The future of betting lies in personalization and behavior pattern analysis

Operational work is fine-tuned already, the competition will take place at higher levels.

Media + Bookmakers = ❤

I’m gonna say right off the bat – “betting is changing now”. Bookmakers used to try to stay in the shadows. Now they’re stepping into the limelight and becoming akin to media companies. The age of the hand-made web sites and niche forums is up. People used to frequent and visit about 20 blogs and web sites, but social networks have killed this version of the Internet. The Social Media giants have all the information you need, and modern gamblers come to the bookmakers from there.

You need to create media content to attract sports fans, convert them, and turn into gamblers, to do this effectively you need to use statistics, analytics and so on. Operators tend to collaborate with celebrities now, for example, bwin has worked with Ronaldo. They make some cool content, and work with media experts. Nothing else will work, because an ordinary fan that likes football but never places bets, does read sports media and social networks pages. They don’t go to affiliates websites. Bookmakers can’t directly post their ads on sources like Facebook and the others though due to strict regulations.

That’s why operators should either become a form of media company or at least cooperate with them. That’s what is happening in the USA right now. Sinclair Broadcast and Bally’s are one example of such cooperation. They are an operator and a media company. ESPN worked closely with bet365, now they’ve signed contracts with DraftKings and William Hill. Fox have launched their own betting product. All these deals highlight the tendencies I’ve mentioned above on a higher level.

Competition levels

There are three rings of value creation and competition in a classical marketing structure. The first one is main offer. What do bookmakers do? They take customer’s money and pay it back as winnings. Everyone used to compete in this sphere at the beginning. As the market grows the second rings appears. It includes additional services, free bets, bonuses. The third ring is something intangible like a brand.

Betting has quite a simple model. I bring the money. If my bet wins, I’m paid. I don’t care from this point of view about which brand has taken the money etc. Promotion was built on the basic marketing principles like “you’ll get paid”, “a bookmaker you can rely on”, “no cheating”.

However, operational work is fine-tuned now. The odds compiling is very efficient now, and it’s getting harder to carry out arbitrage betting. Everybody even has almost the same bonus programs. It’s a difficult field for competition. This is why the center of value creation is switching from operational work to marketing. The industry attention (if we talk about searching for partners and staff) switches to the countries with understanding of what marketing is, like the Great Britain or other English-speaking countries. They know out there how to attract a new gambler, they can build marketing and media plans, launch interesting campaigns, invite celebrities. The center of value creation in betting will keep on moving towards the more developed marketing regions.

This is an interesting topic – how the industry will change. It follows the classical development scenario which is instability – emergence of regulatory policy – emergence of some other competition fields. The marketing is very deep. It contains attracting, serving, and retaining a client. All these things are marketing at different levels of specification.

Directions of development

Let me start with a particular example. We announced our project with Parimatch at the beginning of February. This company was the first in Europe to offer advertisement optimization for particular events. They realized that conversion was growing in this area. They used to do everything manually. We helped them to take it to a new level: one click per button, a couple of minutes to make an event promotion for all the sources. So, they don’t have to work on it for three days.

The next step is personalization. This what gives you a real advantage over your rivals. Of course, I will place bets on the Parimatch web site instead of going anywhere else because I can get all I need here: information, statistics, analytics, bonuses connected to the teams and the sports I like.

We work with media companies. ESPN, Yahoo, and the others are a little bit ahead, because sports have technological advantages, and these companies are closer to the sports. It’s interesting to see what kind of requests we receive from ESPN, for example. We discuss briefly in less than an hour what they want – they need personalized content. The request is like this: “I’d like to watch a game between Real Madrid and Barcelona and I wanna see how many points I’m getting right now live in fantasy, considering the fact that I have Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Getafe there. I want to see a personalized content on the side”.

That’s what the media giants request and want right now. They want to introduce the possibility of a customer watching a football game and seeing the statistics of the golf tournament simultaneously. This is the future of betting because media and betting always go hand in hand.

I would also like to highlight behaviour patterns analysis. In sports, they use some systems that can predict when a player may get injured. If you have a database for the last 5-6 years and you see the figures of a player decreasing it means that he may get injured potentially with the possibility rate of 70 per cent. There’s nothing on the face of it to suggest this at the moment, the player feels great, runs without a track of fatigue. Analysis shows that there’s not much time left for this. Keeping this information in mind, coaches can take all the necessary decisions.

It can be done in any field where you work with clients, not just sports. This is what Amazon and other big retails do. You have clients profiles, and clients clustering. What happens next is prediction analytics. It will be the same in betting in the near future. You will know what customers will bet on, when they will stop placing bets, and so on. When you have behavior patterns analyzed and markers set you can reactivate the client to avoid an undesirable event. For example, to avoid a client stopping betting or moving to another operator.

We need to learn behavior patterns and personalize content. We can dive deeper into optimization and marketing. It will be a growing area for at least the next 20 years.