When the impact of database marketing dries up and the level of TV ad spend becomes too much to sustain, gambling operators across North America will have to focus more attention on paid media and affiliates.

And for that reason, working with a performance marketing platform that allows you to identify the best performing traffic and optimise campaigns in real time will become vital, predicted Allan Petrilli, VP of Sales and Growth at Intelitics.

In an exclusive interview for SBC Americas, Petrilli also explained why many sources of traffic have remained ‘untapped’ due to drawbacks in the technology, before looking more specifically at future prospects for the Ontario market.

Can you give our readers a quick refresh/progress update as to what Intelitics is currently doing in the US? And how has 2021 shaped up for your business?

Of course. So, we are currently delivering on our mission to provide igaming and sportsbook operators, as well as networks and agencies, with a single platform to track, optimise and report on all of their user acquisition activity. 

To date, the US market has relied heavily on database marketing as well as multi-million dollar media partnerships and unprecedented TV ad spend. This level of spend is simply not sustainable and the next big opportunity for growth is and will be paid media. 

We believe US operators have been underserved when it comes to dynamic, scaling, tracking technology to support activity across these channels. This is where Intelitics comes in; we provide a platform that allows them to make real-time, actionable and impactful decisions on UA spend. 

This in turn allows them to maximise returns. This is especially important for challenger brands whose pockets are not as deep as the power players. They can still earn a significant share of the market, but instead of spending big they must spend smart, and our platform allows them to do this. 

What is the current state of play in terms of user acquisition in the US right now? Are operators working more efficiently on this aspect of the business or are there still some common mistakes being made?

As I mentioned, the focus up to now has been on database marketing but as this dries up operators will have to focus more attention on paid media and affiliates. These channels are far more scalable and can be cost efficient when it comes to CPAs and LTVs if campaigns are run well and properly optimized.

But there is a clear gap when it comes to scalable and dynamic affiliate tracking in the space, with many brands not having a platform for affiliates to log-in to and manage campaigns. Of course, we know our platform fills this gap and will help operators save time and money in executing UA spend. 

It is no secret that as the market is still in its gold-rush phase, with new states opening their doors to legal online sports betting and igaming each month, that brands are spending inefficiently simply to gain the largest share of the market that they can. 

But we believe that there will be a significant shift over the next 6 – 12 months with brands more focused on the ROI of spend rather than just looking at the total number of customers acquired. You just have to look at some of the recent earnings calls to see that things are changing.  

That is where having a platform that allows you to identify the best performing traffic and optimise campaigns in real time is vital. 

There are also many untapped sources of traffic available to other industries but that have not been made available to gambling operators simply due to a lack of tracking and reporting technology at most operators and brands. 

Media buyers making purchases across a myriad of platforms have been hesitant to enter the market due to not being able to get conversions in real time and no ability to set up pixels or pass-through sub-IDs to optimise campaigns. 

This is traffic that betting and igaming brands internationally are currently benefiting from and that we believe will be a welcome addition to the traffic pool in the regulated US market once there is more widespread adoption of ad-tech stacks. 

Of course, publishers and marketing partners that rely on granular real-time access to data need to be licensed, but many are not going through the process of securing a license until they see viability in the market for them to get the access to the data they need to be successful. 

You said recently that the single-event sports betting market in Canada would begin to open up by the tail end of 2021. We’re now approaching that period – what’s your assessment of progress on that front and how do you see the first few months of market activity unfolding?

Unfortunately, it looks like the market in Ontario, as of right now, will only open up in mid-February which is a shame as it will miss the NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl which are two huge events when it comes to betting activity. 

That being said, the brands will have the time to launch more consciously instead of it being a bull rush to capitalise on the end of the NFL season. 

It has been encouraging to speak to a handful of brands that are opening offices in Ontario and investing in local people and businesses in order to build out their presence in the market and to drive long-term success. 

Of course, it will be a hugely competitive market with a large number of brands launching at the same time – it will be very interesting to see who rises to the top and especially in the early days. Local brands should have the advantage, but how they compete with the international behemoths will be fascinating to see play out.