We recently hosted our second annual event at Southbank Centre, in London. The goal was to dive deep into where iGaming is headed in the future. Livescore Group, Superbet, Kwiff, and EveryMatrix came out to give their insights into the industry and what to expect next.
From convergence to gamification, there was a lot of ground covered. Read on to get all of your takeaways.
In the Xtremepush main panel, participants covered a range of pertinent questions for the igaming industry. Questions like:
- How does real-time data impact companies and the player’s journey?
- How can companies avoid negative player experiences?
- What impact will increasing regulation have on player retention?
- What role does automation play in deploying real-time data?
The answers to these questions are likely to shape the near future of the industry.
Joanna Beaton, head of CRM at Kwiff sees real-time data as key to the player’s journey. Real-time data unlocks the potential for real-time customisation. Platforms can respond nearly instantly to player’s preferences, displaying feeds and automating offers based on previously-made bets. This shortens the timeline, allowing platforms to customise their UX in minutes or days rather than weeks or months.
Negative experiences can cut short player involvement, and that doesn’t mean just losing a bet. A negative experience can be anything from a missed bonus to poor communication on player safety issues. And with so many competitors in the market, one negative experience can be an instant lost player.
Panelist Adrian Caprita, CRM and VIP Director at Superbet, argues that companies need to spend time with players to nurture them from leads to customers and from customers to repeat customers. That includes incorporating elements of gamification while using data to identify what you’re doing well – and what the players want.
Automation in the igaming industry offers the potential to streamline everything from placing bets to nurturing leads. But Tom Dyson from EveryMatrix maintains that there’s an underlying promise that no igaming company can forget:
“Engage (the players) with an experience that matches up to what they were promised… and it needs to happen in real time.” Players can’t and won’t wait for companies to leverage automation, AI, or any other technology to slowly build the perfect experience.
Data, data, data – access to real-time data impacts the customer experience, but holds even bigger implications for the management side. More data makes finding customers easier; holds huge potential for player retention; and makes it possible to deliver improvements with new technology.
Sam Sadi, CEO of LiveScore Group
Joined by Xtremepush’s CEO, Tommy Kearns, the keynote of the conference was Sam Sadi from LiveScore Group, delivering an incredible amount of insight into the development of the industry in a wide-ranging interview.
Sam briefly recounted his own experience, particularly his adventures in designing and deploying iGaming networks around the idea of convergence. In fact, Sam’s story has largely been how he moved to harness the power of sports media and sports betting and bring them together under a single umbrella.
As he told the story, Sam illustrated the prime importance of personalisation in igaming. His own beginnings as a bookie in Boston led Sam to adopt a hyper-personal approach, almost coaching his punters, rather than simply taking their money.
That outlook continues today in his role at LiveScoreGroup, where he works to deploy all the key ingredients for a successful convergence:
- Building on a large, betting media base
- Operating a world-class sportsbook
- Improving incremental value, including user experience
- Leveraging value beyond the sportsbook itself, such as a the broader media experience
At the bare minimum, any competitor needs to match the value and experience of other sportsbooks. But that’s a recipe only to tread water; to stand out, Sam says, you need to offer something beyond just betting.
With convergence, Sam looks for ways to expand and improve the end user experience.
When it comes to offering insight, that process might look something like this:
- Create insight before the bet; track score, provide stats, improve experience overall
- Place bet
- Track bet
The actual betting process is straightforward, simple, and highly competitive; it is tough to stand out in the crowd of sportsbooks. But there’s room on the “insight” side, particularly for a content-focused company like LiveScore Group.
Q&A with an industry leader
After Sam’s chat, the questions came fast and furious from the audience. One dealt with the importance of a good tech stack, something that attracts a lot of attention in the space.
Sam’s answer cuts to the heart of the matter; when it comes to the best tech stack, “there’s no right answer.” Instead, Sam asks a slightly different question: “At this moment in time – and maybe 2-3 years from now – what is the tech stack that’s going to give me the best chance of succeeding?”
It’s all about matching the right product to the right tech stack in the right market.
Other questions touched on player protection, ethical issues in certain markets, and the lessons that the North American sportsbook market could have learned from the European one – and didn’t.
Finally, Sam covered a great question on the pace of innovation in the igaming industry. Of 300 engineers at LiveScore Group, roughly 100 are focused on compliance and reporting issues. That indicates a certain set of priorities, one that has tended to slow the pace of genuine innovation within the sportsbook itself.
As a result, igaming companies are being forced to look for innovation opportunities beyond building a better sportsbook. Sam sees the biggest such opportunity in sports media, where convergence, mobile-first apps, and a faster pace of innovation have opened up a wealth of opportunities.
Xtremepush X Thunderbite: A fireside chat with John Smith
The third element of the conference was a personal chat between Rob Pryce, CRO at Xtremepush, and John Smith, VP of Sales – Gamification and Loyalty at Xtremepush (former CEO of Thunderbite). Thunderbite was recently acquired by Xtremepush, and the conversation largely dealt with the implications and potential of that move.
FTP games: marrying real-time data and customer experience
Why are FTP games so beneficial for igaming companies? Because the wealth of information they gather about players can make a truly customisable experience possible. But there’s often a gap between what companies can and want to offer and what players themselves want.
In short, John Smith of Thunderbite says that success with FTP games lies in “finding out what a player wants from a free-to-play game, finding out what rewards they’re interested in, and how we can deliver those to the company in real-time.” Smart companies use FTP games for the insight they bring, and then leverage that insight to attract and retain players.
What is gamification? It’s a combination of something new that brings players back again and again with a familiar face on your favourite bookie’s site. In short, operators use games to give players more of what they want; something new, but something reliable as well.
Ultimately, gamification involves giving players control, allowing them to control their destiny and rewarding them for pursuing those goals with a specific company.
More broadly, retention strategies vary from company to company, and all come down to one idea: unification. The actual strategies might include FTP games, or successive layers of gamification, or numerous other tactics.
With Thunderbite and Xtremepush, CRM and FTP games all come together to enhance the customer experience and empower companies at the same time.