Focusing on new ventures and business services entering and engaging in the gambling/igaming sector, Team SBC and EIG caught up with mobile engagement expert Dorothy Creaven CEO and Founder of Element Wave. Winner of the 2013 EIG Barcelona Start-Up Launch Pad, Element Wave looks to bridge the acquisition and engagement gap between mobile apps and their users by providing clients with better information of customer activity and tailored mobile retention strategies.
Dorothy Creaven discusses her business progress since the Barcelona Launch Pad win, mobile engagement factors entering igaming marketing and retention, plus future factors which igaming operators must tackle in order to keep up with mobile technology and customer trends.
SBC: Dorothy, pleasure catching up with you. It’s been a year since you won the Start-up Launch Pad at EiG Barcelona. How has Element Wave progressed as business in the past 12 months?
Dorothy: It has been a fast-moving year of growth for us since EiG. We were very happy to be the winners of the Launchpad in Barcelona and it gave us a hearty welcome to the iGaming industry. We met some of the industries most highly regarded operators, brands and investors so it was a very successful event for us and we were very well received. Element Wave is a solid match for the iGaming industry as there are some major challenges regarding mobile player retention and engagement that we can address. We are signing some of the world’s most successful Gaming companies and are helping them to achieve exceptional results. Mobile CRM (mCRM) and Mobile Marketing are where our strengths lie and I am delighted to say that Element Wave is in a major growth period right now. We are currently on a recruitment drive to double our employee numbers between now and the end of 2014. Exciting times ahead.
SBC: You have actively targeted the igaming sector, in which to develop Element Wave business services, why do you see potential for your business services in this individual/niche sector?
Dorothy: When it comes to Mobile, the iGaming industry still has a lot of work to do when it comes to their technology piece. Many companies both inside the Gaming sector and outside have their online piece nailed, but when it comes to their mobile offering they are still finding their way. Keeping players engaged over longer periods of time is essential to the success of any mobile app; but increasing that player’s lifetime value (LTV) is fundamental. When it comes to Element Wave, we have made it super easy to achieve great results quickly by just adding a couple of lines of code to that mobile app. By doing this, you can start learning about how often players are interacting with your brand weekly, daily, hourly… even in real-time: see who is in your app right now, where are they, what are they doing, how can you encourage them to interact more with your brand? The more information you can gather about your players and their app usage, then you can start targeting them with communication messages like push notifications and send them content only that is relevant to them based on their previous behaviours, preferences, interests and even live location. Relevancy is the key success factor when it comes to mobile marketing and player engagement, and this has been proven to work time and time again.
SBC: When developing your Mobile analytics and push notifications service, what key dynamics lead the development of your product and what competencies do you want the Element Wave product to display to clients?
Dorothy: Understanding your mobile audience is of utmost importance when it comes to Mobile. You could have developed the best app in the industry, but ultimately if players are not using the app then it becomes completely useless. For most people, their phone is never more than 0.5m away at any given point in time. If you have your app sitting on that phone, it gives you a direct line of communication to that player which is more powerful than any other online or offline form of marketing. With Element Wave, you can target each mobile player or app user individually. When you are not sending them contextual messages, you can learn about how they are interacting with your brand in the meantime and figure out the best way to get them more engaged on a more regular basis over longer periods of time, thereby increasing your mobile revenues and understanding what exactly makes your mobile players tick and improving your mobile CRM (mCRM) cycle.
SBC: With mobile engagement becoming more prominent amongst their customer base, what areas of the igaming product value chain should operators look to optimise and engage?
Dorothy: Knowing what your mobile players are doing within your mobile app at any given point in time is synonymous with the popularity and success of any mobile app. It is not enough anymore to know solely how much revenue the app is generating. The mCRM cycle needs to be defined and analysed in detail, investigating where are the major drop-off points in the cycle. By evaluating the player funnel and introducing definitive mobile moments at key events in the cycle, you can re-engage your mobile players to ensure that you are engaging them at the right time for both you and them alike. Higher engagement rates lead to better retention rates. Simply put, the more time your players are spending in your mobile app, the more revenue opportunities you can generate.
SBC: The complicated framework and set-up of igaming operator systems and fragmented business value chains has made it hard for outside businesses to deploy their services efficiently. What is your take on this matter and what should be done to aid business parties.
Dorothy: Yes, there can be a disconnect between operators and technology suppliers as generally there are many moving parts when it comes to making changes or improvements to existing technology. In my experience, we have found that the faster the integration process, the easier it is to get moving and achieve great results together. With our Element Wave platform, we addressed this head on and spent considerable time ensuring that the integration time is kept to an absolute minimum. We have made significant advances in this area and are now proud to say that many of our customers have added Element Wave to their app in less than an hour! It is also important to get the tech teams on both sides talking early on – this can save a lot of time and effort in the long run, ultimately leading to happier operators and suppliers all round.
SBC: Finally EiG Berlin has placed a deep focus on the future of the igaming/gambling sector. Looking ahead, what developments in Mobile technology do you feel will drive customer igaming engagement and retention?
Dorothy: In the latest iOS update, Apple has greatly supported the advancements of push notifications and more commitment is likely here from them in further iOS releases. Silent push notifications enable platform providers like Element Wave to further gather information from mobile app players, thereby giving more mobile engagement opportunities back to the operators.
Wearables are of course not to be underestimated. With the advancements of Google Glass and integration with other mobile and online apps, social interactions are going to become more prominent, opening up the arena for uninterrupted Gaming while on the move.
Location and real-time services will have a prominent part to play, especially regarding land-based Gaming with the on-going developments with iBeacon technology. Real-time is key here, ensuring that your mobile players get access to the right information and data at the right time. Technology will just keep getting faster, enabling rapid real-time updates, which is exciting especially from a Sportsbook, RTB and live score perspective.
Dorothy Creaven – CEO & Founder Element Wave