Home Guides and Tutorials iGaming Ads: Meet the New Season With a Powerful Strategy

iGaming Ads: Meet the New Season With a Powerful Strategy

by Mikhail Zhukov
iGaming Ads Strategies Explained by an Expert

iGaming ads have occupied a special place in affiliate marketing in the past decade. The upcoming season will also be rich in events and offers. 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 campaign. You will 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, Key Account Manager at Adsterra

Hello, iGaming enthusiasts,
Seems like we’re entering a promising new season. And you will need an actionable algorithm to break into this niche with less doubt and more profit. It’s been three years that I’ve been monitoring the market for Adsterra. My job and passion is to track down the points of growth, helping Adsterra partners reap a harvest of leads and conversions. My experience has proved dozens of times that apart from trendwatching, every affiliate needs a zoomed-in algorithm to start a successful campaign. 

Today, I will share a no-frills algorithm for launching powerful campaigns. We’ll go over some core basics: ad formats, targeting specifics, budgeting, and even timing. I recommend you to sign up and tweak the settings I’ll be mentioning. Let’s get into it right now!

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Ad formats and creatives for iGaming offers

I deliberately added “creatives” in this section. Creatives define how ads will appear and …appeal to users. It’s you or your agency (if you’re an affiliate team) who will have to make a choice. You may have no creatives at all — running pop ads — or turn to some market innovations like advanced in-page push units. Let’s break down these options.

Popunder ads

Let’s start with choosing an advertising format. Adsterra today offers several options that are suitable for our needs. The first one is a Popunder ad format. We will not dwell on the technical aspect of this unit but focus on traffic volumes and ROI prospects.

The approximate amount of iGaming traffic per day will be:

  • North America — 65M+
  • South America — 94M+
  • Europe — 176M+
  • Africa — 49M+
  • Middle East — 51M+
  • Asia — 316M+
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Top geos for Popunder iGaming traffic

Each new traffic source has its specifics dictated by its traffic. We’re here to get familiar with Adsterra specifics, so I will try to stick with its traffic. Please note that figures and tips will differ when you register with another ad network.

So what are the top geos for iGaming ads? I would 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 trace them in your advertiser’s account.

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

As you may see from this list, not all of these geos are 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 on Tiers 2–3.

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How to use Popunders in iGaming advertising

Pops allow you to immediately show users a landing page with your offer (or your advertiser’s offer). You lead all your traffic straight to the lander without any creatives in the middle of the flow. That’s how it goes in general. We’ll get back to the most winning tactics in a few seconds.

If it’s you who’s responsible for building a landing page, I’ve got a couple of workable ideas for your benefit. 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 won’t now 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:

  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!)

A few notes here before we jump to the following ad format:
You can run several prelanders in one campaign. Ask your manager for more information if you are on a managed account.
The same flow I went over above will work for similar verticals as Trading and Finance.

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Social Bar format

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

The format appeared not so long ago but has already approved itself as a flexible tool for converting traffic, for the iGaming vertical particularly.

I’ll leave a link to the comprehensive guide to Social Bar best practices. So please save a couple of minutes to read through.

What’s good about Social Bar? To begin with, it’s the most sophisticated version for In-Page Push. It sends billions of impressions on almost every geo and powers you with creatives. Second, you can adapt these creatives to match the offer and the lander the best way. 

It now makes sense to approach the creatives a bit closer. What can you learn here?

  1. Operate the size of creatives
  2. Choose the proper templates for a test
  3. Apply A/B testing
  4. Use custom creatives
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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 collect clicks and conversions. We will now outline this subtopic.

Sizes and components

Everything is pretty easy here. You will need an image of 192×192 pixels or 340×180 pixels 350 Kb maximum. For some templates, you will also need an icon, which is excellent in iGaming apps advertising.

A text part will consist of a 30-characters 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.

Typical components of a Social Bar ad
Navigate through templates and find the best-matching
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Most used ad templates

Like my teammates, 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 a guidance 😉 So here they are, templates that have been returning the highest CRs when used to advertise iGaming offers.

