Push notification is the sports betting industry’s most powerful method of connecting with players at speed and scale. That’s according to Robbie Sexton (pictured), Director of Partnerships and Key Accounts at Xtremepush.
But what is it about push messages which make them somewhat of a secret weapon for operators looking to engage and retain bettors? Sexton puts this down to the immediacy and real-time nature, helping promote content for those looking to place a bet.
“In our five years at the cutting-edge of engagement technology and analytics, it’s a channel that we’ve seen consistently drive results at every stage of the life cycle,” he said. “I’m talking about both mobile and browser push notifications, which are very similar, and equally effective. It’s the first channel I recommend to operators looking to make an immediate, positive impact on revenue and player retention.
“The immediacy and real-time nature of push makes it an ideal way to communicate to players. Push messages are particularly suited to engaging players in the build-up to big games, where the player receives a timely nudge bringing them back on-site or in-app to place a bet. It’s a highly visible way of promoting content, whether that’s odds, new casino games or letting a player know they have loyalty points to spend.”
Xtremepush has built up its expertise in player engagement software, having secured numerous partnerships with industry brands across Europe, Africa and the Americas including Rush Street Interactive, Pollard Banknote, Fortuna Entertainment Group, Funstage, Oddschecker and SportPesa.
But does the fact that push notifications are a permission-based channel affect its efficiency when it comes to engaging with players?
Sexton told SBC that push notifications are ‘no different to email or SMS in that regard’, emphasising that such functions are now a “must-have” component of an operator’s engagement stack as he dispelled such myths that push notifications can often be construed as ‘annoying’.
“It’s no different to email or SMS in that regard,” he explained. “But I think what you’re hinting at is the preconceived idea that customers dislike push messages, or find them annoying. That genuinely hasn’t been our experience.
“In fact, we would generally advise operators to expect 15-20% of their website visitors to opt in, which is a phenomenal success rate. For mobile apps then, you have a split between Android and iOS users.
“Android users automatically give consent when they download the app, so that player base is typically 99% addressable. iOS users must actively give permission, but opt in rates there still average around 80%. All in all, we’re talking about a significant volume of customers to be able to reach so directly.
“Email has its place, as does SMS. But most, if not all, operators have those channels in place already. Yes, you can always improve their performance but push messaging is very often a completely new strategy. It’s an altogether different, and dynamic, approach to player engagement that perfectly compliments an existing strategy.
“It’s the ace-in-the-hole for CRM managers, I think. Click-through rates are about 4%, but that figure rises closer to 10% for high-profile games and promotional offers. So it’s a major driver of bet conversions.”
According to the Director of Partnerships and Key Accounts, push notifications should form a key part of an operator’s engagement arsenal, however there are three fundamental things that should be remembered when considering such methods.
Drawing upon the analysis of data from ‘10s of billions of push messages’, Sexton noted that a top priority is personalisation – a key driver for optimising click-through and conversion rates.
He continued: “There’s a lot that can be done to inject dynamic content into your messages so that player names, account balances and preferences are actually included in the copy. But perhaps more importantly still is your segmentation.
“We would work with clients to help them create micro-segments that leverage all available player data they have in their CRM or backend system. This means they can get really laser-like targeting for each message.”
Timing is also of the essence when it comes to push notifications: “When it comes to promoting odds on big games, usually our clients see the best engagement rates in the hour leading up to kick-off,” said Sexton. “This is when players are sitting down to watch it live at home or, in any other year, in a social setting.
“And then you have real-time campaigns delivered at half-time or after significant, odds-changing events like a goal or a red card. These push messages are an increasingly important stimulator of betting activity, in line with the growth of in-play in general.”
Rounding off his top tips, Sexton recommended that operators use automation as a means of scaling their engagement.
“There will always be a place for ad-hoc, one-off campaigns, but it pays to have a healthy amount of automated campaigns running all the time,” he said. “For example, retention-focused messages that are automatically sent to a customer that has been inactive for a specified amount of time, or has entered an ‘at risk of churn’ segment.”
Xtremepush has recently announced its inclusion for the second year running in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms. The report yet again highlights Xtremepush’s credentials in the sports betting and gaming industry. You can download the report here.