Sam M. Barranco, Business COO of Betmedia, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Sam M. Barranco and the rest of the team at Betmedia consider themselves as a media agency specialised in gambling. They have a very flexible approach and adapt quickly – follow his story below.
How did your affiliate marketing business take off?
I came to the company at the beginning of 2013, at that time Betmedia had already been in the market since 2010. I just turned 8 years in the company.
Betmedia was born from Hastoplay (a pioneer company in Spain in the affiliation of poker that was born in 2005) with the aim of dealing with the affiliation part of sports betting.
Is iGaming your only vertical?
iGaming started as the only vertical, but over the years our repertoire has expanded with different products such as financial products (trading, courses …) and of course we have expanded the online marketing service. Today we can consider ourselves a media agency specialized in gambling. We also have an influencers agency. We are a very flexible company that adapts quickly to the needs of the market.
What makes your affiliate business unique?
The flexibility and adaptability that we have. We are able to evolve with the market and we have learned to read it before others. We apply common sense to make decisions and simplify processes as much as possible. But the most important thing is the team behind it; very valid and committed people.
What sets you apart from other affiliate marketeers?
Flexibility, adaptability, and constant evolution are probably important in that differentiation and also innovation and vision. Although I think that what really differentiates us is our philosophy and our closeness. It is not only a commercial relationship that we have with the operators, in many cases we have true friendship and, in all cases, empathy predominates because we understand that in the business all parties must win.
Tell us a bit more about your business model, concept, and culture.
I think that in the previous answers it is quite clear and in a few words, one could say: understand, evolve, and collaborate. But above all: Enjoy; we like what we do.
Tell us a bit more about your future plans.
Right now, our present and future is called Betsfy. It is our app and in it you can find everything we do.
What helps make your performance successful? What are the main challenges?
Basically, understand the different markets and offer them what they ask for. The main challenge is to keep growing and not get lost along the way. And, of course, remain profitable in such a competitive and difficult world.
What are the main challenges of SEO today and how are they different from just a few years ago?
In SEO now you have to fight against too many factors, but above all against changing algorithms and multiple competition. You also have to understand that positioning is no longer just about search engines. Before it was much easier and it was almost enough for you to have good quality content or find the right niche. Right now, not even having the best possible content do you ensure that positioning.
Why is SEO important for gaming and how long does it take to see results from SEO?
I am not an SEO expert but I am clear that the player you get with it tends to be more valuable (more profitable). As for the times required to see results, it will depend on the strategy you have and what you expect from those results.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
Our main market is still Spain but we move and grow in multiple markets. Emerging markets are always interesting and have enormous potential, but they have their own evolutionary times (the same ones that markets that are now mature have gone through). Many are still a medium-long-term bet and others hope that they will be a short-term reality.
Which niches work best for your affiliate marketing, and which are the most profitable? How did you find your most profitable niche?
The best niche for us is the mix of all. We have been in the market for many years and we realized a long time ago that you cannot play everything on a single card, you must have different alternatives. That is our most profitable niche. I do not deny that it works for many and it is profitable for them to focus on a niche, it is even advisable and the easiest way, but it has not been our case.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
We are a 100% digital company, so technology is the main pillar of our day to day. There are other important factors, but in the end, everything is based and supported by technology.
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?
We are just talking with different potential investors and we are open to hearing proposals. We have grown a lot, we are expanding and it is something that is always interesting to contemplate, so all possibilities are open.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2021 and beyond?
Without a doubt, business intelligence (BI) combined with artificial intelligence (AI), impact and will impact in the future in an increasingly precise way.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
Regulations are always good when their purpose is to protect all players in the industry (operators, customers…); when they set clear rules that help to understand what can be done and how or what cannot be done, when they are fair for all parties and make the sector sustainable, when they are aimed at avoiding abuses and problems…
A well-regulated market is a market that provides stability and is very attractive to all parties.
If the regulation seeks only to prohibit and be restrictive, it is probably not a good one.
Answering your question, the fragmentation of regulated markets means that we first have to understand what we can do in that country and then adapt it. It requires using more resources so costs increase, but it is also true that this helps to know the market much better.
Do communication and support with operators meet your expectations? What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
In our case, communication with the operators we work with is very fluid and increasingly. Support is also somewhat mutual, bi-directional, and helps both parties improve. In this respect, they fully meet expectations and we are very happy with our relationship with them.
As for what operators can do to increase support with affiliates, I think most are on the right track as it is mainly about listening to your affiliates and doing things with them based on their (reasonable) requests.
Ultimately, affiliates are the ones who know their market best and not listening to them is wasting a very valuable resource. Luckily, many operators already know this and listen very carefully and even promote this communication.
How can affiliates and affiliate marketeers be more unique in their approach?
Here I will answer something obvious, but it is never simple: Understanding the needs of the market and offering the solution to those needs.
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 have attended the Malta and would be delighted to attend again. Hopefully we will overcome this situation and be possible!
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.
Well, my daily escape route is to watch television series and movies; it helps me disconnect. Of course, I also watch a lot of sports, mainly football (soccer) and I bet on them (in moderation). But my favorite activity is definitely traveling; I adore knowing new places and new cultures. It is something very healthy and that also helps you have a much more open mind.
To finish my two favorite quotes: that of the company; Play Hard, Smart, Together and have fun. And mine: Living intensely!
The SiGMA Roadshow:
The SiGMA Roadshow is stepping up its game; now virtual, the webinar will take on a new jurisdiction every month, targeting a global agenda of gritty conference topics and a small, yet buzzing expo floor. Hosted on an interactive platform, the 2-hours mini conference will delve into 5 key areas of debate, bringing key themes specific to the region – such as regulation, tax and compliance, and emerging tech, to a table of thought leaders and academics at the top of their game. The SiGMA Virtual Roadshow will reflect SiGMA’s global events opening in 5 major regions over the next few years, specifically Europe, the CIS region, Asia, the Americas, and Africa. The monthly event, which launches with a worldwide tour of 14 countries, starts off with the recently legislated Ukraine, and will be published via podcast. Should you want to be part of the SiGMA Virtual Roadshow – REGISTER HERE.