Yohan Leon, Head of Marketing of Kensho Media, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Starting as a hobby back in 2012, Yohan Leon and his team at Kensho Media, are now very successful in the Spanish and Italian markets, and are now looking into the LatAm market. The user is at the centre of everything they do. They try to make their experience the best on the whole web, and try not to push too much advertising or other forms of monetisation - follow his story below.
How did your affiliate business take off? And, is iGaming your only vertical?
We started just to have some fun. We were working as SEO for a large gambling company and we wanted to practice by having our own website. Online slots were about to become legal in Italy, so we decided to create a free to play slot website. It was 2012 when we launched giochidislots.com. At the moment we are only focusing on the iGaming vertical.
What helps make your performance successful?
We take care of each detail and we make the user at the centre of everything. We want our users to have fun and come back to our sites over and over again. We try to make their experience the best they can have on the whole web, try not to push too much advertising or other forms of monetisation.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
When we started, we realised that most of the affiliate websites were not of a good standard. Look and feel elements left a lot to desire and also the content itself was of poor quality. We wanted to create the ultimate free casino game experience for users by giving them fast and beautiful websites where they could always find what they are looking for.
Tell us a bit more about your future plans.
After being successful in the Italian Market and launching a second website, gamingreport.it, we entered the Spanish market a couple of years ago with tragaperrasweb.es and have now decided to focus on the LatAm countries and we are seeing a lot of interest as some of them are becoming regulated.
What motivates you to promote more, and what helps you boost your motivation?
I believe we are in a very dynamic and fast-paced industry which constantly creates new content with the objective to entertain more and more. I like the fact that most gaming companies are now starting to position themselves as entertainment companies, which is what we always had in mind since we started. But the motivation comes also from other two elements: the competition and Google. Both always push you to raise the bar and become better at what we do.
A couple of questions about SEO: (i) What are the main challenges of SEO today and how are they different from just a few years ago? (ii) Why is SEO important for gaming and how long does it take to see results from SEO?
Google keeps improving its algorithm to serve users the best possible answer to their queries. In the last two years, the word E-A-T has become the most prominent. It is associated with the concept of authority, trustworthiness, and expertise. The real challenge for affiliates and operators in the iGaming sector is to understand those concepts. Failing to do so will result in loss of traffic at any of the upcoming Google algorithm updates. Said so, the main concepts stay the same: create great content and offer users a satisfying user experience.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority and why? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
Italy and Spain are our core markets but we are following with interest what is happening in South America. Colombia and Mexico have legalised online gambling and Brazil is potentially the next one. I believe Brazil has the potential to become an important market in our sector.
Which niches work best for your affiliate marketing, and which are the most profitable? How did you find your most profitable niche?
If you attend one of the several affiliate conferences you realise straight away what are the main niches: iGaming and Trading (CFD, binary options). In our case, we were working at the time for an iGaming company. In a few words, we did not have to look very far to find our niche, it was actually her to have found us.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
Regulation makes things more complicated for us and for the operators too but I believe it is for the better of the industry. I believe we all need to play a part and be socially responsible. Affiliates need to play their part by publishing impartial and trustworthy and remind visitors to play for fun and nothing else. I would like to see operators being more responsible by doing more affordability checks on their clients and incentivize less with bonuses and promotions. I think the whole ecosystem needs to work in this direction to preserve its sustainability and to avoid being impacted by even stricter regulations in the near future.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators? What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
This is something that varies from operator to operator. With some, the contact is ongoing with some more on an ad hoc basis. In general, I believe some operators don't give affiliates the right importance and their approach is far from being professional. Better communication is always the solution.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
By having a unique selling proposition. Very few of them out there currently have one. Affiliates tend to offer pretty much the same thing as their competitors, in the same way, that operators do. Differentiation will be the key in my opinion.
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?
I had actually already bought the ticket for SiGMA Malta 2020 but had to cancel for obvious reasons. I hope 2021 will be the year for Malta, after that I would like to attend the Americas one.
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 am a technology lover; I consider myself a "Geek". This is why my hobbies have all to do with technology. I enjoy video games a lot, most of the books I have are e-books, and as you know, my work is also fully digital. However, I also enjoy practising sports, travelling, and watching movies. I am an animal lover and I like to immerse myself in the world of comics. My favourite book is called "Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration".
About SiGMA Rebranding:
SiGMA Group has just unveiled the face of its rebranded website. Through a commitment to quality and years of successful operations, SiGMA has nurtured the development of a strong brand, allowing for its evolution into a global influencer on the gaming and tech stage. The new layout offers a holistic user experience, reflecting a shift in the gaming industry towards a more global perspective, as well as SiGMA's growing international portfolio as it launches new core events across 4 continents.