As Industry platform and software developers seek to deliver the next level of betting consumer engagement and functionalities, seasoned sector technology veteran Andrew Dagnall (CEO – Bettorlogic) believes that betting’s product journey should begin with entertainment giants – Spotify and Netflix…
SBC: Andrew, thanks for the catch-up. As a tech consumer, why are Netflix and Spotify recommendation engines so appealing and engaging?
Andrew Dagnall: Accessibility, customer experience and choice. An ability to access either engine from any device, navigate the console before choosing is a big factor in why Netflix and Spotify are dominating the market. Another element of their success is the way they understand the customer using data and historical selections. Not only will they suggest certain films or music to engage with, but they will share additional ideas on what other users may have gone onto listen to or watch. The consumer is first in every element of the user experience.
SBC: In 2018, how should betting operators be approaching the management and display of their betting market inventories?
AD: Operators are currently delivering a betting experience which falls short of what it can be, especially when compared to the likes of Netflix and Spotify.
Sportsbooks are in a slightly different situation as most are limited in what they control because they rely on third-party providers. Even sportsbooks using proprietary platforms don’t do enough to create a truly intuitive experience for bettors. Technology is growing at such a pace that we expect our digital interaction to make any transaction simpler.
Our research shows that the majority of bettors have a pretty good idea of what they want to bet on before they open an app or go online and yet they will go through several stages to get to where they want to be and execute a bet. If the user experience doesn’t match up to expectations, the player will just go to wherever the easiest execution is, even if you’re best priced.
Those industries that are solely digital, wouldn’t survive if the product didn’t deliver and I think Spotify is a good example. They are in a competitive marketplace with the likes of Apple music and rather like betting, both are selling the same product – a piece of music. Spotify has invested heavily in research and development to keep a big share of the market, they have over 200 million customers of which nearly 50% are subscribers. A major reason is Spotify recognises me as an individual and uses my data to personalise my experience. The cumulative effect of the Spotify experience around suggested songs, playlists and navigation enhances the scope of my listening all from my activity.
This is achievable through a betting app and it can start by a few simple amends like keeping people logged in the whole time – currently only an option on some providers. Operators should give bettors a means to modify or build their own homepage with favourite sports, best markets and relevant content ahead of particular events. A popular bets section should show what others are doing, winning bets flagged to show successes, a countdown to your next event and better navigation.
SBC: Spotify & Netflix platforms are driven by ‘inter-connectivity’, across digital verticals. How can this dynamic be developed for betting platforms?
AD: Being logged into Spotify reminds me that they are working for me, unlike with a betting app. I am kept in the loop with updates and about brand partnerships that have been signed. It’s vital to make the communication relevant and in betting it could be about my horse which is no longer running or my usual first scorer option being injured. If I was made aware I am far more likely to back another.
Spotify successfully profiles with far more generic data. Creating betting profiles of players is doable using historical actions, even post GDPR. Bettorlogic receive anonymised data from clients and the history creates a profile – it tells us what they like to bet on from the sport, propensity and how far in advance of an event. This can go further in tracking how people react when doing well or conversely when on a losing run, are they or likely to be a problem gambler and if so, how best to deal with that situation.
A bettor’s homepage can take on a new identity that reflects my interests and even without data, a way to redesign the page to reflect my interests. This can be as simple or detailed as I want, choose the sports and how I want bets displayed, set notifications so I know when events I’m interested in are about to start or be notified of changes in match situations. It could go further if the bettor wished to place auto bets on a particular match situation and a price.
Betting is a social experience too and being able to share opinions, successes and ill luck should be an important feature. Again, Spotify is very good at letting me interact with friends by sharing playlists and betting can do the same especially if a customer has been profiled and therefore can be matched to like-minded bettors. I’m so embedded in Spotify that it would take something monumental to make me switch to Apple Music, sportsbooks should surely do the same because currently we are actively encouraged to switch operators.
SBC: Do you worry that betting recommendation engines are perhaps intrusive to the end user? How should this delicate engagement be handled?
AD: The sheer volumes of data that betting companies have at their disposal means they can create an extremely accurate picture of customers. Successful operators will use this to tailor the offering to enhance the individual experience by only showing relevant and useful suggestions. If we know a certain bettor only becomes active on Friday as they look to the weekend, then the communication should reflect that and not on a Monday morning.
Tracking is key to monitoring what changes are working and what isn’t. Delivering an intuitive and flexible offering avoids the issue of being too intrusive and you are responding to user habits. Giving bettors the power to shape their experience is the vital ingredient.
SBC: At a product level, the benefits of effective ‘recommendation engines’ are quite clear. However, how do these engines help further operational functions such as marketing, customer services, etc…
AD: Marketing and customer services should mirror the intuitive personalisation model to deliver what bettors are interested in. Understanding what markets a bettor likes, does well on and when they tend to place a bet means you can be more pertinent with notifications. Spotify will let me know when my favourite artist is playing a live gig, so why not the same with tickets for a football or cricket match.
This is also the case with customer service when monitoring behaviour, whether it be handling issues or working with bettors who may be displaying early signs of problem gambling. Operators are better placed to encourage responsible betting.
Aggregated data is also useful for discovering the expectations of new customers which is crucial for a sportsbook when typical acquisition costs mean they need to recoup that expense. Bettorlogic data revealed that if a customer didn’t have a winner in their first 5 bets, the chance of a sixth bet dropped to 19% compared to 46% for those who did – these went onto place 10 bets, 65% of those had 20 bets and 30% would reach 110 bets.
All aspects revolve around delivering a personal experience at each touch point and developing a genuine customer relationship. Operators who invest in this strategy will build a brand people relate with and put themselves in the best position to succeed as a business.
Andrew Dagnall – CEO – Bettorlogic