THE INDUSTRY CONUNDRUM: PERSONALISATION AND CUSTOMIZATION
Alessandro Fried, CEO, BtoBet
During the past few years the mature European industry has evolved into a congested market characterized by increasing challenges in terms of player acquisition, and retention, and problematics from a brand differentiation point of view. These challenges arise primarily from the technological inadequacy of the majority of the iGaming platforms’ core technology not only to provide a tailored UX on a micro-level to each and every player, but also their inability to provide operators with the the “freedom” required to deliver a distinct betting experience reflecting their brand’s unique values. This ultimately results in a flat experience across the vast majority of the industry, increasing the risks in terms of player churn rate. The key to circumvent these issues are true personalization and customization.
A changing sports betting scenario
The whole online bookmaking industry has literally changed its stance during the last few years, especially from a content offering perspective. Whereas before operators used to fight it out amongst themselves from a quantitative point of view, with their primary aim being to provide their players with a myriad of markets and events, even to the detriment of the whole betting experience, nowadays this perspective has changed, with bookmakers more keen to present their players with a more restricted choice of events that however reflects a more tailored UX. And this is where a platform’s capability in terms of AI, machine learning and advanced filtering and segmentation capabilities should assist operators.
A unique UX for each and every player
As a starting point it must be said that there is no single and predefined character profile that fits an individual player. If this would be the case, it would totally preclude the whole concept of bettering the user experience through a tailored and personalized experience.
For an operator to truly realize the importance of having the right management tools in terms of sports betting analytics, one would have to imagine a scenario where a gambler, on a typical Sunday, and using a smartphone device, with all the major football leagues’ events occurring within practically the same time window is attempting to place a betting ticket with no technology filtering and segmenting the offerings according to his preferences. The end result? A cacophony of information resulting in a chaotic user experience and poor engagement.
The tailoring of the player experience relies solely on the technological proficiency that the operator has at his disposal. Because even though most platforms offer some form of customized user experience, only a select few offer the opportunity for advanced player segmentation based on his previous activities resulting in a highly augmented sports betting UX on an individual level.
And this is particularly true in the case of a player who can be classified as a live casino player, or fall under the segment of an avid football punter, whilst at the same time also being a potential daily racer. It all boils down to the platform’s technological impetus to assimilate and process all the data generated by the player as close to real time as possible. Each and every decision that a customer makes is key to the data stream from which predictions on his betting behavior, based on complex machine learning algorithms, can be generated.
The betting experience of each and every player can be tailored from the very beginning of his lifecycle on a bookmaker’s site. The personalization of this UX process depends on the platform’s ability to further integrate and segment the data to the most minute level in order to deliver a truly holistic and tailored experience.
And even though one of the major elements to deliver an optimal user experience is the user interface, yet again, the approach to the UI must be adaptive according to the player profile.
The UI, such as the positioning of certain features and the different default functionalities, must be based on certain definite parameters according to the different jurisdictions and markets.
A bespoke UI does not only limit itself to the element of visualization. The personalizing of the content through an advanced content management system is also key to the whole personalisation process, with the player being able to interact with specific content that fits their preference database.
Personalisation through gamification?
Gamification is still relatively new in terms of sports betting, but there is no doubt that it is set to revolutionize the personalization aspect in the sports betting scene in the short to mid term period. Being able to offer an additional layer of entertainment to the usual betting approach will undoubtedly bolster player interaction, engagement and retention. Essentially it is a win-win situation for players and operators alike, with players receiving rewards for a predetermined bet or set of bets performed from their side, whilst ensuring operators with continued player engagement.
Adding these classic gamification elements will augment the all-around entertaining experience, whilst increasing positive engagement between bookie and player even when a bet has been lost.
As personalisation becomes more and more prevalent, individual customer-specific retention strategies will be more manageable, and gamification can play a significant role in this with tailored offerings delivered in real-time. It is one more tool in the box for operators to differentiate their platform from those of competitors.
Unlocking the shackles for operators
Another aspect determining a lackluster betting experience is the lack of brand differentiation and unicity that is characterizing the current European market. Although the player is presented with an infinite choice of sports betting sites where to place his betting ticket, the vast majority are portraying the same events, and ultimately the same flat experience. This should not be the case since the design and interface and the resultant UX itself should not be predefined but must be an asset that all operators need to make their own.
The current reality is that the player is being provided with the core platform UX features and not the unique elements that should distinguish one brand from another. It is with this in mind that service providers should seek to tackle a clear and defined approach, where you have the role of the operator that is fundamental to deliver its own interface, and the way they want their brand to communicate with their players, whilst on the other hand there is the platform provider whose role is to provide the core technology required by licensees to manage their business.
The end result should be a platform where the platform disconnects itself from the whole UX process, be it the design or the interface, placing the operator at the heart of his business and thus pushing the betting experience he seems fit for his targeted player.
*This editorial has been published by CGi Magazine