In part two of our exclusive interview, marketing agency ICS-digital shares with SBC Americas the steps that international operators interested in landing in Latin America must follow to stand out in this emerging region.

While widespread economic uncertainty continues, it’s fair to say that optimism around the future of iGaming in Latin America is continuing. With a combined population of more than 427 million people – three-quarters of which are of legal age to play casino games and bet on sports – it’s easy to see why many national and international brands are continuing to make preparations and plans to take advantage of these opportunities.

It’s been four years exactly since Colombia became Latin America’s first nation to legalize online gambling. Within a year of this motion, the nation’s gaming authority, Coljuegos, was issuing local iGaming licenses to established global brands. 

A fully regulated Colombian igaming industry generated over $9.3m in revenues in 2019, which was a 63% year-on-year increase. However, while Colombia is the clearest example of what fully regulated online gambling can look like in Latin America, there are plenty of ‘sleeping giants’ that are starting to awaken. 

With more Latin American countries becoming increasingly receptive to the world of igaming and sports betting, it’s more important than ever that established igaming brands are ready to make a splash when the time is right. 

Although short-term regulatory uncertainty remains, there are ways that brands can make progress with marketing themselves safely throughout Latin America, whilst remaining respectful of the regulatory (and public health) hurdles that still need to be overcome. 

Following the first three steps, ICS-digital, along with its partners Better Collective and Hero Gaming, highlighted the essential details that should be included in a successful online gambling and betting site.

Develop a content strategy that builds trust and traffic

Speaking of content strategy, content is fundamental when it comes to cost-effectively building trust and familiarity in brands in new markets.

Although brands may not yet be able to monetize the traffic they receive from regional-relevant content in untapped igaming markets, it’s an opportunity to turn prospects into early-stage brand advocates. 

With unregulated igaming markets like Brazil and Argentina bubbling away, consumer interest in igaming and online sports betting is, at the very least, simmering. These users will be at the top of the conversion funnel and will require a content strategy that educates as well as inspires.

Thomas Cassio Carvalhaes, Brazil and LatAm territory manager for Hero Gaming is clear on the need to take a detail-focused approach to identifying and capitalizing on specific opportunities in each market: “The biggest mistake is the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. This is definitely a recipe for failure. There is an undeniable need to localize and regionalize the LatAm content per market and country as much as possible. If operators take the markets seriously, the markets will take them seriously too; nothing but the good old ‘give and take’ applies here.”

Interest in sport content in particular of course provides plenty of opportunities to capture early attention – but quality is key to attract visitors and respond to their passions and queries to maintain interest while removing risk.

It might be tempting to view new markets as easy targets when compared to hyper-competitive markets like the UK, but this is not the basis of a long-term strategy.

Tomás Vaz De Carvalho of Better Collective explains their approach: “Just like in any other growing, emerging market, we can already see a lot of competition within igaming affiliation and media in LatAm. The way Better Collective has been trying to make a difference is via meaningful, high-quality content.  A factor that is transversal not only to LatAm but in other markets as well is that when you provide to the users what they actually need, they will seek out your brand, regardless of the exact medium of marketing you are utilizing.”

One approach to de-risk content strategy is to work on building up visibility as a trustworthy resource of enjoyable and authoritative content. This allows brands to fit within what will help potential players while also fitting in with the type of content that Google is looking to reward – content that shows expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T). An effective content strategy to build value over time, but it is grounded in core content that responds to user queries. As such, FAQs are a highly effective way of engaging with prospective customers who are looking for igaming brands to trust.

Carefully crafted FAQs and long-form guides and informational sections do more than store content that does not fit anywhere else on-site, they provide all the answers to common questions in your industry. This is particularly important in new markets, where certain aspects will be new to potential customers. FAQs reinforce your brand’s unique expertise and your commitment to delivering the best possible service.

Coupling this type of detailed, trustworthy content with more passionate, personality-driven content is a way to establish a powerful brand, while also being on the right side of search engines – but if you treat this task lightly, you’ll be wasting both time and money.

At ICS-digital and ICS-translate we’ve built LatAm teams that write, edit and optimize thousands upon thousands of words per month – it’s a large investment and operation that we maintain but there’s no shortcut to quality. 

Don’t be afraid to assess new ways of working

Agility is your best friend when looking to engage with and expand your igaming presence in new markets. Set aside the time to assess your technology and internal processes to understand their impact in new markets – and don’t be afraid to look elsewhere to seek validation for the way you work.

The igaming industry has a string of exhibitions and seminars penciled in for 2021, including a variety from SBC. All of these are designed to showcase the gaming trends of tomorrow and how best to prepare your business to sustain and grow your market share under the umbrella of new regulations.

Of course, as the LatAm igaming industry matures, so too must your marketing approach. Newcomers to online gaming will soon become experts. You will need to monitor closely the changing trends and intent of searchers, whilst keeping your fingers firmly on the pulse of regulatory benchmarks.

Networking, reading widely and exploring the industry developments that can help (or hinder) your operations is key in order to make sure any LatAm growth strategy is positive and ambitious, but also practical and with minimal risk.