As the winter conference season fast approaches, one many will be looking forward to is the newly located Barcelona Affiliate Conference (BAC). After two years in Budapest, it’s now back home and we were lucky enough to catch up with Marit Stedingk, Head of Customer acquisitions for organizers iGaming Business to ask her about what we can expect…
What prompted moving the conference back to Barcelona from Budapest?
Well, after two years in Budapest the iGB Affiliate team had a ‘feeling’ that the industry wanted to move. We figured the best way to find out was simply to ask. So we sent out a social media campaign with a simple choice of four cities, to return back to Budapest or go to Barcelona, Krakow or Milan. We received a fantastic response of over 1400 people, with an overwhelming 46% majority voting to return to the Catalan capital. It felt fitting that after two years away, BAC is set to return to its birth place. Barcelona truly is a fantastic city and more importantly, we wanted to ensure that delegates continue to get value out of our conferences, so moving BAC to tap into new markets and new attendees made sense. Now we just need to find another European location that begins with ‘B’ for the future…
Why should affiliates attend?
The iGB Affiliate Series of events are like no other. We believe in creating an experience for every delegate, so when you come back from our events, not only do you have a load of business to chase but plenty of memories. I think I speak for most in the industry when I say that we are passionate about what we do – there is nothing wrong with mixing business and pleasure. I’ve made some of the best business connections at our events, and many I now consider friends. And with over 1600 people expected I can guarantee affiliates will make plenty of connections, whether catching up with old contacts or meeting some exciting new ones.
BAC 2011 certainly plans on keeping us all busy. The conference will run two streams on all issues affecting iGaming affiliate marketing today, the first concentrating on Online Marketing and Acquisition Strategies and the second New Markets & Opportunities. Our large expo hall will feature over 70 exhibitors and with nearly 100 affiliate programs scheduled to attend, affiliates will certainly have wide range of contacts to make.
Also did I mention that the event was free for all affiliates?
Who are some of the speakers you have lined up for the event?
We have some fantastic speakers and experts lined up. Whether that’s Dave Naylor, Director & Head of SEO, Bronco Ltd, Paul Reilly, SEO Consultant, MediaSkunkWorks, Nick Garner, Global Head of SEO, Unibet and Kay Schaefer, Founder, Ksom.es, speaking on the hottest topics in SEO, or Shahar Attias, Founder & CEO, Hybrid Interaction Ltd, Kimberly Richardson, Director of Marketing, SpotOption, John Wright, Affiliate Coach, Gaffg.com or Nikola Zuga, Co-Owner, LatestCasinoBonuses.com & LatestBingoBonuses.com, looking at opportunities in the market, delegates will leave with real take-home strategies and ideas.
What are some of the important topics that will be covered at this year’s conference?
There is one particular topic I am particularly excited about: mobile. We have three morning sessions which will help every attendee create a comprehensive mobile strategy. The first will be looking at the state of the mobile iGaming industry generally, its past, present and future. The second session will then concentrate on looking at specific opportunities (and obstacles) for affiliates. The morning will then finish with a practical look at how to best formulate a successful mobile campaign. I know I will certainly be front and centre taking notes!
But we have plenty of sessions to keep you busy if mobile isn’t your thing – from the ever popular SEO sessions, to an afternoon looking at working strategies for the Spanish market to a Live Affiliate Coaching and Advice panel. That last one will be particularly interesting with some of the most successful affiliates in the industry advising other affiliates on their websites and online strategies. So no sales pitch, no hidden agenda, just an honest review made by your affiliate peers.
How many people are you expecting to this year’s conference?
We expect at least 1600 people to attend. Of those 70% will be affiliates and 30% will be operators and suppliers.
Do the challenges in the US market make it more important for American affiliates to attend?
Absolutely. I think the key at the moment, especially for any US affiliate, is to diversify. Rumbles from Washington certainly seems to be moving towards a partially open US market at some point in the near future, but for now affiliates need to ensure that their traffic is coming and being driven via legitimate channels. One of our opening sessions, presented by Marcos El Charif, Associate Solicitor at Harris Hagan, will be providing an affiliate market analysis on the US Indictments and its effects on the affiliate landscape. Certainly one to attend if this is your market.
Will you have sessions for the America affiliates, introducing them to the European Market?
We have an afternoon devoted to the Spanish and Latin American market – a very exciting opening sector, especially with Spain regulating in December. There are a lot of changes happening, and because of it, plenty of opportunities up for grab. We are also looking at ways that affiliates can diversify (through Binary options for example) as well as protect themselves when entering new markets; looking at payment methods in developing markets or ways to minimize your financial exposure – including dealing with the closure of some of the largest US-facing affiliates programs that ever existed.
You have plenty of freebies for those attending, can you tell us a little about what Affiliates get just for signing up?
We have a couple of freebies which are pretty exciting. Delegates who register before the 12th of August (and attend the event) will all receive an SEO Super Pack with over 20 articles by industry experts, courtesy of www.iGBAffiliate.com. A convenient reference guide, the pack is broken into three sections, looking at the working fundamentals of SEO, link building, keywords & content strategies as well as updates in the world of SEO in the last 6 months. A nice little added extra and all anyone has to do is register for an event they’d already planned on attending!
Secondly, we have a free app available: Shhmooze! For iphones and ipads, it makes networking easy. Simply log into the event ‘Barcelona Affiliate Conference’ and you’ll be able to see others who have logged into the app. Best of all for affiliates; it allows them to network with exhibitors both before and during the show, without having to give out any contact details if they don’t want to. We fully expect this app to be full of people messaging, especially during the event itself! One of the biggest problems people have at our events is a simple logistical one – they don’t have the number of the person they were meant to meet. This way you can simply browse shhmooze and find the right person at the right time.
We will also be running competitions throughout august (watch out for some VIP entry passes to some of our parties) as well as special offers run by our exhibitors. It’s all about giving attendees as much added-value as possible.
You had a sponsor drop out but it didn’t take long to replace them. Can other companies still get involved and how would they do that?
We have sold over 80% of the floor space already – so yes absolutely companies still have time to be involved, but with only one month to go before the show, I would advise them to get in touch with us as soon as possible! Our events are a fantastic way to build relationships with a loyal and growing community of affiliates and it’s why we have a long waiting list of companies for the main premium sponsorship slots of Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. But there are certainly plenty of opportunities to grown and make your brand stand out from the pack.
To get a full list of what is available; simply contact Richard@iGamingbusiness.com who will be more than happy to send something over.
Affiliate Conferences boast some of the best parties in the gaming industry, what do you have planned for the evening entertainment?
We are proud of our work hard, play hard industry and we will make sure we give all attendees plenty of opportunities to demonstrate their endurance! We will host welcome drinks on Thursday 8th, to ensure that everyone has somewhere to gather as they land in sunny Barcelona. We will then have a party every evening with plenty of sponsored surprises. We can’t reveal too much right now (as details are still being finalised) but Barcelona is renowned for its infamous night life so expect to come crawling back to your hotel room in the early hours of the morning.
However, for those of us who may not have the party stamina of Calvin Ayre, we have arranged some informal day time networking at the expo hall, with a free bar from 3pm on each day before people continue on for dinner.
Best of all Intertops Affiliates will be hosting one of my favourite gatherings, our relaxing wind-down Sunday Session. A perfect way to end any event, Intertops has booked a sunny Spanish terrace at the Fira Palace (the official BAC hotel) so people can stop by before they fly off home and have a last few sangrias. It’s always hard to say goodbye to all the old and new found friends and this is a great way to get a few more moments in a relaxed atmosphere.
After all, all those hundreds of emails and business cards will still be there on Monday right?