Harel Falk is a seasoned leader with over 10 years of experience in business development, sales, marketing and sales process creation and implementation. He has over 7 years of experience in SaaS, the Internet and the online advertising and technology fields.
In the hyper-competitive world of online gambling, operators are increasingly aware of the need for personalisation.
However, any attempts to gain a competitive edge through such a strategy are likely to falter without a smart, holistic approach supported by real-time data, according to Harel Falk, VP of sales & business development at Solitics.
This often requires a change in “mindset” to focus on every layer of the customer experience, he explains.
“For many years, the focus of personalisation has been on acquisition, but in recent years the importance of personalisation to retention has become centre-stage for a number of reasons, including regulation, the competitive landscape and rising acquisition costs,” Falk says.
“Personalisation has become crucial for an operator to stand out in the crowd. However, the majority of techniques that are being used – including basic segmentation, pre-set timeframes and bonuses that have not been tailored – don’t cut it any more as they don’t provide any differentiation.”
Falk says that operators face common technological challenges in relation to real-time data, especially when they have insufficient legacy systems in place.
Using real -time data requires direct connectivity to the distributed data sources. Until now, this meant engaging in a long, expensive data integration project. Operators won’t necessarily be able to respond to all of these behaviours and the data in real-time, and it’s a never-ending project, as additional changes would be required for any change in data.
“Operators should start implementing smart technology that enables them to utilise data, customer engagement and analytics,” he adds, highlighting Solitics’ approach as one such example.
Falk argues that, for many operators, there remain untapped opportunities via numerous touch-points on the customer journey.
“Working with real-time data opens up additional communication channels, including on-screen messaging that is relevant to what the customers are doing, and offering the right incentive for the individual,” he says.
“It is not just a simple trigger response – it is much more complex – but when you have flexibility to work with data, then you can implement a sophisticated strategy.”
As an example, for a sports betting operator, instead of delivering daily communication campaigns, notifications can be set up for when odds change on a particular match or when an important event occurs in the build-up to the game.
Real-time messaging can also be used effectively when a customer has lost money on a game, with Falk highlighting how instantaneous messaging has a significantly greater impact than contacting them the following day.
“If you could send a customer an immediate reaction to an event that took place during a game itself, live – The impact can be tens of percentage points more in terms of retention and the player making another deposit in comparison with contacting them the next day,” he says.
“It also shows that you are there for them when they need you, which can also be very important for responsible gambling interventions.
“There is a debate about whether too much personalisation can lead to problem gambling and whether there should be limitations in place, but I see responsible gaming as part of personalisation. The same strategies that can deliver real-time engagement through data can also be used to help protect the players and perhaps limit their game-playing.”
Falk recognises that it is a “true pain” for some operators to embrace personalisation without the right kind of third-party assistance.
“The data can be inaccessible and will need to be cleaned in order to be analysed, but this can be very time-consuming,” he says. “This is one of the major issues we can solve as we can enable operators to utilise the data in real time so they can focus on their core business, stay firmly in control, and engage with customers without it being a huge data project for them.”
Given that an effective strategy to personalise the experience relies on data, it is inevitable that a deeper level of understanding will be possible with existing customers in comparison with new punters.
However, with numerous bricks-and-mortar establishments having pivoted to an online offering over the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many operators have a wealth of data at their disposal that can provide the basis for a tailored approach as their customers switch from the casino floor to online.
“Personalisation is the correct approach for new customers as well, even though operators will obviously have less data about them at the outset,” Falk says.
“You can still use newly acquired data about a player’s actions and respond very quickly to that. It is a different goal as you are trying to win them over, rather than trying to engage an existing customer, but the approach is basically the same and just as important.
“A lot of casinos have gone online over the past year, and they are discovering this. They have an existing customer base already, and with the data they have on file, they can make the players feel at home on their website by, for example, showing them their favourite game, but online.
“Therefore, thanks to data, they can provide a seamless transition.”
To learn more about how to arm yourself with the right data and a personalised engagement strategy, join Falk and a panel of experts in our webinar, “Retention or frustration: avoid retention pitfalls with real-time data”.