Bookies’ Corner – Getting ready for Euro 2016

With everyone’s eyes on Euro 2016 this week the latest Bookies’ Corner focuses on just that and the build up to it from the world of bookmaking.

SBC spoke to Ryan Murton Head of Digital Marketing at Oddschecker, BetVictor’s Head of Sportsbook Product Eoin Ryan, Head of Football (Interactive) at Gala Coral Richard Scott and Unibet’s Head of UK Marketing Ed Nicholson to hear their thoughts on betting on England, betting promos and the importance of a quality content strategy.

SBC: With England priced as amongst the favourites do you think there’ll be as much, or more, patriotic betting on England compared with past tournaments? 

Richard Scott, Gala Coral
Richard Scott, Gala Coral

Richard: There could well be more. At 9/1 outright, England are still an attractive ante-post price for the majority of our customer base and they will inevitably be heavily backed in each match across a range of markets.

England are currently Coral Interactive’s most significant outright liability by some margin and this will increase dramatically if they put in some good performances early on. Maximum points in qualification has undoubtedly raised expectations and we saw a further influx of outright bets after the Germany match in March. Importantly, the average fan will now see England as a more attractive proposition because of the young talent in the squad (which has an average age of 25) and the fact they have goalscoring options in a range of positions.

As a bookmaker, I am hoping England progress to the latter stages to maintain interest in the tournament (preferably with some 90 minute draws along the way!), but ultimately fall just short.

Eoin Ryan, BetVictor

SBC: Will there be far more of a focus on live betting promotions than at any previous tournament, or will bookmakers stick to the tried and tested promos? 

Eoin: I think it’s safe to say that there will be a big focus on in-play promotions once the tournament gets underway. In advance of the big kick-off on July 10th, it looks like the industry as a whole is sticking to the sort of new customer promotional offers we have been seeing over the past couple of years, huge price enhancements to very limited stakes.

I’m not convinced that these types of offers are necessarily ’tried and trusted’ though!

Given the explosive growth of in-play betting, even since the last World Cup, we are likely to see a host of very generous promotional offers once the action gets underway, all designed to attract the in-play punter. With 3 games a day for the first couple of weeks of the Tournament, there will be plenty of opportunities for in-play promotions.

At BetVictor, we’ve tried to do something completely different for the Euros. We will be giving away a guaranteed £1,000,000 on the Final itself! To win or share the million you need to predict the first goal scorer in the Final and the minute this goal will be scored. The promotion is called The Million Pound Goal, and customers can earn a prediction simply by placing a £5 bet on The Euros.

SBC: With so many bookmakers promoting on so many different channels, many punters will feel lost and overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. As such which approach is best, does television advertising become more or less important? 

Ryan Murton, Oddschecker
Ryan Murton, Oddschecker

Ryan: Bookmakers need to operate holistic campaigns that are 360 throughout and resonate at all touch-points. While punters may feel overwhelmed, it’s also a chance for some bookmakers to simplify their messaging and hammer it home. Sky Bet do this well with their #RequestABet and price boosts, while bet365 do this well with their bore draw promotion.

TV advertising still and always will have a place, but the BTL assets have to match up with the television advertisement for it to resonate and convert.

SBC: Is it at major competitions like the Euros that a quality blog is of peak importance? Betting previews are ten a penny but there’s a huge gulf in the quality of the output both content and presentation wise amongst bookmakers’ blogs. How much of an impact can these have in customer retention?

Ryan: Blogs are important any time of year, but of course they are exceptionally important for big tournaments such as Euro 2016 as well. They give you an added dimension, it’s just one of a number of marketing channels available to you as a marketer.

Betting previews are one type of content, there are various other ‘content types’ but it’s all about what your service is. Oddschecker is an affiliate and so betting tips fit quite strongly, where as a bookmaker giving tips is tough as the users will obviously be very skeptical.

Bookmakers could produce more content about betting volumes as opposed to actual ‘betting tips’. 

Ed Nicholson, Unibet
Ed Nicholson, Unibet

Ed: There will be a great deal of football content over the next few weeks and the key for anyone operating in this sector is to cut through the noise and engage with its target audience.

To be frank, this should happen throughout the year; the great thing about sport and the sports betting industry is that there is always something big pending. The Euros are the next big thing.

Many companies are chasing in effect the same customers and a cohesive content strategy – across the marketing mix – can help a brand engage with its target audience.

With this objective firmly in mind, here at Unibet we have developed our #LuckIsNoCoincidence social content series.

We have recorded six episodes, each one hosted by Jermaine Jenas and the F2 freestylers, with guest appearances from sporting legends such as Carl Lewis, Brian Laudrup and Glenn Hoddle. During these six episodes we explore the effects of crowd support, playing surfaces, stats and other unexpected game changers on results in sports; ultimately proving that Luck Is No Coincidence.

Our first episode saw over 1.3 million views on YouTube and 300,000 on Instagram – and the content is a big part of our strategy over the Championships, with new episodes being realised during the competition.

We will see our blog content increase significantly during the tournament as we also have well respected writers such as Jonathan Wilson, Glenn Hoddle, Brian Laudrup and Raphael Honigstein regularly posting articles.

This all supports our expert brand positing and wider marketing strategy of recruiting respected ambassadors and influencers to create premium written content for our branded channels.

This creates attention, but also authenticity and impartiality, helping our blog stand out from the ‘ten a penny’ crowd. However, building a successful branded gambling blog is not just about the articles you post, it is about where you seed them. Social media marketing, both paid and organic, brings our blog a significant amount of traffic.

In terms of commercial benefits, this activity serves our brand-building and SoMe specific KPIs, but also positively affects our key term SEO rankings, customer retention and acquisition numbers.

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