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Exclusive: The Winning Hand – Navigating the Affiliation Game in Africa’s iGaming Industry

Join us as we delve into the dynamic world of African iGaming with Alessandro, co-founder of STM Gaming. In this exclusive interview with IGaming AFRIKA (IGA). Alessandro shares his journey from professional poker player to iGaming entrepreneur, offering invaluable insights into the evolution of STM Gaming and the burgeoning African gaming landscape. From customer-centric strategies to technological innovations and market predictions, discover the driving forces behind STM Gaming’s success and its vision for the future of iGaming in Africa. iGaming Affiliate Marketing

iGaming AFRIKA: You co-founded STM Gaming in 2017. Can you share the story behind the establishment of STM Gaming and the vision you had for the company when it was founded?

Alessandro: I have been in the gaming industry for more than 15 years. I started as a professional poker player back in the day and then I went on doing affiliation in Italy,  mostly focusing on poker. Being in the gaming affiliation, I came to recognize the potential the African market had and still has. We had this opportunity to open a company that was focusing on Africa, which as an emerging market had a lot of opportunities, but also challenges that we knew how to overcome. The vision was, and still is, to empower iGaming operators and revolutionise the industry by providing tailored services that drive success. A year later, in 2018, we became Btobet’s certified partner for Africa and joined together our offerings and expertise to offer excellence and complete solutions to African operators. 

IGA: In previous interviews, you emphasised the importance of listening to customers. How does STM Gaming incorporate a customer-centric approach into its services, and its client’s operations, and how has this strategy contributed to STM’s client success?

Alessandro: At STM Gaming, the customer-centric approach, which focuses on actively listening to the players and understanding their needs, is considered crucial. There is no other information that will help you tailor your offer better than your client’s input. That is the exact reason why we use all channels at our disposal to connect with the players and get their insights, wishes, and needs. Then, we analyse the data and market trends to anticipate market evolution and identify opportunities for improvement. This proactive approach helps us not just help our client adapt their offer, but also innovate and adapt our solutions to meet the changes in the iGaming industry too. 

iGaming AFRIKA: STM Gaming has been actively involved in the African gaming market. Could you share insights into the decision-making process behind entering the African market, and what opportunities and challenges have you encountered?

Alessandro: We were driven by a deep analysis of the region’s potential for growth and development. We recognised the continent’s population, internet penetration rates, and interest in online entertainment as key indicators of the market being ready for exploration. iGaming Affiliate Marketing

However, our journey has not been easy and without challenges. We faced a diverse regulatory landscape across different African countries and did deep research and compliance efforts to ensure adherence to local laws and regulations. 

Despite the challenges faced, we encountered many opportunities for innovation and expansion. Having our strategies and offerings tailored to suit the unique needs of each African market, we have been able to establish strong partnerships and build a solid foundation for growth.

Our entry into the African gaming market has been driven by a commitment to leveraging our expertise and resources to empower operators and drive success in this dynamic and rapidly evolving market.

iGaming AFRIKA: Why is Affiliate marketing a topic that always interests you? 

Alessandro: As mentioned, being an affiliate myself, and being in the gaming industry for more than 15 years, I’ve personally seen how affiliates can effectively use their influence to attract (and retain) players. The transition from player to affiliate has given me valuable insight into affiliate marketing, awakening my interest in exploring new strategies and opportunities in this dynamic part of the industry. 

The beauty behind the affiliate is the fact that it offers a straightforward reward system –  you earn based on your performance. This approach allows newcomers to succeed quickly if they are good at it. It’s a dynamic model where hard work translates directly into earnings, making it an attractive option for those seeking to monetize their efforts online.

iGaming AFRIKA: How can gaming brands leverage affiliate marketing to enhance their presence and offerings in the African gaming ecosystem?

Alessandro: Speaking about affiliate marketing in Africa, we cannot generalise a lot, since the African market consists of more than 50 countries, each with its traits and specificities. However, gaming brands and operators should partner with local influencers and local affiliate networks to enhance their presence and offering in specific markets. These partnerships should help brands reach wider audiences, however, the operators should also tailor unique promotions, bonuses, and incentives for their affiliate programs to attract players. If you provide your affiliate agents with the tools they need, they can build a strong community around your brand, which essentially will convert players.  iGaming Affiliate Marketing

iGaming AFRIKA: Many gaming brands in Africa have not yet realised the benefits or importance of affiliate systems for the growth of their brands. Why is this the case and how can Africa stop lagging behind when it comes to building reliable affiliates?

Alessandro: The trends are changing lately, and you can see more and more operators leveraging affiliate networks to grow their customer base. But, yes, many brands may still not realise the benefits of having an affiliate programme and/or network. iGaming Affiliate Marketing

It might be the case that affiliate marketing is perceived as an additional cost rather than an investment in the business. Moreover, the regulations in some African countries may present challenges in implementing affiliate marketing programs. And ultimately, they can simply lack the know-how. 

That’s why STM Gaming operates in the market, to help operators overcome issues exactly like this one.

iGaming AFRIKA: Affiliation cannot be successful for brands if they do not choose their affiliate systems wisely. What are some of the features that must be considered to effectively choose an efficient affiliate tracking system? 

