As the consumer landscape for digital products continues to evolve at a rapid rate, betting and gaming companies must be prepared to adapt their offering to meet the changing demands of bettors. Niclas Sundell, Head of Sales at Abios, discusses the growing importance of personalisation, a streamlined user experience and access to deep data sets.
The consumer landscape for digital products is changing at a rapid pace. Just 20 years ago, the DVD player seemed like a groundbreaking innovation. It provided a faster and better user experience than its predecessor: the VHS tape. The tape had to be rewinded after use, and offered an image quality that was dwindling. The DVD player came in as a saving grace, removing the friction by making the product more user friendly.
While the DVD player offered a better experience in terms of ease-of-use and image quality, customers still had to buy several movies to have a selection to choose from.
This all changed with the introduction of the internet. As an alternative to DVD players, people opted to download movies illegally from the internet as a way of getting hold of a larger selection of titles. While many argued consumers opted for pirated movies because they were free of charge, it quickly became evident that it just wasn’t the case.
The real driving force behind the change seemed to be the drive to find the easiest and most convenient way to watch movies. When Netflix came around, they charged for their services and provided the movie industry with revenue through royalties, but gave their customers a superior experience by removing the friction in the movie consuming process, namely the lack of convenience, selection and quality.
Their libraries of seemingly endless entertainment options gave customers the selection they craved for, while providing them with quality video feeds which could be hard to come by when downloading movies. All the while using algorithms to create a tailored user experience that gave users titles based on their previous watching patterns.
These innovations, among many others in various fields, have resulted in the younger generations being accustomed to a certain standard in product design and user experience. The services widely used, Uber, Spotify, Discord, TikTok and Instagram, are all optimised to deliver the easiest possible experience while using algorithms to provide the user with personalised content that keeps them entertained for hours on end.
The use case for personalised algorithms doesn’t end there. The user-centric innovations in the social media sphere could very well be implemented in the sports betting landscape.
Many sports betting products are still structured around a classic spreadsheet-format, where players have to scroll through numerous sports, tournaments and matches to find bet offers to their liking. Similarly to when customers had to sort through endless rows of movies in a movie-rental in the DVD-era.
However, there are learnings to take from the latest generation of entertainment providers. Instead of showcasing endless numbers of bet offers and e.g. cricket to someone who has never seen a match, the onboarding process could allow players to choose the teams and sports they enjoy watching.
Later, the player could get personalised suggestions on the matches of teams they are most interested in. Hence, removing the friction of sorting through various offers. Sportsbooks could also become more experimental in offering a more diverse set of market types and finding out what each individual user prefers.
Another way of reducing friction could be to make the user experience more convenient. When a bet is placed, there is typically a delay of a few seconds. This is sometimes used as a hedge by odds providers to ensure that the user is not taking advantage of potential delays of data feeds or models. Naturally, this makes the experience worse for the player and is only one example of how the technicalities surrounding the product can be improved.
Lastly, players don’t get much interaction with the sportsbook after a bet is placed. They might see that the odds are changing, but aren’t getting any other indication as to how the bet is performing. What could be done, is to showcase some sort of highlights from the match describing how different events affect the bet placed.
At Abios, we’re working on odds products for esports, and given about 30 % of the esports audience is between 25-34 years old according to a study by GlobalWebIndex (2019), we continuously work to find ways of engaging with this new generation and to adhere to their needs and product expectations.
In this sense, it can be beneficial to find inspiration among other industries that have succeeded with the same quest in the near past.