One of the biggest balancing acts in online marketing is whether to give more focus to acquiring new customers, or retaining the ones you already have.

How much does it matter?
This customer acquisition versus retention debate has been going on for some time. The general idea is that marketers stand to earn a lot more if they focus on keeping converted customers as much as they do on acquiring them in the first place. But of course, most of us don’t do that.

King Fish Media has reported that “when it comes to the allocation of marketing dollars, new customer acquisition gets nearly double the attention of customer retention efforts.”

“On average, responding companies spend 56% of their marketing budgets on lead generation/new customer acquisition and spend 33% of their marketing budgets on customer retention.

“Furthermore, 91% of these companies say they measure the success of a marketing program by the number of new customers acquired/leads generated, compared with 63% that measure marketing program success by the increase in customer retention/sales from current customers/lapsed customers.”

What’s it mean to me?
Impressive numbers, but why should a casino affiliate know this information? Casino affiliates in particular tend to focus on driving new traffic and engaging new visitors much more so than setting up best practices to make sure that, once acquired, customers are retained. After all, isn’t SEO all about getting new traffic?

And for casino affiliates, there’s an even greater motivation for focusing on player acquisition: Many of the leading gaming affiliate programs offer multiple tiers of commissions, including lifetime revenue sharing — for as long as a player that you referred continues to play at particular site, you’ll still make a percentage of commission.

Disregarding for the moment that that particular revshare model can be an ongoing source of friction between affiliates and operators and focusing on its more obvious positive elements, anyone can understand the potential earning value in retaining online casino customers just in terms of all those additional lifetime commissions.

How can I use this info?
Retaining customers has two meanings for casino affiliates and webmasters: Working to ensure that your sign-ups stay signed up at the rooms they join, and promoting gaming rooms with positive retention rates.

1. Keeping your sign-ups signed up

Greater harmony — or synergy — between your content and your ads is a feature of a well-organized website, as we discussed here recently. Well organized doesn’t just refer to a clean site layout — though that’s a big part of it. It also refers to how well your content fits your ads.

For example, if, in your blog, you like to discuss WSOP Facebook polls, wouldn’t it be a great idea to promote a company directly connected to those polls? Why not write your thoughts on the WSOP Grudge Match Poll as you’re advertising a poker room that’s endorsed by one of the champs on the poll list? Doing so is more likely to encourage targeted sign-ups that are more likely to a good match for the sites you’re advertising. It actually helps your acquisition chances, to boot.

2. Finding casinos with good retention rates

This one’s a matter of numbers — and those numbers are, largely, a matter of trial and error.

With casino retention rates, your mileage is going to vary. Particularly if you’ve taken into account the prior point, and engineered your site content to match your ads,  you’re probably going to find that your retention rates for those programs improve.

Beyond your own specific experience, though, is there a way to tell, in general, what casinos have the best player retention rates? That’s tricky — almost all casino affiliate programs advertise a high retention rate, but of course they’re going to vary.

Ultimately, the answer to this question can best be tracked down in forums and social media sites, in discussions with other webmasters and casino affiliates.  For example, Best Casino Partner gets a shout-out for player retention at the CAP Listed Program page, showing an actual affiliate opinion about the retention rate of a leading casino affiliate program.

Does it work for you?
Writing a CAP guest blog post, Fairway Casino’s Gian Perroni describes the greater retention rates offered by live dealer casinos. That’s one aspect of online gaming that’s likely to lead to greater customer satisfaction; what others would you consider?

For that matter, do you even agree that retaining customers is important as acquiring new ones? Is an online casino’s retention rate a factor for you when choosing your affiliate partners? We want to know! Please share your thoughts here in the comments.

Related posts: