Maturing markets require ever more creative approaches. This truism has formed the bedrock of Yggdrasil’s success in recent years, and the day-to-day mantra for the firm’s head of player marketing, Ana Georgieva.
“Now that the igaming business has, as I see it, reached a stage of maturity, it’s really only when you make your offering as exciting as possible that you can you stay one step ahead of your competitors,” Georgieva explains.
“It’s very hard to stand out from the crowd these days, and so being creative is extremely important.”
While Yggdrasil is well-known for numerous innovations in gameplay and graphics, the real core of the firm’s USP lies in “strategic campaign management” – supplying operators with simple tools to promote games and keep players playing.
“We focused on promotional tools right from the beginning, because we realised early on that it’s not enough to only design good games,” she continues. “There are many other competitors out there who are making great games, but when they don’t provide operators with the tools to propose those games in a new and exciting way, players can easily get bored, and operators find acquisition and retention extremely difficult. This is really what makes Yggdrasil unique.”
Yggdrasil’s arsenal of promotional tools, BOOST, enables operators to acquire, retain and even reactivate players, without breaking a sweat, or the bank. Each tool derives from a simple and well-understood casino concept, but is carefully adapted to suit the primarily mobile, and fickle player – who in many mature markets is often overwhelmed by choice.
A simple Tournament for example; taken from the classic casino promotion, it’s combined with a real-time leaderboard to check progress, and an added Raffle feature that randomly rewards players who didn’t quite make the right position – thereby motivating them to keep playing, boosting retention.
Cash Race and Mystery Cash Race give players “random cash drops”, that are instantly accessible in the player’s account, encouraging them to play on other games.
And Missions – or in-game objectives – add another element of competitiveness that again is clearly combined with a ranking on the leaderboard to spur further play.
“The really hard work in marketing is in retaining these customers. How do you keep them in the game, and make them come back after?” she asks.
“We understood that the tools had to be presented in a simple way, that are easy to understand, but also exciting and engaging. So coming up with these ideas has not been easy, and they have been researched with care and attention, taking into consideration different factors relevant to player behavior.”
While the concepts are easily recognisable, unlike other tools, BOOST is fully accessible to the player in-game, in real-time – one click away. And crucially any rewards are paid into the player account automatically, and instantly redeemable.
“This is extremely rare in the industry,” she reminds. “And this functionality creates a totally different experience for the player. If they have to keep leaving the game they can easily become annoyed, and may never go back. But also because they can use their funds instantly, rather than wait two or three days, it allows operators to cross sell them to different games or products.”
Indeed, understanding what the player wants is only half of the magic. For Georgieva, tending to the operator’s needs is tantamount – so they can customise, deploy and execute these tools in “a sustainable way […] that balances time and resources.”
“BOOST requires no integration: all our partners get access to all the tools from day one, and can customise and adapt them to their requirements,” she adds.
Everything can be changed to suit the operator’s needs, branding and target audience. From the messaging, to terms and conditions and even the graphics. Tools can be segmented to target different types of audiences, in different markets, and even different times of year. Relevant iconography can easily be adopted for Christmas or Halloween and players can be enticed through tailored rewards during happy hour.
“You can be so creative with how you use these tools. They allow operators to create and run campaigns by offering the same experience for desktop and mobile users. With the constantly increasing number of mobile users, offering a seamless experience on mobile devices has become key for successful campaign management,” Georgieva adds.
“Everyone wants to be different today, with the tough competition out there. So being able to tailor any kind of campaign to your target segment definitely makes you stand out.”
The figures speak for themselves. Mobile Game Win has climbed to 66 percent this year compared to an average of 45 percent in 2016, and users have risen to 55 percent from 48 percent in 2016. The use of BOOST tools meanwhile, is up some 200 percent in Q3 this year, compared to the same period last year.
This month, Yggdrasil’s strategic campaign management portfolio comes together in one Christmas Calendar of promotional campaigns.
All Yggdrasil’s partners will have access to a mix of tournaments, missions and cash races during the festive season. And as ever, operators are able to pick and choose which campaigns to actively promote, and link them with their own calendars if they wish.
“With the Christmas calendar we want to help out partners during this busy period,” Georgieva explains. “We are 100 percent covering it ourselves: we’re planning and executing all the campaigns and investing all the funds – half a million euros. So if operators have limited time and resources, but still want to offer a vast selection of campaigns to players, we’re helping, and doing that for them.”
Yet Yggdrasil’s hands on approach to its tools is not just for Christmas. “We never just say: ‘Here are the tools, go and try them.’ We’re always eager to invest, and show our operators how they can get the best out them.
“We really believe in them, and so we’re extremely active in showing everyone that they really do work.”