events in 2021, with SiGMA Europe headlining next year's calendar. Inaugural summits in Asia and Americas are also set to dominate the year, with SiGMA Asia launching in May 2021 and SiGMA Africa in 2022! Explore the full agenda here and register now! 

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