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The ultimate retention tool

| By iGB Editorial Team
Bit8 CEO Angelo Dalli on how an innovative platform is now the strongest of all retention tools for operators in today’s highly competitive market.

The pace at which the online gaming industry has transformed in recent years has presented a whole host of challenges which are very different from those faced by operators even just a few years ago. 

While some continue to persist with legacy platform providers, a new generation of suppliers has emerged in recent years with products designed to tackle the challenges of today.

For many years, retention centred around some basic CRM, but to compete in today’s market it is vital to take a more holistic approach. And this must begin with the platform.

Complete solution

It is no longer enough to consider a platform from a purely operational perspective. It should play a central role in every element of the business, but to do that it needs to be able to add value across the board.

A good starting point is in the breadth of its vertical coverage. Offering a truly crossvertical platform is an important part of boosting retention. Fully integrated solutions are no longer the preserve of a handful of large, legacy providers.

This is a major boon for operators, particularly those who are mid-sized and smaller. Whereas the costs of bolting on a sportsbook to a casino-led operator were previously prohibitive, this is no longer the case.

There are also other compelling reasons to take the plunge. However sophisticated your CRM, there comes a time when a casino player fancies a bet on the football, or vice versa. Losing that player to a rival can be expensive during an age of rising CPAs, and if that competitor has its own cross-sell mechanisms in place, you might ultimately lose their casino custom too.

Then there is the chance to innovate and expand into other verticals. Lottery is an interesting area here. Bit8’s recent deal with Intralot allows us to launch a host of lottery products alongside the rest of our offer. This can have a major upside for operators. Lottery is a vertical which has been consistently shown to complement
rather than cannibalise sportsbook and casino revenues.

The products are also ideal for player retention and re-activation, creating excitement at pre-determined times, and also offering a way of incentivising players across multiple verticals.

The benefits extend across online and land-based operators, and even to affiliates that have something unique to offer an existing client base. There are also benefits in terms of reaching new demographics. For instance, as a ‘soft’ gaming product, lottery tends to be particularly appealing to females.

If your platform cannot seamlessly integrate new verticals alongside more established products, you will leave a great deal of value on the table.

Artificial intelligence

There are clear benefits to retention from extending your gaming offer, but content is only part of the overall story. Our industry has been talking about data for some time now, but operators are still searching for the most effective ways to capitalise on this treasure trove of customer information. By far the most efficient, innovative and costeffective way to do with is through the use of artificial intelligence.

At Bit8, we’ve been using AI for some time now because it opens up a wealth of possibilities when it comes to boosting retention. For instance, it can be used to automatically trigger communications with players and send bonuses at an optimal time. It helps match players to the correct incentives, without the need for a large – and costly – customer support team.

By recognising the game play of individuals, it can make recommendations for complementary products so a player doesn’t churn when they tire of a particular vertical, which also helps aid the cross sell.

AI can also play a central role in promotional activity, allowing operators to segment players into groups to be targeted with tailored campaigns. And more than anything, it can extend the type of customer service usually reserved for VIPs to your entire player base. In an age of fast-rising consumer expectations, if your platform leaves the user feeling unloved, it is unlikely they will hang around for long.

There is no denying that retention has become a primary concern for the modern operator. We see from the amount of investment poured into this area that operators are desperate for new ways to keep customers coming back.

What we have learned is that any attempt to boost retention must be grounded on the foundations of an innovative platform – which is built specifically to handle the job.

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