Automation, personalisation and that all important Netflix-style experience are hot topics on this year’s operator agenda.
With that in mind, we sat down with Alex Kornilov (pictured), Managing Director for Parimatch’s new global innovation partner, Betegy, to talk through how his company is bringing the latest in tech to the B2C marketing space.
SBC: Your recent landmark ‘global innovation’ deal with Parimatch looks set to be very comprehensive – can you take us through the agreement and what the partnership entails?
AK: In short, our product takes acquisition and engagement for B2C marketing and brings it to the next level. For a truly innovative operator like Parimatch, which has been pioneering operator marketing for the past decade, our goals were perfectly aligned to establish a strategic partnership to help them revolutionise their internal processes.
Each of our clients has a fully customised experience and it solves their problems for years to come – and rather than being an ‘off the shelf’ product, we look to lay the foundation for their further growth.
The thinking here, when we first began discussions with Parimatch a few years ago, was that with an ever-increasing demand from consumers for personalised content, a plan could be set in place to get us to where we are now – being ready to offer custom content for every single one of their players – as well as complete personalisation and automation for all of their creative processes.
In terms of what our partnership with Parimatch entails – we’re only just getting started! Step one was going live and to have our solution optimised working and bringing value. Where we are now is just the tip of the iceberg, and I see significant scope to expand into automated video generation, animated content generation and much more.
We’re really able to stand apart given the bespoke nature of our offering – including the structuring of our base platform around one framework, which has allowed us to learn and expand our delivery to Parimatch to make it truly unique for their B2C marketing teams.
SBC: In terms of the platform and capabilities – can you give us a quick snapshot of the Betegy timeline and how it’s developed since 2012?
AK: For us, it’s all about media. We started out in data analytics – developing different types of power rankings with the likes of soccer, which worked very well. However, by 2013 we realised that looking at others, we could see odds and the like were based on very basic statistical models – and we started offering our product for free to drive traffic to the operator.
Media companies also started to ask to buy our APIs to access our data, and we soon worked out that selling data on its own was not enough. Around Euro 2016, we showcased our productions and power rankings via Yahoo Sports.
They liked it so much they asked for expanded visualisations and we started to talk about pain points. We realised that the visualisation of our data, offering head-to-head statistics and comparisons, was engaging across all content and platforms and proving a formidable acquisition and retention driver.
And then I realised – what if we add odds for operators? I turned up in Berlin at a conference – and started showing a demo of our products – and operators were going crazy for it. We did a lot of work behind the curtain, going public with the product in 2018, and for the last two years we’ve been going from milestone to milestone.
We know that as the industry has continued to develop since it began in the 2000s, operators now fill a much larger role than the primary function of being able to pay-out on bets. Following on from the likes of bonuses, loyalty and risk-free bets, we’re now entering the era of “untouchable value” for brands, where loyalty is based on whether the brand meets the customers’ values and principles.
This is where a competitive advantage can be carved in the market, and we’re seeing it in the industry in real time, where we’re now moving from stage two to stage three – and that of creating “untouchable value”. This will demand a new way of engaging sports betting fans beyond affiliates – and this is what personalised, bespoke and automated marketing of content can do.
SBC: Tell us about the Betegy delivery – is automation of marketing campaigns limited to sports betting operators, or are there other verticals where this can also work?
AK: We work across multiple verticals and we learn from each other. We’re always looking to liaise and meet with our customers to talk feedback – and this constant refinement allows us to continue to seek out new opportunities and add value.
This format of personalised marketing can also work for casino and retail – and there’s plenty of growth potential for us in this space. With infotainment screens and terminals, there is ample opportunity to push personalised, segmented marketing material. It is just about finding out the correct way of approaching each sector.
SBC: Why is the Betegy product so unique from a personalisation perspective? Are there any cases where regional compliance can become a limiting factor to its full potential?
AK: We truly believe it’s the best out there, insofar the fact that no one else has gone this far yet. We’re personalising through the lens of each of our clients. This product didn’t come from a vision, but rather from listening to our clients and delivering based on what’s needed.
It’s all about applying what our client wants and bringing it to the real world – our goal since 2012 has been to be at the intersection of sports betting and data, and it came at the request of real people – and delivers exactly what the market needs.
On compliance – we like rules! It ensures we can hard code our delivery into each market, which means they will have completely different creatives (missing logos, GambleAware, odds formats). We take a brief from each operator’s legal team and everything we deliver is literally hard-wired to deliver in line with compliance. After all, we’ve all seen what happens when it goes wrong.
SBC: Looking ahead to the Euros this summer, what kind of marketing campaigns do you see the industry deploying? And what does the future hold for betting entertainment in Europe?
AK: Looking at the Euros, what resonates most with players? Their team. All marketing messages should be about the team. We expect regional operators to build regional campaigns catered towards each structure – and designed in a way that can engage players throughout.
However, we can help them undertake this differently – operators from Sweden can develop content for German market in the exact way that is expected by locals. Customers can recognise a lack of authenticity from a mile away. Animation and similar visual stimuli are expensive, but expected, so when you want to share a live score update or the like, new challenges are raised – although we’re here to solve that.
On the subject of entertainment, what is interesting here is that if we look at sports, and especially the work we are doing with sports media companies, is the emerging demand for the Bloomberg style experience. This is what the future of betting entertainment is going to be. Look at the UK for example, with expected goals and probabilities.
To talk about this, you need a visual presentation. At the same time, data-driven content is now king.
As to what Europe is going to look like as a whole? Take a look at the US and the mergers we’re seeing between bookmakers and sports media companies.
F1’s taken this to a new level of course – the Netflix deal has been crucial to growing their viewership during the pandemic, and it has been key to creating that interactive digital betting experience we all know the industry will evolve into.
I see this as an incredibly exciting time to be in the industry. While last year had its challenges, we’re also going to see plenty of conversation this year as to how we can truly harness what’s possible with tech.