We met Gael Teva, Head of Marketing at Blue Window, for an interview about the company and thoughts about the industry.
Hello Gael, how are you? Are you ready for SiGMA17 ?
More than ready, we are actually really looking forward to seeing what the 2017 edition of SIGMA will look like! The SIGMA conference grew up a lot within the past 2 years and we are looking forward also to what the event will bring us this year with this new venue, more opportunities and a bigger vibe.
How did you come to enter the online gaming space and join Blue Window as a Head of Marketing?
Well that’s very straight forward. I have occupied various roles within the industry since 2009, which is when I moved to Malta. From VIP manager, to marketing campaign manager to Head of B2B and finally head of affiliates for a well-known operator. It was during my last role that I got fascinated by the affiliate industry, and even more to be honest by the affiliates themselves. I admired the way they always move forward, expanding their knowledge and capabilities in order to drive more traffic. When I was presented with an interesting opportunity from Blue Window, I decided to cross the border and move into the affiliate landscape.
Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?
Just like most other startups, Blue Window was at the beginning ran by its founder and one employee. We were working with a lot of Freelancers, especially with copywriters. We slowly realized that this solution was not the best in the long run as you can’t expect the same dedication from freelancers as from employees working by your side. Blue Window Ltd. has grown steadily over the last 10 years, expanding into new markets and developing some very competitive brands thanks to a renewed strategy where all the departments are run in house by some very creative and innovative people. Everyone is trained in-house; with specialized roles developed for the needs of each market. We have our own web/graphic designers and web developers too, which makes a big difference in terms of project management.
With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?
Not really because it’s like that in every industry; bigger companies buy the smaller ones and so on. What it does mean is that now a lot of work has to be done to remain competitive, you can’t be only one guy behind a computer screen these days. The biggest change to the industry is probably the level of professionalism you see now. Take SiGMA for example, as fun as it is, it’s a professional conference which can make a real impact on someone’s business, whereas 10 years ago industry conferences were just a big show with no substance.
A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?
No we prefer focusing on what we are good at which is driving quality traffic to our partners. Another reason is that we like being independent, our destiny is in our hands. As soon as you start working with a white label, you, your business and therefore your success depend on a partner who sometimes has other priorities than developing your brand.
Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?
Unique content will always feature heavily in our strategies. The next 6 months will see us focus on creating a more immersive user experience and further developing this side of our brands. That being said, the unique content is mainly important for SEO which I believe will be over taken by other channels in the near future. The next 6 months will also be dedicated to finding new and alternative channels in order to develop and cement the future of Blue Window Ltd.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We focus mainly on Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Nordic and English speaking territories. For emerging markets it’s always fun to try out new strategies because your approach for each market is unique in terms of strategy, or there is some unique selling points to take into consideration.
How do you find Scandic market and competition?
Initially we were focusing on Finland but found that the player value was actually very far from what we expected. Now we focus more of our energy on Sweden and Norway and we are enjoying some interesting results. The competition is obviously very high in terms of quantity and quality so we develop new strategies to build upon the success we’re already having, the goal being to become as important on the Nordic markets as we are on DACH.
How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?
Google keeps all affiliates on their toes with the way their updates work but with that being said we have a very sound strategy that doesn’t employ shady tactics or black hat that would be affected by googles updates. This is a long game, so to do it right you play by the rules and develop something that’s going to generate a large but steady revenue over a long period. Sure you can make a quick buck in 2 months by flaunting googles rules but then you’re just dust in the wind after that.
Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?
A lot of our more exciting plans are always kept under wraps as you might expect but more generally it would include expanding into some new and very interesting markets with some very innovative new brand ideas. We’re also exploring some new channels which we firmly believe are part of the future for affiliates.
What is the main thing that you’d like SiGMA readers to know about your sites?
We strive to make each site a complete resource for what ever subject it deals with, like the go to guide so to speak. For us it’s very important for players to find everything they need in one place and to really enjoy the experience too.
What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?
The trend has been there for many years and we anticipated this. In the end as more and more traffic shifted across to mobile platforms, we made the transition smoothly, creating sites that were mobile friendly form the outset. Optimization and traffic conversion works differently so once we got past that we then found that there is always room to build exciting new features for mobile players and in turn make our UX more and more mobile friendly as part of the ongoing process.
What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?
Well the idea is to become more and more competitive in a wider range of markets. The biggest challenge is then to identify the next channel(s) with the biggest potential and be a pioneer in order to put a big gap between ourselves and the competition early on.
What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?
The most important two bits of advice, well firstly don’t try to do it alone, always surround yourself with enough capable people to fully realize the idea. Second, don’t expect results before 1 or 2 years. Good strategy and being prepared to play the long game is the key.
Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?
I don’t play slots, I’m more a “table game guy”: Blackjack and sometimes roulette, but if I had to win a 1 million Euro jackpot I’d probably split it! You know that saying “Work hard, party hard”? So the first split would be spent on organizing an insane party for the Blue Window gang! Why not a trip all together? That’s for the “party hard”, and regarding the “work hard” part, I’d probably invest the 2nd share into developing some very specific tools for Blue Window that would make us even more competitive.
|Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.||Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?|