Play To Earn: Online Game Affiliate Programs
I am not an “avid gamer” but I have a keen interest in the gaming industry. Since it is becoming a popular niche these days, I am very much interested to know if this niche can provide a good return on investment (ROI).
For non-gamers (like me), It may be difficult to promote a trending niche that you know little about. And while it is easier to pick a niche that you love, or at least know, it is also equally important that you look for niches that are current, hot, and trending too. Just like the saying, “strike while the iron is hot”, the same is true for niche picking.
If you find yourself struggling with your chosen niche, always remember that everything can be learned. You just need to set your mind to explore and learn new things and eventually you’ll get up to speed. So, without further ado, let’s learn together the potentials of the online gaming industry in affiliate marketing.
Online Gaming Industry Analysis
What are online games? There are approximately 376 million results for this question in Google.
Wikipedia defines online games as a video game that is either partially or primarily played through the Internet or another computer network. Online games are ubiquitous on modern gaming platforms, including PCs, consoles and mobile devices.
Simply put, the online gaming industry is huge in terms of the different types of games played. Every game that you can download or you can access online is part of this industry. In affiliate marketing, this is good news. The more choices available, the more chances for you to earn well, even in a competitive niche.
I have discovered some really pretty good informational gaming website like PC Gamer and Game Informer. Both sites are huge in terms of content and outreach. Both websites have also established themselves in the gaming industry, which helps us see that the niche is not just a fad, but a trend that is growing over time.
Before conducting an extensive research for ANY industry, you need to at least have a list of topics and sub-topics on hand so it will be easier for you to gather data.
You can browse online and look for websites catered to online games to see how well they do in terms of traffic. Take for example Gnome Stew, which is a game review blog. You can head over to SimilarWeb to check out the site's traffic:
I am just using the free version of the tool, which is enough for me to get a glimpse of how well the site is doing in terms of traffic. Looking at the table above, you can see that the traffic has declined but still the numbers are looking good. I can also see in the Traffic Share section that mobile browsing and PC browsing are quite close in terms of reach, with the mobile browsing experience reaching a slightly higher portion of people (54.45%). This is why it's so important to design a mobile-friendly site.
You can conduct this simple competitor search to give you an idea how well the sites are doing in terms of traffic. You can also use the information from SimilarWeb to design your marketing strategy for the niche. Speaking of competitors, is the online gaming niche in demand? Let’s read further below.
In or Out?
Google Trends show a consistently high rate of worldwide interest for the term “online games”. You can see from the graph below that there is high search interest for online games over a 12-month period:
If you switch the graph to a span of 5 years, however, there is a huge decline in searches for the term “online games”, as shown below:
The decline, however, does not mean that this niche is not popular at present. As you can see in the last 12 months, there is still a huge interest for the term: online games.
Since I am faced with completely opposing data in Google Trends, I will head to BuzzSumo to check how popular the term “online games” is in social media sites:
The top 5 results in BuzzSumo show quite a large number of shares across social media sites. More to this, you can see the trending topics as well. In the top 5 results, you can see that online golf games are trending on social media sites. You can also use this information in coming up with a good sub-niche.
NOTE: The keyword used on popularity research makes a difference to the data gathered. This means that the keyword “online games” will have a different popularity result than the keyword “PC gaming”. The results will vary depending on the keyword you used. Since the online game industry is large, it is best to be very specific with your research. For this niche, you can try to research the popularity score using product names like Temple Run or Candy Crush.
If you like to know the overall popularity of online games without using too many industry-related keywords that may confuse you, the best way to do this is to read online articles or blogs that provide survey reports on the niche you are working on. Like NewZoo’s article report about the Global Game Market here. Based from the report, I have jotted down 3 important facts that we can use for this niche:
- By 2020, the mobile gaming will represent more than half of the total games market
- The console gaming segment performed better than expected in 2016 thanks to console manufacturers, publishers, and consumers embracing of a variety of digital business models
- Revenues for both PC gaming segments are anticipated to drop slightly in the coming year. PC browser revenues have been decreasing since 2015 because of the transition of casual gaming to mobile devices.
These data can help me pick specific games that are forecast to rise in the coming years and at the same avoid products that will become “un-popular”.
Basic keyword research using Affilotools
The keyword research is as important as market and popularity research. Never skip this task off your list of to-dos since all your content and marketing efforts will be based on how well you pick your keywords.
For beginners, I recommend you use Affilotools keyword research section. It is a very straightforward and easy-to-use SEO tool for everyone. To start, you can register for free then simply set-up Affilotools by adding your website to begin using the tools.
