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 next round table participant was gbet, represented by its Business Development Director, Conall McSorley.
SBC: What role does pricing and risk have to play in the differentiation of a sportsbook offering?
CM: While we fully appreciate that there are a number of fundamentals involved in a successful sportsbook offering, there is no question that – to borrow a phrase from our American counterparts – pricing “is the ball game” for customers and by extension operators.
There was a time when a “vanilla” price offering wouldn’t negatively impact on an operator’s ability to acquire and or retain customers. That time, however (as Simon Trim from Sporting Solutions so eloquently wrote in these very columns), is long since past.
As a bespoke platform and sportsbook supplier it is vitally important that we give the operator all of the necessary tools in order to compete on price but manage risk profitably.
That means the integration of multiple price and data suppliers, so that operators can choose which feed providers for which sports works best, pre-event and in play.
Further, the ability to bias pricing is fundamental, that is, to take a price from a feed provider and manipulate that price based on given criteria from the Trading Desk. Also one of gbet’s USPs is that the operator can offer a specific biased price to a cohort of customers satisfying certain profiling criteria or to an individual customer as a personalised price.
A suite of effective Risk Management tools is vital to the operator and the management of risk should be dependant solely on the operator’s own liabilities and their risk appetite. Suppliers should also focus on core competencies and have as many outsourced risk management partners linked to their offering, giving operators as much choice as possible.
While product, promotions and market depth among other elements, all have a substantial role to play in the success and popularity of a sportsbook. The “commodity” at sale here is the odds associated with the bet and as such pricing is the main driver in a customer determining whether to choose operator A over operator B.
SBC: How can operators build on their customer analytics to both enhance player experience and drive higher margins?
CM: From a supplier’s perspective our role is to furnish the operator with the tools to manage their business and make decisions that are fact based. To that end, back office tooling is vital. However at gbet, we go one stage further and believe in ensuring our clients have access to real time data in order to offer the best possible experience to their customers.
A good example might be a major televised football match where the referee has disallowed a perfectly good goal causing a number of punters to have losing bets which should have been winning ones. The gbet reporting tool allows the operator to check in real time which customers have placed a bet that should have been a winner and, by connecting to a CRM tool, communicate a justice payment or free bet to those customers within seconds of the event occurring or match ending.
It’s the timing of the award that will strike the most resonant chord with the customer. The operator’s ability to interrogate the database and issue the promotion in real time means that the customer has funds in their account at the point when they felt most aggrieved. This encourages greater loyalty to the operator and ultimately greater lifetime value.
SBC: How can AI and analytics be used to personalise and tailor the sports betting experience?
CM: The online betting industry has done a U-turn in the last number of years in terms of content. The competitive battle was not so long ago being fought from a quantitative perspective, more events and more markets. Nowadays, operators should be taking a less is more approach, especially when it comes to mobile navigation and specifically this is where AI and personalisation can come in.
For example, do I as a rugby punter, who has never placed a bet on cricket, want to see cricket promotions filling up real estate on my mobile phone, or worse still see them as app generated notifications on my mobile?
The very simple answer is no, but again it’s the role of the technical supplier to provide the operator with the tools to allow the operator’s BI function to analyse my gameplay and ultimately populate the front end with events and promotions that are tailored uniquely for me.
Data Warehousing is crucial to the gbet offering and allows the operator to take a panorama view of the end user’s activity across all channels and verticals. This simplifies the personalisation piece for Marketing/CRM and BI departments and allows greater automation of activity based on fact based decision making.
SBC: A lot has been said recently about gamification, what can it do for sportsbook?
CM: Engagement, engagement, engagement, that is what generates loyalty and ultimately increases LTV. As long and this is the caveat, the engagement is “opted into”, and is relevant to the end user.
Gamification is in essence an attempt to move the consumer experience away from the purely transactional and give the bet a greater significance than the monetary value associated with it. How much more fun are competitions with leaderboards and bragging rights based on betting and tipping than simply the bet itself?
The concept of increasing gameplay by competition and leader boards isn’t a novel one, as anyone who wasted some of their formative years playing arcade games can testify. But the challenge for sports betting operators is to make gamification an enhancement of and complementary to the betting experience.