For gaming affiliates, the subject of pay per click (PPC) advertising is a bit touchy. After all, the big players in the search engine world have been anything but friendly to the gambling world since a Department of Justice (DOJ) crackdown back in 2004.

But the winds of change are blowing and cash strapped governments are slowing warming up to the potential revenue windfall offered by legal, regulated gaming. In 2011, we saw Google take a few steps back from their gambling ad moratorium just a few month before the DOJ backed off from their stance on prosecuting poker sites.

That means that in 2012, PPC is likely to take a larger role in affiliate marketing and advertising campaigns than it has it in the past, so affiliates should familiarize themselves with emerging PPC trends in 2012.

Legal Issues

The biggest hurdles facing gaming affiliates planning PPC campaigns are of the regulatory variety. Yes, Google is no longer directly banning gambling ads, but they’re not accepting them without reservation either. If you want a crash course in worldwide gaming regulations, spend a few minutes reading over the AdSense gambling regulations.

It’s hard to blame Google (or Bing, or Yahoo!) for taking only baby steps towards accepting gambling ads. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the Big three search engine companies were fined by the FCC for promoting illegal activities.

Search engine companies, and their content networks, are in a tricky spot when it comes to accepting casino advertising. While the technical aspect of localizing content isn’t difficult, it is a headache.

Recommended Reading: 3 Profitable PPC Solutions for Affiliates Webinar

PPC Options for Affiliates

With Google out of the picture for gambling affiliates, a number of alternate PPC web networks have emerged to fill in the void. One of the best known in this bunch is Roar.com. Roar targets specific domain names within its network and provides highly targeted, gambling friendly PPC campaigns on its network.

No matter what happens with Google and the other big search engines, these alternatives are likely to continue doing well in 2012. After all, these companies have large user bases, established content networks, and plenty of good will amongst their customers.

Gambling sites are also relying in companies like Experiment.ly to help them conduct their PPC campaign research. This product allows web masters to easily experiment with various configurations to their site, without changing the code, to see how visitors react to different designs and campaigns. Applications like this can dramatically increase conversion rates, and help create much more effective PPC campaigns.

Social Media

Social media has been occupying a greater role in our Internet lives and it’s only going to get bigger in 2012. Facebook, GooglePlus, and LinkedIn are home base for hundreds of millions of Internet users, and that may be great news for gaming affiliates in 2012.

Late in 2011, news broke that Facebook is seriously considering adding real money, in-site gambling for its users in countries where online gaming is legal. Suffice to say, this could radically change several industries and open real PPC opportunities for affiliates.

Facebook has already softened its attitude towards online gambling ads and is nowhere near as reluctant as Google to get its feet wet in this category. This increased friendliness towards gambling is likely fueled by the company’s impending IPO later this year. Once Facebook goes public they’ll need new revenue streams to keep investors happy. It’s a pretty safe bet that as Facebook warms up to gambling PPC ads, Google will likely follow along.

After all, Google’s latest algorithm changes are placing a greater importance on social media. If the biggest name in social media is actively engaged in real money, legal online gambling, the company that promises to not be evil may have to change its view about gaming.

Mobile PPC

One segment of the PPC world that’s primed for an explosion. Over the past three years, we’ve seen smart phones go from luxury items to necessities. Millions of people see their smart phone as an indispensable tool of modern life, as well as a friendly companion. And with cheaper data plans becoming available to the masses, this trend is likely to continue.

More and more online casinos and sport books are developing mobile apps and most industry insiders agree that mobile devices are the future of gaming. That’s why affiliates should be developing PPC strategies for mobile devices as soon as possible.

Finally

Looking back at the big developments that sprung up in 2011, Black Friday, Facebook Gaming, and the DOJ reversal on online poker, it’s tough to predict what’s going to happen in 2012. But PPC isn’t going anywhere and gaming affiliates who maximize its potential by working with Google alternatives; developing PPC strategies for mobile devices; and keeping an eye on social media, will be well prepared for anything.


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