Ahead of the Betting on Football Conference, team SBC caught up with online betting exchange Matchbook.com’s CEO Mark Brosnan. Having recently re-launched Matchbook.com, Brosnan gives insight into building new brands in igaming and forming deeper bonds with sports betting customer s whilst being to optimise football betting marketing
This April Matchbook.com has partnered with charity ‘Right to Play’, donating all commissions generated by its exchange on April 1st to the charity, who use sports to educate and empower children and youth to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities.
SBC: Hi Mark, can you give our readers more details on Matchbook.com’s upcoming charity promotion for April 2014? Why has Matchbook.com partnered with the charity ‘Right To Play’?
Mark: To celebrate the success of our 0% commission on soccer promotion, all commissions generated on the Matchbook exchange on April 1st will be donated to the global sport for development charity, Right To Play. As an exchange community we’re delighted funds can be raised by our users to support Right To Play in creating healthier and happier communities for young people facing poverty, disease, violence and discrimination around the world.
SBC: Sports betting operators have had a tough time with announcement of new tax levies and regulations in the UK. Do you feel that initiatives such as these can help change the public opinion of sports betting operators?
Mark: We have a community of thousands of sports fans and it is important for us to support a charity that uses sport and play to change the lives of so many who are in real need. Our business model has always been a focus on giving value back to our users and we’re delighted to make this contribution on their behalf. Partnering with Right To Play very much fits in with that ethos of giving back. I think a lot of the negative sentiment out there in the gambling space would be targeted towards fixed odds operators with extortionate margins. As a low margin betting exchange we find that customers are surprised at the value we are offering, and are genuinely enthusiastic about the product we offer.
SBC: This is a huge year for football betting, with very open Champions League, Premiership and La Liga titles up for grabs. Plus the upcoming World Cup, how has Matchbook.com capitalised on these popular markets.
Mark: Football has always been a big focus for Matchbook and our commission free betting promotions have been all about showcasing our competitive odds pricing, great liquidity and tight margins on the exchange platform. We’ve continued to experience unprecedented growth in the last few months and we’re really excited with the announcement that 0% commission will continue for all football handicap markets, until the end of the season. The World Cup is a special event that only comes around every 4 years and we have more exciting plans in the pipeline to bring the Matchbook message to new users in time for the June event.
SBC: Being part of a Betting Exchange, your team witnesses live interaction of football markets with punters opinions. As marketeers, how do you exploit these live in-play reactions to events on the field?
Mark: We are always keen to interact with users of our exchange to improve our product and promotional offering. We take the same approach through our social media channels and try to stimulate engaging and relevant conversation with members of the Matchbook community. We regularly provide updates and insights on market pricing movements in reaction to live in-play happenings during events and we find that adds the most value and drives the highest interest and engagement from our followers.
SBC: Matchbook.com, has recently undergone a rebranding, how do you look to separate your brand from other betting operators in the sports betting market?
Mark: Our core focus has always been giving value back to our users through our low margin cost structure. This commitment to drive long term volume to our platform continues with the announcement that 0% commission will continue for all football handicap markets, until the end of the season, as well as ongoing commission free betting on in-play tennis. We’re confident that this user centric, value driven strategy will allow us to grow the Matchbook community and provide further access to great liquidity on our exchange.
We also re-launched the Matchbook brand in tandem with the release of our new cutting edge betting platform. We actively encourage our thinking to be focused on innovation so we can constantly improve and enhance the product for our users. We’ve already released some great new features and we’re very excited with what’s in the technology pipeline for 2014 and beyond.
SBC: Do you feel that brand marketing and brand creation exercises in sports betting have been neglected in favour of acquisition led channels – affiliates, PPC, Media Buying
Mark: Brand spends are important as building trust is a key factor in the sports betting sector. When Right to Play got in touch we were very keen to support their work in developing communities through sport, as it is something that rings true to our own ethos. However lavish brand spends often result in driving up cost to the customer. As a peer-to-peer betting platform much of our growth has come from word of mouth referral from punters looking for a low-cost alternative in the exchange space. Our strategy has been sustainable growth and we will continue to get involved with projects that fit us as a brand and don’t compromise our community ideals and loyal user base.
SBC: In your opinion what technologies, services or factors will have the biggest effect on Football betting markets in the future.
Mark: Our vision is to be the world’s biggest betting community. With the emergence of Social Media we have seen the growth of relevant networks & communities across the world as people interact with each other through a common interest. Social media is all about engaging and reacting to information in real time within both open and closed networks. The proliferation of access through mobile devices has allowed the engagement on social to happen from anywhere, at any time. This trend has also been reflected in the betting industry.
A betting exchange is a real time market where prices can fluctuate in reaction to live information that can shape the outcome of a given sporting event. We see a natural correlation between the relevant information that people engage with and generate on social media, the resulting movements in the betting markets. We are currently looking at useful ways to separate the noise on social media from the critical information to make it easier for our users to access social content that can help inform their betting decisions. We want to make Matchbook that online hub where you can access the event, the information and the relevant betting market.
Mark Brosnan – CEO Matchbook
Marketing and Customer Retention will be discussed at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference 8 May-London Stamford Bridge