The world of Google AdWords is about to change, as the site recently announced a modification of its policy towards gambling. Affiliates of internet gambling sites can now bid on popular industry terms, such as “online poker,” according to a press release distributed Friday by Income Access. The opportunity, for the moment, is limited to the United Kingdom.
The site, which is a marketing agency for the internet gambling market, has been advising affiliates on how to bid on search terms effectively. Operators in the industry, such as the sites themselves, have been allowed to pursue pay per click (PPC) advertising since November of 2008. Now, affiliates will be able to take part as well, likely bidding up prices of popular search terms related to online poker and online casinos. Several of the world’s largest internet gambling companies, such as William Hill, Sportingbet, 888, and Party Gaming, are all traded on the London Stock Exchange. None of the four caters to the U.S. market.
Income Access’ Daniel Bakerman told Poker News Daily why affiliates are important customers to the mammoth search engine: “Google has a vested interest in making sure affiliates are successful. They are huge spenders and represent a good market for Google.” The Income Access press release notes that affiliates will not be able to bid on the sites they promote, such as the terms “PartyPoker” or “Paradise Poker.” Operators, on the other hand, are able to bid on their competition’s names.
Bakerman added that search engine traffic is an important source of revenue for affiliates not just in online poker, but also in other industries: “Affiliates make a lot of money using PPC advertising in industries such as retail. If it’s done well, it’s a way to attract targeted traffic to your site. You can get your ads displayed right in front of people who are searching for what you’re offering. Another benefit is that you get an instantaneous result for the money you put in.” For example, rather than increasing a site’s ranking in Google organically, which can take months of publishing relevant unique content, AdWords allows sites to be pushed to the top of search returns quickly.
Sponsored links for the search term “poker book” include links to eBay and Amazon as well as a host of private sites. These links appear to the right of the traditional list of search returns. In some cases, Google returns shopping links at the top as well. Income Access, meanwhile, has created a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) branch to help affiliates wade through the sometimes confusing world of AdWords. Bakerman explained, “Income Access also built in a lot of tools for affiliates they can use in conjunction with PPC advertising that will let them calculate their return on investment. We provide tools that operators can use to track players and show reports.”
Google gives advertisers access to click stats and conversion rates. However, because affiliates must use third party online poker sites in order to validate that a player is properly tracked, conversion rates are sometimes difficult to quantify. Income Access, in several cases, also created the software operators use to track affiliate revenue. For example, the company works with Canbet, Ladbrokes, and Unibet in the poker vertical. It also has relationships with Paradise Poker, Sportingbet, Victor Chandler, and Purple Lounge.
According to The Telegraph, in order for an operator to be able to advertise with Google, it must be registered with the Gambling Commission or the European Economic Area “provided they are registered with their national regulator.” The advertisements will not appear in search engine filters that regularly block out inappropriate content.