Lottery and casino gaming are more closely linked than ever before. Not only do their games share popular brands, such as Monopoly and Willy Wonka, they share players, too. Scientific Games’ national ONE Segmentation study shows there is a high degree of player crossover in lottery and gaming channels.

Half of instant game players play slots, and 75 per cent of slots players play instant or draw games. Lotteries and casinos are entertaining many of the same players – and vying for the same players’ entertainment budget.

Tim Menzia, director of consumer insights, Scientific Games Lottery, has worked on both sides of the gaming landscape. Formerly the director of market research for WMS Gaming, Menzia has over 30 years of market research experience, specialising in what drives consumer decisions. One of the co-creators of Scientific Games’ ONE Segmentation study, Menzia points out that the casino industry does a great job using data about player behaviour and insights to optimise the experience for players.

“It’s challenging for players to describe what they like about certain types of games, so that’s why data is so important,” Menzia says. “The goal is to collect more information about players and use that to better understand what they like.”

When it comes to using customer insights to create appealing games, lotteries can learn a thing, or ten, from casinos. Menzia identified these ten ways that lotteries can glean deeper insights in order to create better products.

Get advanced player insights using loyalty programmes
Loyalty programmes are the easiest, most common and successful way to engage players. Gathering data from the same people over time provides longitudinal insights, such as how often players return to a game and if they switched or played multiple games. These valuable player insights form the basis for more advanced player and game analytics.

Kickstart player engagement to drive sales
Scientific Games conducted a national study that found 86 per cent of people in the US belong to some type of consumer loyalty programme. Loyalty programmes can be a great way to engage lottery players more effectively, and have been found to be valuable for high-value players.

In states where lottery loyalty data is available, the study found that loyalty club players tend to spend more on average than the total player population. Lotteries can send messaging that is targeted to specific types of players, and reach them in different ways. Mobile apps can help determine what websites people frequent, and which apps and social media they use. Combining this valuable data with new technology enables promotions that are targeted, customisable and mobile.

Market more effectively using player segmentation
Player segmentation gives marketers the information they need to group players based on game preferences, and reach them more effectively. In the gaming industry, players typically have been segmented according to demographics, player spend and purchase frequency, which don’t have much to do with why people play. Without segmentation, marketers have to rely on a one-size-fits-all approach for marketing and promotions. Scientific Games’ ONE Segmentation study determines what motivates players and makes it possible to build better games to appeal to different types of players.

Build a player panel to harness ongoing insights
Player panels are an advanced form of loyalty programme. They provide a platform for player engagement when critical insights are needed for game development and tracking game performance. A big challenge for lotteries is getting enough of the right data from the same players. However, building a statistically valid sample will show how player preferences change over time, and lotteries can conduct ongoing ad hoc research with those players. That is exactly what Scientific Games did when it created the ONEVoice online research community to gain a better understanding of what motivates players of every type. Players in the ONEVoice community participate in surveys, polls and discussions, and Scientific Games uses these insights to develop new products, messaging and marketing.

Go for trial and repeat
A game’s success depends on players first trying the game, then coming back for multiple repeat purchases. Knowing how often people come back and buy a game empowers lotteries to build on success. It is paramount to understand the variables that affect trial and repeat. Player segmentation gives all analytics a deeper layer of player insights. For example, when combined with trial and repeat, segmentation provides greater understanding of which games are popular, based on repeat purchasing, across the different player segments.

Optimise sales with the right product mix
Lotteries need game types for the various player segments. Just as some games are designed for niche markets and some games have mass appeal, various types of players prefer different games. By lining up the game types with the player segments, lotteries can figure out how many of each type of game to offer for their particular markets.

Understand the player journey
Casinos know how consumers move across the casino floor, and they position games to maximise the overall player experience. The same principle can be applied to lottery products in a store. Observing where players start and finish, how they interact with the game dispenser, and how those patterns change lets lotteries position games where they are most effective. These insights can help determine the ideal location of a lottery vending machine or bin, as well as the games’ positions in the display.

Ignore sales (sometimes) if a game attracts new players
It sounds counter-intuitive, but lotteries shouldn’t make all decisions based on a game’s sales. Instead, consider what the games bring to the franchise. If a game appeals to player segments you want to grow, it might be worth keeping – even if it is underperforming. The game might not be a big contributor to the bottom line, but it could be more successful than a high-performing game if it is attracting the right types of players.

Get the user experience right
A game only gets one shot to make a great first impression. Players are bombarded with products and stimuli all the time, and the user interface and user experience (UI/UX) can make or break a new product. Lotteries should take advantage of all research and marketing tools at their disposal, including player feedback, to develop and test the UI/UX before launching a game.

Leverage social media for genuine insights
Nearly all lottery players are on Facebook (97 per cent), and about two-thirds use YouTube (64 per cent). Many use other types of social media, such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. The lottery and gaming industry can learn a lot about players by simply viewing what they are sharing online. For example, videos on YouTube of players scratching off instant games have generated tens of thousands of views. Many consumers watch these videos to learn more about games before playing them. Lotteries can get genuine, unaided player insights simply from these videos and the dozens of comments they generate.

Use market research to learn what players want
It all comes down to understanding player preferences and creating games that players enjoy, Menzia says: “Everyone benefits – lotteries can help players by offering a great variety of games, so there’s something for everyone, and suppliers know what games to make more or less of. Most of all, players get to enjoy the games that offer the entertainment value they like best and expect.”

Focusing on entertaining players also lets the industry drive more responsible gaming and give back to state programmes that benefit communities. And in that regard, everybody wins.

Sponsored editorial. SOURCES: Participation in Any Loyalty Programme – Scientific Games’ ONE™ Segmentation study, Autumn 2014. Breakdown of Lottery Player Participation in Social Media – Scientific Games’ ONE™ Segmentation Study, Autumn 2017.