Sam Houlding has worked at Spotlight Sports Group for more than ten years. Houlding, Chief Commercial Officer, is responsible for driving B2B sales in Europe and the US, while developing high-level strategic partnerships across Spotlight Sports Group’s suite of affiliate brands.
While fans looked on at last summer’s postponement of the Euros and Olympics with dismay, sportsbook operators grieved the loss of significant revenue and engagement opportunities. Now that the tide is turning, operators are now shifting focus to the summer ahead and the new opportunities at hand.
As an event-packed summer approaches, operators have the opportunity to truly make their mark on customers.
As well as focusing on the potential turnover of these events in themselves, operators should be embracing the chance to drive longer-term results, says Spotlight Sports Group’s Sam Houlding.
“Where before there was a huge focus on acquisition, there’s an acknowledgment now that engaging those customers you’ve acquired and maximising the value of those customers and the experience that they have is just as important.”
When planning a retention strategy, the driving factors for success are enhanced CRM and engagement of the existing audience. Critically, providing rich and concise content is what will make the experience of this audience really stand out, he argues.
Indeed, Houlding argues that although live sports have gradually made their return over the last year, it was never quite enough to build these long-term engagement opportunities.
“When you look at the period of suspension last year, and as some of the key sports dropped away, it became quite apparent how shallow sometimes the engagement cycle is on sports below the major sports.”
However, while focusing on major sports is a safe bet, being able to scale content quickly to cover a range of sporting events and branch out into different local markets can unlock new engagement opportunities, he adds.
“A whole depth of sports has become more important now. As the sporting calendar gets busier through the year, making sure that you can increase engagement across a range of sporting events is the key focus – and the challenge.”
Maximising these opportunities is all to do with timing. This begins with tapping into the momentum building up to these events and then providing betting insights at the right time pre, during, and post-event.
Sportsbook operators should keep an open mind to new engagement and revenue opportunities.
“The priority for operators is always going to be those major sports where the turnover is highest,” says Houlding.
“As sports comes into full force again throughout the remainder of the year, operators will have a focus on serving engaging content across a real range of sports.”
Spotlight Sports Group’s all-encompassing content engine, Superfeed, is a powerful content engine that operators can use following a single integration directly into their markets across a huge range of sports, and is aimed at providing actionable insights from a trusted, independent voice.
“The purpose of Superfeed is to digest all of that data and provide actionable insight, a tangible betting opportunity. We essentially do all the hard work to crunch that data and provide betting insights that are actionable and a recommended bet for the end-user.”
Houlding also accepts that after a year of economic hardship, investing in content and any form of new technology can be perceived as risky. Further, as live sporting events pick up in pace, finding the time and resources to research content solutions can feel like a draining task.
The first hurdle is finding technology that integrates effectively and is conducive to efficiency. Beyond the technical considerations, operators must define exactly what their needs are and what they want to get out of their content engine, according to Houlding.
To ensure the content engine is a good fit for partners, A/B testing offers the chance for potential partners to see Superfeed in action: “This allows operators to test and trial the power of Superfeed on their products,” says Houlding.
Statistical analysis of these tests has found the increase in the amount bet attached to using Superfeed betting intelligence is as high as 37%.Additionally, 39% of those who view content through Superfeed are more likely to place a bet, with a 40% increase in dwell time.
Just as rich, data-driven insights help users to take action, statistics provided from A/B testing have the same effect on operators, allowing them to see clear and tangible benefits of a robust content engine — notably, increased engagement and turnover.
A tailored approach
With its roots as a media business, Spotlight Sports Group has an in-depth understanding of how to optimise content for different types of platform and audience.
Houlding touched on how Superfeed is tailored towards both affiliate and sportsbook operators. Being media experts and owning numerous affiliate sites itself, Spotlight Sports Group recognises the unique challenges faced by these acquisition platforms.
Context is key, he argues. “I think on affiliate and media sites you have to think about how content is placed within the wider media piece you are trying to deliver.”
“Content should come in at the right moment to contextually serve the actionable betting insights at the right point within that richer media offering,” says Houlding.
“With affiliates, it becomes more about productising the content. Superfeed can provide ready-made widgets which pull all of the content together in an expansive way to be able to maximise engagement on the page and create an immersive media experience.”
Looking to the future, Spotlight Sports Group aims to continue expanding its offerings across commercial, tech, and content operations. After devoting time to increasing its sports betting content offering in the U.S, the media specialist plans to continue this with a particular focus on the affiliate market.
“We’re looking forward to a lot of exciting developments that will help us to continue developing globally”, concludes Houlding.”