Bit8 CEO Angelo Dalli provides an in-depth look at the most effective and state-of-the-art marketing strategies in iGaming, and offers insider tips on how to avoid spending good money on bad customers.
[dropcap]B[/dropcap]etting Business: Player acquisition and retention is going to be a big theme at this year’s iGaming Super Show. What, in your view, are the most effective retention strategies in today’s iGaming market?
Angelo Dalli: The most effective strategies are those that combine all the important elements of retention – such as bonusing, player incentives, and a well thought-out loyalty programme. You need to take a short, medium, and long-term approach to customer engagement. Brands are good at the short and the long-term, but it’s the bit in between that quite often falls away.
Lotteries can form an important bridge that is currently missing. They provide regular, cyclical events that offer players a mixture of small wins and chance of big, sometimes life-changing ones. With tournaments and promotions that allow operators to segment players into teams they can also add a social dimension that aids retention further. This is taking the dynamic of a traditional paper, retail-based lottery and giving it an online twist.
BB: Does customer retention ever conflict with getting a decent ROI and/or maximising lifetime value?
AD: It really depends on the structure. You can certainly end up in situations where you give away too many incentives if you’re not careful, particularly if there is strong competition in the market place. In an effort to avoid that, it is very important to segment players according to their expected lifetime value. Basically, you should never spend good money on bad customers.
Our system is always channelling players according to their behaviours in order that we can bonus them appropriately. It takes a 360 look at them and is constantly monitoring to detect any changes. There is a law of diminishing returns and the tricks is to worl out the break-even point of the different classes of players. There are no hard and fast rules, you just need very good account management, which is why it is a big focus for us. We’ve done a lot of work in both land-based and online environments here, so we have a very comprehensive, omni-channel VIP system.
BB: Do you see Artificial Intelligence becoming increasingly important in iGaming?
AD: We’ve been advocating the use of AI for some time and think it has a big role to play. It can make your operations more efficient, as well as making players happier. It allows the automatic triggering of communications in a timely manner and ensures bonuses are sent at exactly the right time. It can also match players to the right incentives, without requiring an army of customer support people gathering intelligence behind the scenes.
It recognises the game play of current players and similar ones and makes recommendations for complementary products within vertical. It can also cross sell into more profitable verticals. For us, lottery adds even more excitement, as for many people it creates new vertical. And the added bonus is that there is a zero risk to the operator.
BB: Do you feel that customer retention is an area that can be improved by operators?
AD: There is always room for improvement when it comes to customer retention as there are always players who drop off who you could have kept. There are some very exciting developments in gamification which will help stop this. But brands could still do more when it comes to a player’s journey and promotions to make sure they’re engaged. In some ways, there’s a lot of old-fashioned story-telling. You have to tell customers they are part of a journey with the brand and ensure they feel part of a community.
Offering a good mix of products is undoubtedly important too. You need both short, medium, and long-term cycles to improve retention. You need to engage at the right level and provide variety. The use of Artificial intelligence technology is something we’ve been advocating for some time now. This helps with better account management and better integration of marketing tools to spot customers at a risk of churn.
BB: Is Bit8 going to exhibiting at the iGaming Super Show this year?
AD: We don’t have a stand this year – but we are sponsoring the bar! We’re going to have an open bar there and a few fun giveaways to promote out new lottery products. Anyone signing up before the end of June will not only get discounted fees, they will also get better commission rates. So stop by the stand, grab a drink, and we’ll be delighted to tell you more.