Continuing our series of interviews for the upcoming ICE 2014 conference, team SBC discuses with MetroPlay’s Managing Director Jamie Walters, mobile gaming strategies, marketing for mobile gaming and mobile content management. MetroPlay re-launched in 2013 its Metro Casino brand into the UK igaming market, with a dedicated focus on mobile take-up.
MD Jamie Walters will be sitting on the panel at the ‘Compelling Content for Mobile Gaming Session’ at ICE 2014.
SBC: Jamie great to meet you. Metro Play has had an interesting journey in igaming, from a white label brand to a ‘mobile first’ driven operator – can you summarize your company’s journey for our readers and why you chose to focus on mobile gaming?
Jamie: We launched Metro Play in June 2013 and have exceeded all our expectations since, in many ways because we took the decision to focus heavily on mobile and have delivered what is the best browser-based mobile casino on the UK market. This is reflected in the time our users spend on mobile and the value they deliver. We came to our mobile-first strategy as a direct result of our white-label experiences. While it was a great entry mechanism for us into the world of gaming, it did demonstrate that if you can’t control the user experience you can’t keep pace with market development and the changing needs of your customers.
SBC: Operationally you have had to change to a mobile driven strategy, what key competencies have you and your team gained and learned in the process?
Jamie: We are learning all the time this should never stop being the case. Once of the biggest areas in terms of product has been around responsive design and creating a product that can looks perfectly designed for whichever device it is being used on, and to do this off just one url without creating multiple separate products. We are also constantly gaining new insights into what users want from mobile registration, deposits, withdrawals and actual gameplay as well as understanding time of day and the context in which users prefer mobile. This will be an ever evolving landscape so we need to make sure we are able to understand rapidly changing customer needs and ensure our products and services are meeting them.
SBC: Your product allows for multiple games from various software operators, how do you choose the content you display to your customer, and how does your team gauge the impact the game has had on your overall product?
Jamie: We are personalising and segmenting wherever possible, so it’s really the user who decides which games they use. When a user is logged in, the top left section of the homepage on desktop and tablet view displays their favourite games. We are also introducing segmented user journeys so that when you sign up, we use the information provided to showcase the games that will be most relevant to you. When it comes to customers, we want to make decisions based on their preferences rather than our preferences.
SBC: In terms of retention how does mobile differ from traditional formats? Do you use different promotions, messaging and rewards to target mobile players?
Jamie: It’s important to make sure CRM is created with mobile consumption in mind. We know that more than 50% of our emails are opened on mobile devices so the experience needs to be right in that context. Then of course you have a whole array of mobile-specific tools such as push notifications and good old SMS which are a big opportunity to communicate directly with your customers. We do run mobile specific promotions to raise awareness of our mobile product among our desktop-only users. However we are careful on this as some of our best customers use both desktop and mobile and we don’t want them to feel excluded
SBC: MetroPlay have a great channel to distribute its product through the daily free Metro Newspaper, however are mobile distribution channels limited at this time. What should operators do to improve distribution of content to potential customers?
Jamie: Mobile advertising is still in its infancy – 2014 for mobile advertising is what 1999 was for desktop. That said, we get very good mobile results off certain channels, not least search and social. From an operator perspective, it is imperative that we make any mobile creative as compelling as possible and then ensure that the user journey once the ad has been clicked on is as simple and intuitive as possible. So, for instance, our registration process on mobile needs to be designed specifically for mobile, and as far as possible to the actual device being used. It’s no good shoe-horning a web page into a mobile one.
SBC:. You are speaking on Mobile Content at ICE 2014 – what do you want delegates to take away from your session?
Jamie: That you can’t think in mobile vs desktop terms anymore. Everything in terms of digital content is mobile and needs to be mobile, and this is as much the case for gaming as it is for e-commerce or finance or any other sector. And of course I want delegates to leave in the knowledge that Metro Play is a leading the way in mobile casino.
Jamie Walters – Managing Director of MetroPlay Gaming