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Facebook and Affiliate Marketing Relationship: It’s Complicated

If Facebook and the affiliate marketing industry were to post their relationship status on a Facebook page, it would almost certainly be classified as, “It’s complicated.”

After all, gambling apps like Zynga’s Texas Hold ‘Em drove a lot of traffic to Facebook in its early days. Those early adopters became a pillar of Facebook’s success story, long before one out of every seven people on the planet had a Facebook account.

All that gambling traffic still wasn’t enough for Facebook to play nice with the igaming industry but it wasn’t.

For years, Facebook maintained some pretty strict prohibitions against gambling advertising that left casino affiliates with limited options for promoting their wares on social media. (Unless you felt like dropping $30,000 a month and didn’t want to link to gambling sites.)

While some affiliates, particularly bingo affiliates, found success in building strong Facebook followings, most affiliates couldn’t do much with this shiny toy.

Facebook’s attitude towards gambling took a turn for the better right before the company went public in 2012. With a legion of new stockholders to answer to, Facebook started whistling a different a tune and decided that maybe online gambling wasn’t so bad after all.

Over the past couple years, Facebook has allowed several real money gambling apps to operate in markets where online gambling is legal. In practice, the only operators to really take advantage of this turn of events have been focused on the UK market.

Still, this friendlier attitude towards gambling, along with some big changes to their advertising platform have made Facebook a much better fit for casino affiliates.

That said, Facebook is still a challenging environment affiliates and, indeed, businesses of all kinds. For starters, a recent change to Facebook’s core News Feed algorithm reduced organic reach by as much as 44%.

Facebook Tips for Affiliate Marketers

Facebook is, by far, the most personal of all the big social networks. It’s a place where end-users tend to connect more with long-lost friends than with businesses (Twitter seems to be the go-to place for that kind of interaction).

In short, Facebook is a private conversation where over-the-top promotions might not always be welcome. (And because it’s a public forum, players might not always want to advertise their online gambling activities to friends, relatives and employers.)

That means casino affiliates need to keep their Facebook content light and interesting, while keeping blatant promotions to a minimum.

Facebook content should, according to a recent article by David Merry on, be relevant; possess a broad appeal; and never, ever appear spammy. Blasting out the same promo ten times in a day like you would on Twitter will definitely turn off Facebook users.

So what should casino affiliates be posting on Facebook? Merry says the key is stay relevant and stay active:

Stay in touch with your audience. By interacting with your readers you can assure everyone that you’re an active site and also help answer any questions thrown your way. This makes you look far more reliable, and proves that you’re not another dead or automated Facebook page.

Merry’s point about keeping an active page is especially important. Building up a Facebook audience requires genuine, regular interaction. This isn’t Twitter where a dormant account can fly under the radar.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook users share a lot about their lives with the site and that’s helped the company build some incredibly detailed demographic profiles for advertisers. That makes targeting specific player types a lot easier. (It also allows affiliates to geo-target users in regulated markets.)

Although it used to be one of the more complicated, and least intuitive, advertising platforms on the web recent overhauls have made Facebook a lot easier to use.

At the end of the day, Facebook is a great tool for casino affiliates but it’s not something they should rely on too much. Mixing up your advertising dollars and social media presence across multiple venues is always the best approach.