The gambling industry is more competitive than ever, with many new online casinos opening on a regular basis. According to the UK Gambling Commission, the online gambling sector has become the most popular with punters, with a £4.5billion gross gambling yield.
As expected, this has led to a boom in the number and scope of the online casino market. Casino operators are on the hunt to attract their share of that massive market, though they have to be somewhat inventive with their marketing. Casino bonuses are generally king when it comes to attracting new players.
The business of player acquisition can be a tough one, with many sites scrambling to make the most of their punters. With 45% of UK adults having made a bet of some description over a period of four weeks, there’s a lot of demand for these products. However, an online casino must be able to offer something of value to tempt these players through their doors.
Looking at the average online casino bonus from top sites, you can see that the emphasis on their offerings is added value for money. They want to reward their players with more than competitors, which will naturally bring more and more players to their platform.
With the bonus tax that came in August of 2017, players are finding it more difficult to get their hands on this kind of casino bonus. This has added to the plethora of other gambling duties that have to be paid by these casino operators, making it more difficult for their players to find value. Casino operators must pay this bonus tax on top of POC tax and other duties.
Many of these casino operators then turned to free spins, as these don’t have a tangible value that can be taxed as readily. They have a base value of a spin but then there is the potential to win more on the part of the player. This is a pretty simple way for players to be able to get more value from the site, without costing the casino operator as much.
Affiliate marketing is one of the main ways that players can be brought into a casino site. This is a great way for casino operators to be able to get a guaranteed return on investment, as they only pay these affiliates commission when they bring in new players.
Generating traffic through affiliate marketing can be time intensive, as casino operators must select partner sites that they want to work with. From a compliance standpoint, they must also monitor affiliate activity to ensure that all representations of their brand are giving out the correct information.
Within the commission structure of the affiliate marketing world, there’s a lot of variety for brands. This means that almost any size of brand can begin to acquire players through this channel. The affiliate shares a part of the profit generated with the casino operator, either just for the initial deposit or for the lifetime of the player.
PPC (Pay Per Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), can be intensive investments for an casino operator, as the market is so competitive. As so many of these casino operators vie for players through these methods, the cost per acquisition can rise hugely.
Pay Per Click
PPC advertising is the kind of advert that you see when you use Google to search for queries. These are generally the first Ads you will see when Googling a search term. There is normally three or four Ads at the top (and sometimes bottom) of the page and they are labelled as a Paid Ad. So rather than being shown at the top of the search rankings organically (naturally), it’s possible to use this form of advertising to pay for your Ad to be shown at the top of Google and generate instant clicks to your website.
PPC differs from affiliate marketing in that there’s no guaranteed return on investment. This can incur a large cost per click for the casino operator, without a return. The potential player may click onto the site and incur the charge, but they may never go through with the deposit in order to recoup a return for the site.
This can also be time intensive, as it’s essential to tweak and improve ads for the best possible conversion rate. While the casino operator doesn’t need to split this commission with an affiliate, they do have to handle a lot of logistics.
There are many different kind of ads within this overarching PPC umbrella. It’s possible to create hundreds of ads targeting different keywords, leading to different sections of a site. Each one of these must be tested to assess the efficacy and then refined to create a better return.
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Search Engine Optimization
In terms of SEO this can seem like a solution for consistent, natural traffic from search engines. However, this can also be competitive. This may seem like free traffic, but in reality there’s a lot of work involved in climbing up such competitive rankings.
Sites must be optimised for the best organic rankings, which can include technical and visual changes. This can be incredibly in depth, with small changes making a large difference to the rankings. Best practice can be used to see significant improvements, such as the addition of meta data on a site.
Targeting a cloud of keywords through content can begin to help an online casino casino operator receive traffic from these search engines. However, should many of these casino operators target the same keywords, the competition begins to increase. This means that those that want to be at the top of the rankings must have the best content, user experience and assets.
Television advertising and sponsorship of sporting events are staples for this industry too. Again, these can come at a heavy investment for the online casino casino operator but they can potentially bring in big returns.
Wagering Requirements and how they affect New Player Bonuses
While players may be initially tempted by the offer of free money to play with, wagering requirements do apply to these. These are present for many different reasons, including protecting the casino.
These can include wagering requirements, minimum deposit limits and security checks. While these may seem excessive for some, this is what’s required to be compliant with the CAP codes of conduct.
Each of the games that users play on follow a baseline amount of contribution, which will vary based on their return to player amounts. Games with the highest probabilities of creating larger jackpots can often be restricted, such as roulette or poker.
This could be set to change in future, as more online casino operators look to create more transparent systems. This will also fall in line with the future plans of the UKGC, as they plan to hold these online casino operators to a higher standard in future.
Retention of Players
As with most businesses, retaining a customer is cheaper than gaining a new one for those in the gambling industry. With high costs on most forms of advertising, like PPC and social media advertising, there’s a large emphasis on retaining these players with regular promotions.
Email marketing is prevalent within this industry, according to MailChimp’s monthly figures (as of March 2018) these are generally opened by around 18.47% of recipients. They also have a click through rate of 3.15%. This is used by online casino operators to segment their data and target these emails to the most relevant audience.
The average casino site will boast a VIP scheme as a means to retain these players. These will generally give perks and bonuses to those that stay with the site, rather than starting their journey again on a new site. These can be tiered to make them more or less achievable, depending on the site in question.
Treating the player well in terms of customer service can also help to retain them on the site. Many sites are placing an emphasis on a round the clock live chat service. This makes it convenient for their user to get in touch, rather than tempting them to go elsewhere and play instead.
With the gambling industry growing at a steady rate, the onus is on, online casino operators that want to thrive in this environment. The key points to take away from this are:
- More of us are gambling than before and also spending more money.
- Competition is tight among online casino operators for the acquisition of new players.
- There are new taxes and fees to be paid.
- Wagering requirements apply to most bonuses, however transparency is key.
- Retention can be a lower cost alternative to acquisition.
As the gambling industry continues to grow, these casino operators will have to add value in order to thrive among the competition. Bonuses are one route, with no deposit ones being the most lucrative, though the retention of high spending players is a no brainer for online casino operators to focus on.