SBC News Genius Sports: Leveraging F2P games to drive acquisition and daily retention for Euro 2024

Genius Sports: Leveraging F2P games to drive acquisition and daily retention for Euro 2024

SBC News Genius Sports: Leveraging F2P games to drive acquisition and daily retention for Euro 2024
Ed Versen: Genius Sports

Ed Versen, Director of Client Strategy and Implementation (EMEA) at Genius Sports, outlines why F2P games are a ‘must have’ for operators that want to attract recreational audiences and convert them to real-money betting at Euro 2024.

With UEFA Euro 2024 a matter of weeks away, attention will soon turn to the pre-tournament battle for new customer acquisition. Like every major tournament, this summer’s Euros will be preceded by a window of opportunity where operators fight it out to win new users, via sign-up offers and other online promotions.

However, while offer and bonus-led marketing tactics will bring new users through the door, recent tournaments show that these users don’t guarantee lifetime value. Today’s sports bettors are wise to the lucrative promotions available, often registering new accounts with multiple operators to earn free bets, before quickly churning after the first deposit.

As we approach June’s curtain-raiser between Germany and Scotland, operators must diversify in order to maximise results. Free-to-play (F2P) games are more attuned at delivering acquisition and retention than ever. But what does the ideal F2P strategy look like for Euro 2024?

Convert high-value new users

One of the primary benefits of a free-to-play strategy is the profile of user they bring into your marketing funnel. Throughout the season, millions of football fans predict scores, consume statistics and enter fantasy contests to win prizes. A showcase Euro 2024 F2P game, that is highly complementary to sports betting and familiar to casual football fans, such as fantasy, predictors and bracket challenges, will enable operators to build and convert recreational betting audiences at scale.

Importantly, these engaged new users will interact frequently with your brand and generate higher LTVs (at Euro 2024 and beyond) than the ever-frustrating “bonus abusing” customer that alternative strategies might draw in.

With major teams and players in action, a fantasy, predictor or bracket challenge game is the perfect way to drive deep tournament engagement. Meanwhile, lighter-touch experiences like “Pick 6” formats, acca challenges and goalscorer predictors are equally adept at driving daily onsite interaction and retention. These games can be easily localised across markets, so if you’re a Georgian operator for example – with Georgia qualifying for the Euros for the first-time ever – a F2P strategy is a no brainer.

By building F2P contests directly into the sportsbook environment – as is increasingly the case – or through an externally hosted but branded digital product, operators can capitalise on the big opportunity this summer presents.

Be the go-to sportsbook

For sportsbooks, major tournaments like Euro 2024 can make or break the year. With so much turnover up for grabs, share of wallet and loyalty are extremely important measures. By creating a distinct value proposition and user experience, free-to-play games will strengthen your position as the go-to football sportsbook.

F2P game mechanics like mini leagues, dynamic leaderboards and segmented prizing will keep players returning to your sportsbook on an almost daily basis. This is backed up by the research Superbet conducted in partnership with Genius Sports of their customer base, which showed appetite for smaller leaderboards in order to incentivise repeat engagement and make winning more achievable. These features encourage social competition and sharing to increase acquisition, too.

Our data shows that F2P users have up to a 4x higher propensity to place a bet than non-F2P users. Embedding real-money betting markets, odds and pre-populated betslip integrations within F2P games are proven to drive conversions. By serving contextual bet prompts related to each user’s F2P entries, and by making the UX journey to add to the betslip as seamless as possible, our clients continue to enjoy powerful results in terms of new deposits and betting activity. An added benefit, F2P entries align closely with accumulator, betbuilder and player prop markets, which are high-margin in nature.

How does this look in practice? When a user predicts England to beat Serbia 2-0 in their opening group game, for example, they will automatically see the relevant odds in the Correct Score market. At the same time, a user that selects Jude Bellingham as “Captain” in their fantasy team might see odds of Bellingham in the Player of the Match market.

Don’t miss out on segmented rewards

As F2P games require a registration, operators can capture valuable first-party data to understand and segment their audience. This enables greater conversion and loyalty rates, through personalised CRM and onsite content, as well as tailored rewards and promotions.

Too often at the end of tournaments, players that have been acquired at great expense simply end up churning. By making F2P games an integral part of tournament acquisition efforts, operators will have accumulated much richer audience data to help retain them.

One way operators can refine their marketing is to leverage user’s F2P activity to inform customer segmentation and identify the best way to market to different customer profiles. By segmenting audience data based on size of bet, bet type preferences and favourite players, this data can be folded into your broader retention efforts.

Fast games such as spin to win and other fun, easy-to-play daily formats are a great mechanism which continue to engage recreational players acquired during the tournament. Rewards within these games can be driven by customer segmentation, with personalised rewards for different audience profiles, with bigger prizes for higher value players. These retention tools are also a great way to cross-sell other gaming products such as free roulette spins and other online casino products.

By incentivising daily interactions, operators can build a positive feedback loop, giving lower value customers a reason to keep coming back to bet, while at the same time rewarding the loyalty of their most valuable customers. By fostering longer-term relationships with players that keep them engaged heading into 24/25 football season, operators grow the lifetime value of their player base.

Euro 2024 is set to be the tournament where F2P games become a tournament ‘must have’ for sports betting operators.

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