Home Affiliate Marketing & Media Buying iGaming Ads: Meet the New Season With a Powerful Marketing Strategy

iGaming Ads: Meet the New Season With a Powerful Marketing Strategy

by Mikhail Zhukov

iGaming ads have occupied a special place in digital marketing in the past decade. Adsterra couldn’t stay away from this. We asked one of our brightest sports encouragers and analysts, Mikhail Zhukov, to unveil the specifics of a successful iGaming marketing campaign.

Let’s now zoom into crucial aspects of targeting and budgeting. You will discover which settings will help you embrace the best traffic segments.

Mikhail Zhukov, Key Account Manager at Adsterra
Mikhail Zhukov, Head of CPM at Adsterra

My job and passion is to track down the points of growth and help Adsterra partners reap a harvest of deposits. My experience shows that every marketer needs a detailed plan to start a successful campaign. 

Today, I will share a no-frills algorithm for launching powerful iGaming marketing campaigns. We’ll go over some core basics: ad formats, targeting specifics, budgeting, and even timing. I recommend you sign up and tweak the settings I’ll be mentioning.

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Ad formats and creatives for iGaming marketing

I deliberately started with creatives. They define how ads will appear and …appeal to users. It’s you who will have to make a choice. You may have no creatives at all — running Popunder ads — or turn to some market innovations like advanced In-Page Push units. Let’s break down these options.

Popunder ads


Popunder ads stream the richest traffic. It’s the most direct way to deliver your message: users land right on your ad page from a publisher’s website.

The approximate amount of iGaming traffic per day will be:

  • North America — 67M+
  • South America — 98M+
  • Europe — 180M+
  • Africa — 52M+
  • Middle East — 57M+
  • Asia — 316M+
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Top geos for Popunder iGaming traffic

So, what are the top geos for iGaming ads? I will name those that have kept the highest ROI for over a year. In brackets, I leave the two-letter code for each geo. This will make it easier for you to pick them in your advertiser’s account.

  • The USA (US)
  • Germany (DE)
  • Brazil (BR)
  • Mexico (MX)
  • Italy (IT)
  • Romania (RO)
  • The Philippines (PH)
  • The United Kingdom (GB)
  • France (FR)
  • Spain (ES)
  • Norway (NO)
  • Belgium (BE)
  • Hungary (HU)
  • Argentina (AR)
  • Peru (PE)
  • Colombia (CO)
  • Viet Nam (VN)
  • Thailand (TH)

Not all of these geos are classic Tier-1 countries. Some refer to Tier-2 and Tier-3, meaning you will have an opportunity to buy lots of traffic at lower costs. Mind that during the star events and matches, bids will be higher due to stiff competition, even in Tiers 2–3.

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How to use Popunders in iGaming advertising

Pops allow you to show users a landing page with your offer immediately. You lead all your traffic straight to the lander without any creatives in the middle of the flow.

If you’re responsible for building a landing page, I’ve got a couple of workable ideas for you.

First things first: do you need a landing, or should you just send all your traffic to the registration form? After launching thousands of campaigns, I can assure you that using a lander and even a pre-lander is the most vital tactic.

If you’re an advertiser, a landing page will weed out random wanderers and warm up the target audiences. If you’re an affiliate, a quality lander will help you convert more traffic than just a registration page. There will be exceptions to this rule, I’m sure. But in general, that’s the point.

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What to include in your landing?

We’re not going to discuss the structure of a unique selling point or name the lander’s main parts. I will only stop here to highlight that your offer should be ultra-specific and contain a bargain:

  1. Bonuses from a bookmaker (ok, but it could be better)
  2. Bonuses from a bookmaker + the event’s specifics + personalization (much better).
  3. Bonuses from a bookmaker + the event’s specifics + personalization + the bookmaker’s odds on their primary outcomes (that’s just right!)

Other vital components of a lander:

  1. Licenses. Ensure you expose all possible licenses and certificates as a legitimate online gaming platform.
  2. Contacts. Players will deposit faster if they are sure their queries will be answered.
  3. Testimonials. Real stories are better than blunt claims.
  4.  Event triggers. These popups or notifications appear when a user is about to leave the page without registering.
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Social Bar format

Now let’s move on to the second advertising format worth paying attention to — Social Bar

What’s good about Social Bar? To begin with, it’s the most sophisticated version for In-Page Push. It sends up to 10 billion monthly impressions. Second, you can adapt its creatives to match your iGaming digital marketing campaign the best way.

Let’s approach the creatives a bit closer.

The power of visuals in iGaming ads

Earlier, we found out that Popunders don’t require any additional creatives except for prelanders. But with In-Page Push and Social Bar, you will need to master compelling visuals to make players click and navigate to your landing. So how do you do this?

Skins, styles, and components

Social Bar enhances your iGaming marketing output. It holds over 20 templates you can modify to match the offer perfectly. The 4 types of creatives are on board:

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Ad components:

  • An image of 192×192 pixels, 340×180, or 600×400 pixels 350 Kb maximum. For some templates, you will also need an icon, which is excellent in iGaming apps advertising.
  • A text part will contain a 30-character header and a description of up to 60 characters.

