The Asian online gambling industry is on the cusp of major change. A growing number of markets are moving towards regulation and licensing, competition amongst operators is hotting up, and players are becoming savvier and expect more from the brands and sites they engage with.
These factors (and more) are putting pressure on operators, who are feeling the impact where it hurts – their bottom line. It’s clear, then, that to survive and thrive, they will have to do things differently. From compliance to product via customer support and payment processing, it’s time to shake things up.
No longer can online casino and sportsbook operators see themselves as just gambling facilitators. They must become hubs of information and entertainment in order to attract customers and keep them coming back for more. This is something we have seen in mature markets for a number of years now.
In short, content has become king in the acquisition and retention of payers, stealing the crown from aggressive marketing strategies and ludicrous promotions that lead to a “bonus hunting” culture. It has proved to be an effective strategy, with operators prioritising content driving engagement and reducing churn.
Remember, average player lifetime value in Asia is around three days whereas in Europe, it is three months. And content is playing a vital role in this extended loyalty.
The power of content marketing has yet to be fully understood by online gambling operators in Asia, and some still don’t really “get” what it is. In short, it is about publishing high-value content that consumers engage with which, over time, fosters incredible affinity with, and loyalty to, your brand and product.
It’s about giving something away for nothing, producing content that offers value to consumers without expecting anything in return. This may seem counter intuitive, but in a competitive sector with smart customers who are aware of marketing tactics, it’s the most effective way of forming genuine relationships that lead to conversions.
But how exactly do operators go about this? In reality, they need to put a comprehensive, detailed content marketing plan together. They need to understand their customer, the sort of content they wish to engage with, and the channels through which they like to access it.
For those dipping their toes into the content marketing water for the first time, however, below are three basic forms of content covering written, audio and video, that can be easily produced and published, and are already being used by operators in Asia and around the world to great effect.
Blogs are highly effective at engaging consumers new and old, giving them a reason to return to your site on a regular basis. Content can be broad and varied, from detailed game guides to interviews with professional poker players via in-depth match previews and player profiles.
Some operators have even turned their blogs into a news section that is updated daily. This is particularly effective for sportsbook operators, who can provide information on player transfers, previews, results, analysis, interviews as well as features and guides.
SBOBET.com, for example, has a regularly updated blog that provides news across a variety of sports, including football and basketball. It also offers betting tips and stats and data. Players can access this information free of charge, and are not required to open an account or make a deposit.
2) Radio broadcasts
There are several third-party content providers that create tailored broadcasts that include live match commentary, as well as regular updates on markets and odds. These radio broadcasts can be accessed on desktop and mobile, keeping punters connected to a betting brand whether at home or out and about.
They are available across major sports and events, from horse racing to the English Premier League via cricket and even greyhound racing. Radio broadcasts are also highly effective at driving in-play betting, with listeners receiving live match updates, as well as information on how the odds are changing as the game ebbs and flows.
Bet365 offers several radio broadcasts and commentaries across a variety of sports, as well as team news for each of the Premier League Clubs in the UK. Listeners will not always wager – sometimes they will just tune in for the broadcast – but when they are ready to bet, they are already engaged with the bet365 brand.
3) Live video:
Retail betting operators have been showing live video footage of games and events to punters for a number of years now, but online operators have been slow to embrace this incredibly powerful marketing tool. Similar to radio broadcasts and commentaries, bookmakers can integrate streams into the sites for their players.
In addition, third party content providers also offer studio broadcasts featuring pundits and experts who provide commentary and updates on all of the matches taking place over the course of a day, not just a single event. It is a format that has been used to great success by Sky in the UK via its Gillette Soccer Saturday show.
Punters not only receive real-time updates in the games being played, but they can also be fed information on betting markets and odds. These broadcasts can be accessed via desktop as well as smartphone and tablet devices, and clips from the shows are ideal for sharing on social media.
Content allows operators to stand out from their rivals by creating significant value to the player or punter. In an increasingly competitive market, it is a unique selling point that not only attracts players to a particular brand, but keeps the returning for more – sometimes on a daily basis.
The game is changing for online gambling operators in Asia, and those that adapt to, and capitalise on, the increasing importance of content will put themselves in the driving seat to capitalise as the industry enters this new era.
*Martyn Hannah, director of content marketing agency, ghostfoundry.
Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.
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