SBTech head of online Gregory Karaolis explains why personalisation is now a vital component of online marketing for iGaming operators.

Anyone who spends even a short amount of time online these days simply cannot ignore the ubiquity of personalised offers and promotions.

Whether idly flicking through Facebook on a phone or reading news sites on a laptop, potential customers are continuously exposed to ads and information that appears to have been specifically tailored for them.

This is all a result of the increasing pervasiveness of big data throughout the commercial world. As companies and organisations continue to collect information on nearly every online move people make, they can create bespoke content on an individual customer basis.

When it comes to the use of data analysis in online marketing, the iGaming industry has arguably led the way. A near-obsessive focus on player activity and preferences has ensured that online sports betting and casino operators have built up a massive bank of information on their customer bases. This information can – and should – be used to create targeted marketing campaigns that enhance the overall user experience.

Fortunately, recent surveys have shown that a large percentage of web users are not only aware of the way companies use data to target them, but have begun to accept and expect it. Essentially, customers often appreciate being given the option to buy items or read content that’s similar to their previous choices. Personalisation is no longer a trend – it’s a prerequisite for effective online marketing throughout the player life-cycle. When used correctly, big data can transform the user journey, boost player value and increase engagement and activity. It can be used both to drive better segmentation and as a predictive tool – two core elements of any effective campaign.

Segmentation has always been a vital component of online marketing. Since the late 1990s, iGaming operators have constructed campaigns targeting different groups, such as lapsed players, non-depositors and high rollers.

However, the increase in available data and technological advances for leveraging it have enabled operators to build tighter segments and create offers and promotions specifically for each of them. Operators can also collect vast amounts of data on player activity, which can then be used to predict the offers and promotions each customer will be interested in receiving in the future. This is significant when it comes to localised sports betting offers, such as price boosts for specific teams offered to fans in the appropriate catchment areas.

Predictive analysis can be used to offer players opportunities to bet on games or teams they have bet on before, at the same time of day they usually bet. For example, if a player won money betting on Liverpool vs Everton earlier in the season, they could be in the market for a promotional offer to bet on a return fixture.

The added value is that this kind of marketing generates even more data, which can then be analysed to create tighter segmentation and more personalised offers. Personalisation also applies to the communication methods used to target players. If a player is seen to be more responsive when contacted via SMS than by email, it’s clearly better to concentrate on using text messages to offer further promotions.

The rise of omni-channel has added to the importance of personalisation, especially when it comes to cross-channel marketing. The use of GPS and geo-location for delivering push messages is another tool that can be used to target players effectively, such as by offering an online customer a specific promotion when they come within 100 metres of a retail location.

Of course, it’s important to avoid being overly intrusive – nobody wants to feel like Big Brother is constantly watching. However, when used carefully, personalisation is one of the most important elements in attracting customers and retaining their loyalty in the face of stiff competition.