Premier League

Andrew Morgan, ICS: The Premier League bonus race is over

Content and not bonuses is the most effective player acquisition tool ahead of the 2019/2020 Premier League season, says Andrew Morgan, International Director at ICS Media Group.

The countdown to the kick-off of the 2019/2020 English Premier League is very much underway and over the next few weeks we will see online sportsbook operators unlock their marketing war-chests as the fight over new player sign-ups begins in earnest. 

In the past, operators have focused heavily on bonuses and promotions in a bid to offer more value to players than their rivals. These offers are usually backed by high-profile advertising campaigns that seem ubiquitous across TV, radio, social media and online.

But this year I expect things will be a little different. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have put bonuses, and the ways in which they are advertised to players, very much under the spotlight. 

In addition, players are now very savvy and most have a very good understanding of how bonuses and free bets work and whether they actually add any value to their betting activity. The result? They are simply not as effective at acquiring new players as they once were. 

So, what can sportsbook brands do to ensure they are heard above the chants of the crowd as excitement around the new season builds and punters think more about who they will wager with during the coming nine months of play? 

The answer is content. Why? Because it is now one of the most effective player acquisition and retention tools available to online sportsbook operators. This is because it provides the added value punters are looking for while also ensuring they remain connected and loyal to that brand. 

Before looking at why content is so powerful, let’s first look at the different types of content online sportsbook operators can create. 

Written content

Written content forms the foundation of any online sportsbook operator’s content strategy. Operators should look to sports media giants for inspiration when it comes to the types of articles that work best but these are the most common: 

  • News stories 
  • Player interviews 
  • Match previews and reviews 
  • Betting guides and previews 

Written content should be updated on a daily basis to ensure that punters can always access the most up-to-date information about their favourite football teams and players, and the matches they have played.  

Audio content

Audio content allows players to keep up to speed with the latest Premier League football action taking place each week. Different types of audio content include live match blasts (goals being scored, substitutions, yellow/red cards etc) and radio broadcasts as well as studio commentaries. 

Radio broadcasts are particularly effective as they allow punters to remain connected with that sportsbook brand wherever they are, whatever they are doing. Radio broadcasts open as a pop-up on the operator’s site and work really well on mobile. 

There are different types of broadcast, but the most popular are those where pundits report on the different matches taking place that day allowing punters to keep up to speed with all the results coming in and how that is impacting the league standings. 

Video content

Video content is becoming increasingly popular, tapping into the second-screening phenomenon and a preference for this type of content on social media. Video content formats include match previews, player interviews, reaction clips and Gillette Soccer Saturday style pundit shows. 

The latter is particularly strong at engaging players who might not be in a position to watch matches on TV. These broadcasts are suited to mobile viewing and allow punters to keep on top of the action, while also remaining connected to that sportsbook brand. 

Why content is so powerful

So, why should sportsbook operators invest in content and not bonuses? Aside from the increasing regulatory issues that surround promotions and offers, content simply delivers much greater value – and better acquisition and retention numbers – than bonuses. 

By giving something away for nothing – the content – operators can engage and entertain players and drive tremendous levels of trust and loyalty. Players may not wager straight away, but when they do, they are far more likely to do so with that operator. 

Content can also be used to drive players towards placing a bet – articles can include the latest odds while broadcasts (both audio and video) can include calls to action such as the changing odds and new markets during the game. 

It works in the long-term, too. During the off-season operators can keep punters engaged by publishing information about player signings, transfers, and so on. Then, when the new season gets underway, there is no need to go big with acquisition/reactivation campaigns a few weeks out. 

Content really is the only way online sportsbook operators can ensure they are topping the table throughout the season and lifting the trophy come May next year.

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