In-Page Push templates

  • Skin type: Social → Style: All styles
  • Skin type: Custom → Style: Compact

Icon Notifications

  • Skin type: Simple Bubble → Style: all styles

Custom Widgets

  • Skin type: Classic Widget → Style: Big
Gambling ads creative templates available out of the box

Above I added an example of the most used creative template, which is a Custom Widget with a Classic skin type. Should you refuse of other templates? Of course, not. Our partner affiliates usually test as many options as possible to finally leave the top-converting. And sometimes, the winners may surprise you. I took an example from our partner’s Case study published earlier. It’s a Simple Bubble template. The pic is static, but in reality, it is a smoothly animated icon—a fairly good choice for dragging user attention.

Icon notification ad template

Let’s summarize this part about template creatives. The benefit of these templates is in the ability to deliver the right message to the end user and motivate him to take action.

Warm up your audience with bonuses, promo codes, and the best odds on bets for their favorite club. To make your message sound personal and native, create a separate campaign for one geo and design creatives featuring their fav team.

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 campaign success. Particularly when it comes to measuring the creatives’ performance. 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 gamification. You involve users in the game before they even register.

For one of our partners, we designed an interactive banner with a chance to win a bonus and credit it after the registration. I can’t share the initial mockup, but the principle is the following: users scratch the surface of a banner with a coin (the cursor) till they find a welcome bonus. They then can register, paste the bonus code, and get their deposit increased.

Using gamification in push ads

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. Launching a campaign for an iGaming offer, you will have to stick to the basic rule — divide et impera — I mean, distribute the budget and earn. 

Let’s try to go a bit deeper into this part. I always recommend my advertisers to keep in mind their daily budget limits. Some $50-100 guarantee a bold start, and to protect your money, you can also put a limit for hourly spending of $4.16.

Budget limits setup

After 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. That’s a smart tool. 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.

Use Traffic Estimator to choose the most competitive bid
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Time range targeting

This targeting 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 the statistics by time.

You can set up time range targeting from your Adsterra account

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 each 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. It means that we can exclude the night hours from our campaign safely.

The graph shows that users are inactive at night

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

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Traffic distribution

You will need to request this targeting from your manager. 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. But with distributed traffic, you can be sure users will see ads throughout the whole day. 

It’s time for another example. The graph 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

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

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One of the most asked question is “which pricing to choose for iGaming ads?” The point is not which pricing model is better but which strategy is more viable. And we will definitely recommend starting with CPM, since traffic volumes depend on your bid. A sensible bid guarantees a stable number of ad impressions within your geo and targeting. One of our partner’s case studies named “$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 will need much time to convert or you face some postback issues, you can start losing volumes due to the campaign’s “inefficiency.”

So what to do if you have to start with CPA? Deposits are the most desired flow, but they demand a lot of time before a user decides to cash in. You will not be getting conversions throughout this “decision-making” time. We recommend choosing offers with payouts for opt-ins, signups, and registrations since these are fast conversions.

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iGaming ads strategies

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. 

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.

On the other hand, you have the option of launching on a readymade whitelist, which you can always request from your manager. We recommend this way to the most skilled affiliates who’ve been running ads 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 the underperforming traffic sources, but you will continue getting traffic 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, the 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 tactic

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 70% of the success algorithm. So where are the next 30 percent?

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How to amplify your ads?

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.

iGaming ads that offer a welcome bonus

Look at these daily volume gains during UFC fights or Champions League finals we had in the last season.


  • UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje
  • 05/08 – 954k daily impressions popunder mainstream
  • 04/08 – 458k daily impressions popunder mainstream

ES Champions League Final

  • Liverpool v Real Madrid 
  • 05/28 – 634k daily impressions popunder mainstream
  • 05/27 – 348k daily impressions popunder mainstream

That’s how your volumes can grow, doubling if not tripling overnight. And these all are zealous users all ready to convert. You mustn’t miss them out. You must win all this traffic.

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 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

I’ve tried to outline some primary steps to a successful campaign with iGaming ads. Adsterra has been a tried-and-true source of unique traffic from sports-related websites and streaming platforms. Our managers will help you adjust your settings to match any traffic slice genuinely. 

You will discover a tremendous amount of insights when launching an online game, a UFC fight, or an iGaming app campaign. Maybe, you will come up with a case study for our blog readers one day. Thanks for reading!

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