Euro 2016 Breakdown: Assessing bookmaker promotions & offers

Stade de FranceThe Euro 2016 final is nearly upon us, as France prepare to take on Portugal in Paris. SBC News has been keeping an eye on the best offers throughout the tournament, as bookmakers across Europe have implemented marketing strategies to acquire and retain the most customers.

SBC has conducted interviews with Oddschecker, Square in the Air and BetVictor as part of our assessment of this market. We have focused on the best outright offers, marketing campaigns that have stood out as innovative, and one stand out promotion for the final:

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RyanMurtonOddscheckerOn the second Friday of the Euros, we caught up with Ryan Murton, Head of Digital Marketing at Oddschecker, to get his take on which bookies had made the biggest impact during the opening week.

Murton referenced the collective industry focus on match specific acquisition, with fewer bookies creating stand out, outright tournament offers. He acknowledged that in this country, this may well be because ‘England fans are now less gullible, and more realistic in their assessment of England’s chances’. Of course, the England performance against Iceland in Nice suggests these fans were right.

Yes, NetBet were able to create some hype around a 50/1 offer on England to win Euro 2016, but it was Coral and LeoVegas who stood out from the crowd during the first week, with huge offers around the England vs Russia game. The point of difference for both the Coral and LeoVegas new player offers was that the winnings were paid in cash, rather than the traditional free bets with 1.5 odds restriction.

LeoVegas offered 5/1 on an England win in Marseille, with a maximum stake of £10, whereas Coral offered 50/1 on the same selection to their entire affiliate base. To emphasise the popularity of this, it went out at 08:00 and had to be pulled by 8:50 because they’d reached a pre-determined cap.

Interestingly, none of the bookmakers had offers anything like as strong as this for the second England game, despite the huge interest of the Wales game in Lens. Murton suggested this relates to a general strategy amongst the bookmakers of ‘acquiring early in the tournament and retaining throughout’.

Robin HutchisonJust over a week later, we spoke to Robin Hutchison, New Business Director at Square in the Air, a Marketing and PR agency for the sports, betting, gaming and financial industries.

As part of a company who works with the likes of Betway and bettingexpert, Hutchison was well placed to comment on popular offers across the industry. He also reflected on the dominance of enhanced odds for new customers, and conceded that it had become the ‘go to offer’ for operators during the Euros.

“Enhanced odds for new customers began gaining a lot of traction last season, but it has emerged as the go-to offer for most operators during the Euros. Whether this will remain the case in future tournaments is another issue. As retention tools improve, operators are willing to spend more on acquisitions, but this will only go so far.

“Sure, the Euros is predominantly an opportunity to grab new customers, but next season I think we’ll see operators designing a wider range of bespoke offers which better fit into broader marketing and PR strategies. It is a far more sustainable way to build a customer base.”

Whilst sharing his optimism that operators will start to offer a wider range of bespoke offers, Hutchison was less complimentary about the innovation shown around Euro 2016, but did admit that the biggest bookmakers are using advertising, social media reach and PR contacts to get an edge.

“Given the associated costs, advertising during prime TV spots is something that only bigger operators can commit to. For the major bookmakers, it is vital to support this through creative marketing and PR in order to gain further exposure. Operators are seeing the value in unique content generation and social media campaigns in order to stand out from the crowd, and help to sustain profile.

“However, it is a crowded marketplace so this must be well conceived, thoroughly prepared, and on-brand. There are still a lot of firms churning out a steady background noise that could do this a lot better with the right help – in turn leading to deeper digital engagement, along with coverage spikes in the papers and online around the big events.”

Finally, Hutchison referenced the Leicester City story, which brought national attention to the fact that bookies can get it wrong and that big wins are possible. It is the potential for a ‘big win’ that continues to dominate the final week, with BetVictor’s ‘Million Pound Goal’ campaign taking centre stage.

Bet365 have continued to offer the popular ‘£50 In-Play Bet’ around the biggest matches in the latter stages of the tournament, but many of the headline campaigns from other companies fell away with England’s demise. For example, both Betfred and Sky Bet led with money back or enhanced odds for England losing on penalties. On this occasion, Roy Hodgson’s side weren’t even good enough for that.

Charlie McCannThe winner of the ‘Million Pound Goal’ will be the BetVictor customer who guesses the time and scorer of the first goal in Sunday’s Euro 2016 final. If nobody gets this right, the closest prediction will win. Ahead of the finale, we spoke to Charlie McCann, BetVictor Head of PR and Communications.

“We are absolutely delighted with The Million Pound Goal campaign. Whilst other Euro 2016 campaigns are at their dying embers ours, arguably, is only just beginning. One thing’s for sure, by next week we will have given away £1,000,000.

“Social media will go into meltdown once the first goal is scored, but we hope customers will share their predictions in the build up to and during the final. It promises to be a great night, a great final and a wonderful crescendo to what has been a magnificent and very well received campaign.”

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To learn more about player acquisition strategies in the industry, register for Betting on Sports (BOS) at the Grange Tower Bridge, London. Tickets are available at the half-price ‘Early Bird‘ rate until July 15!

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