Fighting for a line – The challenges igaming operators face

posted by Chris Valentine

Over the past couple of decades, the Internet gaming industry has grown significantly, in which there are now 2.5 billion video gamers across the world. Whilst video gaming consoles have been a common item in most households since the late 20th century, statistics are now showing that this industry is shifting towards a mobile first approach, in which 38% of all video games now being developed are specifically for smartphones and tablets.

This shift in the industry has allowed for a significant amount of growth as new audiences and younger generations have become interested in games that were traditionally popular with the older generations. In particular, the bingo industry has made a great deal of progress through the use of online channels, in which the age group most likely to now play bingo is 25-34 year olds. Whilst this growth has had many advantages for online gaming providers, it has also caused a significant amount of competition, in which customer loyalty and retention is now a significant factor in determining the long-term success of online gaming providers.

So what exactly can these online gaming providers do to promote their own business amongst the sea of gaming providers? And how can they ensure year on year growth? Here’s some of the strategies online gaming providers are using to ensure their success…

In game Promotions

With online gambling now counting for 33% of all gambling activity within the UK, the competition is fierce. This means that new customers can be hard to come by, creating an even higher emphasis on customer retention. Data shows that the average cost to online gaming vendors of acquiring a new customer exceeds $250, meaning it’s often far cheaper to retain an existing player through the use of in game promotions.

These promotions can include bonuses, free spins, cash back and prize giveaways and are excellent ways to keep the customer coming back for more. Promotions such as bonuses, free spins and cash back are ways to keep the customer playing for longer without having to deposit more of their own cash.

In addition, prize giveaways and mini games are also deployed to add more of an entertainment element to online bingo. Whilst the authentic feel of a bingo hall can be lost in online bingo, players are being enticed in new and elaborate ways that enhance the online bingo experience, and one of the most popular ways is to incorporate TV and movie themes into games. Popular titles to be used in online bingo have included Disney’s Pinocchio, Heist and the Slot Father.

Another popular promotion used in the acquisition of new customers on online bingo sites is no deposit bingo. No deposit offers can include free spins, or free bingo and enable the customer to register on a site and trial it out without having to spend a single penny. Whilst there are usually minor hoops to jump through such as entering a valid phone number or providing card details for age certification, the games are genuinely free and have proven to be an excellent way of acquiring new customers. One of the best places to find a worthwhile no deposit bingo game and best bingo bonus is through BingoPort, a dedicated site that allows online bingo players to find the best no deposit deals around.

Effective Digital Marketing

As the amount of online bingo providers increases, the marketing tactics have had to become further reaching and innovative in order to survive. Online bingo providers are now seeking the help of marketing professionals to create structured campaigns, deploy SEO across their sites and create key word rich content that’s designed to drive traffic to their website and keep them on the top page of Google.

What’s more, online vendors are spending thousand a day on paid ads across the web. With online bingo being popular on a range of devices from mobile, to desktop and tablet, paid ads are being designed and optimised to pop up on all devices. These ads create a custom journey for each potential client, which ultimately aims to make them a member of the bingo site and ideally a repeat customer.

With so much competition, providing engaging and entertaining online bingo games is often no longer enough to keep the customer engaged. Most online bingo sites now also have blog pages with regular and interesting content to keep visitors informed of the latest industry news and tips for playing. In addition, social media channels are used as a way of reaching out to customers and enable ‘daily conversations’ with users for a more personalised experience.

The below diagram indicates the complex customer journey that people now move along as they become a customer of any given online bingo site.

Loyalty schemes

As customer retention has become so important, online gaming vendors now offer a range of loyalty programmes, designed to keep players coming back for more on the same gaming site. Loyalty programmes usually reward the player for interaction with their site, in which the more games they play, the more rewards and preferential treatment they earn. Rewards can include exclusive access to games with increased winning odds, bonus games and early access to new games.

In addition to the offerings on the gaming sites themselves, members of loyalty programmes often benefit from partnerships between the online gaming vendor and hospitality businesses. Such benefits can include discounts at certain restaurants and hotels, live sports events, holiday clubs and resorts.

Overall, online bingo is now incredibly popular with the masses and has a much further reach than it did in the past when played in traditional bingo halls. This increase in popularity can be attributed to the growth of technology, which has enabled people to access bingo much easier than ever before, playing where and whenever they want to.

Whilst this growth has had significant benefits to the industry, online gaming providers are now facing more challenges with customer acquisition and retention than ever before.

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