Innovative marketing keeps players coming back
Marketing was once the stuff of ad men in suits – puffing cigars, sipping Scotch and going with their guts. They understood their markets, they would tell you, and knew how to speak to them. It was a scattergun approach that depended on aiming as wide as possible to hit as many people as possible and hoping that it hit with some of the members of that wide audience – but by today’s data-driven standards, it was pretty imprecise.
Nowadays, marketers can reach more customers than ever through digital platforms, but consumers are a lot more savvy to marketing practices and marketers have to work harder to get their attention. Fortunately, technology allows them to rise to the challenge. It’s now possible to personalize a customer’s experience to make sure they’re getting content and messaging that’s bespoke to them, driving engagement and customer loyalty.
In many ways, of course, technology is just solving a problem of its own creation – removing face to face human interaction from the equation. In the case of casinos, for example, the days when a smiling face greeted you as you walked through an establishment’s doors are not exactly a thing of the past, but nor is it a given, with online casinos making up a huge part of the gambling market. But operators are putting a lot of effort into closing that gap and making sure that even if there isn’t a live dealer who knows who you are, the website does.
Personalization in the gambling sector
The gambling sector has been experiencing huge growth, particularly through its digital arm. Like many online business sectors, it has gone from being functionally non-existent 20 years ago to being a multi-billion dollar industry. In the UK, for example, the official numbers show that the sector makes up around 39 percent of the total gambling industry, contributing £5 billion to the country’s gross annual yield.
As more countries begin to grant licences and legislate around remote gambling, operators are able to pump greater investment into the technologies they use, developing their platforms and improving the technology.
Of course, the gambling business has always been built on data and those with the strongest numbers are those who come out ahead. More sophisticated data capture in the online space is enabling online casinos to gather, track and analyse customer data to improve the experience for them.
What does personalization look like at online casinos?
Online casinos typically use this data to provide a tailored gaming experience to players in a few different ways.
- Tone of voice
This is where online casinos have the upper hand over land-based operators. As online casino can use data to know more about their audience – the age demographic and balance of male v female, for example – they can tweak the tone of their language to resonate more effectively with users. Tone of voice can be applied to any editorial content – from the homepage, to the game pages, and on the blog. Playing guides are often found on the blog, and these are especially handy for players wanting to get better at playing particular games. For example, players wanting to improve their success at the roulette wheel might want to read an expert’s guide to roulette odds to get a better handle on betting and budgeting strategies.
- Bespoke homepages
At the top level, online casinos are able to better understand their demographics and when a new customer lands on their site they can target them appropriately. The casino might find, for example, that younger players tend to favor slots and roulette – games of pure chance that offer a greater thrill for the less experienced gambler. Armed with this knowledge, online casinos will present these types of games on the homepage, personalizing them around their users’ online profile – and crucially, increasing the chances they’ll start playing for money.
- Tailored game development
Another macro-level effect is that online casino operators can tailor the types of games they are making. If they have specific demographics they want to target, they can develop types of game that are proven to appeal to them. By analyzing what sort of games specific demographics are drawn to, how long they are playing for and at what points they tend to lose interest, casinos and developers can build games that are tailor made for their target audience. For example, when creating online slots, a developer might look at data showing whether games with lots of video and audio content augmenting the experience work best, or whether specific themes are the best tool to attract attention.
Unique customer experiences
Online casinos aren’t limited to personalizing experiences to groups, however. While that kind of number crunching is great for guiding development at the macro level and understanding whole groups, it can also be used to create bespoke experiences for individual users. The more advanced online casinos can build very detailed profiles of individual users which can then be used to shape their experiences. They might, for example, show welcome back messages for repeat customers.
The experience can further be personalized with a kind of meta gamification. The customer is obviously there to play games, but the casino can structure a larger game around that based on things like the awarding of points for loyalty schemes or making them eligible to play in VIP tournaments.
The upshot is that, despite the fact that the player is in a seemingly impersonal online space, their experience is shaped according to their preferences – as would happen in a land-based casino – and the customer feels not only seen but looked after by the casino.
With greater investment and advancing technology, as well as an extremely competitive marketplace, this kind of customization and personalization is only going to accelerate and improve in the world of online casinos.
Personalization has gone way beyond the buzzword it was 10 years ago. It’s now an absolutely essential box all brands should be ticking.
Big brands in sectors such as travel have made big and visible strides towards personalization that provide a strong example. Best Western makes use of geo-targeting to make sure its customers receive offers relevant to them. It will recommend potential destinations based on whether you are opening its emails in Boston or San Francisco.
Delta Airlines, meanwhile, uses its Guest Service Tool to bridge the gap between digital and physical customer service. The tool enables its stewards and stewardesses to access specific information about passengers. It might enable them to know which customers might need extra help, or who is a frequent flyer.
However, it’s the gaming world that’s leading the field in creative unique, powerful and bespoke customer experiences targeted at individuals. The era of spray-and-pray messaging, pioneered by 1950s ad men, is well and truly over.