Andreas Richt, CEO of Gula Väggen AB, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam.
Andreas Richt and his team at Gula Väggen focus on the Swedish national teams. He believes that Gula Väggen is the natural bridge to Swedish supporters. Their communication has great impact on where the supporters will place their bet – follow his story below.
Gula Väggen - a national supporter organization as a corporate business. Tell us more about it.
Gula Väggen translated to English means “The yellow wall”. The Swedish national team supporters are well known all over the world. Thousands and thousands of us attend championships and international games in our clear yellow shirts, we sing and we drink but never make trouble why organisers always try to get “The yellow wall” to their cities. Since we’re so many within multiple sports, we decided to corporate our supporter organization 2018. We reserve entire hotels to cut off agency fees, we allocate huge bars or even whole squares and negotiate lower prices to our supporters and we attract big business partners, especially within the gambling and beer industry, through both our digital and IRL-channels.
Why do you consider yourself an affiliate? What sets you apart from other affiliates?
Gula Väggen is the natural bridge to Swedish supporters. Our communication has great impact on where the supporters will place their bet on different sports events. There are really no other affiliates like us in the whole industry. As a betting partner to Gula Väggen, you will be more than just another banner on a homepage, you will be associated with the awesome feeling of belonging and the unconditional love to the Swedish country.
How are the supporters of the national teams attractive to the gambling business? What more do they bring than other players?
Swedish national team supporters are the perfect target since they are great in numbers and love to put a small bet on Sweden even though they play against Spain in football for example. Sweden is also well known as the “world capital of pool game” where the players rather compete against each other than the bank. The first gambling company to come up with a new attractive pool game to compete with the Svenska Spel (the Swedish government gambling company) will be filthy successful on the Swedish market.
How can the operators benefit from their collaboration with you?
They will unquestionably strengthen their trademark in the Swedish market.
What helps make your performance successful?
We’re a young company with billions of crazy ideas, our perfect partner will help us with know-how and cash-flow to navigate on our success journey.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
All our traffic is associated with the different Swedish national teams, we don’t attract google search of “best bonuses” – we attract the search of “Sweden wins against…”
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
First edition of Nations League the fall of 2018… After an extreme success during the football world cup in Russia, both on and off the pitch, our self-confidence was above the sky. To the first Nations League-game against Russia in Kaliningrad, we’d reserved a major part of a cruise ship, did a great deal of on-line marketing and had allocated a huge hotel in the central of Kaliningrad. Our expectations of the number of supporters travelling to this game was truly unrealistic from the very beginning, although we did believe that we would pull it through. Thursday 11th of October 2018 Sweden played 0-0 against Russia at Stadion Kaliningrad. With only 98 Swedes on the away supporter stand…
What motivates you to promote more, and what helps you boost your motivation?
There is really no need for more motivation. Being a part of the Swedish national supporter culture and blessed with the opportunity of follow pretty much all Swedish national teams on-site give me more motivation than I will ever need.
You focus on the Swedish market. Are you eyeing up any other market? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
Unfortunately, not. Our key to success is that our actions and feelings of what we do is genuine. As the core part of the Swedish national fans, it would be impossible to apply our business model to another market. We deliver a great feeling of belonging without any secret motive. It even took us half a year before we realised that great feelings also could be great business. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if other nations use Gula Väggen as role model to corporate their national supporter organizations. So, yes, I see a great potential in the emerging markets, but not applied by Gula Väggen.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most in-demand skills within the iGaming sector. Why in your view?
I think word-to-mouth is the most in-demand skills within, not just the iGaming sector, but in the way the buying behavior have changed over time. Affiliate is closely related to word-to-mouth and superior according to cost efficiency compared to classic broadcast marketing through TV for example. Not to mention that operators are getting high quality traffic, with less financial risk.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
In my opinion affiliates should stick to their own content. Develop your own story and the affiliate traffic will grow the same way.
How important is social media activity for your affiliate marketing? How difficult is it with Google’s constant updates?
Social media is a big part of our marketing since most of our visitors are using it on a daily basis to interact with each other. As we all know, Google seem to change their algorithms all the time, but since we are quite unique in our approach, it doesn’t affect us as much as it does to more common marketing sites. As long as we stick to our own content, we trust that the updates will be beneficial for us.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2021 and beyond?
That’s a good question. I think that marketing will start using more AI in order to make their work more efficient, but exactly what we will see I don’t know yet.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
An already restricted market is now even more “government big brother”. Our target group generally places small bets and doesn’t feel the effect of the new regulations. Although it’s been problematic not being able to give out scarfs and jerseys as “unique signup bonuses” anymore.
Can you foresee any growth for the affiliate marketing industry? Why and by how much?
I think the affiliate marketing will remain for a long time, but like all other business it has to develop itself like the society does. Today’s news is old tomorrow, and only those with a curious mind will survive the high-speed changes of today. With a growing population, comes a bigger demand of traffic source.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators? What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
Until Covid-19, we only cooperated with one operator. Nowadays, we have one “main operator” that will be seen pretty much everywhere on-site and have the largest space on our digital platforms. But we also have affiliate co-ops with several operators that want to be associated with Sweden’s national team supporters. Since the agreements are crystal clear, we haven’t seen a lot of complications. To increase from an affiliate co-op operator to the “main operator”, the operator will make a spectacular bid after the present agreement has ended.
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?
Unfortunately, not. SiGMA Europe is the next stop on my bucket list.
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.
Grown up in the country side of Sweden with football in my veins almost 40 years ago. My wife thinks I play way too much golf, although I think the opposite. A minimum fifty golf rounds a year is very healthy in my opinion. I (try to) bake with my seven-year-old daughter and play (of course) a lot of football with my four-year-old son. I read quite a lot of books and at the moment I read “Moments of Truths” with SAS former CEO Jan Carlzon.
“Do stupid things every day. Just don’t do them twice.”
I would like to thank Pontus Magnusson for introducing me to SiGMA Affiliate Grand Slam. You can read his interview here.