Playtech: Small window, big potential – why real-time engagement matters

Robin Bowler, Government Markets Director at Playtech and Shelley Harding-Ban, Playtech’s Head of Engagement, share their thoughts on how to make a big impact during a small window of opportunity, how real-time engagement principles can be applied to the lottery environment – and why timing really is everything.

Robin Bowler, Government Markets Director at Playtech

Shelley Harding-Ban, Playtech’s Head of Engagement

The old adage ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’ could have been invented for the lottery and gaming industry. This is an industry where between 50 – 70% of players are one-timers. Even after they’ve chosen you over a range of competitors, taken the time to create an account, up to 70% of the players you’ve spent time and money attracting will play once and won’t come back. That’s quite a startling, even disheartening, statistic.

The traditional CRM approach to enticing these customers back has been scheduled mass communications, usually the day after the player’s last (and first) game, and heavily based around attractive bonus offers. But the day after is too late. And this brings us to another tough statistic – anything from 30 – 50% of players opt out of email and SMS marketing at sign-up. The players you want to tempt back can’t even be contacted. AND those who have agreed to receive marketing are already less than engaged thanks to their disappointing initial experience.

These figures paint the picture of an uphill battle. But what if you rethink when and how you go into battle? What if you could tackle poor player experience as it happens rather than after it happens?

In a competitive market, even your best offer isn’t good enough if the player experience is a disappointing one. When we look at the experience of one-time players in the casino space, one of the key common factors is that ‘return to player’ (RTP) is noticeably lower than for regular players. Players may feel they got poor value for money in terms of entertainment value or play time; they may even just decide that a particular casino isn’t ‘lucky’ for them. Translate that to lottery, where return to player is generally lower, and the level of disappointment is compounded.

What’s becoming increasingly clear is the need to connect with players while they’re playing; in the case of the first-day churn example, to take that moment of disappointment and turn it into the moment of connection. You don’t have long to make that connection, so it’s vital to take that window of opportunity and make it count. For example, we’ve recently partnered with Beehive to give our operator customers enhanced real-time engagement capabilities; access to a powerful and effective method of taking big data and using it to create an interaction that feels small and personal to the player. Those customers can identify whether it’s a player’s first visit, what channel they came from, what games they’ve played, their return to player level – and, crucially, whether they’re likely to be making their final bet soon based on their play pattern so far. This is the optimum moment of intervention – miss it, and you’re back to the challenge of re-engaging an already disengaged player.

So we’ve covered the when – what about the how? The obvious answer is to simply move your marketing plan forward; instead of next-day offers and bonuses, issue them in real-time instead. But the obvious answer isn’t the only answer. If you’re going to reassess the timing of customer engagement, it makes sense to test out different methods too. Back in Edition 54, we discussed the power and potential of gamification; of adding an element of challenge and competitivity to gambling games. Gamification can be a highly effective way of adding some excitement to what was previously a disappointing experience for the player. For example, if a player feels they didn’t get the entertainment value for money they expected first time around, the addition of a mission or challenge to complete can add a different, compelling dimension.

What we’re seeing where customers are using gamification techniques is a growth in player loyalty and engagement. We’ve partnered with Captain Up to give our customers access to a range of gamification tools such as level up bonuses and unlockable achievements – and, vitally, in-depth feedback on the value and success of these tools. Test and learn is a vital part of both real-time engagement and gamification strategies. Done properly, there’s massive potential for the player who engages with missions and challenges to be one of your most loyal, and therefore most valuable, players.

The examples we’ve covered so far may be from the casino space, but the principles of real-time engagement can be applied just as effectively to lottery play. Indeed, in a format where player wins are less frequent, making a connection before the player disengages is even more important. For example, a player checking their numbers online is an ideal engagement trigger point. The likelihood is they won’t have had a win to keep them interested – so interact with them at that point with something that will keep them interested.

We’ve also concentrated on first-day churn so far, but it’s important to remember that the principles of real-time engagement apply long-term too. A perfect example of this is a player reloading their wallet. Is it a while since they had a win? This could be the ideal time to reignite their interest with a promotional reward (depending on your jurisdiction) or an informational message – for example, a reminder of a particularly high jackpot, or the amount raised for good causes within the region to give a ‘feel-good’ angle. If promotional rewards aren’t an option, unlocking the potential of gamification is an ideal alternative.

One final thing to consider is the value of real-time engagement outside of marketing and customer retention. The same principles that apply to identifying and intervening in a disappointing player experience can also be applied to proactively tackling problem gambling. If you can message a player in-game with an offer, it stands to reason that you can use that same mechanism to remind a player how long they’ve been playing or suggest they take a break. Playtech’s recent acquisition of BetBuddy, pioneers in leveraging ‘big data’ to identify potentially harmful play patterns and address them as they appear, is a key part of our drive to proactively assess and address player risk.

Whether it’s taking action to retain the interest of a player, or helping to create a safe and entertaining playing environment for them, the value of real-time engagement and interaction is clear. The window may be a small one, but the size of the opportunity, and the potential to make a big difference, is something no operator can afford to ignore.

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Synopsis

Français

Playtech: Fenêtre réduite, fort potentiel : pourquoi l’engagement en temps réel est important

Robin Bowler, Directeur des marchés d’états, et Shelley Harding-Ban, Responsable de l’engagement client chez Playtech, partagent leurs réflexions sur les moyens d’être efficace durant une fenêtre d’opportunité réduite, et d’appliquer au secteur du jeu les principes de l’engagement en temps réel. Ils nous expliquent également pourquoi le timing est primordial.

Español

Playtech: oportunidad pequeña, gran potencial; por qué es importante el compromiso en tiempo real

Robin Bowler, director de mercados gubernamentales en Playtech, y Shelley Harding-Ban, jefa de captación de usuarios de Playtech, exponen sus ideas sobre cómo causar un gran impacto en un pequeño lapso de oportunidad, sobre cómo se pueden aplicar los principios de compromiso en tiempo real al entorno de la lotería y sobre por qué el momento lo es todo.

Deutsch

Playtech: Kleines Zeitfenster, großes Potential: die Bedeutung von Echtzeitinteraktionen

Robin Bowler, Government Markets Director bei Playtech, und Shelley Harding-Ban, Head of Engagement von Playtech, informieren uns, wie in einem kleinen Zeitfenster eine große Wirkung erzielt werden kann, wie die Prinzipien von Echtzeitinteraktionen im Lotteriegeschäft Anwendung finden können – und warum Timing wirklich alles ist.

 

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