Alina Fomenok, CEO of Already Media, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Alina Fomenok, CEO of Already Media, speaks about qualities, skills, traffic, the iGaming C-level manager lifestyle, and the required skills needed to succeed in a C-level position – follow her story below.
How did you first get into the iGaming space?
When I was 19, I came across a poker video on the Internet. I started watching it and I liked the game wildly. I liked it for its intelligence and its multifactor nature. I started studying different strategies and watched several training videos. Then about five years ago, I got a job as a website editor in a poker teaching company. After working there for two years, I learned not only how to play poker but also how to manage a team and set up business processes. Then, I realised that I needed to expand my knowledge. Poker only was not enough for me, and I began to develop and study the world of sports betting.
What can you tell us about the iGaming C-level manager lifestyle?
You have to constantly develop and be on the crest of the wave: You have to be on-topic and understand the industry and the market. You have to be up to speed in management and psychology. You have to try to develop your technical knowledge. You have to be permanently involved in your job. And you have to burn and love what you do because the work and the working environment take you 80%+ of your time. And the other 20%, you have to make sure that you have enough motivation and drive to move yourself and your team forward.
What are the required skills needed to succeed in a C-level position?
You have to combine the incompatible: multitasking and concentrating on the most important things. On the one hand, you have to see the whole picture and keep a thousand tasks in your head while focusing and prioritising.
The ability to quickly find common ground with different people is crucial. It is impossible to build a big team and set up business processes with several units without personal empathy. After all, we are talking more about human interaction, which is indispensable.
Responsibility. If you’re a manager, you’re responsible not only for yourself and your tasks but also for everybody you manage directly or indirectly. Any decision you make will have a result, and you need to be able to look three steps ahead.
Of course, it’s positive. You have to balance the ability to drive and control. We, at Already Media, understand that the primary resource and the key to the success of any business are people. That’s why we love and respect them.
One can talk a lot about the qualities a manager should possess, but I would like to emphasise confidence. You need to break through and lead the team forward with your confidence and competence.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business within the iGaming sector? Which skills are most in-demand?
Flexibility, stress tolerance, and hunger for conquering new peaks!
Search traffic is stressful indeed! Look at how many updates Google has had in the last year! Also, many factors, such as unfair competition and website forgery. In the gambling niche, unethical teams can copy your websites. Unfortunately, Google has not invented effective and quick ways to combat them yet. However, I sincerely hope that the situation will change shortly, and we will work in an honest field.
At Already Media we understand: no tilt. After any surges and failures, you need to pull yourself together and continue to ensure quality!
Of course, the most demanded qualities are the ability to learn quickly, to be an expert, and not to be afraid to experiment and try, try, try! Who else but us to invent new mechanisms for getting even higher volumes and better quality of traffic for our partners!
How did Already Media take off? Is iGaming your only vertical?
The company has a great history and ten years of experience in the CIS region. We started with online poker, became the market leaders, and entered the international market by applying our extensive expertise.
At one point, we realised that markets and new geographies are being conquered, we have excellent results, we already have more than 50 staff members within our team, and we perfectly understand our goals – all we have to do is to formulate it all and bring it out into a new brand. The whole world should know about us! And so, Already Media was born.
At the moment, iGaming is the only vertical. But shortly, we plan to expand. In general, growing and challenging ourselves – whether it’s a new market or new mechanics for monetising or improving our products – is our favorite at Already Media!
What do you do at Already Media?
Finding the correct information on the Internet gets more challenging with every passing year. We help iGaming customers make the right decisions while searching and comparing iGaming brands. Already Media processes and analyses enormous amounts of data from hundreds of sources. Along with our unique technology and our reliable team, this is how we’re able to show cutting-edge performance on the market.
Tell us a bit more about your concept, culture, and mission.
The iGaming industry is still in its premature state. To grow to its full potential, it needs to be guided by proactive and competent leaders and supported by cutting-edge technologies. Already Media is committed to research and education so we can make a meaningful contribution to the transformation and reframing of this promising new field. We believe that iGaming businesses can thrive and grow empowered by expertise and technology. Already Media can be instrumental in achieving it. That’s why we are here. Our formula is simple: great team + great technology = success.
What sets you apart from the competition?
We are young and brave. We are not afraid to experiment, make mistakes and use this knowledge for good. We have significant experience and strong technical knowledge. My company employs amazing people, our team is united, and we know where we are going. We know how to achieve large volumes of high-quality traffic, and we are already successfully doing it!
How do you generate high-quality traffic for iGaming brands and ensure their sustainable growth?
We analyse a lot. We study the audience, the behavior, the specifics of the markets where we work. We believe that quality and the technical side of the issue – solve everything. We study user behavior on Already Media resources, and based on received data, correct our work. We closely communicate with our partners, take information about users we attract, run it through ourselves, and improve our products. We always work for the future and understand how important it is to play long-term and how valuable our reputation is.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day life?
Technology is one of the keys and defining things for Already Media.
