Promoted feature: Diversifying your strategy while retaining focus on at-risk players

Clare O Donnell of Facebook considers how to focus on those players at risk while diversifying the strategy throughout an unusual 2020

The amplification of regulatory changes and restrictions across Europe and the UK to reduce the risk of problem gambling during Covid-19 has been a strong indication of the changes the gambling industry is facing. How operators manage these will be crucial to their success.

In this article, I’m going to talk you through some of the ways you can navigate this changing landscape, exploring new trends and strategies that can help you diversify your offering and stand out from the crowd, while still retaining a focus on vulnerable players.

Sharpening your onboarding experience

Think about the last time you signed up for a new online account. If the user journey was anything but seamless, you were probably left with a sense of dissatisfaction about that brand. That’s because customers’ expectations have become a lot more sophisticated in terms of how they use technology. Covid-19 has magnified the importance of the online experience, as 76% of global consumers say they are spending more time on their mobile since the start of lockdown. This highlights the importance of delivering a simple, fast, and, most importantly, safe sign-up experience. Many new customers are transitioning to online for the first time as a result of the lockdown and mass closures of high street betting shops and casinos. Consider exploring elements in your creative that will highlight how simple it is to download, sign up and play, that will guide less seasoned gamers through the onboarding experience.

In the past, operators may have had up to a couple of days to interact with customers, allowing them to sample products until they became fully verified. However, as due diligence tightens, real-time response has become more important than ever. Not only that, customers expect that brands are being transparent about their process, and trust that they’re putting player protection front and centre. For this reason, balancing simplicity and speed when it comes to your sign-up and verification process – while ensuring player safety and transparency are at the forefront – is imperative for creating the most optimal onboarding experience.

Diversifying your product offering

As we explored in our last article, product diversification has proven necessary for many operators as they’re weathering Covid-19. Unsurprisingly, the return of real sports has resulted in many consumers returning to what they know and enjoy. However, early trends from this return of real sport have shown many consumers migrating back to sports as others continue to play across multiple products, while some have stopped playing entirely. According to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), while active numbers remained stagnant during lockdown, there was an increase in engaged players trying more products. Understanding who your players are and offering relevant, personalised content is becoming increasingly important. For example, sportsbook punters are likely attracted to more skilled-based games like poker and live casino dealer games over random number generator (RNG) games.

However, a dynamic, personalised lobby will allow players to see other products based on their preference. For example, it can be worthwhile showing sportsbook players perceived skill-based slots or sports-themed games. Similarly, bingo players may be drawn to fun, recreational games. Offering these players a variety of customised content will lead to a more satisfied customer, and one that will return, and even bring more players with them.

Consider the recent transition of a more mature audience mix who have migrated online and how you interact with these customers through your product. This new audience highlights the importance of a simple, mobile-first platform, while ensuring that gambling safety and your customers’ wellbeing is in place across all platform touchpoints.

Targeting a new type of consumer

Changes in customer behaviours and habits over the last number of months mean you may need to talk to your customers (and potential customers) differently now. Think about who your customers are and where you can reach them easily, as well as their overall user journey and experience of your product. Sending generic emails just won’t cut it anymore, as traditional channels continue to lose their reach and impact. According to Mailchimp, just one in every five marketing emails from a gambling company is ever opened.

The recent influx of players to the online realm has brought with it a layered and complex customer mix. A lot of operators have allocated a substantial amount of money towards acquiring new customers through different streams (paid media, affiliates etc.), however, the journey from onboarding a new customer to the first deposit is key to retention. It’s important to consider the entire lifecycle journey, and where individual customers sit within that.

A diverse audience calls for a diverse approach, and a more robust segmentation strategy. It’s necessary to cater to specific nuances and player preferences while ensuring that at-risk people and minors are protected from seeing gambling ads.

The gambling industry, like all gaming sectors, is constantly evolving as technology, consumer trends, and legislation continue to shape the landscape. However, there are many lessons to apply to adapting your strategy to what lies ahead

Preparing for geo-diversification

The pandemic has further accelerated and highlighted the growth in emerging markets, as more countries become regulated for online gaming. Recent mergers and acquisitions that dominated headlines earlier in the year have also signalled how operators prepare to enter these territories, namely the US.

Different countries will have different requirements in regard to compliance, licensing, responsible gambling, regulations, and localised payment methods, so you need to prepare to understand and adhere to these. In some regions where retail betting previously dominated the market, many operators have now pivoted online. So, the localisation of content and products plays a big part in attracting new players, especially when migrating land-based customers to online.

Genre and game preference will play a big part too, not only for land-based customers who will naturally gravitate towards familiar game titles, but also existing players who may have tried and enjoyed other products during lockdown (for example, the shift to casino, lottery products and virtuals). Geo-targeting will serve local customers with relevant, localised content as well as ensuring customers are protected. As the saying goes – think global, act local.

The gambling industry, like all gaming sectors, is constantly evolving as technology, consumer trends, and legislation continue to shape the landscape. However, there are many lessons to apply to adapting your strategy for what lies ahead. Yes, your consumers are changing, but this can be a positive thing. This evolution provides key moments and opportunities to capture their attention, but it’s important to speak to who they are now, not who they were six months ago.

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Clare O Donnell, Facebook

Clare O Donnell recently joined Facebook’s gaming marketing team in EMEA. Prior to this, she worked in land-based casinos and Paddy Power’s online gaming team, where she was responsible for executing high profile campaigns for some of the brand’s largest gaming verticals.

Customers | Facebook | Marketing | Onboarding | Regulation | Responsible gambling