Mikael Hansson, Global CEO, Enteractive, explains why the US market is all about conversion – and why operators must pick up the phone if they are to succeed at onboarding players.
North America is one of the most exciting online gambling markets in the world, providing huge potential across sports betting, casino, poker, bingo and lottery. Domestic and international operators are putting tremendous resources behind entering the fray with a brand and product fit for purpose.
But with competition so fierce, operators must ensure they stand out from the crowd across all areas, from the games offered to the generosity of bonuses via the marketing methods used. When it comes to the latter, most online brands have so far focused on new player acquisition, with many launching big-budget, above-the-line campaigns.
While this will undoubtedly help them build out their player base and drive new customers to their sites, the real opportunity lies elsewhere. It lies in conversion.
The conversion market
The US market is different to almost every other online gambling market in the world in that most channels already have big client databases. For example, the majority of states permit land-based casino gambling; land-based operators therefore have thousands of players already active with their brands.
When it comes to online, sports media giants such as theScore and Fox Sports have millions of engaged sports fans hungry to bet on their favourite teams and players. Then you have operators that offer daily fantasy sports and social casino games; players from these verticals are already comfortable with betting and gambling and wish to do so for real money.
In addition, there are operators that have access to legacy customer databases, perhaps more online poker-oriented, where players can be converted and reactivated. This presents a huge opportunity for operators that already have large player databases across these channels, so long as they are able to convert them and do so at scale.
The important question, of course, is precisely how they go about doing so.
The telephone is the best conversion tool
Here at Enteractive we believe picking up the telephone and contacting players directly is the most powerful method when it comes to converting them. This applies to all channels from converting a land-based sports bettor to an online punter, or a social casino player to one that walks through an operator’s bricks-and-mortar casino doors.
This is because the telephone allows operators to build an emotional connection between the player and their brands and to learn more about their wants and needs. Armed with this information, companies can educate them about other gambling products they offer (online for a land-based player, real money casino for a social casino player etc) and convert them.
There is data to support this, too. Industry insights show the probability of an existing customer buying an additional product is 60-70%, while for a new customer it is as low as 5-20%. In short, players already engaged with a gambling brand, regardless of the channel through which they are engaged, are much likelier to convert.
Phone contact is also the scientifically best-proven way to monitor for gambling addiction risks and ensure a working responsible gaming practice, which is hugely important in a market such as the US.
Loyalty is ultimately profitable
Equally, there are other upsides to operators in the US market playing the conversion game and using the telephone to forge human relationships with players. This approach ultimately makes players feel valued and cared for by the operator; this in turn leads them to remain tremendously loyal to the gambling brand.
Here at Enteractive, we have spent the past 10 years speaking with consumers via telephone and this is why we believe this statistic also applies to online gambling operators. For those in the fiercely competitive North American market, this approach allows maximising the ROI on new player acquisition, conversion and retention spend.
An interesting aspect of phone-based reactivation and conversion is that churn levels of those customers are materially lower after a phone call, increasing the ROI even further. This also allows operators to keep their players happy, satisfied, cared for and loyal.
The US is undoubtedly the conversion market; for online operators to win the conversion game, all they need to do is pick up the phone and speak with their players.