I advise you not to stop on one skin or ad type and carefully examine the whole set. We will take a look at some of them right now.

Most used ad templates

I urge you to add as many creatives as possible. For every use case, you will have a winning one. But a guide won’t be a guide without some hacks. So here they are, templates that have been returning the highest CRs when used to advertise iGaming offers.

  • Skin type: Social → Style: All styles
  • Skin type: Custom → Style: Compact
  • Skin type: Simple Bubble → Style: all styles
  • Skin type: Classic Widget → Style: Big
  • Skin type: Big Banner → Style: all styles
  • Skin type: Vignette → Style: Double button, Classic Vignette
  • Skin type: System Box → Style: all styles

Should you refuse other templates? Of course not. Our partner affiliates usually test as many options as possible to leave the top-converting finally. And sometimes, the winners may surprise you.

Interstitials are perfect for showcasing special offers and bonuses. In this case study, the advertiser added a bonus right in the ad message and scored big in profits!


You can’t rely on your opinion even when it seems that a creative will be roaring the whole campaign long. And by this, I mean we’re moving to the A/B testing part.

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A/B testing

Analytics lays the foundation for your iGaming marketing campaign success. With up to 15 creatives for a test, you can analyze which are more successful, where the CTR is higher, and which message or bonus hooks the user.

We offer the ##BANNER_ID### placeholder. It allows you to monitor the efficiency of each creative, select the best ones, and use their potential by reducing the conversion cost. To learn more about conversion tracking and Adsterra placeholders, please take a look at our S2S postback setup basics.

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Adsterra advertisers have a unique opportunity to add interactive custom creatives to their campaigns. You can still apply for a customized design via live chat even if you run a self-serve account. But it should be a balanced decision. If you’re an affiliate running an iGaming or Sports offer with an average payout, investing in customization is unreasonable.

When building a customized creative or requesting these from Adsterra, think of the most workable mechanics of getting user traction. One of them is a choice game. You involve users to make a decision before they come to your landing page.

For one of our partners, we designed a banner offering to choose between 2 types of rewards for new players: a bonus or free spins. I can’t share the original creative but here’s the idea:


Customization is a powerful tool, but remember that simplicity is the key to success. My tactic is always to start with basic templates, which are often at the top in terms of CTR.

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Targets and limits

Now we’re getting to the core of everything — the campaign targeting. When launching a digital iGaming marketing campaign, you will have to stick to the basic rule — divide et impera — that is, distribute the budget and earn.

I always recommend that my advertisers keep their daily budget limits in mind. Some $100 guarantees a bold start, and to protect your money, you can also put a limit for hourly spending of $4.16.


Since we’ve put the hourly limits, let’s decide on the frequency. It virtually means how many times a user can see your ad. We at Adsterra recommend choosing 2/24 1/18, or 1/12. This is a kind of second chance for each user to see your campaign and visit a landing page. 

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My peers have published several guides recommending Traffic Estimator for choosing the optimal bid for a test campaign. It’s a smart tool, indeed. But today, we’re talking about a very competitive niche with regular spikes in competition. So my point is to check with the Estimator and add a little more above the system average suggestions.

If you outbid your competition a little, you’ll be the first to win the most interested audience.


A short note: doubling or tripling the bid from the start is not a good idea, as you don’t know how the traffic will react to the initial offer.

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Smart CPM bidding

When acquiring massive CPM traffic, you don’t want to spend time on adjusting payouts manually. My recommendation here is to try out Smart CPM bidding. It’s a second-price auction tool. You set your CPM cap, telling the algorithm the maximum cost you’re ready to pay for 1,000 impressions. Then, the algorithm tries to find the best traffic it can, placing your bid. Once your price for traffic is enough to win the auction, the algorithm will check the nearest competitor’s bid. Finally, Smart CPM will set a price just a bit higher than your next competitor’s but lower than your initial. So, you spend less compared to a classic first-price auction when you pay the price you set as your bid.

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Time range targeting

This tactic will allow you to target the most active and relevant users at the peak of their activity. You can calculate the peak activity by breaking down Adsterra statistics by time.


Having analyzed a whopping number of campaigns, we now can mark the range between 8 am and 11 pm as activity peaks. These are not unique intervals, as you can see. But you surely can apply them as pretty actionable. You will remove (or review) this targeting on weekends as activity peaks will jump to nighttime (but not in every case).

After you have run a campaign with these proven time ranges, you’ll have more info on how to adjust your time targets. Sometimes, you will even disable time ranges.

Just as an example, I’m sharing the results of a sports campaign in Brazil. Take a look at the graphs below: users are almost inactive in the night hours. This means that we can safely exclude night hours from our campaign.

The graph shows that users are inactive at night

By the way, the Adsterra platform is adjusted to the GMT+0 time zone. Please use the hour converter to avoid errors.

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Traffic distribution

I mention this setting only because it’s very helpful, especially at an early launch stage. It distributes the traffic evenly within 24 hours. 

