Lina Lugova, Chief Marketing Officer at Epom, shares some deeper insight into the ways that seasonality impacts advertising.
In a new survey, 86 per cent of gamers turn off gaming websites because of excessive or irrelevant emails, text messages and push notifications, while influences such as major sporting events, good weather, major holidays, the financial crisis and political figures all have an influencing role.
CasinoBeats: For those of our audience who might be unfamiliar with Epom, can you give us an overview of what the company is all about and what areas it specialises in?
Lina Lugova: At Epom we focus on products that help customers build their in-house advertising hub and optimise their media buying. Epom Ad Server is a privacy-first, scalable platform designed for igaming brands to launch mobile and desktop ads, control performance and optimise it. It can handle effective advertising during very intensive sports events as our customers are mainly companies with very high traffic volumes.
White-label DSP is a platform that can be rebranded as your own product and used as your agency’s in-house programmatic hub. You get a tailored oRTB solution without investing the time and resources into developing one from scratch and save $100,000 on development costs.
CB: Our first topic of conversation is around seasonality in advertising. Tell us how operators should be looking to maximise their advertising reach across the four quarters, each of which have their own specific trends and opportunities.
LL: The enormous interest in niche sports and esports has opened up new opportunities for operators to cater to a wider range of audiences and expand their market reach. The major benefit of year-round engagement is expanded monetization and a stronger brand presence through more consistent engagement. Generally, the high season for casinos is winter and spring, while sports betting is tied to global sports events. But for many of our customers, this seasonality looks very different in different GEOs.
To avoid any generic recommendations, I`ll share several non-obvious tips that helped Epom customers improve their performance during low seasons:
- Frequency capping. Because of banner blindness, banners tend to be shown more frequently (up to 20 times per user) to gain consumers’ attention and engagement. Epom’s service helps you to set up ad display limitations for every creative in your ad platform.
- Get all your data together. Analyse the behavioural patterns of your users, deep-dive into performance analysis. Invest this time to learn from your mistakes and see the winning ad scenarios that can be leveraged next season.
- Use the low season to improve your website/app majorly. Fix the onboarding process: make it smooth for a huge amount of new players, update your account verification, and fix all your bugs that occurred during the high season.
- Test new creatives, traffic sources, and ad campaigns. According to our client’s performance, smart optimisation and hyper localisation get up to 120 per cent increase in ROI. Always test your creatives’ performance with a minimum of 30-40 registrations to make informed decisions.
- Examination of GEOs where you are operating – in the US, where there are weak regulatory environments in some states, igaming ads can be really intrusive. In India, region-specific ads that address diverse cultures and traditions of the target region work better than globally. Run multiple campaigns optimised towards display and mobile.
- Player’s behaviour. The activity of players in Great Britain is 85 per cent lower on sunny days, and Eastern European players’ activity depends on political updates. You can dig out many more insights simply by analysing your data.
- Launch remarketing campaigns and re-engage with your users. Our existing players are one of your biggest marketing assets and our biggest brand advocates. So you should be doing whatever you can to inspire them and attract new players.
- Move beyond the usual “free spin” offers to give new players real, relevant sign-up bonuses that they’ll really appreciate.
Newsjacking is a good strategy to boost interest and give your players something really exciting to talk about on social media. I remember one igaming operator’s ad campaign with incredible rewards delivered to their door, which turned out to be very successful and attracted tens of thousands of users.
CB: What does Epom offer customers and how does it approach the market in a way that makes it unique among its competitors?
LL: For gaming operators, the choice of tech stack is fundamental to their long-term success. Their ability to deliver personalised ads to existing and new players, at the right time and context requires solid solutions. Our solution helps to get an ad serving autonomy with no development expenses. With API integration with all your third-party BI tools, you will get a birds-eye view of every dime you spend on ads and optimise it.
You can create ad templates with specific parameters and deliver highly personalised ads. Epom offers very scalable infrastructure – during a significant sporting event, ad server infrastructure handles the massive influx of users’ requests.
All our solutions have a learning curve, meaning you need time to invest time in setup, run test campaigns and do optimisation before this process becomes streamlined. But good news – our customer support is always there for you and we are open to any customisation requests.
CB: What kind of advertising formats work best for the gaming sector and why?
LL: With limitations on ad inventory in some countries, the best-performing ad formats are those focused on user experience and maintaining a continued user flow – banners and native ads. Push and pop ads work great for remarketing campaigns and keep users engaged during matches.
For video streaming websites, top-performing ad placements would be in-streams (especially audio), floaters, and skins.
Rich media ads are also very popular with Epom’s clients as we have 30+ ad-ready templates, so they can be launched straight away.
I’d advise launching your ad campaigns two to three days before the event and go with higher bids. You’ll never be able to test what’s working without spending a reasonable ad budget on experiments.
CB: What advice would you give to operators when seeking out the services of a company such as Epom?
LL: If added security is what you seek, compliance and safety should be your priorities. Make sure your advertising partner keeps your first-party data safe.
Go with trusted ad tech vendors and test-drive multiple platforms before signing up. Epom has been on the market for 12 years, and our fellow betting and igaming brands stay for over five years on average, tripling the volume of their ad operations.
Invest time to build your autonomous in-house media buying team. Own your media buying activities: use your internal data and insights from publishers to deliver data-based ads, ensuring targeted precision in every ad campaign.
The igaming industry is moving towards smart, personalised, and hyperlocal ads to match user experience. In this ever-changing industry, the only stable thing can be fully transparent and fraud-free partnerships with ad tech vendors and media buying agencies.