Mathias Johansen, Founder of GLHF Affiliates, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
The focus of Mathias Johansen and the rest of the team of GLHF Affiliates is on delivering transparency to their players, in the form of good content and high quality sites – follow his story below.
How did GLHF Affiliates take off? Tell us a bit more about your business model, concept, and culture.
The start of GLHF Affiliates was a bit interesting in itself. One of my closest friends and I had been working with content, SEO, and affiliation for operators in the past. We saw that there was definitely room for improvement in the affiliation market, in terms of transparency and quality. We also saw a lot of areas that others didn’t really cover, such as crypto gambling. We started building one site which today is case.bet; it took a bit of time to learn things but eventually we got the hold of it. We found procedures that worked, we provided quality to players, and the site took off.
With the success of one website, we believed we could apply the same concepts to other areas such as Casino and Sports in several languages, and that’s where we are venturing today.
Our focus is on delivering transparency to the player, in the form of good content and high quality sites and we truly believe that is the key.
What sets you apart from other affiliates? What makes your traffic and sites unique?
One of the things that sets us a bit apart from other affiliates in the market, is that we take on big challenges. While a lot of keywords and areas are filled already with sites that have been there for a long time, people don’t really want to take that risk of building something that has a high chance of being unsuccessful, as it takes months.
We take on those challenges, even with small teams. We don’t particularly look at what the easiest way of getting potential customers is, but rather areas we can provide quality in.
What are the most important keys to success? Do you believe in having massive resources or in having the good skill-set?
The success comes from people. No matter what, you need the right people with the right skill-set, and passion. I know for certain that GLHF Affiliates wouldn’t have grown without the people involved, and I make sure to let them know that as well.
What motivates you to promote more, and what helps you boost your motivation?
Self-learning and freedom is definitely the biggest motivation for me today. We’re always doing different things, from WordPress development, HTML/CSS, content writing, SEO, and the list goes on, and I get to learn from doing those things with trial and error. The team and I have the freedom to do what we want to do, and just having that motivates me as I get to work on projects I’m passionate about.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority and why? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We’re looking at regulated markets as a possible priority for the future, as they take the extra steps to ensure player’s safety, and there is a need from a players’ perspective to have places to read more information regarding licensed casinos. Challenges do come with it, such as the site having to be language specific and knowledge of the rules that come with the market, which can be a bit hard to figure out if you’re not from that country / zone.
On top of that we see a rise in the Asian market. This is a bit of a different challenge for us right now, it requires a lot from us to enter but, in general, we have quite a lot of Asian traffic from the English sites alone. It may be on our list of future projects.
Why is SEO important for gaming and how long does it take to see results from SEO? Which SEO factors are not in your control?
SEO is almost everything, and we definitely see a lot more companies in general putting effort into improving their own. Search engines change their algorithms all the time, and cracks down on black hat strategies, so it’s more important to stay up with current SEO guidelines and changes and doing it in a white hat way.
We generally see results from our SEO efforts after 3-5 months, and that’s when we see the first outcast on what we can improve on and change, to make it even better.
Do you create all the marketing material you need to promote in-house, or do you out-source it?
Everything we do, we do in-house, with the exceptions of a few translations here and there. It takes a bit of time as we’re a team of 3 people, but we specialise in different areas, and have a pretty good way of handling the management of all the different tasks, so at least so far, we haven’t seen the need of outsourcing anything.
How important is social media activity for your affiliate business?
Social-media activity is great in a lot of ways, we haven’t specifically been very good at it but we’re starting to use it a lot more. It can create awesome traffic flow in an organic way and can boost SEO quite a bit.
Besides Google, do you also focus on ranking on other search engines like Baidu in China?
We don’t particularly focus on other search engines, but we’ve found a few ways to improve our ranking across most of them and have started implementing it into our strategy, and so far it’s working good. I think we would need more data in terms of what it could possibly do before we really start putting more effort into it.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
We use technology every day to not only help our own business, but our every day life. Others’ innovation makes our job easier in terms of different platforms we use. We didn’t use slack that much but due to the pandemic, it’s been our main source of communication line between our team.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business?
As for us as an affiliate, we’ve basically seen the need to inform the player about regulations and how it may affect them, and we’ve also removed operators who don’t hold a license in certain countries. It affects us quite a lot as we need to change things all the time, but in the long run it’s for the better.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
We see the need of Asian traffic ramping up like crazy these days, as we receive requests all the time. It’s a great market, with high player value and high volume in general, though a challenging market for affiliates as different search engines and SEO algorithms need to be used, and in a lot of cases, it’s a market affiliates haven’t really touched before, and it’s something new to them. It’ll take a while before we see a trend and results but we see a lot of affiliates putting more effort into the Asian market.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
think more affiliates should be willing to take more risks and try out new stuff. Don’t be afraid of entering markets and learning as you go. It’s one of the ways to see what works and what doesn’t.
What can operators do to increase support with affiliates? Do communication and support with operators meet your expectations? How do you manage your relationship with them?
Operators do a very good job in supporting affiliates, as it’s one of their main ways to gain players. Some communicate better than others, but, in general, we don’t have any complaints so far. If issues arise, we simply bring it up with an affiliate manager and it usually gets solved straight away.
The only thing to point out is that some operators are not really prepared in terms of giving information about the casino and possible updates on bonuses and new features they implement. If an operator has added a new game provider, we’d love to know about it as we can outline it in an article or add it to a review.
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’ve been to pretty much all the SiGMA events in Malta in the past few years, and I’ll probably continue attending, and possibly the event in Asia in the future, as it’s one of the few opportunities as an affiliate to meet and connect with others, it’s nice to put a face on a person you’ve only communicated via email with.
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.
Esport and gaming is basically my life at this stage. I compete in different leagues with a CS:GO team and even sponsor a few teams myself. I often play games with some of our partners, it’s great fun.
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SiGMA Americas Virtual 2021:
The SiGMA Americas Virtual show will run from the 13th to the 14th of September, 2021. Features include a fully interactive expo floor, networking chat rooms, and a high profile line up of panelists. Explore the agenda or check out who’s on the floor plan.