Blog

Player Engagement may be closer than you think

Published: Wednesday March 22, 2017

A blog post by Peter Murray, Head of Gaming at GBG.

The online gaming industry is booming, but player loyalty remains as elusive as ever for many operators. We commissioned a survey of a thousand UK adults in order to gain insight into their gambling habits, as well as to uncover the reasons behind their decisions to sign up and keep returning to their chosen sites.

The majority of those we surveyed were occasional gamblers. These players can be a nightmare loyalty-wise. After all, how do you engage with someone who only bets once or twice a year? The dream for any operator is to turn the huge numbers of occasional gamblers into loyal customers who play regularly, but how?

As it turns out, convenience really is king.

Recreational gamblers overwhelmingly prefer to use smartphones or tablets (75%), with only 29% expressing a penchant for laptops or desktops. As you might guess, convenience was the main reason our respondents gave for using the devices. For strategic and professional gamblers on the other hand, there was a clear preference for desktops and laptops (50% and 67% respectively).

Those who take their bets more seriously it seems, be it for strategic reasons or due to sheer infrequency, prefer the comfortable interface of larger screens and full sites. Those who do so for pleasure on the other hand, suggesting a more impulsive, or socially driven gambling style, seem more willing to take their chances with clunky apps and mobile sites.

Occasional gamblers predominantly fall into the 25-34 age group, and are easily swayed by promotions. 39% would sign up to a site based on a promotion, and 49% agreed that highly personalised promotions encouraged them to bet more regularly. The same was true for younger respondents - 40% of 18-24 year olds would sign up to sites offering promotions, and 46% would be swayed by personalised messaging.

Having a clear preference towards smartphones and tablets (50%), the youngest age bracket were mostly comprised of occasional gamblers (51%).

Whilst it’s an age group that is less likely to have as much disposable income as the older groups, this discrepancy could also be due to the fact that younger players are far less forgiving of slow, poor customer experiences across all aspects of their day to day lives. Having grown up with technology at their fingertips, far fewer will be willing to trudge on through baffling interfaces and convoluted navigation – a challenge that is by no means unique to the gaming sector.

This isn’t restricted to younger players. Across all age groups, players relying on laptops and desktops are a huge and largely untapped resource. By creating smooth interfaces for players using mobile devices, be it by developing high quality mobile apps or through switching to simple, responsive site designs, operators could provide users with the ease of navigation that they clearly crave. 35% of all our respondents said that being required to enter as little information as possible would improve their sign-up experience, something that can be easily achieved through auto-fill form technology, as well as automatically populating card details or validating identity documents using a player’s smartphone camera.

But with so many players being responsive to advertising, fixing these issues and creating detailed player profiles, personalised communications and individualised offers could be what wins them over.

In doing so, operators need to ensure they take responsible gambling compliance seriously – research has shown that 18-24 year olds are most likely to become problem gamblers. Implementing KYC checks at the point of sign-up, for example, could help to identify and protect underage and vulnerable players, as well as collecting valuable information about those who are eligible to play, from the moment they join - getting you, quite literally, ahead of the game.