Social Media in Gaming: The Next Big Trend?
Social media is everywhere in today’s corporate world – and for good reason. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provide an instant channel of communication to millions of users and, crucially, provide a rich stream of data about how the targeted audience responded to a promotion.
One industry that has always utilized the value of customer data is gambling. Big casinos use loyalty cards and networks of cameras to track their patrons every move; they know when a customer arrives, with whom, their betting patterns and favorite drinks, all of which can be leveraged to create customer specific offers.
So its therefore not surprising to learn that online casinos, an industry now worth over $41 billion annually, have also jumped on board. Online casinos are in an even more advantaged position than traditional “brick and mortar” establishments, because all of a customers bets can be tracked instantly.
The main target audience for online betting are young males; who are also among the heaviest social media users. If you fall into that demographic you’ve probably seen campaigns from high street bookmakers on your news feed or ad sidebar. Rather than cheesy promotions, these adverts often utilize humor and informal communication to encourage engagement and action.
One Irish bookmaker has repeatedly landed in controversy for a series of irreverent campaigns which opponents say “trivialize betting.” Similarly, the MGM Grand launched a YouTube campaign called “Get a Life,” which offered a trip to Vegas for the “most boring life” documented in a YouTube video. However, to many consumers, that’s exactly the point. Sports betting is an entertainment product: in a casino, customers would laugh with a dealer. Online, that social interaction can come via a status or tweet.
After an advert is deployed, the casino must then decide how to follow it up. That’s where online startup slotocash has been particularly successful. Putting an advert in front of users is only part of the problem, follow up engagement must be deployed to turn interested viewers into new customers. Slotocash uses different profiles based on different customer demographics to determine how a customer is contacted, and it has led to rapid growth.
Very few of us would take the time to write a letter of complaint to a casino, but many will happily tweet to a customer service department. While this might seem negative, customers who have a complaint resolved successfully are significantly more likely to return and recommend the service to friends.
Paying for a Facebook ad campaign can be an expensive business, which is why the ability to share content is so treasured by marketers. “Viral” promotions that offer a good bonus or engaging subject can be seen by millions at no additional cost. What’s more, the casino can see who has been watching their ad and include them in future campaigns.
Online casinos have low start up costs but few unique selling points, leading to a situation where firms can easily end up poaching each others clients at great cost and little benefit. One way to maintain customer loyalty is to create a distinct brand profile, which many major sports books have begun to do. Let the social media wars commence.