Sandro Di Michele – Sky Betting and Gaming – Ceding control to the punter through interactive products

A huge growth in the amount of data has preceded a surge in the number of betting markets made available by sports betting operators ahead of next summer’s World Cup, as the battle to keep customers engaged for longer heats up.

Sandro Di Michele, Head of PR & Social Media at Sky Betting & Gaming, explained to SBC News how the operator ensures that it continues to provide one of the most dynamic sportsbook products in the industry, placing a specific focus on customer interaction through RequestABet and individual player bets.

SBC: With promotions and price boosts a regular feature on modern betting sites, how important is the customer engagement that comes with ‘RequestABets’ and ‘Crowd boosted enhancements’

Sandro Di Michele: At Sky Bet, we’ve moved over the last couple of years to give customer engagement a much bigger role within our business. By giving punters increased control over what they’re betting on with RequestABet or giving them an emotional attachment to the bet in the Crowd Boosted Acca, we’re aiming to enhance the customer’s experience from start to finish.

SBC: Do you think giving the punter this level of control in the bet they are making is symbolic of how betting is evolving?

SDM: In general, as our use of social media in day to day life increases, customers of all businesses expect more. Quicker and better responses to enquiries, engaging and entertaining content and breaking down walls in communication between customers and relevant people within businesses. Within the betting industry it’s no different.

At Sky Bet, we like to think we’re pushing the boundaries of how social media can be used to engage with customers in ways that we haven’t seen before. RequestABet was groundbreaking in that it allowed our customers a direct route into our trading team that simply didn’t exist before. And it’s helped us by finding out exactly what customers want to bet on, in their own words.

SBC: Is the popularity of the ‘RequestABets’ feature aided by the additional data that is available to fans in the modern day?

SDM: Stats and data are so prevalent within the way the game is covered nowadays that they’ve had an effect on all types of betting, not just the RequestABet product. That said, it’s hard to get away from the fact that these bets often delve deeper into games than merely the results, and corners and booking points can be tracked and predicted in a much more statistical fashion than traditional markets. There always has been room in betting for those who like to study the form book and statistics religiously, just as there has always been room for those that are more instinctive. RequestABet has given both of them a much wider range of markets to pique their interest.

SBC: Sky Bet are leaders in betting on stats and data, how popular do believe individual player bets will be at the World Cup?

SDM: Match result accumulators will always have their place and are still going strong but RequestABets give customers the opportunity to land the big one within a single match instead of relying on multiple matches. A large proportion of RABs feature players but we also find there are customers who are more interested in other incidents like goals, corners & bookings.  

Most punters like cheering on things to happen in matches rather than things not to happen, and players to score and/or get carded certainly fits this criteria. In past international tournaments we’ve seen an increase in individual player bets because people follow the players they know, rather than teams they might not be aware of. Take Iceland for example, customers know Gylfi Sigurdsson but may not be able to name another player in the team.  

SBC: Lastly, how important is it that with the Crowd boosted enhancement there is a way to add an extra element to the betting journey for the punter, as not only do they have the excitement of placing the bet and potentially watching it land, they also can watch the popularity of the bet increase and the price go up?

SDM: This is the key behind the Crowd Boosted Acca that we’ve trialed last year and have made regular during the 2017/18 season. The Crowd Boosted part is fundamental to the user experience, and knowing that the odds will increase the more people are involved adds excitement before the game has even kicked off. As important as the engagement between us and our customers, is the ability this format has for friends to encourage each other to join in the bet, with the goal of increasing the price for everyone.

We will see friends tagging each other and commenting on the tweets as the price increments build up, potentially bringing us brand new customers or at least additional punters on that market. The CBA can be a risky for us as increased customers, plus a higher price means big liabilities build up very quickly, but we believe this is a price worth paying for great customer engagement and increased affinity with our brand.

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