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Injecting more colour and depth into digital marketing

| By iGB Editorial Team | Reading Time: 4 minutes
In this month’s edition of the Founders Column, in collaboration with GameOn, Jo Dennis, director UK & EMEA at Incline Gaming Marketing, discusses the importance of data and seasonality in creating personalised experiences.
customer engagement

Making promotions contextually relevant and embracing seasonal social elements can not only boost acquisition advertising performance, but also deliver better engagement for brands.

In the lucrative run-up to mass-celebrated events, whether it’s a tournament like this summer’s Euros or a festival like Halloween, marketing that taps into heightened excitement, anticipation and emotion can build a stronger connection that gets people moving.

Finding the hook

There are very few industries that are as seasonal as sports betting. Its level of complexity is even greater than other sectors, like ecommerce and retail. A continually rotating calendar of high-profile sports events brings huge variance, particularly to user acquisition efforts.

But seasonality isn’t just limited to sports. The world shares an entire timetable of holidays and celebrations, each presenting thematic opportunities to shape marketing around a common hook.

In the US, for example, leveraging 4 July creatives in Incline’s UA campaigns saw on average 32% higher click-through rates and 13% improvement in conversion rates. Similarly, Halloween-themed video ads yielded 21% better click-throughs. So the data doesn’t lie.

Leveraging data

Data has dominated industry discussions for many years. From understanding player behaviours, to tailoring products to deliver an elevated experience, data is integral to the success of any igaming marketing campaign. Leveraging this to create personalised, targeted campaigns and messaging based on player preferences, activities and demographics is the optimum formula.

But really, it’s all about tracking – consistently reviewing your library to understand which campaigns performed the best, what specific elements were driving that engagement and which features you can replicate in future promotions to get the same or better results. It’s data science in a creative wrapper.

While the majority of igaming operators are already tapping into seasonality and localised creatives, I definitely think there’s room to crank up the sophistication levels.

Take Spotify Wrapped, one of the GOAT seasonal campaigns. Delivering a beautifully packaged, interactive, personalised and sentimental annual gift to every user, Spotify builds lasting connections just by playing engagement data back to its customers.

Driving performance

Creating that strong connection and resonance with target audiences is our specialism. I co-founded RCA, a creative design agency, in 2018 to focus on the igaming sector. Our core service offering centred on brand development at that time.

We knew that to achieve cut-through we had to land a big-ticket project and build out a portfolio.

That first brand brief came from a new-to-market sportsbook, right at the beginning of its journey. What started as a brand identity remit soon moved into UX/UI design. We produced the full spec of platform screens across desktop and mobile and all marketing, campaign and event assets. It was the perfect launchpad to learn the design language of igaming.

Fast forward to 2024 and RCA is now owned by Incline, part of the Conexus Group. There is great synergy between our companies, not just in delivering end-to-end digital marketing solutions, but also in our ethos. When Pete Laverick, Incline’s CEO, shared their deck, there was one line that immediately stood out. It’s one that we’d been using since launch – “We don’t just colour in.”

Understanding nuances

As we all know, regulations differ substantially across territories – so there can never be a one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing. In the US, which is more heavily iOS native app focused, advertising regulations vary significantly on a state-by-state level. In the UK, tighter compliance around vulnerability, financial and age verification checks as well as direct marketing opt-ins is imminent.

Across Europe, advertising regulations are vastly different by country. Some place extremely strict limits on promotions to tackle responsible play. But as we’ve just seen in Spain, a ban on gambling advertising isn’t necessarily for life. Several Articles, like promotions that target new customers and using celebrities to endorse brands, have been invalidated through a Supreme Court decision.

We’ll obviously be drawing on Incline’s US best practice for digital marketing to fast-track success for our partners here. But being part of the Conexus Group also gives us access to a huge wealth of data and market insights. This allows us to strategise a nuanced approach to brand advertising for operators across UK and EMEA.

The secret sauce

Behind all the data and mechanics of advertising, successful campaigns ultimately rely on an engaging brand personality – the thing that customers connect with. This isn’t advertising, design or marketing; it’s the entire belief system of a company communicated consistently at every touchpoint.

The issue in any sector – not just igaming – is that investment into brand isn’t linked to the same tangible ROI as other marketing tactics. For example, you can track an ad’s performance with hard data, while quantifying the impact of a brand refresh requires a trickier set of metrics.

But without a strong brand core to pivot out from, marketing assets and activities can often appear disjointed, scattergun and, at worst, lacking in style, substance or personalisation. For an ad to perform well, audiences need to buy into the visuals, the language and the feeling it evokes in a split second. The promotion is only half the story.

In igaming in particular, there is a train of thought that implies “we’re still making a ton of money, so why does brand matter?”. Well, it matters because at the heart of every successful venture is a loyal following of customers who understand brand experience more than you do. They expect to be delighted with moments of joy in every interaction. If they don’t get it, they’ll move on and deposit somewhere else.

As an industry, igaming could look much closer at narrowing the gap between brand and advertising – injecting more personality to increase engagement and shore up reputation, in addition to the promotional offer. Who knows, this might lead to a more colourful industry and, with it, more differentiation and depth.

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