Vladislav Artemyev, co-founder and CEO at ZingBrain, tells CasinoBeats that the industry is lagging behind others when it comes to delivering tailored experiences, and argues that deep personalisation must become a priority.
Personalisation is very much a buzzword right now, with operators and suppliers heavily focused on delivering experiences tailored to the individual preferences of each player.
Progress is undoubtedly being made, but when you compare the levels of personalisation found in the online gambling sector to that in other entertainment industries, we are lagging far behind.
Consider streaming services such as Netflix and how you are served content based on your previous viewing habits. You can search through content, but when was the last time you actually did?
The same cannot be said for online sportsbooks and casinos, where players are expected to search through the hundreds of odds and thousands of games to find what they are looking for.
The same applies to bonuses and marketing – incentives are often generic and sent out at the same time each day across all available channels. Where is the personalisation here?
Sure, the email will have the player’s name on it, but it won’t contain a specific type of bonus the player prefers, and the offer won’t be sent at the most effective time via the channel they use.
Going back to Netflix, emails and push notifications are tailored to each viewer and promote content based on their preferences – this will be sent at a time when they are most likely to act.
This could be actually watching the content that is being promoted there and then, or simply saving it to their list to view later.
This is not just personalisation but what I call deep personalisation.
The five layers of personalisation:
True personalisation means looking at the entire customer journey and the main areas that can be tailored to individual players. We have identified five which include:
Operators need to understand where the player’s attention can be found and then target them with messaging that taps into their psyche and builds a connection with their brand.
Take affiliates for example. For them, deep personalisation means pushing real-time information to players via banners and landing pages.
So instead of promoting a big game at the weekend and some of the sign-up bonuses being offered around it, affiliates can promote the most up to date odds, offers, etc at that moment in time.
The same applies for casino affiliates – they can push offers and bonuses that will appeal specifically to their players rather than generic incentives that do not.
Recommendation systems allow operators to maximise their product, whether that be a sportsbook or a casino, by pushing relevant content to players.
For example, a sports bettor may only make accumulator bets so to deliver a truly personalised experience, operators should promote these markets to the player and not other bet types.
The same applies to casino players and the types of slot they enjoy. If the player only likes high volatility games, the operator should recommend these to them and not low volatility slots.
The use of AI and machine learning can take this to the next level with product recommendations based on a wide range of metrics – bet type, size, sport, team, day/time, etc.
Content can then be recommended through the use of pop-up messages or even via marketing channels such as SMS and newsletter.
CRM activity must be fully personalised if it is to have the desired effect of keeping players engaged with the brand. Just adding the player’s name to a generic send-out is not good enough.
This means ensuring that all messaging is highly relevant, delivers genuine value to the individual player and is sent via the right channel at the right time.
If the player opens SMS messages but does not open newsletter emails, then you must communicate via SMS only. If they only open messages between 4pm and 5pm, send it then.
Bonusing is becoming increasingly complex, with operators amassing huge volumes of data on the bonuses and offers their players are engaging with.
In order to leverage the full potential of this data, it must be analysed on an individual player basis so that future bonuses offered deliver value to each player.
For example, if a bettor only accepts free bet offers the operator should not send them a deposit match bonus as it simply does not provide any value to them.
The same applies to casino. If a player only ever accepts free spin bonuses then the operator should not target them with communications pushing their latest cashback offer.
This layer of deep personalisation can be hard to achieve especially in some regulated markets, but I believe that personalised odds and markets are a game changer.
Again, operators understand that there are different types of bettor – for sports, there are those that prefer to bet at lower odds and for casino there are casual players and big win chasers.
By being able to tailor odds to player preferences or recommend slots that have the potential to provide big wins, the player ultimately receives a bespoke experience.
The technology that powers deep personalisation:
Deep personalisation requires cutting edge technologies than can leverage the data that operators hold on players and combine it with AI and machine learning.
It also requires qualified and highly experienced mathematicians, engineers, developers and data scientists and this is partly why the sector has been slow when it comes to personalisation.
It must be remembered that a lot of the power players in the industry were land-based operators first and foremost, and that too has delayed the adoption of cutting-edge technologies.
But given the size and growth potential of the market, new and innovative technology companies are entering the space with solutions that allow operators to deliver deep personalisation.
Why deep personalisation matters:
Deep personalisation matters because it is what consumers have experienced in other entertainment products and now expect when gambling online.
Operators also need to be mindful that the sector is changing, and in markets such as the US these media and entertainment companies are launching their own books and casinos.
To compete, the industry must get better at personalisation and go deep with it. Not only does it benefit the player, but there are many upsides for operators, too.