Dan Totman, Director of Client Growth at Genius Sports, outlines how combining traditional top-of-the-funnel marketing, such as TV advertising with an always-on digital presence can amplify brand recognition and drive ROI in the gaming industry.
When entering a new territory or striving to build brand recognition in an existing market, CMOs and senior leadership at sportsbook and casinos ordinarily turn to marketing channels and tactics like linear TV, brand ambassadors, radio advertising and affiliate marketing as the first ports of call.
These traditional channels have been part of the iGaming marketing playbook for years. Even despite a continual shift towards online and in-play betting, offline top-of-the-funnel marketing is an extremely effective way to generate reach and scale. However, these channels are even more powerful when part of a two-speed marketing strategy.
Always-on digital presence
By “two-speed marketing”, I mean synchronising your traditional awareness marketing with continuous storytelling and engagement on digital. In essence, doubling down on the brand reach and recognition you gain with an always-on digital presence as part of the same campaign.
Linear TV ads during half-time or partnering with an ex-footballer as your brand ambassador will drive awareness, new customer acquisition and an increase in search volume. But what if you could use programmatic and paid social to retarget and convert new audiences that see your top-of-the-funnel activity, visit your website and bounce, or search for your brand via social media or Google?
This joined up omni-channel approach is tried-and-tested. For example, pan-European casinos PlayOJO and Mr Vegas are two recent examples of operators that successfully backed-up their TV advertising with targeted programmatic marketing to achieve lower CPAs.
Increased return on production costs
Using digital channels as downstream to your top-of-funnel marketing will help maximise the return on budget and time spent on TV ad production and your brand ambassador partnerships.
Signed a new brand ambassador ahead of the football season? Then get to work filming premium video content to power an entire campaign’s worth of omni-channel assets so you don’t leave the middle of the marketing funnel untapped.
We work with dozens of marketing teams to ensure that sports and gaming audiences don’t just see a TV ad – but also see a closely-related social media video or display banner the next time they check their mobile phone including consistent branding, messaging and sign-up offers. This is made possible using pixel and user ID-based targeting based on website or app activity that sees display inventory bought in real-time.
Modern creative production technology makes it easier than ever to scale, tailor and recreate video content and key images in numerous sizes, formats and specs that are optimised for different digital channels. You can now automate short-form videos or single images for maximal performance across Meta, Twitter, TikTok, Snap and even connected TV – aligned to a single brand message and promotion that’s consistent with your linear TV ads. This ensures your brand hits prospecting and retargeting audiences with maximum volume, frequency and relevance across multiple channels as part of the same single campaign.
Sharpen your affiliate spend
With digital marketing so effective in supporting awareness, many operators are now testing and shifting spend from affiliate marketing towards programmatic, social and search targeting across the same or similar websites.
This is because, while affiliate marketing is a staple channel, the traditional revenue-share based model adds an increased cost that can be undercut by digital campaigns. Programmatic sports marketing agencies will often have direct relationships with the publisher or access to high-impact inventory across sites that target similar audiences in a more cost-effective, performance-driven manner at only the optimal time of day.
This reduces budget wastage and helps marketers scale faster, while proprietary audience data and look-a-like models also help increase ROI and lessen reliance on traditional affiliate strategies. It’s all possible while reaching an effectively identical audience.
Traditional top-of-the-funnel marketing in iGaming is by no means dead. But synchronising your digital channels as part of a two-speed marketing strategy is certainly a fantastic way to give it a renewed lease of life.
Dan Totman – Director of Client Growth @ Genius Sports