Xtremepush’s Tommy Kearns: giving players a reason to stick with you

Xtremepush’s Tommy Kearns: giving players a reason to stick with you

Tommy Kearns, CEO of Xtremepush, reflects on the firm’s recent purchase of Thunderbite, the importance of a unified player journey and how the standard sports betting app doesn’t quite cut it anymore.

Firstly, are you able to tell us more about the acquisition of Thunderbite and its significance on the igaming industry?

The acquisition of Thunderbite by Xtremepush opens up a new world of opportunities in igaming. With this gamification added to our existing omnichannel engagement and CDP capabilities, we saw this as an easy fit to enhance our platform and a way to take igaming to the next level. This puts us years ahead.

The impact on the industry is significant, as genuine loyalty in igaming is rare. Many operators offer VIP and rewards programs, but they often lack a unified player journey perspective. Unification can’t be understated, here.

Integrating these programs with CRM, at scale, is challenging, leading to operators falling short of creating the wow experiences they need throughout the player lifecycle. In order to drive loyalty, it’s crucial to execute these programs effectively in order to excite players, stay relevant to them, encouraging repeat and enriching engagement.

Xtremepush now offers a comprehensive gamification and loyalty engine that enhances player retention through personalised strategies. This approach ensures players remain engaged, and become loyal to your sportsbook for pay-to-play casino games or sports betting. 

With Thunderbite added to our even further unified platform, we can apply gamification and rewards in real-time, tailoring them to individual players and analysing results through our customer insight module. This makes us the most comprehensive and unified player engagement platform in the entire industry.

As global gaming markets become increasingly competitive, why is redefining the loyalty game so important for companies looking to maximise player retention?

There are new operators entering the market every day. What this means is there are new offers and new products constantly catching the eye of players. Most of the time the offers are so enticing that it’s nearly impossible for players to ignore them, so they go for it. This is what I mean when I say that real loyalty is actually seldom seen in the industry. Players easily jump from offer to offer across various providers.

Nearly every operator has to create bolder and increasingly tempting offers to win customers. We are seeing acquisition costs skyrocket while also seeing churn rates put operators at serious risk. This comes as a result of the concentration on acquisition over retention in the industry. Where retention is a clear focus it is not completely joined up across the entire lifecycle of the player due to technology challenges.

These are all things that can be avoided by leaning more toward maximising the entire player journey as a whole. This is where providing personalised engagement, offers and using gamification along their journey comes into play. You give players a reason to stick with you, even when the offers out there are so magnetic. If a player feels more emotionally connected to one betting provider over another, they are much more likely to stick with you.

And that’s where Xtemepush with Thunderbite provides that tangible value. We get them to stick. 

How have player expectations evolved in recent years when it comes to the customer experience?

Whether a player continues to place bets with you is down to the experience that you provide for them. In the past it was the operators that called the shots and the player had to put up with it. These days it’s a different story and if you don’t live up to evolving player expectations then they will go elsewhere. 

It’s worth reminding ourselves and our partner operators that players are demanding hyper-personalised experiences. There’s always the expectation that platforms understand their preferences, offer tailored recommendations, and provide personalised engagement across all channels where and when relevant.

There is a lot of value in instant gratification for players. This is why casino games, slots, and similar products are so important to have as an operator. The standard sports betting app doesn’t quite cut it anymore. Players want live betting opportunities. Real-time data, live streaming of events, and the ability to place bets while a match or game is taking place is integral to matching those expectations.

Acquiring the data from the Thunderbite deal is crucial, but what steps are you taking and how important is it that the data is maximised?

Data is the very thing that pulls this whole thing together and makes it as powerful as it is. Gamification is the tool to drive player acquisition, conversion and loyalty in engaging ways that will help operators stand out. But gamification alone won’t do the job. You need to maximise and unify the data to a high standard in order to get the best from it.

The real-time player data aspect allows operators to get a deep understanding of their players so they can trigger the right F2P game or reward at the right time based on behaviour, lifecycle stage and player value.

Being a unified solution means that operators don’t need to work with multiple solutions anymore and spend weeks pulling different data streams out, analysing it, and uploading combined players segments to a campaigning engine. You can now deliver one-to-one gamification experiences within the same platform.

Can you talk more on AI-driven activations off the back of this collaboration?

AI has fast become a must-have when it comes to solutions like us. We have been introducing new AI driven activities at Xtremepush for a few years. It is something that has been very much in our wheelhouse for a long while.

Our philosophy when it comes to how we implement AI is to ensure we empower our clients in a transparent and controllable way. We want the features we build to allow marketers to easily make use of, and learn about, machine learning capabilities. This used to be the sole domain of data scientists. Not anymore. Machine learning models, used for sorting or making predictions, should be accessible to our customers.

With Thunderbite in the picture now it certainly strengthens us even further in that regard.

A huge thing for us and our product is the ability to use AI to predict players at risk of churn, which can happen so quickly for many operators. For example, we have activations that identify early life and high value player churn. Once identified, these players receive personalised campaigns and offers that meet their needs and expectations.

In addition, we have our out-of-the-box lifecycle campaigns that enable you to deliver AI-Powered, igaming-specific campaigns in minutes. So there’s a lot going on when it comes to AI and Xtremepush.

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