Panel discussion: Misconceptions about paid media

Advertising bans have added some serious restrictions to those involved within the gambling industry, and it is now social media which appears to be the perfect platform for operators and affiliates to help grow their businesses. In a world which is now obsessed with the digital revolution, TV advertising appears to be less significant in 2019. Burning questions remain, however. Can an individual trust these companies with their information?  What are they doing with their data?


A panel of experts at this year’s ICE London explained how they are tackling social media and whether paid media really pays.

Robert Davidman, a Partner at Fearless Agency, believes it is vital to be open and honest with customers at all times.

He said: “It’s about being transparent with how you use your customer’s data. We try to tell everybody how we’re going to use it. What we try to do is look at this from an aesthetic standpoint. The purpose behind social media is to have an authentic conversation with your customer. It’s all about honesty.”

Magnus Alebo, Managing Director at Mr Green Ltd, said: “The power in social is about retention. It’s not about acquisition. The focus in this industry for a long, long time has been so focused on acquisitions, but now with the industry becoming more mature, everyone is starting to understand this is really a retention challenge – that is where social comes into play.”

What comes with social media is the opportunity to use paid media. Pushing content in front of more customers is often the approach for many operators.  Does paid media pay though? Yana Tsyganova, Managing Director at Betsson Group, believes it is a vital part of its business.

She said: “The easiest answer here is yes. For an operator, paid media will forever be important. What is interesting to note is that our customer/consumer behaviour is changing; our own behaviour is changing, so the landscape of what classifies as paid media is also changing as well.

“Our customers are on social media all the time. We are all aware of TV advertising, but online video is more popular in this day and age.”

Davidman understands the importance of paid media, yet argues throwing money carelessly won’t miraculously work wonders. There has to be a plan of action in place to bring success.

He said: “It does pay, but at what price? It’s not all about acquisition. It’s also understanding the balance between acquisition and retention.

“Every market is different. What resonates to somebody in New Jersey will most likely not resonate with somebody that’s in Boston. Not everything will be the same, just because it is the same country.

“Paid media gives you a platform and an opportunity to really tell your story, but it isn’t a shouting contest. Your customer isn’t just in one area; it’s not like watching television. They’re watching online videos, they’re on Facebook, and they’re on Instagram.”

Alebo had a different take on Davidman’s approach, claiming the industry is somewhat stuck in the past.

“Most companies have departments where it is their responsibility for one thing in the chain,” he said. “There’s often a department for first-deposit players and that is their sole focus. This needs to change.

“I’m totally convinced the role of a marketer or that of a CRM manager will be completely different in five years’ time. It’s easy to spend money in marketing. To actually tailor journeys that bring people in and give them a sensible, engaging experience that is where the challenge lies.”

This is something Mr Green is in the middle of trying to tackle. Alebo explained Mr Green has already embedded business analysis into its marketing team, to provide more accurate data, which can provide faster feedback, rather than waiting to see if a particular campaign has worked six months down the line.

“One thing which is very much underrated when it comes to CRM in this industry is actually when people are logged in,” he said. “So much of the attention is when people are logged out and trying to bring them back – but what about when they are logged in? That is when we have their attention.

“There is still an opportunity to communicate and engage when they are playing online. It’s very much an underutilised area altogether.”

Tsyganova supports Mr Green’s approach, acknowledging more needs to be done at Betsson with the evolution of social media.

She said: “We need to think of ways to be more creative going forward, because social media platforms are very much the future. There are a lot of things to consider from a CRM perspective in 2019.”

Alebo sums up the whole over process quite simply: “Every day someone becomes a new customer.”


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