Decoding Digital Success: Meet our cofounder, Roman Radionov
Get ready to unravel the dynamic world of mVAS affiliate marketing, as we sit down with a key player who’s been right in the thick of it. In this insightful conversation, you’ll get a firsthand perspective from a seasoned professional and learn about the trials, triumphs, and trends that shape the industry.
Meet our cofounder, Roman Radionov, as he shares valuable insights and gives us a glimpse into the evolution of Golden Goose and its future direction.
— Tell us about yourself and your journey in Golden Goose.
— My name is Roman Radionov, and I am one of the founders of Golden Goose. In Goose, I am the General Director of the European region and a managing partner who is responsible for the development of the technical side of Golden Goose’s business.
The first activity somehow related to Telecom started around 2005. These were WAP sites with ringtones and Java games. As soon as phones developed to the point that they could download games, ringtones, and so on, an entire industry of mobile content emerged. It was called mobile content. Payments were made via SMS and content was downloaded. And at that moment, companies, including ours, began to appear on the market and started to engage in this. Actually, since then, we have been working in Telecom. We’ve come a very long way in this sense, there were many different projects.
Goose appeared in 2016 as a continuation of our activities in this field. Just before this, we were an advertiser with our own mobile offers in the Russian market and the CIS market. And in order to expand our activities, we created an affiliate program, which we called Golden Goose.
— Why an affiliate marketing network, if you initially were advertisers?
— Since we were advertisers, we depended only on a few partners who promoted our offers, and this limited the business. Accordingly, to scale it, the most obvious solution was to create and develop an affiliate program, through which we attracted many partners and increased traffic.
— Why is it beneficial for advertisers and content creators to create specifically mVAS services?
— Because DCB is a fairly simple and convenient way of payment, first and foremost, meaning the user doesn’t need anything else but to confirm their agreement to purchase or connect to a service, for example, a subscription to Netflix or Spotify. It’s a very convenient way of payment.
In addition, in a very large number of countries, the penetration of credit and debit cards is not that high, while everyone has phones. And the method of payment from your phone account is just very convenient. You don’t need anything else. That’s why the market is like this, and for operators and content providers, it’s all just convenient and harmonious.
— There are affiliates who run traffic in different verticals, why would you recommend mVAS as a vertical to them?
— Here, I suppose, we need to compare specific verticals.
I would highlight the following advantages. Firstly, since the purchase confirmation takes place at the moment of purchase, an affiliate sees conversions from their traffic in real time. There are no holds, waiting periods, rejections, and so on. So, the risks in terms of money spent on traffic are much lower.
If you get the combination right away, the profit is guaranteed. No one will say later that half of this was not confirmed — this is if we compare, for example, with Dating or some delayed sales.
Plus, in most cases, the conversion itself is quite simple.
And if we take a complex market, i-Gaming, for example, it’s almost impossible for a newbie to get in. To develop and become some cool webmaster on such established tough markets, where you need connections, traffic, where you need to bother — there are no chances.
Roughly speaking, for beginners or for those who have already done something and want to develop, mVAS is a very convenient market in terms of developing their affiliate skills. Everything is quite simple here in terms of conversion.
This market is white, because it’s not some underground activity related to unclear Nutra. These are real offers, real services of operators. Naturally, all operators are large white companies with accountability. And there are almost no risks that the operator will not pay or will run away. In this sense, this market is much more stable and white than many other areas of affiliate marketing.
— Have you ever run traffic like our webmasters do?
— Yes, I have. I periodically engage in this to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening, to understand the specifics of various ad networks and nuances associated with conversion.
In our industry, there are quite a lot of technical nuances related to how offers convert in different countries, on different operators, on different advertisers. Therefore, to understand all this well and know why the same traffic converts here and doesn’t convert there, you need to do it yourself.
— Do you have any strong opinions on the most profitable and well-converting traffic sources specifically in our vertical?
— That’s a long conversation. The first important point related to traffic sources is that most offers only convert on carrier traffic. Let’s say, a significant part. Therefore, if a webmaster’s traffic source is Wi-Fi, or it is mixed and Wi-Fi cannot be separated, this will not be very good. But, in principle, we accept all traffic, including Wi-Fi, we just try to convert it as we can, in a different way.
