Having entered the Latin American market seven years ago, Clever Advertising has identified numerous areas for growth. But according to Marcos Oliveira, Chief Commercial Officer, there is “still work to be done and areas to be explored” across the region.
Ahead of this week’s SBC Summit Latinoamérica, Oliveira explains how Clever Advertising navigates the differences between Latin American and European markets before highlighting why all eyes are on Argentina.
SBC: Clever Advertising is a well-known affiliate amongst Latin American betting operators. Tell us, how different are Latin American markets when compared to Europe? and how do you navigate those differences?
MO: They are not that different, to be honest. Both have deep sporting habits and sports betting is culturally ingrained. We do find the growth of each market to be in different stages, of course, but they are not that different.
Our method is constant, no matter where we apply it. We manage to continually demonstrate our ability to acquire customers through media buying methods, working regulated and ongoing regulating markets. The fact that they are in different stages of growth works in our favor because we take the knowledge, partnerships and performance from one market to another and apply it accordingly.
We still prioritise quality versus quantity, and we still choose to work with the operators that are legal, responsible and work long term as our top performers per market. That is how we work for many, many, years and we couldn’t have made a better decision.
SBC: How long have you been working in the Latin American region? And which markets do you prioritise?
MO: We entered LatAm seven years ago through Brazil and we have been expanding ever since. We have a solid position in Colombia, Mexico and Peru and we are now zooming in on Argentina as they are in the regulation stage. We hope to have it fully receptive and ready to work by 2022 but our priority is still Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Peru as there is still a lot of work to be done and to explore. Some of these markets are reaching the maturity stage but much is yet to be done and a lot of opportunities to take advantage of.
SBC: Entering a new market is always challenging. Which difficulties have you found entering LatAm 7 years ago?
MO: Like any other market, the barriers to entry are mostly related to payment methods; without it, no one on the digital landscape can do proper work. So, from the moment governmental entities start their regulatory and legal procedures and allow new payment methods on the market, it makes it easier to transit from retail to digital. This transition is crucial to the relationship between the operator and the end-user as it allows deposits and withdrawals to be more accessible and comfortable for the latter.
With the expansion of Brazil – an ongoing process – we see Chile and Peru catching the wave and making their move to digital and although they are yet to be fully regulated, they are open to gambling as they allow their top sporting teams to be sponsored by betting operators and local domains [.pe and .cl] to be live and working.
With the LatAm market, it is common to see the bigger markets taking the lead on regulation and the remaining markets to follow – taking on the influence and knowledge of the leading market and applying it to their own market. It is a frequent move and LatAm is no exception. That is the moment when you see competition arise, better service and offers given to customers and player protection being enforced.
That’s what is all about – having regulated markets to allow competition, resulting in better service/offers for the customer and revenue for the country. This is what we call responsible entertainment.
SBC: Regarding payment methods, it is a known fact that cash is still a preferential method. Do you think that COVID has restrained the region’s performance?
MO: Unfortunately, we have seen many countries taking a superficial approach to COVID restrictions and because of it, we have not felt an impact on the region’s performance. You see, although the common brick-and-mortar is still a substantial part of player’s deposit and withdrawals, we must recognise that in this case the country size and population matter, meaning that for every 100 kiosks in a United Kingdom city we have 1000 in a Latin America one.
SBC: What are the future plans of Clever Advertising for the LatAm region?
MO: We are all very excited about Argentina. Argentina is regulating its gambling laws and procedures and some operators are already waiting for their licenses to be issued so they can operate legally in the market.
Argentina is a country that suffers from currency fluctuation very often, much like Colombia, and that causes some restraint on the investor side, but it is without a doubt a market with huge potential due to its size and its sporting culture. Let’s see how it works – we will never know without testing it!