What people like Cristiano Ronaldo, Mike Tyson, Conor McGregor, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Gretzky, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, Nicky Minaj, Neymar, Jose Mourinho, Drake, and Jamie Foxx have in common? Besides being huge global stars in their industries, they all are casino guest service ambassadors. They promote this or that online and/or offline casino or another venue in the gambling industry on par with online and offline influencers, such as Dan Bilzerian or Paris Hilton. This brings millions of their admirers and followers to the casino brands, giving the latter a lot of new gamblers and associated incomes.
The Power of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful tools of online and offline commercials, which has been actively used since social media have become an inherent part of our lives. Through influencer marketing, where one will use ambassador casino celebrities among athletes, movie stars, singers, and influencers, it is possible to significantly boost the popularity of a gambling venue. It is because influencers have a large number of followers, providing online casinos with an opportunity to reach a broader audience, build credibility & trust among audiences & create very engaging content, which will reach the followers of ambassadors through targeted marketing to warm and hot audiences. In this way, it is possible to promote not only the casino itself but also its games, bonuses, tournaments, and novelties. Also, it becomes easier to stay tuned to trends since influencers understand the trends deeper than some casino marketers. In some cases, very influential persons (like footballers or other sportsmen with broad audiences of followers) can create those trends themselves.
A disadvantage of such a partnership is cost: the price tag of a media person can be insanely high. It is often directly connected to the number of followers of such a person. So, an annual contract for top-tier brand ambassadors can cost several millions of dollars. Sometimes, even more: for instance, only one commercial post on social media of Kim Kardashian costs about $1 million. That’s why, for a casino brand, it is necessary to estimate the expedience of price tags of influencers and famous people to stay within the budget.
Selecting the Right Ambassadors
Selecting the right brand ambassador is a complex task. There, the company owners must decide not only based on the number of followers of this or that person and the constraints of the budget but also such important factors as:
- If a person can be aligned with one’s gambling venue’s vision and values.
- What is their reputation (clean, controversial, black in some markets, etc.) and how will their reputation affect one’s casino reputation?
- Casino’s target audience’s interests (how they like an influencer/media person if they like him/her at all)
- What kind of content does this influencer do, in which channels (what exactly social media they are present, like, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, WeChat…). How their life and activity is covered by printed and online newspapers, TV, radio, etc. Are these influencers advertised on their own, using their own ad platforms, offline or online?
- What geos these influencers are most known and active? A combination of this paragraph and the previous one will have a decisive impact on the ad strategy because some geos and channels have a restrictive policy on advertising iGambling in general and casinos in particular.
- If a gambling company has experience of past collaborations of this kind, it must be estimated and evaluated to avoid past mistakes and strengthen the future benefits.
- Assess the cost of reach based on the collaboration budget and follower number. This will be used for various indicators of success, such as marketing dollars’ ROI, engagement metrics, the number of new gamblers, the sums of money spent, etc.
- Negotiate clear terms of the contract, including the parties’ responsibilities in advertising. That is, how often an ambassador shall provide adverts of one’s gambling establishment, where, in what forms, etc.
- Are influencers capable of long-term dedication to casino’s brand and do they have enough time, in reality, to keep up with their promotion task? Remember that top-tier influencers and celebrities are usually extremely busy and have a lot of advertising contracts with other companies, some of which may absolutely not correlate with one’s casino business.
After assessing all the given above as a whole, one should make a decision to cooperate with an ambassador. If that is a too costly undertaking for a casino’s brand, then it is probably worth thinking of other channels of promotion, such as regular information and advert campaigns on YouTube and other social media, Google Ads, organic search via keywords, gambling streaming via Twitch, etc.
Creating Authentic Partnerships
Through collaboration with influencers and celebs, it is possible for a gambling venue to gain long-term advantages, such as:
- Building trust, credibility, and authority amongst the audiences
- Bringing in active and interested audiences, which are devoted to an influencer and can spread word of mouth about one’s casino
- It is possible to create long-term brand advertising, which will be coherent and authentic, aimed at better content quality, increased engagement, and a positive brand image
- Audience gain, retention, and income from their purchases and gaming in one’s casino will be greater.
