As the summer season draws to a close and the major sports leagues commence their new seasons, the budgets for iGaming affiliate marketing campaigns will swiftly increase. And this presents a splendid opportunity to expand your media buying opportunities by exploring fantasy sports offers.
Fantasy sports apps, as one of the iGaming niches, have a significant edge over conventional sports CPA offers. This advantage is the legal status of the industry. For instance, in the USA, standard iGaming is restricted in 13 states, while fantasy sports are explicitly forbidden only in 6. Besides, it is permitted for promotion on such social traffic platforms as TikTok in some regions, while traditional iGaming campaigns are banned.
This is not the sole reason that makes fantasy sports an appealing trend for affiliate marketers — and today, PropellerAds will demonstrate some figures and the actual campaign outcome with tips on how to master this novel and perhaps still not very familiar niche.
Fantasy sports apps: Vertical overview
To begin, what is fantasy sports, and what does it have to do with iGaming?
A quick description will look like this: Fantasy sports is a game where players perform as team managers, creating their virtual sports squads. These squads consist of real players — for example, a fantasy football team can have Ronaldo, Luka Modric, and Lewandovski at once. While the actual league’s season is going on, its players perform on the field, bringing points to their virtual twinks. Ultimately, the fantasy sports team wins if it collects the most points. So, the activity involves various predictions and forecasts on players’ drafts, performance, injuries, etc.
How fantasy sports apps work
However, you don’t need to dive into the rules that deep. This might be a hint for your creatives, but first, here is proof of why this market is worth your attention.
Fantasy sports statistics
Market share by region
A quick summary of the statistics is the following:
- The main GEOs for fantasy sports are the USA and India. However, it also makes sense to try out the other regions that may boast lower competition and cheaper traffic costs.
- American football is the top fantasy sport for the USA thanks to the NFL’s gaming schedule: it is easier to follow. NFL plays 16 games in a season every Sunday, while, say, MLB has 162 matches every night. Besides, the Super Bowl gives an ultimate boost to sports campaigns.
- India remains consistent in its favorite sports even when it is virtual — 85% of 18 million Indian fantasy players are involved in fantasy cricket and are distributed around 300 fantasy sports platforms.
- The forecasts suggest that fantasy sports is a huge trending niche with significant advertising opportunities as its budgets are rising annually and have now gone beyond $22 bln. Besides, there is an extensive choice of offers thanks to various app types: daily fantasy sports, season-long fantasy, niche sports, and social fantasy apps.
Leading fantasy sports in the US and India
Why will the industry keep growing?
As we define fantasy Sports as a growing trend, we also need to mention it has a chance to remain one of the evergreen niches in the long term. And here are some reasons why.
- Fantasy sports has fewer restrictions than iGaming – and more lax rules regarding advertising on various platforms. For example, it perfectly complies with PropellerAds policy.
- The growth of AI as another big worldwide trend has provided fantasy players with a wide variety of tools to help players, ensuring a lower barrier to entry. Predictions have become much easier with free Fantasy Team Analyzers or AI data-driven forecasts, so the game is getting massive adoption worldwide.
- According to the research of Deloitte, fantasy sports have made a considerable impact on Indian economics by creating new working spaces and adding a boost to the Fintech and iGaming development.
- The average fantasy sports player in the USA is approximately 32 years old, which suggests a stable source of income and paying capacity.
- The average fantasy sports buyer personas in India involve millennials and Gen Z people as the most significant part of the audience. This suggests a trend is becoming ‘younger’ and thus can gain much popularity over social networks.
Top fantasy sports affiliate programs
Fantasy sports affiliate marketing in action
While the figures look promising enough, the actual case study will demonstrate a more vivid example.
Case study overview
The PropellerAds partner picked several fantasy sports offers we mentioned above — and began an iOS campaign focusing on NFL fans.
The campaign remained active throughout the whole NFL 2022-2023 season and had the following goals and basic settings:
- Ad formats: PropellerAds Popunder
- Bidding models: CPM and SmartCPM
- Platform: iOS
The campaign focused on active fantasy sports fans — this audience was collected with PropellerAds retargeting.
The overall flow was very straightforward: a user saw a prelander offering to join the fantasy Sports platform. This prelander contained a direct link to the App Store without any additional steps.
Note: Not all US states allow fantasy sports — this activity is totally banned in Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington. Besides, there are a range of states like California that have not ruled out particular legislation that allows or prohibits fantasy sports. Thus, it made sense to target the states that legalized this type of iGaming officially — and therefore had the largest audience willing to join the game.
During the NFL season, the offers gained much attention from the players’ side. It generated the following results:
- More than 2.000.000 relevant users for the most popular app offer
- Active retargeting audience
- Stable daily revenue of more than $7,000 for some of the offers
The peak of all campaigns fell on the dates around the Super Bowl — the NFL finals, which took place on February 12, 2023.
Note: Our partner paused several campaigns after the Super Bowl to estimate the results. This is why you see a pretty sudden decrease in impressions on February 13 — 15.
Tips and insights: How to promote fantasy sports offers?
Based on the case study above, as well as various research studies, we developed some best practices for the iGaming fantasy sports campaigns.
- Mind the GEO: Wasting budgets on GEOs where iGaming of any form is prohibited can be easily avoided with appropriate targeting options. This only requires quick research beforehand.
- Create retargeting audiences: For example, at PropellerAds, you can collect an audience of users who completed a conversion for your offer and then make upsells with other similar iGaming products or promote other offers of the same brand.
- Mind push notifications and popunder traffic: These top-efficient formats for sports campaigns deliver more than 7,000,000,000 impressions (Push) and around 500,000,000 impressions (Popunder) at PropellerAds daily. And they make a perfect combo when launched together.
- Pay attention to localized content: According to Deloitte research, over 70% of Indians trust digital content in their local languages more, and 88% are more likely to respond to an ad in their local language. Therefore, don’t neglect localization for your creatives. The fantasy sports apps are now accessible in 8 Indic languages, including Hindi, Kannada, and Bengali.
- Stick to familiar creatives: Effective creatives for the niche resemble the most converting iGaming ones. Here is an example:
Fantasy sports is a huge trend that is likely to dominate the iGaming market in the near future.
The potential revenue is enormous, as the fantasy sports market is expected to grow up to $9.48 billion only in the USA—so don’t miss out on the opportunity to take your share.