When you set up an hour budget limit, there is still a chance that most traffic will come in the first hours of launch. That’s not what you normally want. However, with distributed traffic, you can be sure users will view ads throughout the day.

The graph below demonstrates that a campaign with hourly limits eats up almost all traffic in the first 20–30 minutes.

The graph shows what happen without traffic distribution

By setting an even distribution of traffic, we get the following result:

Setting up traffic distribution

The Traffic Distribution setting was one of the tactics we resorted to while optimizing a campaign for our partner willing to enter the Romanian market. Take a look at the case study of a two-fold deposit growth to find out more hacks led to $11K profits compared to $5,700.

You can apply for the Traffic Distribution setting only with Popunder CPM campaigns, and only through the manager.

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CPA vs. CPM in iGaming digital marketing

Which pricing to choose for iGaming ads? The point is not which pricing model is better but which strategy is more viable. I definitely recommend starting with CPM. This strategy guarantees you decent traffic volumes, and that’s what you need for a test campaign. You can pay lower but embrace the widest range of relevant traffic sources. One of our partner’s case studies, “$4,000 Profit With CPM Traffic,” proves this point.

If you pick CPA at the start, your risks are higher since you don’t know how the traffic will react. If users need much time to deposit or face postback issues, you can start losing volumes due to the campaign’s “inefficiency.”

There are two surefire ways when CPA is the best option:

  • You aim at fast and simple conversions: opt-ins, app installs, and signups.
  • You buy CPM or CPC traffic but optimize it for conversions (CPA Goal).
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CPA Goal optimization

The cheapest traffic — CPM and CPC — can be optimized for conversions with the CPA Goal tool. How does it work? You enable smart rules to unlink ad placements that spend too much or deliver few conversions. CPA Goal will monitor all traffic sources and leave only those that meet your KPIs.

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Whitelisting, blacklisting, and RON

Every campaign strategy is a mix of art and skills, the art of analysis and skills for communication with your manager or support.

You usually have two paths when launching your test campaign. One is to set off with a RON campaign (run of network). You will be advertising on all traffic with the ability to analyze the performance and select the best placements later.

An alternative to RON is running your campaign on a preselected set of traffic sources with higher bids and fierce competition. This second path is also called a whitelist campaign.

RON campaigns

So what about RON? It evidently allows you to distill enormous amounts of traffic and discover the best targeting slices. Eventually, you will come up with a unique whitelist of your own. This strategy demands time and patience, but it’s worth trying. I would recommend this way for those who test new ad networks or enter new geos.

Whitelists or allowlists

How about a readymade whitelist, which you can always request from your manager? I recommend this way to the most skilled pros who’ve been running iGaming marketing campaigns with Adsterra for a while. The whitelisted targets will be highly competitive, so make sure you’re ready to increase the bid.

After your test campaign is over, you can also request the blacklist. Blacklists cut off underperforming traffic, but you will continue getting ad views from a large number of placements that drive leads and conversions.

Once again, I’d rather wait till the end of a test campaign before cutting off any traffic sources.

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Custom bidding

After dealing with whitelists and blacklists, we’re moving to the next setting, which is called Custom Bidding. Adsterra Custom Bid is a handy tool that allows you to buy more or less traffic from a particular source within a single campaign.

For example, placement 12312312 delivered you 10 conversions per day—pretty good. So you decide you would like to get more traffic from this source but don’t want to increase the initial payout as it refers to all placements. You open the campaign settings, find the Custom Bid option and enter the placement ID with the increased bid near it.


Custom bidding is a tried and true means of increasing traffic without creating new campaigns for the same source. 

I believe that’s it for the hardware part of your winning algorithm. We have just found out which ad formats will fit our vertical. We’ve run through targeting settings and budgeting. And we’ve put a tick next to the “campaign strategy.” Congrats, we’ve featured 90% of the success algorithm. So where are the next 10 percent?

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How to amplify your iGaming marketing

Last but not least is the vertical’s specifics. Sports and some gaming activities are all about emotions and thrill. History in the making! Competition on the razor edge. And all this power mounts up on an event’s date.

To reap a harvest, you need to spot the significant events that can cash in your campaign. It is worth monitoring them very closely. Pro affiliates will even adjust creatives to mention the hottest events.

So where can you find these events? Id depends on the platform you pull traffic from. For instance, we at Adsterra share an annual sports calendar with matches, tournaments, and fights that will deliver tons of quality leads and conversions from our publishers.

About 2 weeks before the event, prepare your promo highlighting the benefits and odds. 3 or 4 days before the event, raise the rate to outbeat your competition and get as much target traffic as possible. Upload new creatives and refresh the prelander. If you’re also responsible for a landing page, then update it with some hot new bonuses.

If you are still hesitating about which events will roar, use your soft skills, I mean, reach out to Adsterra managers and ask for the list of the most promising events.

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To conclude

These were the basics of running a successful iGaming advertising campaign. Adsterra has been a tried-and-true source of unique traffic from entertainment, sports-related websites and streaming platforms. Our managers will help you adjust settings to match any traffic slice genuinely.

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