Adjusting to increased regulatory demands, how should betting incumbents balance the delicate relationship between personalised engagements and their customer compliance duties?
Acknowledging tougher conditions, Matt Buff, igaming Digital Growth lead for Frosmo, tells SBC that effective personalisation is still an operator’s best tool for making informed operational decisions.
SBC: Hi Matt, Can you explain Frosmo’s personalisation software to our readers, and how it has helped betting operators adjust to present market demands and challenges?
MB: Frosmo offers a SaaS software that helps Betting and Casino operators #1 convert more visitors into first time depositing players as well as #2 increase the player engagement and retention. By using Frosmo, operators can improve their net gaming revenues and player lifetime value which leads to a positive operating margin impact.
Frosmo’s Personalisation Software allows the operator to do this by enabling a highly granular segmentation of visitors and giving the opportunity to interact with each person in a personalized manner – this could be through timely situational prompts, callouts or AI-based game suggestions and more.
With the ever-increasing competition, and increased regulation governing advertising, getting the best possible first-time depositor- yield from acquisition investments as well as monetising the base of players couldn’t be more relevant for the operators today.
SBC: From Frosmo’s perspective, what makes engaging with an online betting customer such a unique challenge?
MB: The underlying challenge for the operators is that the games are similar across the field. The competition is fierce which creates short lifetime players. There are also a lot of basics that a competitive operator needs to get right – the service needs to initially build a level of trust with a (prospective) player. The conditions, payment options and offering of markets and games need to be attractive. Building distinct brands and great functionality are the basis for great player experience. To be a winning brand the customer experience and engagement need to be at the core of the service.
What seems to make applying personalization to drive engagement a challenge in iGaming is the fact that the operators are facing a constant race to match and beat the competition on the basics – integrating more games and markets, keeping up with payment providers as well as regulatory compliance.
In Frosmo’s experience driving improvement in the engagement of iGaming customers can be done very much in the same ways as we do it in online retail or travel industries.
As a result, the 1:1 personalization of the service hasn’t yet reached the top of the priority list for a lot of operators – in our conversations with both B2B and B2C companies it has been obvious that there is awareness about the potential gains, but many of the companies just haven’t gotten around to acting on it yet – or they haven’t been aware of the capabilities that can be sourced quickly and easily – such as Frosmo.
SBC: 2019 has been a year of fundamental change for industry marketing. What role does personalisation have in improving industry marketing practices and standards?
MB: For a lot of the operators, the customer acquisition cost today is on a level where even reaching breakeven can be challenging. We see that personalizing the player journey from the very beginning – i.e. when the person first hits the site to the first deposit and the first game played is crucial to improve the marketing yield. The journey should be differentiated based on the subtle cues that we get from the player – e.g. where he comes from when he arrives, what actions he takes first.
Secondly, as pretty much in all online services the service itself needs to become the sales channel. What we mean with this is that the service needs to market it’s content to each player all the time – and we know that this should be done in as relevant a way as possible – based on everything we know about the person.
Thirdly, with a technology like Frosmo we are learning about the behavioural patterns of the players constantly – and with AI and Machine Learning we are able to apply that intelligence in real-time to present timely and relevant proposals to the customers. This could be about predicting churn, identifying VIPs or what games could be interesting for an individual.
Personalisation is a lot like great customer service, ultimately it is helping the player find relevant games, reassuring about the right decision, teach and show something new to try and get the reward tailored to the player after accomplishing the desired action.
SBC: In 2019, betting incumbents have found it hard to meet their ‘scale demands’ to engage with audiences in live environments. How does Frosmo build effective personalisation components to help operators overcome these challenges?
MB: From an engagement point of view, everything starts from the segmentation. Profile players based on their game preferences and identifying automatically the look-alikes. Based on segments operators can show relevant content to help the players through the desired action as smooth as possible. Operators can design the whole player’s journey using different triggers to show the next content, for example, cross-sell between sportsbook and casino efficiently. Customer insights can be leveraged also for reactivation through eg. email or retargeted advertising.
In terms of technical scalability and resilience, Frosmo has been pioneering the personalization space for about a decade now. We have had the good fortune to work with some of the leading brands which have helped us to evolve our technology not only in functionality but also in resilience and scalability points of view.
Personalization is really about mass customization in scale and in order for this to work, we have had to build distributed cloud-based delivery mechanisms as well as to spend countless hours in optimizing our software architecture and code. As a result, we are today at a point where we are serving personalized experiences with our technology over 1.5 billion times each day. Some of our clients generate more than 40M€/day on peak events that we personalize.
We have a great customer case to demonstrate the scalability, the Kentucky Derby is the most anticipated and most-visited horse race and is the absolute peak day on the TwinSpires website. With Frosmo they are all able to make it as easy as possible for the hundreds of thousands of visitors to place the bets of their favourite horses at exactly the right time.
SBC: Beyond marketing, how can the personalisation be used to help operators make better-informed decisions throughout their operational value chain?
MB: One of the themes that we in Frosmo discuss constantly with our customers is data-driven user experience development. The concept as such is not new, but the ways in which we are able to leverage the data about behavioural patterns and preferences are exciting.
Firstly the technology offers the inherent capability to experiment with different variations of interaction with the player – to find the best alternatives. And when you start to break this down to different player segments, not just one-size-fits-all, we are starting to see tons of opportunities to engage with players in better ways. A simple example would be different gamification options or different bonuses – some people like them, for some they may be just a waste of page real estate. Knowing who will likely react to what helps make the service more relevant for them all – which always improves the experience.
The other side of the customer journey optimization is using AI and Machine Learning to offload the task of manual analysis and service tailoring to the algorithms. And allowing the algorithms to drive the best next proposal for the player automatically – exactly based on his/her profile, preference and the learning that we’ve generated across the whole population of players.
Personalization and experimentation give operators a huge advantage to know exactly who are their players and their preferences and base their long-term strategic decisions on designing the services on a combination of different data-points.
SBC: Finally, what future digital trend or technology do you feel operators should be preparing for and how should effective personalisation help them overcome potential obstacles?
Finally what we see as key, (and this is also going on outside of iGaming in online services), is really looking at the service as a sales channel for marketing.
Traffic acquisition costs are becoming unsustainably high – in betting everyone wants their share of the action on the game day. Improving engagement and loyalty would really seem to be the key area for the operator to focus on to avoid the revolving door of customer relationships. Frosmo’s personalization software can play a key role in this and the business case it represents is an interesting one – while increased player lifetime value will drive the top-line number the impact on the bottom line is even way larger.
Matt Buff – Digital Growth Consultant – Frosmo (Read Frosmo 10 conversion rate optimization and player engagement best practices in iGaming 2019 and beyond.)