For example, we take a technological approach to things like content writing. Even though people write content for our resources we make every effort to analyse this content in terms of gathering semantics, creating the correct article structure based on how a user behaves within the website itself. We do analytics of various heat maps to improve conversion rates.
We use SmartTracking technologies to understand where users are coming from, what devices, where to redirect them, and what they need on the page. We use multiple TDS to maximise the iGaming brand’s conversion rate. If, for example, people from 10 countries spend time on a large trusted website, we are trying our best to determine where they came from to send them to the correct version of the website and later we send them to the right page on the iGaming brand’s website.
In general, at Already Media, we spend a lot of time on analytics, we analyse user behavior, LTV, user quality concerning search queries, pages, websites, etc.
What’s your perspective on emerging technologies like AI and Big Data and their impact with respect to the affiliate industry?
In my opinion, it is too early to talk in general about the influence of AI and Big Data on the world of affiliate business because the technology is still very young and is currently not at its peak, even in large industries such as e-commerce and medicine.
Of course, as a modern company, we are carefully looking at this technology, studying it, and in general we are confident that sooner or later it will find its application. However, it’s still a little too early to predict anything and estimate the impact.
Data analysis is one of the potential cases where we can use this technology. For example, to analyze and compare millions of user visits simultaneously. A simple example: Google Analytics already uses Big Data to understand user behavior on pages better, and we all use Google Analytics.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority and why? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
As affiliates that work primarily with search traffic, we try to adapt to markets where search engine competition is tiniest. It is also crucial for us to understand that in those markets where we are targeting there is a search volume of users, there is user demand, and iGaming brands are developing the sports betting niche in that region, thus creating frequency and interest among locals.
Generally, when selecting a market, we pay attention to analysing user behavior and LTV. This is important because we focus on the Revenue Sharing model and long-term cooperation with iGaming brands.
In terms of market examples, we are focusing on three prominent regions: Africa, South and South-East Asia, and the Americas (for the most part, we have been doing LATAM, but we are already starting to move into North America because we see a lot of potential in this region).
Moreover, as a big company with great experience, expertise, and technology, we believe that this region will give us good results. What criteria do we use to select our markets? Already Media is focused on long-term partnerships with brands; that’s why we work on Revenue Sharing and the user lifetime is essential to us.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
Affiliates play a significant role in a user’s decision funnel. In general, users from Asian markets make decisions based on advice and recommendations. They like to study reviews and cases. They rely on the advice and opinions of their friends. Accordingly, we are right there with our review websites, comparison websites, honest and open reviews. Asian users, unlike Europeans, have a lot of respect for these websites. They read articles, study the pros and cons, and analyse recommendations. Therefore, in the Asian markets, affiliates come in handy.
Recently the Asian market has been experiencing rapid growth. Internet penetration has reached good levels, and everyone has mobile internet. We see the gambling market is growing, and so do the affiliate industry, and we think that one of the main regions in the world where affiliates should focus is Asia.
It’s also worth noting the tremendous loyalty of Asian users. They really stay for a long time if they are delighted with the service, download speed, product, and customer support.
That is why we need to work with brands that can provide quality. The key to a mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationship is a quality product and our qualified users who stay with a brand for a long time.
What is your approach in the initial stages of a new partnership? How do you manage relationships with multiple operators?
We keep it simple. I generally believe that simplicity and openness are the keys to excellent and long-lasting relationships with partners. In the initial stages, we take a standard deal, show excellent results, and improve the conditions after that. It works perfectly.
What ensures your long-term partnerships?
First and foremost is, of course, high-quality traffic and good payouts for it. There is nothing more motivating. The relationship should be mutually beneficial. Also, I believe that it is essential to exchange information. We already have a good tradition of exchanging important data about users and their behavior with our partners, jointly improving the product and helping each other to earn even more.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? SiGMA Asia, Americas, CIS, or Europe – which of these four expo shows would you likely book on your diary for 2022?
Now, with such a long and difficult situation with coronavirus it has become more challenging to attend conferences than a couple of years ago. So during this period, we concentrated more on building internal processes. But since the primary market for us now is Asia, of course, I will put SiGMA Asia in my diary, and most likely, we will be there. For now, guests. I’m sure that I’ll personally give a keynote at the SiGMA conference within a year. I think we can become good friends!
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.
You’re right. Business is done with people. I love people! I love my team! I think they are the best colleagues I could have ever had! We have already done so much together, and I know we will conquer the world!
I play poker myself. One might even say semiprofessionally. The main thing is that it is profitable! Also, my colleagues and I bet on our favorite teams for fun during significant international events.
But my main hobby – is my work! I am passionate about it! That’s why I can spend from 10 to 12 hours on it, whether working in the office or continuing at home.
Another 20% of the time, I do sports and am into dancing and squash. I find it very important to unload my brain and distance myself from work with other activities. I love spending time with friends and my cat, who is 17 years old!
Final question: If you could go back in time and give your 21 year-old self career advice, what would it be?
Try as much as you can, even things that don’t seem like it’s on your selected route because your “selected” way will alter. Your intent in life will find you when you’re out there grasping craftwork.
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Asia Awards 2022
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