Accordingly, you need to choose, first of all, traffic sources where there is targeting by operators, this significantly contributes to success. Except for those regions where there are offers for Wi-Fi, Pin Submit in particular.
If we talk about types of traffic, then you could say that pop-unders still work, but not as well — and it’s getting worse and worse. Therefore, probably, I would highlight push notifications. And of course, if someone knows how to work with Google traffic, for example, or with In-App traffic, then these are also very good sources.
— Which countries are currently the most interesting for affiliate marketers? And which ones would you advise to pay attention to? Well, it’s clear that everyone is running South Africa, but what about more interesting directions?
— Such a question is abstract, because, probably, more applied questions should be asked here. For example, a beginner might be interested in a certain country, but it is difficult to work there. And in this sense, I think that you always need to proceed from existing experience. Plus, take into account what a Goose manager suggests in terms of offers and GEOs. Especially, if we talk about affiliates who buy traffic, then, in principle, they are not limited by any side, except for nuances related to creatives and the language of creatives. Probably, it’s difficult, without really understanding, to make a high-quality creative in Thai — for example. It is likely to be with mistakes — and will convert poorly.
But I would proceed from the real presence of traffic in the network and the recommendations of managers, because the market is quite dynamic, and new offers appear every day. There are ones with very large payouts. And here it is up to everyone to choose — either have 10 conversions at $20 every day or have a thousand conversions at $0.30. That is, everything is quite different.
Interesting countries are those where it converts excellently and has large traffic volumes. In the sense that it’s a large country in terms of population, several operators – it is clear that there is a lot of traffic.
— Then the follow-up question arises. Your advice to a beginner media buyer.
— If there is very little experience, then I would advise you to choose one large network with traffic and get to know it well. For example, PropellerAds or Exoclick. And work with the help of a Goose manager.
We do a lot to help — not just to say something, but to really help and provide it with up-to-date information every day, what and where converts well, including from which sources. Therefore, an affiliate needs to become an expert in terms of advertising networks. Start with one big one, where you can test many different countries and types of traffic. This is the surest way to start getting results.
— Your thoughts on the mVAS market. About how DCB technology is evolving, and is it possible that this market will appear in countries where it is not present? Or, conversely, it will somehow change over time.
— The market is quite old. And in general, most countries have already gone through several stages of ups and downs. But, nevertheless, the market is growing, because, strangely enough, there are many countries that are just starting to launch this method of buying through carrier billing, the so-called direct carrier billing (DCB).
In general, it can be said that it is stable. Various studies suggest that it is growing and will continue to grow. Yes, we also observe this.
At the same time, there is quite a lot of fraud in this market, and it is becoming more complex in terms of working in it. But it can be said that the market is evolving. That is, the conditions of work in different markets are very different. Roughly speaking, it cannot be said that it is very homogeneous, and the same Germany and some Ghana are very different markets.
But if you generalize the average temperature, so to speak, then it is 36.6. That is, the market lives and is not going anywhere.
— How do you assess the development of the Golden Goose company over so many years, how are we developing, what are our prospects?
— We are developing well, dynamically. We are currently operating worldwide. At the same time, it can be said that this is just the tip of the mVAS iceberg, because in every country where there is mVAS, which is practically all countries on the planet, there are many advertisers. And in this sense, there is still a lot to develop. I would say that we have passed, if compared with the lifetime, the path from birth and infancy somewhere to the post-university period. And we are already a developed company, but at the same time we understand that we still have to work and work ahead.
— Tell us about your coolest and most exciting moments in Goose.
— Probably all the most impressive things happened at the beginning of our journey, because now everything is quite clear.
The first trips to international conferences were very memorable.
When we arrived there for the first time at a conference, we saw a bunch of networks with traffic, a bunch of advertisers — and realized that it’s a huge industry. Of course, there were some expectations on this topic, but honestly, this exposure to the world exceeded all possible expectations in terms of understanding how big this market is.
— What was the most unsuccessful episode, for example, something completely failed and you still remember it?
— It’s hard to say that something really failed, because if you try hard enough, something always works out. There are unpleasant moments associated with fraud or non-payments from the advertiser. But this is quite rare — and these are, in fact, work moments. Therefore, I wouldn’t say there’s anything very depressing. Rather, from our point of view, everything is going well.