Leveraging Social Media
Since social media are primarily channels of work for most influencers, strategies of advertising on them must be aimed at maximizing the reach of brand ambassadors for online casinos. Other venues and platforms for promotion can be offline meetings with the press and people during various events, parties, soirees, festivals, contests, participating in TV shows, celeb events like Oscars and other nights, and so on.
- Since every platform has its unique style of infotainment delivery, the content created for each of them must be tuned to the format, requirements, and technical limitations. For TikTok, for instance, it is of crucial importance that content is optimized for vertical screens, brisk, fast, engaging from the first second, absolutely informative, and seconds short. It’s also great for live streams (which are active for anyone with over 1,000 subscribers). For YouTube, it might be something long, anywhere from minutes to hours, which might include the gaming process, showing video slot symbols, winnings, prizes, and the interface of a gambling venue in general. Facebook is good for a mix of textual, image, and video content (yet, text and pictures prevail). Instagram is only for beautiful pictures and little to no text (because let’s be honest — nobody reads texts on Instagram).
- One shall leverage visual content, showing the gaming process, the interface of the casino, bonuses, winnings, and other things of high engagement.
- Plan a content calendar that includes a mix of promotional content, behind-the-scenes looks, announcements, and engaging posts. Keep the content consistent, relevant, and aligned with the ambassador’s style and the casino’s brand.
- Encourage engagement through interactive campaigns. This can include polls, quizzes, challenges, and user-generated content. Create a sense of community around the brand by involving the audience in the content.
- Live streaming events are very important. On platforms like Twitch, TikTok, or Instagram Live, it is possible to provide a real-time, interactive experience, with communication with the viewers along the way, answering their questions and supporting their emotions. Ambassadors can host live gaming sessions, Q&A sessions, or special events, fostering a direct connection with the audience.
- Leverage features provided by social media platforms for influencer marketing. Instagram, for example, has features like branded content tags and swipe-up links that enhance visibility and engagement.
- Create branded hashtags specific to one’s casino and campaigns. Encourage ambassadors and followers to use these hashtags in their posts. This increases discoverability and creates a unified online presence.
- Organize contests and giveaways with participation criteria, such as following the ambassador’s account, liking posts, or tagging friends. This boosts engagement and widens the reach through increased visibility.
- Keep the audience excited by sharing regular updates and teasers about upcoming events, promotions, or new games. Create anticipation and curiosity to drive engagement.
- Develop content that educates the audience about online gaming, strategies, and the unique features of one’s casino. Ambassadors can share tips, tutorials, or insights to add value to their content.
- Last but not least: monitor the effectiveness of the ambassador’s activity through various indicators like visitors, the number of registrations of new gamblers, time spent gaming per player, expenditures per player, ROI of marketing dollars per period, etc.
Promotions and Exclusive Offers
Influencers can effectively promote special casino promotions and exclusive offers, driving engagement, participation, and conversions among their followers.
They must regularly create content on social media and tell about one’s gambling venue during offline events. Promos and exclusive offers are advertised using such methods:
- Clear, engaging, and regular communication with audiences
- Teasers, exclusive content, promos, and giveaways only for subscribers/followers or using special promo codes that can be found in specific places and times
- How-to tutorials, which must be delivered visually engaging and anything but boring
- Provide personal experience on playing the casino and winning
- Create limited-time urgency and as much interactive content as possible
- Offer prize draws among participants of events, who must do certain actions to participate in the draw (for instance, like the story/post, share it, become a follower/subscriber, create a new account at a casino using a special promo code or direct/affiliate link, and play for real money in a specific game). For that sequence of actions, people can be promised to have a chance to get valuable prices during the draw and they must be actually given those.
Building Trust and Credibility
Brand ambassadors of online casinos build trust and credibility by offering authentic testimonials, sharing positive experiences, and engaging with the audience. Their genuine endorsement fosters a sense of reliability, creating a connection between the casino and players. Through consistent, transparent communication, ambassadors establish credibility, reassuring players about the casino’s legitimacy and enhancing the overall trustworthiness of the brand.