Alessandro: To choose an efficient affiliate tracking system, we must consider features like accurate tracking capabilities, timely reporting, customisable commission structures, robust fraud prevention measures, and seamless integration with existing platforms. These elements ensure transparency, reliability, and optimal performance for a successful affiliate program.

iGaming AFRIKA: Why is it important for brands that are eyeing the African gaming market to adopt an approach that resonates with the African market and how can they achieve this?

Alessandro: Africa is a huge continent with different markets that have unique cultures, preferences, and regulations. One has to understand the uniqueness of the markets, to establish good and strong connections with the target audience, and local partners and differentiate from competitors.  

Not just your product, but also your marketing strategy, offers, and promotions have to be tailored to what the specific market needs and expects, respecting the local tastes, language, and cultural norms. 

We are in an advantageous position because we have an advanced technology that we had tailored for the African markets, by having a local approach. After all, obviously, with us being there, we managed to take Btobet’s software and try to adapt it to the different country’s needs. This, of course, is not easy because as we said before, Africa is not one country, and in a different country, you see a completely different perspective. 

Now, we have managed to integrate all the local payments, we managed to integrate all the local management systems to comply with the local regulations, and much more. The advantage of having a customised platform and a local approach is what got us there compared to local platforms that don’t have the same development team or don’t have the same global expertise.

Read Also: Building a Pan-African Gaming Empire Podcast with CEOpenmic – Jeremiah Maangi

iGaming AFRIKA: Technology plays a crucial role in the gaming industry. What are some of the current trends that you have noticed especially in the affiliation industry for the iGaming industry? 

Alessandro: We’ve seen a few interesting tendencies that are shaping how affiliates approach their initiatives.

One such trend is the increased use of data-driven marketing. Affiliates use data analytics and technological tools to gain insight into player behaviour, preferences, and market trends. This allows them to better optimise campaigns, customise offers, and target certain player groups.

Another major trend is a focus on mobile optimisation. With the growing popularity of mobile gaming, affiliates prioritise the development of mobile-friendly platforms. This includes producing content specifically for mobile users, improving the accessibility of mobile websites, and launching advertising optimised for mobile devices.

Affiliates are also showing an increasing interest in live casino and esports affiliate programmes. Partnerships with operators in these industries are developing, intending to promote offerings that appeal to gamers looking for real-time gaming experiences.

Overall, these patterns suggest that the iGaming affiliation sector is always evolving and changing, driven by technical developments and a commitment to meeting player and regulatory needs.

iGaming AFRIKA: BtoBet, one of the brands you work with has recently released a report on the African payments industry. Why is it important for stakeholders in the industry to always take a look at some of these reports and as well highlight for us the importance of research by brands entering the African gaming space?

Alessandro: For stakeholders in the industry, these kinds of reports provide a comprehensive insight into trends, preferences, and challenges to the African market. By staying informed about news in payment technologies, regulations, and player behaviours, stakeholders can make informed decisions and adapt their strategies. 

Africa is a diverse and dynamic market with unique characteristics and challenges, so brands can navigate through it effectively by employing thorough research. By understanding the market better, operators can mitigate risks, optimise their strategies and position themselves for success. 

iGaming AFRIKA: Looking ahead, what is your prediction for the African gaming market in terms of market expansion, technological advancements, and contributing to the growth of the various economies in Africa over the next 10 years?

Alessandro: Well, looking ahead, the African gaming market is set for significant growth. The market expansion will be driven by increased internet penetration, rising smartphone adoption, and a growing youthful customer base with bigger disposable income. Access to technology is becoming easier more and more, so, we can expect a surge in online activity.

Technological advancements are essential in shaping the future landscape of the African gaming industry. We expect innovations in payment solutions, mobile platforms, and gaming software to adapt to the changing needs and preferences of African players.

The expansion of the gaming industry will not just enrich the entertainment sector but also have considerable influence on the economies of diverse African nations. Gaming operators will generate substantial revenue streams, create job opportunities, and contribute to tax revenues for governments. Additionally, the industry will encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, empowering local businesses and driving economic development. iGaming Affiliate Marketing

Overall, the African gaming market holds immense potential for growth and prosperity in the coming years. With the right regulatory frameworks and technological advancements, the industry will continue to grow and expand and have a positive impact on the growth of the various economies in Africa.

Alessandro Pizzolotto- Bio

Alessandro Pizzolotto is a co-founder of Gamerevolution S.r.l, a leading online affiliation company in Italy with a particular focus on poker. With over a decade of experience in the iGaming industry, he has honed his skills as a manager and an executive, working on various gaming-related projects. In 2017, he co-founded STMGaming, which quickly became a Btobet Certified White Label Partner, and gained the right to resell white-label solutions in Europe and Africa. Alessandro created a team of skilled professionals and a ready-to-go package that caters to the needs of the growing market. With Btobet’s support, they strive to enhance their offerings daily by improving the software and services provided.

Alessandro Pizzolotto Quotes

There is no other information that will help you tailor your offer better than your client’s input. 

The beauty behind the affiliate is the fact that it offers a straightforward reward system –  you earn based on your performance.

Africa is a diverse and dynamic market with unique characteristics and challenges, so brands can navigate through it effectively by employing thorough research.

With the right regulatory frameworks and technological advancements, the industry will continue to grow and expand and have a positive impact on the growth of the various economies in Africa.

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