Operators entering new markets quickly learn that acquisition and retention are of equal importance – one simply doesn’t work without the other. If the retention team does not do a good job, all the money spent on player acquisition is wasted. Equally, retention does not matter if you can’t acquire players in the first place.
Mattia Busuttil, Head of Rest of World at PressEnter Group, explains how operators entering new markets can ensure acquisition and retention teams work hand in hand to build a successful and sustainable business.
Ultimately, the success of acquisition and retention activity comes down to the experience offered to players. With such high levels of competition in most markets, operators must ensure they deliver a superior customer experience when compared to their rivals. This covers factors such as relevant content, tailored campaigns and personalised rewards and incentives.
The user experience is crucial to both acquisition and retention. If you can’t deliver a seamless UX from the moment the customer enters their name into the registration field through to them making a deposit and playing, you are going to significantly reduce the chance of retaining that customer. Of course, once they are through the door and playing you must keep them engaged.
This can be achieved through providing premium content from the most in-demand providers, engaging marketing campaigns, exclusive tournaments and loyalty schemes that deliver genuine value so to encourage players to keep playing at your casino or sportsbook. This is key to allowing new brands drive awareness in new markets.
If you offer a market-leading customer experience, brand awareness will automatically follow. Operators must not ignore the fact that word of mouth plays an important role in this which is why it is crucial to take good care of each and every player that enters your casino. This extends to responsible gambling and safe gaming and providing the highest level of player protections.
I also believe that retention is now synonymous to branding and long-term profitability.
You can spend millions of Euros on TV advertising campaigns to get your brand “out there” but that does not mean you will win the race when it comes to profitability, especially if the operator cannot get the highest life-time value out of each player. This relies on retention which in turn relies on providing a premium user experience that also promotes safe gaming.
This also allows the operator to create incredibly strong USPs for the brand such as quick registration, fast deposit flows, easy navigation and five-star customer support. In short, get the fundamentals right and the rest – acquisition, retention, brand awareness and loyalty – will quickly follow thereafter.
LOCALISATION IS KEY
Of course, the experience offered will differ from market to market – being hyperlocal is the only way to attract and acquire players and enhance their experience. While localisation covers all areas, content and on-site marketing and rewards campaigns are critical. For example, offering a sauna as the top prize in a slot tournament works well in Finland, but not so much in Spain.
Retention really does span a large spectrum but sometimes I think operators approach it from a narrow perspective. In most people’s eyes, retention boils down to sending out emails with generic bonuses and promotions. But this is to miss a trick as there is huge potential to drive retention at a local level through factors such as fast payouts and native customer support.
This forms part of ensuring the brand is always relevant to the player – and the wide range of different player segments that now exist – at a very deep level. For example, lower value players are more inclined to enter campaigns with higher cash prizes while VIPs prefer campaigns offering unique experiences such as tickets to the Monaco Grand Prix or the Champion’s League final.
This is why operators must take a data-led approach to acquisition and retention. They need to analyse and understand playing patterns and tailor/localise the experience according to what the numbers are saying. For example, data may show that a player only plays live casino on payday and this should be used to guide how they are communicated with.
With this player, there is no point in offering them a live casino promotion in the middle of the month. The campaign must be relevant to the player and with the rise of artificial intelligence and the vast amount of player data that is available to operators, there is no reason at all why this should not be the case.
RETENTION FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS
Acquisition is of course crucial, but operators must retain players if they are to build a successful, sustainable business. This requires a retention plan from day one of entering a new market – haphazardly sending emails on random days just won’t cut it. What will? Personalisation, personalisation and – one more time – personalisation.
The technology and data is available to continue to learn more about individual customers and operators must use this to tailor their experience to ensure it not only meets but exceeds their expectations. Retention also provides a huge opportunity to cross sell players to new products but operators must proceed with caution here.
Cross sell is not about offering a sportsbook customer 100 free spins to try slots. Instead, it must be built around rewarding players on new products based on their behaviour on their preferred products.
For example, if they are betting on the Premier league every Saturday at 3pm, send them free spins on a football slot game on Saturday after the game. This ensures the reward is earned and not given which subconsciously creates higher intent for the customer to take up the earned reward driving cross sell to the new product.
To become established in any new market, operators must nail both acquisition and retention and both should be seen as having equal importance. With a player base of 1,000 customers where you have paid a CPA of €150, just six per cent improved retention in months two-three could validate higher acquisition spend which in turn drives further growth.
To succeed, both teams must work hand-in-hand and share the data and insights available to them. Ultimately, the only way to establish and brand in a new market and build long-term success is to offer the best user experience in the business.
More importantly, it must be offered responsibly.