KPIs for influencer marketing campaigns in online casinos with brand ambassadors include reach, engagement, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI).
- Reach assesses the campaign’s visibility, measuring the size of the audience exposed to the content.
- Engagement gauges the audience’s interaction through likes, comments, and shares on various social media, reflecting the campaign’s resonance.
- Conversion rates track how many engaged users become actual players of a gambling venue.
- ROI calculates the financial return relative to the campaign investment, determining its profitability for a certain period of time or the entire campaign.
These KPIs collectively measure the effectiveness of influencer marketing, helping online casinos evaluate the success of their campaigns and optimize strategies for better performance and increased player acquisition.
There are multiple examples of successful cooperation of online casinos with influencers and brand ambassadors.
To start with, let’s mention Mike Tyson, who cooperates with the Inspired Gaming brand (a 15-year deal started in 2015). Before that, he was the face of multiple gambling brands. In 2019, he started working with the PariMatch brand, too.
Conor McGregor also signed up with PariMatch in 2019 and prior to that, he was the face of the BetSafe brand (a UK wing of Betsson that operates as a bookmaker). Today, he represents the brand in CIS and Cyprus. It is a win-win deal since BetSafe started cooperating with UFC and thus, Conor McGregor’s fighting spirit and real-world brutality really go in line with the approach of BetSafe’s business.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been the face of Sweden-based casino Bethard since 2018. He also went further than just being an ambassador: he also became a co-owner of the company and it is in his plans to establish a European-wide presence of this gambling venue, with iGambling licenses received in all countries of presence.
The world’s most famous football player, Cristiano Ronaldo, is the face of the worldwide brand of poker PokerStars. The deal between them was signed in 2015 and, according to Daily Mail, this deal brings him $0.5 million annually. This football player has had over 30 various sponsorship and ambassador contracts over the years of his career and he is in general one of the world’s most popular people. On Instagram, for instance, he is the most followed person, with 550+ million subscribers, behind only the official account of Instagram itself.
Shane Warn, a former cricket captain of an Australian team (working as a cricket commentator in recent years) is a les ambassador casino Dafabet. Dafabet is an online casino and sports betting operator. The deal started in 2019.
An online celebrity Dan Bilzerian, who has millions of subscribers on Twitter and Instagram, is a self-made online influencer, who has promoted several online gambling establishments over the years.
William Hill, a British-based online gambling venue and a bookmaker, established in 1934, is one of the most recognizable gambling and betting companies in the world (particularly, in its English-speaking part). But it also needs advertising to make people talk about it. For this, it paired with Anthony Joshua, a former heavyweight boxer champion, in 2018. At that time, when they signed the contract, Joshua was an acting champion, holding WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO championship titles. In 2021 and 2022, he lost all these titles to Oleksandr Usyk, a professional Ukrainian boxer, who as of 2023 is a current holder of all these titles and the Ring heavyweight title (having collected all heavyweight boxing titles simultaneously). Anthony Joshua was a part of William Hill’s advertising campaigns on social media, PR, and integrated campaigns.
Wayne Gretzky, who is now a retired NHL player (with a 20-year-long career in hockey), contracted with BetMGM to promote this brand in the US. The brand works in the businesses of sports betting, and online & offline casinos. It is a wing of MGM, an American resort, hospitality, entertainment, and casino company. MGM is famous for its staggeringly flamboyant places and resorts, among which are such names as Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, and Bellagio.
Wayne Rooney, a former Manchester United captain, is the face of 32Red online casino with a broad selection of games. The casino pays Rooney around 0.3-0.5 million English pounds a year for his casino ambassador role since August 2019.
The role of influencers and brand ambassadors in amplifying online casino visibility is pivotal. It is very important to strategically select the ones one’s going to cooperate with because it affects player trust, engagement, and promotional effectiveness. By harnessing influencers, casinos can optimize their promo campaigns in the long run, enhance player experiences, and ultimately drive success in the competitive online gaming industry.