What does immersive experience mean for players? We sat down with iNTERGAME to tackle this topic and identify how operators and suppliers can deliver the ultimate entertainment hub.
The Sports betting (SB) competition has been intensifying for years reaching a point where it’s becoming even financially expensive for SB operators to acquire and retain new players and minimize churn rates on their platforms. On some markets, the situation is even worse due to increased regulations and unsustainable costs associated with awarding free bets and offering enhanced odds to retain customers.
The reality is that conventional methods like promotions and new bonuses are no longer a strong differentiating factor. On top, they are even further draining operators’ decreasing profits.
GLOBAL TRENDS TO WATCH
Operators and suppliers have to see the big picture. More importantly, they must leverage global trends where video streaming especially via mobile has experienced an exponential growth. During the last couple of years, video streaming has amounted for 70% of all internet traffic out of which 52% was streamed via mobile. According to Nielson, for the first time, among all demographics, mobile phone media consumption exceeded TV.
Sports streaming is one of the most demanded video content. More people live-streamed the 2018 Super Bowl than ever before with viewership up 45% from 2017. According to a Google sports survey,
30% of fans stream sporting events on their mobile devices because it allows them to watch games and events “on their terms”.
Another trend that is gaining traction among all industries is the increased demand for online social communication. Consumers, especially the younger population aka the millennials expect more interactive experience where they can get additional information about a game and even discuss event outcomes with peers.
MORE THAN A SB PLATFORM
Operators that want to take advantage of these changing market demands must think ahead. Providing rich betting content, attractive odds and engaging bonus promotions is not enough anymore.
We have to think bigger than that. The market is ready for an ultimate Sports Entertainment Hub as the primary destination for sports fans for everything sports-related from watching live games, checking scores, reading sports news, and discussing game with pears to placing a bet.
A journey towards creating the Sports Entertainment Hub or THE SUPER APP starts with having live scores, game statistics, line-ups, and personalized sports news as first-class citizens of the Sports-Betting offering. Although almost all SB sites offer these functionalities, users tend to use 3rd party apps for the above mentioned information due to poor user experience. According to Nielsen’s sports media report, 80% of TV viewers use their mobile devices to search for a player or additional game info. Each time a user connects to a 3rd party app to check the score, reads the sports-related news or watches a short game overview video, operators are having potential profit loss.
BUILDING THE SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT HUB
Live betting has been the last decade’s big thing. Going a step further, operators can offer a watch and bet experience by introducing live sports game streaming with play-along option. It must be noted that there are few operators who offer live game streaming on their sites already, but the experience can be further enhanced.
Apart from user retention and creating a more immersive experience, live streaming can double down for Sports-Betting operators as their way to enter new markets where fans don’t have access to Pay TV services offering sports events. There are massively underserved communities like these across the world, especially on the African continent, Asia, and LATAM.
As watching sports and making bets is a social activity, it’s only logical to add real-time chat capability to In-Play games increasing user engagement and retention. This way, Nexon, on its live streaming eSports platform, increased user session time by 150% and increased the number of viewers for each event. Moreover, the active social network will help reduce churn since players who socialize spend more time on the platform and eventually increase screen time leading to the high probability of spending more money.
The social interaction among consumers can create new channels for monetization, such as pool betting. It’s only natural in such social environment for users to place wagers against each other during the game. Last but not least. live chat will have a long-term effect contribution for building players’ loyalty and resulting in a stronger community around the SB platform.
A LOOK FORWARD
Operators that want to be even more creative and further strengthen the community around the SB platform can organize original live online shows where celebrities, players, analysts, or experts discuss the game with consumers in a moderated chat or messaging system. A somewhat similar approach is effectively used by Sky Bet by integrating Super 6 into a long-established live results TV show on Sky Sports, with celebrity anchor and the panel of ex-pros playing along.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, a lot more can be done to turn SB offering from just a regular betting platform into an ultimate Sports Entertainment Hub, thus offering immersive experience, acquiring more users and increasing retention.