Earlier this month, Sportradar launched ad:s, the firm’s full-service marketing offer for sports betting operators.
We caught up with Felix Geyr, Managing Director of Sports Media at Sportradar, for his take on the new service, how it can help operators increase their customer numbers, and why its customisable combination of automated and non-automated data-driven marketing components makes it a truly bespoke and effective solution.
SBC: How will ad:s help sports betting operators bring more customers to market?
FG: There are a number of things ad:s can do for betting operators. Essentially it can help improve the efficiency of their marketing spend to improve their ROI. Worldwide, across all industries, there are billions of dollars’ worth of marketing spend that is being wasted. So ad:s, as a bespoke service for the betting industry, is great news for operators.
What we have done with ad:s is combined our betting knowledge with our Sports Media expertise. As such, we are building on our work with betting operators to offer examples of best practice using our Sports Media expertise, which includes OTT platform, streaming, widgets, social media and sports content solutions. In this way, we can help operators retain and attract customers, by simplifying the customer journey and making their experience a better one.
With ad:s we leverage our expertise to offer data-driven marketing including audience targeting, conversions through live odds integration tools and campaign tracking. We therefore match solutions to the challenge or optimisation area the operator wants to focus on, whether that’s brand awareness, customer acquisition, retention or revenue stimulation.
ad:s complements our existing world-leading 360-degree betting portfolio. The products and solutions that are part of this offering are fully customisable, tailoring to client needs and their required levels of service.
Some clients access our odds, others obtain our data and price their books themselves, while some integrate more of a full-service offering, where we act as an outsourced service provider for trading, for example. ad:s can be integrated in a similar way. So, for operators looking to increase their brand awareness, the sponsorship or brand activation components of ad:s can be utilised.
While, other operators may come to us and say ‘well actually brand awareness is not my problem, but I’m not converting very well’, or even, ‘I convert well, but I have a churn problem’. In this situation, ad:s can assist with creative forms of targeted messages that are relevant to the user.
There is a large portion of audiences that aren’t being spoken to in the right way. If you look at how betting operators communicate with the market, there is the opportunity to be a lot more intuitive in addressing their needs.
SBC: What is the level of non-automation as part of the ad:s service?
FG: Touching on the last point above, the magic of ad:s is that it combines our data, betting and Sports Media expertise. Our Sports Media vertical provides businesses with a number of different products and services that helps sports deepen their fan engagement and with their marketing efforts.
ad:s utilises this knowledge to further understand sports fans and their activity, generating specific marketing messages and targeted creative content to various audiences. This is the automated piece of ad:s. Like most of our services, however, there is also a level of non-automation that we do manually, which includes SEO, UI and UX.
We take a holistic look, as part of an ongoing process with clients, to ensure campaigns are working as effectively as possible. If we help achieve six out of the ten problems an operator might have, for example, but they still have issues with UI, UX, SEO and their customer journey, that is where we will come in and offer the non-automated component.
This is part of a bench-marking exercise that we run manually using our wide-ranging proficiency. We have a team that can assess the customer journey, we have a team that can check whether SEO is being optimised, and we have a team with betting industry expertise who knows about best practice in the market too.
SBC: It was announced as a full-service, but is there an option for sports betting operators to work with just select ad:s components?
FG: It is a full-service but, like our entire betting portfolio, ad:s can be tailored for a variety of different operators. We understand the diversity of the betting universe and therefore, depending on their size and what stage they’re at, operators are going to require different levels of support.
Established betting operators are more likely to pick and choose from our services in a more tailored manner, whereas the more up and coming operators may be more likely to go for the full-service package.
Again, it also depends on their individual needs. Some may need more sponsorship-related services, others may be looking to optimise their churn. So different businesses may want separate elements of ad:s rather than the full suite and, again, we understand that and have designed it as such.
There are other organisations and agencies that offer similar services to ad:s but, with almost two decades in the betting space, we can offer these in a unique way for operators in particular. This is what makes ad:s a truly differentiating service in the industry.
SBC: What do you think is the number one feature of the best marketed sportsbook?
FG: For operators, I think it’s best to answer that question from the perspective of their customers. What does the customer perceive as the most appealing features of a sportsbook? And what does it take to make them more willing to place a bet? This is the sort of information ad:s can help identify. Because, to be honest, it really depends on the audience, who they are, what they like and where they are in the world.
If you are someone who isn’t that actively involved in betting, but have a potential interest to place a bet in a social setting for instance, you’re likely to display a very different behaviour to those that make money from betting regularly.
The more professional punters are, obviously, very price led and more in tune with where they will get the best odds. They are the people that constantly compare the odds for each game and usually bet, or have accounts, across a number of different operators.
The casual punter, by contrast, is very different. If they want to place a bet, they’d probably search online for any betting company that they’ve recently seen advertised or marketed somehow. This is very brand and recognition led.
As such, I would say that aspects like CRM, breadth of data, pricing, customer experience and trust are all important features of sportsbooks that operators need to take into account. Again, you also have to consider the different segments of your audience and what appeals to each of them.
In the betting environment, these opportunities are there for all operators, no matter how big or small. Globally, while there are a select number of operators that run a very large portion of the market, smaller operators can co-exist as they are very unique and specific to the local context in which they operate.
And this can be reflected in the way they utilise ad:s to boost their sportsbook offering. as:s helps operators to improve the efficiency of their value chain as a whole, reducing the number of intermediaries required. And, in that respect, they have a much simpler and more targeted approach.
In the future I see ad:s growing, with a version for publishers to have access to the same marketplace and grow their inventory with the tools we provide. But this is step two of the journey. For now, we are excited to see how this launch carries into ICE and beyond.