Karl Aadli, CPO at CashMagnet Ltd, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam.
With an amazing CMS built in-house, with a deeper level of customer engagement thanks to Twitch, and with a high level of seriousness towards responsible gaming, Karl Aadli and his team at CashMagnet Ltd are thriving – follow his story below.
What helps make your performance successful? What are the main challenges for the sector in 2020, particularly during this pandemic?
The success of CashMagnet is owed to our CTO, Tim Booker, and to our developers who’ve built our CMS. Quarterbacked by our COO and co-founder, Paavo Salonen, the CMS is superior to anything I’ve seen before. Without divulging too much, we’re increasingly able to automate, making us multiply our output. Our success is also owed to our Twitch channel which has gained huge recognition and boosted our brand name.
We have gotten off to a great full first year of operation despite the pandemic. The restrictions for travel and social meetings obviously take away part of the pleasure of conducting business, we are all longing for the next physical SiGMA event among other things. But we evolve, we adapt, and we overcome.
Player retention from the affiliates side has always been tricky. Email marketing is only so effective, but with the emergence of Twitch we gained a whole other level of communication at B2C level, a deeper level of customer engagement. This can still be improved, and we and other affiliates with Twitch are developing our methods.
Responsible gambling is a more important topic than ever, yet so few affiliates highlight it. We take it seriously, which is why we include a complete evaluation in our casino ranking algorithm. Operators are partly evaluated on their incorporation of responsible gambling measures, such as self-exclusion, financial limits, and a handful of other measures. This, I believe, will be increasingly important as the regulation landscapes are changing. As we engage in new markets, we must remain informative about methods of dealing with and preventing personal harm done by gambling.
How is CashMagnet Ltd structured, and what aspects of business development are you currently focused on?
Figurately, our operations are split into 2 parts, Twitch and Product. Our Twitch channel is a visual representation of our main product Mr Gamble.com. We also have a couple of other assets, and we are about to cross verticals and enter other affiliate niches. So, there are many things happening.
We have an in-house studio where our now-famous Twitch streamers entertain thousands of viewers every day. It is a major asset to our operations and is managed by our CMO and co-founder Jonas Kyllönen.
I am currently fully invested in building and tuning Mr Gamble together with our CDO Maxwell Salo and our developers. We have vastly expanded and made radical upgrades to our product, both technically and content wise. We restructured our main site in October 2019 and shifted our focus from the Finnish market to building a product that also gives value to players in the UK and in Canada. Since we were already established in Finland, all thanks to our amazing Twitch channel, it was only logical to fund our own growth. Since then, we’ve expanded our team and we’ve all been busy building our vision of a socially responsible affiliate network, with Mr Gamble as our flagship.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority and why? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We’ve recently obtained a US license, so we will soon launch in The States, but we also look at several of the emerging markets. India and South America are excellent possibilities for 2021. I have a personal interest in the Asian market, which are about to mature, and in the African market due to its possibilities.
Do you create all the marketing material you need to promote in-house, or do you out-source it?
All C-level managers at CashMagnet are experts in their fields. We all managed our own companies before joining forces, so we have existing sources and networks for all our needs. We do most of it in-house, but some things are too time-consuming, so some tasks are unavoidable to outsource.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
It hasn’t affected our business at all, to be frank. Since we’re still a young company, we haven’t suffered, what could be considered, a loss of an entire market such as the case of Swedish regulation. We launched our UK version fully aware of the current changes and trends in regulation. In this case, the trend is rather easy to see, but since we only quite recently launched, we’re growing in all markets.
What can operators do to increase support with affiliates? Do communication and support with operators meet your expectations? How do you manage your relationship with them?
Communication between affiliates and operators have always been a bit difficult, but it really varies from operator to operator. Some are great, but communication is mostly lacking. Communication flows tend to fade out and new deals and promotions slowly reach an end. Our CBO, Silver Portugov, deals with most of our affiliates and he confirms the same issues I encountered in the past, with affiliate managers who don’t really know or understand the operator and its specific details. “Find that info on our site or contact Support” is a far too common reply.
We’re very appreciative of the affiliates who are managing this well, we’re more inclined to accept a slightly lower deal or compromise somehow else. Most operators have a dedicated account manager, but only some manage to keep up on a regular/weekly basis, come up with new deals and promotions or even follow-up offers. It’s easier for an operator to manage communication with a dozen affiliate sites than it is for an affiliate site to manage communication with hundreds of operators. It’s an old and well-known issue, it’s time to step it up operators!
Have you ever been to SiGMA? SiGMA Europe, Africa, Asia, or Americas – which of these four expo shows would you likely book on your diary for 2021, COVID-19 permitting?
Of course, we’ve been to SiGMA Malta, but not with Mr Gamble! We are all very keen on next year and I will personally try to attend every event if possible.
Tell us a bit about yourself – after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies, favourite book, favourite quote, whether you are into Gaming yourself, etc.
Favourite book: Beyond Biocentrism by the acclaimed biologist Robert Lanza, M.D.
One of my personal philosophies: “I’m only as good as the people around me”. This is true in the service, in sports, in education, and in growing a business.