SBC News Transformation of user engagement: how social media and streaming platforms impact interaction

Transformation of user engagement: how social media and streaming platforms impact interaction

Serhii Mishchenko, CEO of GGBET UK, discusses interaction and activities with audiences via various streaming platforms, how we have seen player engagement evolve in recent times, how to ensure continued success and much more.

SBC News: When it comes to user engagement within the online gambling ecosystem, how would you assess the industry’s current efforts?

Serhii Mishchenko: If you ask me, at the minute, the majority of operators and bookmakers are still focusing on quantity rather than quality when it comes to engaging users. And it really needs to be the other way around. Let me explain why. 

Digital advertising continues to be a key tool for attracting new users to online gambling. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a great point of contact which allows brands to get closer to current and potential new users alike, remind people about the brand, or allowing users to find out more about it. However, moderation is key.

Marketing in the industry is coming on leaps and bounds, and alongside the standard advertising banners, we’re increasingly seeing other formats: integration with streamers, shout-outs from commentators during sports and esports broadcasts, joint posts, shows and videos, etc. It seems like all of this should be bringing communication with users into a new age and diversifying it. 

However, the result is that the market is still saturated with flashy, generic offers in which bookmakers are measured by the generosity of their bonuses and free spins, rather than by the brand itself. 

Advertising such as this doesn’t surprise anyone anymore, and, with time, users are likely to develop ‘banner blindness’. I’m not saying that advertising like this isn’t necessary, but it should be used in a way that works for the brand. 

A matching banner, promotional video, or a mention in a story should all fall in line with a single marketing strategy”

The problem is that not all players in the online gaming market build a brand: they don’t create an identity, or communicate clear messages and use them on their communication channels. And ideally, each point of contact with a potential customer should boost the brand’s reputation. 

A matching banner, promotional video, or a mention in a story should all fall in line with a single marketing strategy. That’s the only way to stick in people’s minds, stand out among competitors, and not only elicit a response from the audience but hold their attention. 

Omnichannel communication projects which include parallel communications via social media, ambassadors, and offline activity where possible are well suited for this. For example, GG.BET partnered up with BLAST in 2024. 

We could have made branded banners and limited ourselves to bonuses in tournaments each season. But we came up with an overall concept for the year, which was present in each separate tournament. 

And we, along with our partners in different countries, such as ambassadors, broadcasting studios, media, affiliates, etc. work with messages, the visual component, and offers as part of the concept. And this doesn’t just involve mentioning our brand, it’s about unique special projects, promotions, different forms of integration, as well as offline activities in the arena itself. 

For the recent  BLAST Premier: Spring Final in London, we prepared a promotional campaign, activities, and creative content for esports fans in collaboration with our partners. And if you follow the tournament and information sphere at all during that period, you’ll be able to see how the concept can be found on all platforms and works to increase brand awareness and conversion rates, as well as boosting business. 

SBCN: Building on this previous question, how have you seen user engagement evolve during recent times? What are some of the major challenges that this has thrown up?

SM: The industry is evolving, technology is evolving, and where brands previously needed to shout over each other and offer the best promotions to get people to notice them, that isn’t enough anymore. 

“…finding a platform where they can place a bet and/or play in a casino isn’t a problem”

For users, finding a platform where they can place a bet and/or play in a casino isn’t a problem – there are plenty to choose from. It’s more a question of what a particular brand can offer and how it can surprise its customers. 

The first challenge is how to diversify your usual product and services. I’ll tell you what we’re doing at GG.BET. Gamification, tournaments, and quizzes are available to users, in addition to bonuses and promotions. 

Each user can build their own profile, customise their avatar, and join a league in which each bet will improve their ranking and open up new gaming opportunities. You get to feel like a player in a game where your ‘betting skills’ unlock new levels, ranks, and bonuses. 

We also run competitions from time to time, during which we have prizes up for grabs that’ll entice our audience, like tournament tickets, jerseys for top teams, and gaming computers and consoles. Things that will make our customers happy and keep us in the forefront of their minds.

Another important element is personalisation. For many of our users, a reminder about a match your favourite team is playing in is more interesting than a push-notification about a new bonus. That’s why we’ve created a ranker which builds an events feed for each user, depending on their preferences.

The second challenge is the demand for quality content. Our audience wants to learn about all of this in more depth: reading analytical material, getting to grips with complex leaderboards and behind-the-scenes esports and sports action, and keeping up to date with events. 

GG.BET is meeting these needs. Now, we regularly post analytical content on our YouTube channel about CS2 and Dota 2, and we share recaps and selected statistics for top events in special media projects. 

We understand that some people like watching long, detailed videos, whereas others prefer reading short tweets. Therefore, rather than focusing on 2-3 formats, GG.BET creates varied content so that more people can find exactly what they’re looking for on our platforms.

We’re interested in giving users not only special offers but the opportunity to discover something new in esports”

SBCN: In terms of GG.BET itself, how would you describe/assess your own usage of various platforms? Which do you believe to be the most effective and why?

SM: At GG.BET, we’ve opted for a complex strategy, as maximum efficiency and top-class results can only be achieved through synergy. You can see for yourself by comparing GG.BET’s data for the period when we had very little presence in the information sphere to the data from recent years – there’s an impressive difference.  

But it has to start with the product. No advertising campaign will work if your product isn’t good enough. After all, a user might stop by once, but that doesn’t mean they’ll come back. Therefore, members of our team are constantly working on developing and improving our platforms: adding new features, making our personalisation algorithms more sophisticated, developing our support service, and establishing quick and cost-effective interactions with payment systems.

