Round table – FSB: The future of sportsbook personalisation

Some of the leading suppliers to the sports betting industry offered their insights into the future for sportsbook personalisation based on automated customer segmentation, advanced behavioural analysis and predictive AI-driven models.

The second round table participant was FSB, who last week struck a new deal with Mark Jarvis Racing, one of the leading independent bookmakers in the UK. The company was represented by its CEO David McDowell.

SBC: What role does pricing and risk have to play in the differentiation of a sportsbook offering?

David McDowell (FSB): Thanks to automated, algorithmic pricing, it’s increasingly a homogenised arena for odds these days where the market unerringly assigns “good” prices to any probabilistic scenario. As a result, there are progressively few good reasons to really stand out on price. Going best price as part of a marketing ploy, however, does present one such beneficial channel, for example.

Accordingly, we offer our clients (especially those who retain their own trading teams) the facility to push volume in a controlled manner whenever they wish. Price boosts offers are widespread, too.

But with players readily able to back and lay in the modern world, carpet-baggers can be quick to exploit such arbitrage opportunities. Therefore, you must employ flexible profiling and risk-management tools that can reward the regular customer yet restrict the arber.

SBC: How can operators build on their customer analytics to both improve player experience and drive higher margins?

DM: There’s so much data that resides in sportsbook that you can’t simply rely on, say, turnover as a proxy for likely revenue as you would with a casino. You need to filter the sharp from the recreational with meta tags and segmentation tools that accurately identify clients and their playing proclivities. While this can mean restricting negative forces like those aforementioned arbers, it’s mostly a positive movement with which to enhance the player journey (e.g. putting the right market in front of the customer).

Tags that flag behavioural traits (in-play biases, preferred markets, sports, even a customer’s favourite football club or tennis player) can improve the experience and correctly configure landing pages and other dynamic aspects of the customer journey from the log-in, according to customer inclination.

SBC: How can AI and analytics be used to personalise and tailor the sports betting experience?

DM: Logically, following on from my previous answer, improved turnover and margins will inevitably follow if your system can effectively recognise your customer from the log-in, offering a personalised and customised experience. Marketing campaigns can also be tailored in the same fashion. Indeed, I believe these high-volume AI systems present a key battleground of the future for marketeers implementing successful strategies.

Essentially, AI is a tool to refine and gear up what you can already do manually in order that a more efficient process can ensue. That’s true whether you’re measuring margin or installing an optimised marketing campaign to better speak to the customer and elevates their experience. At FSB, we’ve staked our model around such automation, building the most advanced, responsive platform around understanding the workflow before trying to make it more efficient.

Harnessing technology, for which AI is a useful tool, in the most efficient way is one of the reasons why just 14 of our traders can oversee 35 brands across 8 platform implementations, each trading over 100,000 live events annually. Indeed, we’ve staked our business model on processing these economies of scale with the industry’s most scalable, flexible, and efficient sports betting and gaming platform.

SBC: A lot has been said recently about gamification, what can it do for sportsbook?

DM: Gamification, as a buzzword, has been doing the rounds for years but it’s only now that the systems are finally in place to realise its player engagement and retention possibilities. As we’ve already discussed, in a marketplace of increasingly standardised odds and markets, what separates the customer experience, aside from simply having your site function well?

The wider mass market is yet to execute gamification in any worthwhile way, so there are certainly still gaps for some more niche brands to develop and flourish with fully gamified products along the Words With Friends model whereby social interaction helps to drive more frequent snack-sized engagement sessions. This would definitely do a better job for customer retention with stronger bonusing and clearer incentives, but would be extremely niche for the entire sports betting experience.

To which end, it’s no surprise to see various free-to-play options, premised on gamification, already taking the lead as lead generation or customer acquisition tools.

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