Search remains a potentially lucrative acquisition channel for sports betting operators, but the ever-changing Google landscape makes it one of the most challenging for marketers to get right.
Which explains why a group of marketing and SEO specialists from sports betting and online casino operators could be found in a conference room at Google’s London office on a cold, wet November afternoon for a seminar entitled What’s New In Search Marketing For Gaming Marketers?
Organised by SBC Awards-nominated digital marketing agency Receptional, the seminar saw five experts provide insights into the latest developments in organic and paid search, as well as some of the more creative aspects of promoting a brand online.
Yiannis Pavlakis of Google opened proceedings, detailing the changing trends in the more than 90 million gaming searches in the UK each month. In addition to a growing interest in esports betting and the popularity of rugby among female bettors, he highlighted the increase in searches for gambling-related phrases that include words that suggest immediacy such as ‘today’ or ‘tonight’.
Pavlakis also revealed a 30% year-on-year growth in gaming searches on YouTube, suggesting that there is a major opportunity to reach players via branded video content. YouTube channels about poker, casino and esports are particularly popular with young consumers.
Receptional’s managing director Justin Deaville then updated the audience on the latest developments in PPC advertising, including various new Google ad formats and the huge potential offered by video adverts.
Importantly, he also looked at some of the ways gaming operators can reduce the costs and improve the conversion rates of their ad campaigns. From better audience targeting and more relevant ad text to faster mobile site speeds, there are lots of opportunities to increase ROI from Google and YouTube ad campaigns – it’s all about having the required expertise.
Matt Lewis, Lead Creative at Fall Off The Wall, talked about developing creative ideas that are adaptable enough to perform across multiple channels, illustrating the point with some examples of attention-grabbing TV and social media ads produced for Sky Bingo and Sky Vegas.
He also detailed the importance of some elements that can easily be overlooked – such as strong subtitles for social videos as many people watch with the sound turned off – and made the point that advertisers only have a three-second window in which to engage customers with digital ads.
Dean Akinjobi, CEO of Football Media, discussed the potential benefits of influencer marketing for operators, and why it can only work if the messaging is authentic, the voice is right and engaging content is targeted to the correct audience.
He also looked at how to achieve an aligned multi-channel marketing strategy, so that each team involved is working towards the same goal, their efforts are complementary and that investment is made in the most effective areas.
The seminar concluded with Receptional’s Head of Sports and Gaming Jack Rose detailing the many steps he uses in content-based SEO campaigns for sports betting and online casino operators.
The points were illustrated by an impressive case study that demonstrated how his team had kept an operator at the top of the Google rankings during the build-up to and week of the Cheltenham Festival, helping to drive increased levels of traffic to site and a greater number of sign-ups.
Overall, the afternoon featured a host of insights and some useful tips, and also served to illustrate both the potential offered by search marketing and the complexity of running successful campaigns in the highly-competitive gaming sector. The main takeaways from the event included:
- You don’t have to choose between data and creativity. Identifying and analysing the key data is essential to any successful campaign, but imagination and clever messaging also have an important role to play in converting searchers into registered users.
- It isn’t all about size of budget. Smaller operators can compete in search, providing they have access to the expertise needed to follow the latest best practice.
- Relevance and quality are crucial to the success of both organic and paid search campaigns. If you are investing in search marketing, make sure people who click are taken to useful, engaging landing pages about the subject they expect to find.
- Google is constantly changing, as are consumer preferences, so your team’s skills and knowledge base also need regular updating. The financial benefits of getting search marketing right are potentially huge, so money spent on up-to-date expertise – whether in the form of training or specialist external resource – is a sound investment.
Receptional will be running another seminar for search marketers in the gaming industry in the new year. Contact Maxine Wilson to register your interest in attending.