We met Kajsa Mårtensson from Casino Sverige, who is participating in Affiliate Grand Slam in Tallinn this April.
Hi! I am very fine thanks and I really look forward to the Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam 2017. I have high expectations on this event and think that this will be a great opportunity to meet both other affiliates and operators. This is also my first time in Tallinn so it will be an experience in more than one way!
How did you come to enter the online casino space and set up your company?
It’s a long story but it all started with a little blog where I posted me and my family’s horse racing systems. I wanted a platform where we all could see the systems. But pretty soon I extended the blog to also include free spins tips for casinos online. By then I didn’t really know how to optimize the site to make money but soon I started to read more about affiliation and since that moment I live and breath casino. Although the first years it was all just a hobby and I actually studied to become a public health scientist at the same time. By the time that I graduate the hobby had become more of a business and I started my first company.
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
It’s actually a really small company since me and my sister are the only employees. I work full-time with everything from writing content to handling deals and doing the SEO. While my sister is working 25% and in that time she is both writing content and doing some reports. Everything else I outsource and I also have a freelancer that is working full-time with just content.
With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?
Well this is something that’s been going on for a while now. I guess I was more surprised in the beginning when loads of affiliates sold their businesses. Now it’s just a fact that you have to live with. Loads of things are going on in this industry and it’s really a growing market so I expect even more acquisitions. But sometimes it feels like there are no small affiliates left which is kind of boring. Personally I feel like we’re in a David VS Goliat situation at the moment. But this industry is still young so you just have to accept the changes and try to be on top whatever happens.
A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?
I am co-owner in an online casino which is an amazing experience. As an affiliate you are not at all used to see or reflect over the operator roll in this industry. But at the moment I would not go solo on a project like that. I think it’s ”affiliates world” right now as there are so many operators competing for the same spots and this is something that affiliates can take advantage of. So I am very pleased with the situation I am in now as I get to see both sides of the coin.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
Yes, content has always been my main focus and when I started out that was actually all that was needed to rank at least descent. But the competition nowadays is much harder so you have to stand on more legs. I am focusing a lot on both on- and off-page SEO and this is something that I will continue to do. If everything goes as planned I will also add some new features on the sites and also work more on the design which is something that I haven’t done much recently.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?
As I am Swedish it has always been natural for me to work toward the Scandinavian market. This is something that I intend to continue with. The downside of this is that the market in Sweden isn’t regulated yet so it will be really interesting to see what will happened in the next years. I also focus a lot of UK which is a regulated market and more safe in that way. At the moment I don’t have time to look into the emerging markets even if it would be very interesting to do so. Maybe something for the future!
How do you find UK market and competition?
The UK market is very different to the Scandinavian market I believe. First of all the players doesn’t have the same behavior. The volume on my UK sites are much higher of course since there are more people living in UK. But I believe the value of the traffic is much higher amongst the Scandinavian players. Regarding the competition I have seen a huge change just in this past year. A year ago you could rank with a free spins site in UK without putting much effort in SEO. But now since the market is regulated more and more affiliates are targeting UK players. Another trend in UK is that it’s mainly operators that are ranking high on casino related terms which is not the thing in Scandinavia.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
I am still focusing a lot on content, which in my opinion can’t be wrong. You should write for your visitors and not for google. Although I am keeping myself updated all the time with the latest information about both google and SEO in general. But everything is under constant development and you have to be prepared for any kind of changes to be made.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
Well, I always have exciting plans but nothing that I can reveal at the moment. But you got to have big dreams!
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?
I want them to know that there are loads of good information to get at these sites. It’s not just a one page site with a massive top lists. It’s actually sources to good and handy information if you want to start to play casino online. Also, a lot of effort has been put down on these sites and both me and my content writers have a genuine interest in online gambling.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
The mobile market has really grown and if you can’t deliver a product that meet the requirements you will probably lose around 50% of your traffic. And of course this is a challenge in the beginning. But I believe we will see an even more increasing mobile market so nowadays affiliates really needs to optimize their product toward all mobile platforms. I am still working on this as I have a huge network of sites but I have no doubt that it will be worth the while.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
The biggest challenge is probably to keep up with the bigger competitors in this industry. As a one woman company you don’t really have the same conditions as for example Catena or Raktech. You are competing against companies with hundreds of employees. But still I think there is money for everyone in this industry. Regarding the sector I think we will see even more acquisitions and merges. And I also believe on the operator side that we will see loads of new casinos that can’t stand the fierce competition.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
I would say that you really need patience to become a big affiliate. The money won’t just come flying into your account in the beginning. But as long as you’ve got patience, believe in your dreams and never stop working for it you will succeed!
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
I play occasionally on slots online but most of the times I write about them instead! If I won the jackpot I would probably go on a well deserved holiday but then I would go back to work again. After all there is no better industry to work in and I am very pleased with my life as it is! The rest of the money I would invest in other gaming companies.
Kajsa Mårtensson is a well respected person in the iGaming affiliate industry. She’s worked with affiliation since 2010 and during that time she’s created a big network of sites. The main market for Kajsa and her company is Sweden and UK where she’s gained huge success since the start.