The challenges of personalisation

By Gambling Insider
BtoBet COO Dima Reiderman speaks to Gambling Insider about the complexities of personalising sportsbook offerings for the user, and how best to advance a player’s online experience

We have heard countless times that the iGaming industry is lagging significantly behind other sectors in the entertainment industry when it comes to personalisation. Yet one has to make peace with the fact that up until the time arrives when betting experiences are personalised, the landing pages on betting sites ought to be optimised to accommodate different types of players. This could be segmented into two main pillars – those who want to engage themselves and place their bet as quickly as possible, and those players who prefer to go down the longer route, navigating the content offered and subsequently making their decision.  However, the question remains: why is personalisation such a difficult aspect to deliver when it comes to sports betting? 

The challenges for personalisation

First and foremost, from a technical perspective personalisation on a very broad player level would require the processing of a significantly high volume of data with minimal delay, which adds to the complexity of the challenge. One also has to understand that while technology is readily available, not all operators have the necessary tools to deliver a player-centric experience. Only by having the right technology can operators tap into player betting behaviours, betting preferences, and amounts deposited and staked among many other filters. These factors increase player engagement through a more personalised approach based on individual preferences or trending events that could still instil interest in the player. Thus, through advanced ML, operators can build and constantly update the profile of each bettor. So, every bet recommendation, or other personalised aspects throughout the player experience, will be highly relevant to what the players like to bet on and when they like to wager.

Furthermore, personalisation would also require a decision to be made regarding which points of contact should be prioritised for a player. Should personalisation be based solely on preferred sports? Should personalisation go on a more granular level and make it easier for a player to navigate to their preferred league? Or should the player be presented with specific bet values based on a past engagement? All this makes the personalisation of the betting experience altogether more complex.

Personalisation vs total control

On the one hand there is a need for greater personalisation of the betting environment and the player journey up until the transaction is made. However, other instances involving highly popular products indicate that players also seek to engage themselves in an environment that allows them to leverage a higher level of control.

This is especially relevant when analysing the engagement of players with the bet builder product in comparison to the pre-packaged combination of bets, which are seeing a decrease in popularity and subsequently player engagement.

Understanding behaviour through data analytics

One also needs to understand the psychological journey of the players themselves. A final transaction might look altogether different from what a player initially had in mind and could include events that were not initially considered. Irrespective of situations involving players with a specific wager in mind, or those seeking to browse the content for relevant bets that will fit their preferred betting criteria, players have to interact and engage with the product and content funnel. They also have to make considerations that might impact and shift their decisions. 

To better understand these dynamics, data analytics is quintessential, particularly when it comes to understanding the various decision points present throughout the player journey leading up to the transaction. It is also vital, when it comes to understanding any points of friction that negatively impact the player engagement or even the player retention itself.

Ultimately, it is fair to say that great strides have been made towards the personalisation of the betting environment, where operators can recommend events to a granular detail according to a player’s profile.

On a general level, we do ultimately expect to see a stronger emphasis placed on the online experience and how the various content is presented to the end user. And this is where we will see a higher level of personalisation across the sports betting spectrum.

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