Once you are done setting-up Affilotools, head to the keyword research tool under Research> Keywords at the left menu panel. Enter the keyword/s in the keyword box, set your preferred search engine, and then click the “search” button to continue. Here’s a complete guide to do keyword research in Affilotools.
You will see your results page like this:
You can easily see the list of keywords by simply looking at the data in the columns. If you are only doing free traffic (SEO), you may simply refer to the Local Volume and Competition columns for your target keywords. If you will be doing ads you may refer to the CPC data for reference.
The keyword “online games” has a total of 47 keyword matches and has 200 related keywords in Affilotools. You may choose from these lists your target keywords by simply referring to the competition column.
It is easier to pick your keywords based on competition because Affilotools uses a color coding system for easy, medium, and high competition keywords: green- easy, orange- medium, and red- high. For tips on how to do proper keyword research, you can head over to our forum discussion here.
Our Top Picks
There are A LOT of online game affiliate programs to choose from but here’s our top pick for this niche:
One of the most popular and largest retailers of online games. You can take advantage of the wide options that GameStop provides. They have games for different platforms like Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, or PC. Since GameStop has over 4,000 stores, the value and competitiveness of their products plus their customer service are beyond par.
How much can I make?
Not specified. You may contact their customer support for assistance.
How do I apply?
You can sign up here.
Another affiliate vendor that provides huge selection of games for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Wii U, Wii, and 3DS, and other older versions. Unlike the previous affiliate, GameFly is available on both browser and on iPhone, making it easier for members to buy, rent, and play games.
How much can I make?
You can earn 15% or more for free trial or pre-paid subscription. 5% per sale for new console games. 10% on used console games.
How do I apply?
You can sign up here as a CJ affiliate.
4. Zygor Guides
Zygor Guides provides cheat sheets on World of Warcraft. The website also provides remote support and community support, which is a plus factor for the members you refer.
How much can I make?
You can earn 50% commission per sale.
How do I apply?
You must be a ClickBank member to promote the product. You can sign up here.
Get Players to Your Site
And now we come to the challenging task of link building and inbound marketing. This, like content creation, can be outsourced to professionals – for a fee. If you have the resources, then go ahead and outsource. Still, make sure you have at least a basic understanding of how SEO, link-building and marketing work so that you will be able to monitor the link-building work being done on your site.
Outsourcing or not, make sure to have a link building strategy in place. You can hand this over to the person who will do the link building for you. At the very least, you have a guide to refer to when it's time to drive traffic to your site.
You would think that having a site about online games, you won't need to bother much with content. But you do, because there's plenty to know about a game. Like a good strategy on how to get past a difficult level, for one thing. A review of a new game is something gamers frequently look out for, too.
Content strategy is about having a game plan for your site's content, from research until the content is published on your site. Having a plan gives you time to think about the kind of content to present on your site in between updates.
Blog and Forum Commenting
This method is time consuming, but the effects are long-term, making the effort well worth it. There are plenty of gaming forums you can frequent to interact with fellow gamers and offer recommendations.
It's a great place to learn about the online gaming niche, too. You can find out what games have a lot of followers, and which keywords are frequently used in relation to specific games.
Online Games Affiliate Programs
.table-aff th img border:0; padding:0; -moz-box-shadow: none; box-shadow: none; margin-right: 0; width:50px; .table-aff td, .table-aff th text-align:center; border-bottom:1px solid #eaeaea; .table-aff td.striped background:#f2f2f2; .table-aff tr.signup a font-size:10px; text-transform:uppercase; .table-aff .commision font-size:10px; color:#999;
|Sign up||Sign up||Sign up||Sign up||Sign up|
With all that competition, the online games niche is definitely no child's play. This is a niche that requires careful planning and strategy. All niches do, but all the more for this niche because: one, there are plenty of gaming sites out there that will most likely have similar content to yours, so you need to be creative on the content you will publish on your site; two, you need to be smart with link building and how you drive traffic to your site. Don't just bring people into the site, bring people who are interested in playing and subscribing to games.
So, no, this niche is not for the faint-hearted. The commissions you'll get are good. But if you're looking something more substantial than a few dollars a sale, then this is not the niche for you.
But if you have a site about games or gaming, and have not monetized it, then take your pick from the above. It's never too late to start earning from your website.
I hope you've enjoyed this week's Niche of the Week! Would you be interested in going into this niche? Are there any niches you want featured here? Just leave a comment and let me know!
PS: You can now create your own niche website the easy way by getting our top-selling course in affiliate marketing. Subscribe to our AffiloBlueprint course now to head start your affiliate marketing journey!