Darran Miner: Player engagement? Hell yeah, it’s personal

As legalized sports betting becomes much more commonplace across the US, Darran Miner – VP North America at Triggy – explains why personalization and data are taking centre stage in the race to market.

Betting is personal! Bettors will bet on specific teams, players, sports, venues and events. They also like certain types of wagers; moneyline, over/under, parlays and props and will focus most of their bets on those.  

What goes into these decisions? Played baseball as a kid and knows the game. May be the president of the Patrick Mahomes fan club. Hit a big score on the Kentucky Derby and fell in love with horse racing. Loves stats and knows when a player/team is on a hot streak. The answer is – it’s personal.

As legalized sports betting spreads across the U.S., sportsbooks are in a race against time and many competitors to gain market share. In New Jersey alone, there are 16 sportsbooks with online betting. Sure, New Jersey is one of the more mature markets in America and it should be further along than other states. Well Michigan, one of the new kids on the block, may have as many as 15 sportsbooks open by the end of the year. 

It is truly a race to market and the end result is lack of product differentiation and personalization. Here are five top tips which can be used to increase personalization and leverage data, both of which can improve your customer acquisition and retention efforts.

Customer Acquisition

Build a database – build brand awareness 

While some of the bigger players in the industry can buy a fantasy sports company and leverage their existing player database to acquire new customers, this isn’t a practical solution for the industry as a whole.  

Believe it or not, almost half of the U.S. still does not offer legal sports betting. Sportsbooks can build brand awareness with a branded live score app and free to play games in pre-regulated markets. These opportunities create a low barrier of entry for fans to follow and engage with their favorite teams/leagues while providing a treasure trove of data.    

Affiliate and contextual marketing  

Static banner ads and generic links have been commonplace within the affiliate marketing world for years. Currently, sports publishers and affiliates already provide live odds on their web sites and in apps but have not layered it in contextually.    

Unfortunately, when a game or match preview is published it may have obsolete odds just a few hours later or maybe the publisher didn’t even include odds within the story. 

Delivering live odds within a contextual environment provides the reader current information regardless of when they engage in the content. Meanwhile, offering relevant content with live odds gives the fans what they want and can bring them a sign up page or a bet slip within a few clicks.  

Retention and Engagement

How do sportsbooks currently convert fans into bettors? Currently, it is through massive sign up offers that on its own, do not build brand loyalty or affinity. The sign up offer got them in the door, but what’s next? 

Remember: betting is personal

Retention promotions across the industry offer very little differentiation and personalization today. Bet Boosts, Insurance, Risk Free Bets – everyone has one, or several of these promotions and they definitely serve a purpose. However, these promotions are extremely cookie cutter and don’t help sportsbooks standout in the crowd.

Remembering that betting is personal, sportsbooks can move away from cookie cutter promotions to promotions based on a bettor’s interests/behavior.  

This makes data collection critical and the easiest way to get to know your customers is to ask them about their interests. A customer’s onboarding journey should include, at a minimum, which teams/leagues they follow. Simply finding out a customer is a Red Sox or Liverpool fan is extremely valuable.

Data is your best friend

Leveraging data provided by the customer and identifying their betting trends will open up the opportunity to customize promotions that will deepen player engagement and improve retention. For example, if the customer only bets on New York sports teams, tailor messaging, provide content and build promotions around their betting interests.  

Where there is one, there are many… Utilize your CRM tools to segment your audience and identify bettors with similar betting history. Once you know the size of the audience, sportsbooks can prioritize promotions to drive the most engagement and revenue. 

Introduce new bet types

In addition to getting to know your customers, it is also important to educate them on bet types and new betting opportunities. This is true today for sportsbooks as they introduce the concept of in-play/live betting. Most fans are just now placing their first legal bets and outside of some exposure to prop bets at Super Bowl parties, live betting is a new concept to them.    

One way to introduce live betting is by offering betting market suggestions within your app and notifications. Every time a fan receives a game update either pre-game or once the game has started, they can receive a betting market suggestion with updated odds. This helps reengage the bettor all the way to the completion of the game.  

Also, sportsbooks can utilize AI and machine learning to leverage data and analyze a players betting history. As such, sportsbooks can offer multiple suggested bets based on a bettor’s interest and prior betting history.    

At the end of the day, there are many ways to acquire and retain customers. Enhanced personalization while leveraging a player’s data will enable the sportsbook to be more efficient and increase the long term value of their customers.

At Triggy, we have created a unique personalization platform for sportsbooks, media publishers, affiliates and sports franchises; we currently work with some of the largest sportsbooks in the world including Pinnacle, Sportsbet, LeoVegas and Better Collective. 

Our state-of-the-art tools and solutions make it possible for sportsbooks to acquire, engage and re-target players through advanced personalization notifications, alerts and NextBets.