Gambling Insider catches up with Warren Jacobs

Written and Published by: on Wednesday, 29 November, 2017
Unfortunately the original article is offline, this is an archived version:

How was the ActiveWins brand initially developed?

The ActiveWins affiliate program officially launched in March 2013 with a team of three sitting at one desk in a large office managing Betfred’s affiliate efforts. I was committed to making the business a success and took out such a large space because I believed webmasters would welcome our model of good business with a personal touch in the online gaming space. And I was right.

Fast forward to 2017, we now have over 125 staff and represent six brands. We continue to redefine ourselves and offer the very best in digital marketing channels across multiple verticals. Our priorities are providing good service, optimised creative and processing timely payments. Although we don't always get it right, our team makes every effort to achieve these goals consistently.

What in your opinion is ActiveWins' USP and how does it differ from other affiliate networks?

There is a delicate balance between the needs of affiliates and the needs of operators which must be catered to. We have grown our staff to continually invest in talented account managers, designers, dev ops and support services to ensure both affiliates and partners like Betfred, Prospect Hall, and Foxy receive exceptional service and expert advice. We have big plans for ongoing growth and even more channels to add for clients. Another differentiator with ActiveWins is there’s a standing invitation to affiliates who can come to Manchester and see the office, meet the team and get to know us. There is no “cloak and dagger” here. What you see is what you get.

In your opinion what is the most important part of the affiliate relationship and why?

In today’s digital world, technology makes it easy for businesses to operate efficiently through automated processes. In particular, many online businesses adopt the use of automation to manage customer support. As much as I appreciate the wonderful advances in technology, I firmly believe that putting a face with a name and advising affiliates on new offers or better ways to improve their traffic is what sets us apart from other  programs. It might not make sense for every business to  bring in the amount of staff as we have, but I feel it is worth  every penny invested in our relationships with affiliates.

How has having relationships with high profile  industry giants like Fred Done boosted your ability  to attract affiliates?

Fred Done is a legend, and I look to him as the most  important mentor and partner any entrepreneur could  hope to have. After fifty years, he still treats his customers, employees and affiliates with the same level of respect as  when he opened his first shop in 1967. He even visited the  2017 London Affiliate Conference to shake the hands of the  people who support Betfred. I can’t think of another operator  who can say the founder of their business is interested  in attending industry events to meet affiliates. That is  what makes Fred so special.

What has been the biggest challenge for the firm  during the last 12 months?

Without question, compliance has been dominating our  internal processes over the past year. We work closely with  the Gambling Commission to thoroughly understand the  latest guidelines and relay changes to our affiliate partners. Ongoing scrutiny over adverts and offers prompted us to  invest in a dedicated in-house compliance team whose  sole purpose is to ensure we adhere to industry regulations.  Both operators and affiliates appreciate our commitment  to responsible advertising to players. We see a strong  future with our affiliates, and this is something  we are keen to protect.

How has the Google Penguin update affected your business?

Every time Google amends algorithms, the digital community  lets out a huge groan. However, these changes are designed  to make the search experience better for users. For affiliates,  we provide content optimised for SEO that not only appeals  to readers but helps search engine rankings. Likewise, we have considerable expertise in paid media like PPC and  display advertising which are additional channels for our  digital campaigns. We therefore have all the bases covered  for organic and paid activity.

What is your most popular commission model at the  moment and why?

Revenue share is becoming increasingly predominant because it means more commission to affiliates who drive  quality traffic. Success in affiliate marketing requires a true commitment from webmasters, and when they see how  much monthly rev share income is generated from their  carefully curated site, it becomes a no-brainer to opt for  that model.

In your opinion does ActiveWins' background as a  marketing agency give you a unique insight into affiliate marketing that other affiliate networks do not have?

We wear many hats at ActiveWin. Aside from being a digital marketing company in gaming, we have diversified into the  medical and property sectors and also work within financial services. This experience has made us very comfortable  operating in highly regulated industries. This advantage  is twofold; working in gaming enables us to replicate  successful strategies to other verticals, while non-gaming provides us with an understanding of finesse that we inject  into our gaming work.

We also have in-house brands which give us an appreciation  of what an affiliate feels as they invest hours, months and years developing their properties. We are not a program that's  owned by a brand and that is a strong differentiation.

Has the online gambling boom in New Jersey aided  your affiliate business?

The New Jersey market is a money pit and competitors are  losing cash by the barrel load. This is an area we are avoiding  until the US becomes a mature market place.

Will you be looking to bring on more bingo brands  as the growth in this sector continues?

As long as we can maintain the balance of consistently  high performance, we will look at new opportunities. We do  get contacted by brands looking for advice or partnerships, so this is something we encourage