Vincenzo Decaro, COO at Digidum BV, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
At Digidum BV, Vincenzo Decaro's goal is not to focus on many clients but to focus on the valuable ones and to give them the best experience ever. Relationships and professionalism are the key to Digidum BV's growth - follow his story below.
From where did you start your affiliate marketing business and how? How much were you willing to commit to it?
Before 2014 I knew very little about Affiliate Marketing, I used to have an import/export business and to move things from a country to another was a nightmare until I discovered that one click could optimise a lot of work - and a lot of revenue too. Once I saw the potential I went all in and I moved to Barcelona since the company that introduced me to the business asked me to do so.
What were your biggest challenges when first starting? What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
When I arrived in Barcelona, I had to build a new team and set up a new structure and mostly increase the business, it was a great challenge but it is one of those feelings you can’t change.
The same happened with Digidum: we started in 2018 developing a SaaS, and from there it has been a challenge, but it gives me a great feeling to have been able to close with positive revenues for two years in a row. One of my biggest “nightmares”, to be honest, are the offshore companies since I work a lot with many of them, but they can just disappear and skip payment, leaving you with a huge amount to pay and loads of work on the shoulders. Unfortunately, that is the dark side of this business, and hope there will be more action to make sure this will not happen in the future.
How did you scale up your affiliate marketing business?
Relationships and professionalism have been the key to grow and build all types of business including the affiliate.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
Well it is pretty difficult to answer with one thing, you learn a lot on the way and for sure it would be great to start with this information and knowledge already; but if I had to choose among all the things, if I had to restart all over again I would bring the contacts with me, since “once you are rich of friends you are poor of problems”.
What helps make your performance successful? What are the main challenges?
We select well our publishers, and we make sure the sources we use are exactly what the clients want and need; in this way we offer them a simple but effective solution. Following each step of the campaign development is our way to make sure that everything is successful.
What motivates you to promote more, and what helps you boost your motivation?
To be honest, it is just the idea to reach something more and something better.
How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
We have different departments that allow us to work in different areas” Affiliate marketing, Ecommerce, Lead generation, and Mass Media Marketing. Each aspect is managed by an experienced person allowing Digidum to provide a full service experience and make sure the client is satisfied.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We work WW in the affiliate marketing and in the lead generation one, we don’t have limits, any country where we can find good sources is an opportunity for us. Regarding the Mass Media channel we mostly focus in Italy and Spain.
Which niches work best for your affiliate marketing, and which are the most profitable? How did you find your most profitable niche?
It depends a lot. As mentioned before, we are experts on selecting the best source for the client: each single client has a different profile and niche, so we always try to give the most tailored solution to make sure we provide what they are looking for. We could say that we mostly work as consultants more than an affiliation agency.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
Each publisher will have the best data and the best traffic, but most of the time that great traffic is not in line with the clients’ need; we do not offer the best traffic, we offer what is best for you.
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?
As of today we do not look for investors, but business is volatile and gives opportunities all the time. we are always open to hear different opportunities and evaluate them.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
Transparency is the key to renovating this business.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
The most important skills are communication and synergy among the team members.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most in-demand skills within the iGaming sector. Why in your view?
I remember when gambling was just the physical slot machines in bars and recreational points. When it got to the online sector, it started to reach a bigger audience, with the chance to easily optimise the performance reducing costs and increasing the revenue as any other business approaching the online.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
Technology, dynamism, quality. Which means blockchain in-house technology, young and motivated team, and tailored solutions.
Do you create all the marketing material you need to promote in-house, or do you out-source it?
As mentioned before, we shape the solution depending on the needs; so sometimes we get material from clients but we always give them the possibility to provide them with everything they need.
How important is social media activity for your affiliate marketing? How difficult is it with Google's constant updates?
Due to the constant changes social media faces, we are not really focused on it. We prefer to stick to what we know and prefer to leave the social media to the experts.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Without it, there is no value in what we do. In this business there are two main key points: data and technology.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2020 and beyond?
The AI is taking a big step forward; blockchain is already live and running in many realities, such as logistics, online marketing, crypto, and many others. We believe in a world run by technology but always with a human and passionate touch.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
For sure these new regulations are pulling out some players but as we saw, at the end of the day, it will increase and improve the quality of the business. Let’s be honest, we try to adapt ourselves to the rules, an ongoing process.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
We have been testing Japan and some other markets with no great results but we have been seeing a huge potential in the Indian market that we would like to deepen.
What are your predictions for the future of the sector?
Due to the pandemic, we’ve been seeing a remarkable increase in online activity and so, as soon as we go back to normality, we are sure that all these new users will get used to it and increase business.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators? What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
We manage relationships well thanks to our account managers who are experienced and knowledgeable about the market. Also, our goal is not to focus on many clients but to select only some valuable ones to give them the best experience.
In the past we used to work a lot with performance and media buying combined together in order to mix branding with FTDs; now it’s more common to focus only on one of those. It will be great to be more open again to mixing solutions in order to join forces and optimise results.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? SiGMA Europe, Africa, Asia, or Americas - which of these four expo shows would you likely book on your diary for 2021, COVID-19 permitting?
Yes, I went to SiGMA Malta a couple of times and if I could, I would like to take part in all of them. Malta was a great experience and I will definitely go back.
Tell us a bit about yourself - after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies, favourite book, favourite quote, whether you are into Gaming yourself, etc.
I consider myself an easygoing person: friends, family, and good drinks are what I prefer. My hobbies are swimming, reading classic books, and spending my free time with my wife and my little boy who is on his way and we expect him to arrive in the next few weeks.
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