Then, brand promotion comes into play. And, as you’ve seen above, when it comes to this, our range of activities is huge: at GG.BET, we’re active on our Instagram and X accounts, sponsor famous tournaments and host our own events, both online and offline, create original content in collaboration with esports talents on YouTube, Twitch, and on social media, and run special media projects, and well-designed performance marketing allows us to provide users with customised bonuses. 

And it’s important that these communication channels work excellently on their own while also complementing each other. This all comes together to give our audience those ‘real thrills’ that we’re always talking about. Our ideas are imitated by our competitors, and, in a sense, we’re moulding the way in which brands interact with partners and target audiences in the betting and gambling market.

We’re interested in giving users not only special offers but the opportunity to discover something new in esports and to progress within it: by watching unique show matches (our Match of LeGGends with NAVI and Team Vitality drew over one million live views), try their hand at professional esports (like in the GG.LIGA project in Brazil, which ran for two seasons and drew in over 100 teams, 300,000 live views of the streams, and millions of views on social media), see their favourite players in unconventional situations (a series of gaming videos with NAVI on YouTube which garnered 47,000 views), and more.

Collaboration with broadcasting studios and individual content creators yields excellent results”

And the results go to show that a comprehensive strategy works best. Over the last quarter, GG.BET’s share of voice as a brand has increased to 60% in the information field of esports betting.

SBCN: While the debate surrounding streaming platforms regarding issues such as responsibility for authenticity and transparency continues to rage, their popularity and influence remains. How would you evaluate your own experiences? What needs to happen to ensure continued success?

SM: GG.BET collaborates solely with trusted partners and international broadcasting and streaming studios which share quality content and value their audiences. If you stick to this approach, questions about transparency don’t even come up. 

Collaboration with broadcasting studios and individual content creators yields excellent results. For example, in 2023, GG.BET worked with Gaules, who has over four million subscribers. That’s more than many broadcasting studios. We sponsored the Brazilian stream of the last CS:GO major and drew in 24 million live views. 

During our partner BLAST’s previous tournament, Spring Showdown, we managed to rack up 12,600,000 live views. And for the Spring Final, we’re expecting even bigger results.

And that’s only one example. Streaming platforms are an important promotional tool, which will only grow in popularity in the coming years. However, this will only work when the brands themselves set the bar for their partnerships: first and foremost, this means choosing reliable partners, planning interactions, and preparing engaging materials and offers. That’s what we strive for and what we set out to do in our work.   

SBCN: What would you say of your interactions with services such as special broadcasting platforms? What do these bring to the table?

SM: Specialised streaming platforms allow brands like GG.BET to make esports and sports competitions accessible for the most niche segments of our audience and also allow them to do this with speakers of various languages. I mentioned earlier the Match of LeGGends show match between NAVI and Team Vitality which, with one million views, is easily comparable to the final day of the popular annual Counter-Strike tournament in Katowice. 

The future lies in comprehensive promotion”

This was possible as a result of the fact that GG.BET organised a stream not only in English, but also in Brazilian on Gaules’ channel and in Ukrainian with Maincast studio. That meant that the fan match between these major clubs could be watched by viewers from a range of countries.

It wasn’t the first time we’d worked with the Ukrainian platform Maincast, and many new formats have emerged from our partnership with them. More recently, in March we organised Community Watch, a private viewing of the NAVI-Team Spirit match at the PGL Major Copenhagen, and we shared live broadcasts from Community Watch in the match stream on Maincast. Thanks to NAVI’s success, as well as the active support of Ukrainian media and influencers, the Ukrainian stream of the Major final set a new record with a peak of 135,000 viewers at one time.

Also, our brand in Ukraine – GGBET UA – works with OTT platform Setanta Sports. In Ukraine, brand awareness is increasing among the sports audience, as is integration on TV, the platform, and our partner’s app, while activities and content are being created for other communication channels: event reviews, expert live workshops with invited guests, livestreams on YouTube, joint email marketing about top events, competitions on social media (FB, Insta, Telegram), etc.

I’m sure that niche streaming platforms are no less important for brands, as they provide an excellent opportunity to better understand audiences from different countries and offer them relevant content. And I’m sure that this tendency will only evolve in the near future and allow players in the gambling market to bring even more ambitious and exciting promotional projects to life. 

SBCN: Given all of the above, where do you see the future of user engagement going, particularly when it comes to the crucial issue of customer retention?

SM: The future lies in comprehensive promotion:

  • Constant improvement and adaptation of products and services.
  • The development of 360° communication, whereby your audience and potential users see you as a single entity across a number of communication channels and can clearly understand your messages and values.
  • The constant search for new features and partnerships, which will offer your audience new gaming opportunities, new information, and a new user experience.

It’s rare that a user is ready to become a customer after their first interaction with a brand. So, the brand’s job is to offer them an engaging and seamless experience at every stage. It’s a long game, which should ensure both the brand and user enjoy their interactions with each other, and business will be good as a result. 

Of course, the key moment when a customer makes their choice is different in each individual case. Someone may choose us based on the user-friendliness of our platform and offers; for someone else, it might be the additional opportunity to access statistics and materials about esports, take part in competitions and events, or root for their favourite team knowing that we support them too. 

This is the heart of marketing communication for GG.BET: to find as many points of contact, channels of interaction, and formats as possible that will allow people to get to know us better.

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