The online casino business is a highly lucrative industry, with its market size expected to reach $112 billion by 2025 and as many as 26% of the global population having said they gamble regularly. Remarkably, the same study found 70% of those surveyed gamble at least once every year. The world is a casino, and as it turns out, most of us are absolute degenerates!
The rapid development of Web2 technology throughout the last decade has been fully capitalised upon by gaming operators. Traditional sportsbook brands have been shifting their focus more over to casino — something which was accelerated during the pandemic of 2020 — with high value promotions being pushed and the roster of available games to play expanding every week.
Likewise, the progression of Web3 technology is starting to get minds buzzing at the possibility as to what can be achieved within gaming and betting. Pioneering this movement is Naffles. From resolving the liquidity issues which plague NFTs, to giving degens a place to scratch that gambling itch for a low cost, to proving verifiability with fairness of results; Naffles is ahead of the curve, solving long standing problems in both Web2 and Web3, and working hard to spark a revolution in the gaming industry.
For those of us who love a punt, we are truly living in a golden age where you can log on and be playing for cash within 60 seconds on your phone; the device of choice for 55% of users according to a recent UK Gambling Commission report. There’s no doubt that you’ll be able to connect your wallet and do the same using crypto soon.
But with this extremely high ease of accessibility comes a difficult issue for operators: how to grab and cement your share in the market when there are so many competitors already existing, and countless more being constantly formed as others try to take advantage of this booming industry.
Let’s take a look at five of the most powerful marketing models used by online casinos:
First Impressions Count: Acquisition Bonuses
This is quite the standard for all casinos. Offering special deals and promotions for new money to flow in is smart and simple, otherwise why else should they join you? Maybe your UI is clean and you have a frictionless KYC process, but they’re not going to know unless you entice them in with something to whet their appetite.
These registration bonuses usually consist of free spins on selected slots, deposit bonuses (ie, deposit $100 to get $200, etc), or a combination of the both. The bonuses will be subject to wagering requirements, meaning the user will need to play through a multiplier of the bonus amount (this ranges anywhere from 5x to 50x usually) before they are able to convert the bonus funds into cash and withdraw.
Whilst the aforementioned requires a cash deposit to unlock the bonus, one approach which is often overlooked is the ‘free-to-play’ model. This will be where a site requires only for you to register with them, and subsequently will grant the bonus instantaneously. This is a useful strategy for those who have a niche product and don’t quite have the subconscious trust that comes with already established sectors.
The advantage of an acquisition strategy such as these mentioned, is these bonus offers are of high EV (estimated value) to those on both sides of the fence. A generous sign up bonus will undoubtedly catch the attention of those with a wandering eye, searching for a better deal away from their usual haunt. Loyalty to a brand isn’t of the utmost importance to a gambling enthusiast, they are always ready to jump ship if the money is right and the experience is pleasant.
Keep Them Keen: Retention Bonuses
So the first date went well, but how do you keep them interested? There’s so many others on the market vying for their attention; perhaps flashier or more popular rivals. It’s not an easy task, and no surprise that retention is an area where many fail to cement a lasting relationship where both parties remain in the blissful honeymoon phase.
Retention bonuses are much of the same ilk as acquisition bonuses in their format, but generally of lesser value. The strategy here is to keep offering consistent bonuses to keep the user active and playing with you. An operator actively leveraging ‘Reload Offers’, as they’re often called, will notify their clientele at least once a week (via email or SMS) with a new promotion to take advantage of. Even if the customer doesn’t take advantage of your offer, your brand is kept in their mind at least.
This can run against operators however if the emails are of poor value. Many go all-in on the initial bonus offering huge sums and a reasonable wagering requirement, and then once the customer is theirs, completely drop the ball on the retention side of things.
A common case is offering very complicated and/or insurmountable terms and conditions, with lacklustre rewards on offer which are not worth the time exerted. After a while, the recipient will unsubscribe and consign that operator as useless, moving on to the next; another synonym between gambling customer retention and dating if I ever saw one.
It’s a baffling approach, as retention is where the best sportsbook and casino operators make the lion’s share of their money if user demographic data (average spend, screen time, style of betting, etc) is utilized in tandem.
Create Happy Memories: Creating Positive Feedback Loops
Gambling is all about positive feedback loops. A bet wins, the user is elated and has a positive memory of the experience, they are then more likely to return to try and replicate the outcome. Of course, financially it wouldn’t be profitable for every loop to be a positive one, but leveraging the ones that are is a no brainer. For instance:
- If a customer uses a promotion and brings it to a conclusion, offer another one right away of similar conditions but with slightly less value. If a customer does not complete an offer, send it over again with an enhanced condition in the customers favor. The latter will possibly turn the negative into a positive
- Encourage referrals and reviews right after a positive experience, such as winning a game or making a large withdrawal
- Reward loyal customers with generous offers, special perks, and exclusive promotions
To touch more on some of the above points, referrals are a powerful (and inexpensive!) tool to instil a sense of faith and assurance with your clientele. The testimonial of a trusted friend or family member will hit better than any flash marketing campaign with a pop star brandishing your logo on their underpants.
Although a highly regulated industry, there is an immense amount of distrust from customers towards operators with how some handle their business. This has been brought about by such things as unclear KYC requirements leading to delayed (or even non-payment) of withdrawals, no public view transparency on how results are generated, and shady practices when it comes to responsible gambling regulation.
As much as gamblers are here to hit it big, they don’t want a long, drawn-out fight to get what is rightfully theirs. Thus, a referral can go some way to putting you instantly on the right foot with your new customer.
Reward Your Big Hitters: VIP Programs
Treating your nearest and dearest clientele like kings and queens is a smart approach operators take to mitigate the competition from poaching them. Often these are called VIP programs, and will consist of enhanced versions of the standard reload offers (ie, instead of Deposit $20 and Get $40 at a 30x wagering requirement, a VIP would receive Deposit $100 and Get $300 at a 15x wagering requirement). If not that, they will receive the standard offers but a completely separate set of high roller promotions in addition to those.
VIP programs aren’t restricted to just online promotional material though. Free tickets with hospitality at sporting events is a common perk, as is attendance to high-end fashion and social events. The beauty of this is the marketing is not constrained to online only, opening up the possibilities far and wide to what you can entice your customers with to keep them with you.
Utilize Star Power: Influencer Marketing
Yes, despite what was earlier said about the pop star and those underpants, it can’t be argued that celebrities and influential people can bring immense attention to a brand. For instance, a recent survey by YouGov and SBC Americas found that 35% of bettors named celebrity endorsements as one of the decisive factors when choosing a betting platform.
An influencer, similarly noted with the trusted friend, can help build trust and credibility to your betting brand. The difference being they will raise awareness and open up new engaged audiences on a mass scale.
Conclusion and Competitor Analysis
As mentioned, the gambling industry is an extremely competitive one. One rare advantage of the market being so saturated is that there is plenty of material for market research on your rivals. Carefully assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the competition and subsequently identifying marketing strategies from those is a short-cut to success. Much of the time competitors spent finding out themselves not what to do, won’t be subject to the operator who pays attention to its surroundings.
Additionally to the previous covered, quality content is an important dynamic to educate bettors and boost engagement, with 35% of respondents considering expert content a key factor when choosing a betting provider. Likewise, podcasts and YouTube channels find a way to reach your audience in a more novel and personal way.
The decentralised future of Web3 is on the horizon and Naffles is leading the charge into it. With our transparent processes and endeavor to enable players to become their own operator, this is a fine opportunity to take the best of the current models, building upon and around them, to establish equitable promotional strategies that will cater to both sides of the equation.