eGaming Review & Qubit on 2016 Personalization trends.

eGR's Thomas Simpson interviews Qubit's eGaming experts on future CX trends. 

Tom Simpson caught up with Anthony Petane and Jon Patterson to chat about the future of customer experience in the eGaming industry. Read this interview to learn about what trends to expect in the next 12 months, what operators are doing right, and what’s required to take the lead in customer experience.


TS: How vital is the shift to offering a personalized experience in terms of attracting and retaining customers?

JP: One of the problems the industry has faced is the proliferation of operators that we’ve seen in the past five years or so. Not long ago, the cost of entry to launch and run an online sportsbook was very high, we’ve seen lots of new players entering the market with sportsbooks built on top of game and sportsbook platforms. This is driving a commoditization of betting experiences. The savvy players on the market are looking to personalize the experience so that they can move away from a race to the best price. Odd’s comparison sites and centralized wallet’s are also hitting margins, even before you take POC tax into account. Personalization is going to be more and more important for operators to differentiate their product and can be extremely powerful in fostering brand loyalty.

TS: What progress do you think the gaming operators have made in the space in recent years?

JP: Operators are getting quite good at personalizing offline communications. With channels like email. With email personalization you have time to collate the data, segment customers and determine the correct offer or experience for each of these segments. However another opportunity is in real-time online communications. The point at which you want to influence someone’s betting by upselling and cross-selling them, is the point at which they’re most engaged with your brand. i.e when they’re on the site or when they’ve got your app open. 



AP: Last year BoyleSports was focused on driving accumulators due to the higher margins associated. So we implemented messaging right into the bet slip that prompted users betting on more than one single to combine them into an accumulator. By pushing the right messaging at the exact right moment, we drove roughly 5% increase in accumulator bets. You can read more about this in the BoyleSports case study.



AP: This year the focus may move towards an even more personalized experience using the bet slip. One way to do this might be a sort of mini recommendations engine within the betslip. For example, if someone bets on Spurs to beat Leicester on Wednesday afternoon, we’ll push directly after that Harry Kane to score first. That’s a great first step in personalizing the experience in real-time. I think over the next, six months to a year, the most innovative operators will get very good at this and recommend products based on previous betting preferences as well as using social proof to highlight the ‘trending’ bets. 

TS: What areas do you believe are in need of attention to improve the customer experience?

JP: Whenever somebody opens an app, or visits the site of an operator, they’ve either decided what they want to bet on and want to get to it asap, or they’ve decided they want to place a bet but don’t know what that is yet. For the first group, getting them to the desired bet with as fewer clicks and scrolls as possible is really important, personalized navigation links can really help here. If somebody has bet on a Southampton game more than 4 times in the last month, then it is pretty easy to personalize a quick link to go straight to the next Southampton event.

JP: For the second group looking for some inspiration...there’s a few problems, you want to suggest bets they might usually go for but without missing any opportunities to cross-sell them to new events and products. Product recommendations are all over other industries, particularly retail, it’s a more difficult data problem for the betting industry though. The amount of selections available on any given day would dwarf the amount of product SKU’s a typical retailer might have.

AP: There’s also a new social element, with the introduction of cash out and in-play people tend to play in conjunction with their friends or share their accumulators on social networks and messaging apps. That social element needs to be wrapped up a bit, you’ve seen it on travel websites already where it states ‘5 people are doing this at the same time’, if you can invoke this social aspect in the gaming industry then you could really gain in terms of customer experience, that is something that we can use the Qubit technology for.

TS: What makes Qubit’s use of data to improve the customer experience so unique and innovative?

AP: The unique selling point of Qubit is in the data supply chain that we’ve built, the Visitor Cloud. Firstly, it allows you to collect very granular data that you can use to analyze what is going on and what parts of your app or site are performing and which are not. You can then change or alter the experience to improve your results once you have a strong data driven hypothesis. Sometimes that will be focusing on the acquisition, and at others upselling and getting the average stake amount up for existing customers. This will allow you to launch experiences that are going to modify and (hopefully) improve results.

JP: If you’re using a pureplay testing provider, they might encourage you to interrogate the test results to look for inspiration for personalization, but this often just descends into an exercise in hunting false positives. With Qubit, data collection is not centered around any tests, it is constantly happening. This means every single digital interaction with your brand can be used to inspire ideas for personalization & CX improvements.
 
TS: What predictions can you make in terms of how data-driven personalization could evolve in the coming years?

AP: One school of thought is that personalization means a different experience for each and every user. This might happen eventually but can be prohibitive in terms of the number of experiences you need to design. Instead, the goal should be to start to use customer data to develop smarter segmentation.

JP: I would also predict we will see retail based techniques being used in the UK gaming industry. Product recommendations and ‘basket’ abandonment are two techniques we might see coming over this year that have a real application in improving the betting experience. The unifying of the visitor’s historical data is the important step here as any recommendation algorithm is only ever as good as the customer data you feed into it.



Check out Qubit's personalization handbook for eGaming Winning the customer experience race