Ross O’Connor, Director of Account Management at player engagement and retention software provider Xtremepush, said he was bowled over by the volume of multichannel campaigns delivered by its clients throughout the Cheltenham Festival.
He told SBC News: “Cheltenham week is often described by the industry as Christmas for sportsbooks. By all accounts, 2021’s edition really delivered on that promise for operators. And with everything that the industry has gone through over the past 12 months, it was very encouraging to see.”
We then asked O’Connor if he was able to quantify the increase in activity amongst bettors during the Festival.
“The outbound and inbound player engagement figures across the four-day period itself, compared to the same period the week before Cheltenham, are hugely positive,” he shared.
“I think that our operators really played to the strengths of each of their comms channels, whether it was email, push messaging or the on-site and in-app channels. The level of automation and personalisation on display was staggering.
“You’re looking at a three-fold increase in the volume of emails sent to players, for example, with a 200% increase in actual click-throughs and conversions. Meanwhile, push proved its value yet again, with campaigns delivering a strong engagement rate of between 4% and 9%, with a 300% increase in total volume sent.
“In particular, push was used exceptionally well in the 15-30 minute period before each of the big races. The immediacy and the visibility of the channel makes it an ideal way to get a punter’s attention and nudge them either onto the website or into the app to place a last-minute bet.”
And what about the standout returns for operators? “For me, I think the most impressive results I’ve seen are from the on-site and in-app campaigns,” said O’Connor. “These are the event-triggered messages delivered to the customers in real-time while they are actually navigating the website or app.
“Operators really stepped up their efforts in this regard, in some cases volume was up as much as 500%, and they were rewarded with a 150% improvement in engagement rates.
“Those figures are impressive, undoubtedly, but they don’t surprise me. These campaigns, by their nature, are delivered to each customer in real-time and in response to a particular action or event that has happened.
“So they have that immediate impact in the moment, and they are always relevant to the customer. That leads to strong engagement and stimulates activity.”
Cheltenham is often viewed as a benchmark week by the industry, so a bigger effort around multichannel marketing and, hopefully, an associated player engagement boost has become somewhat expected. But what are the key takeaways from the 2021 festival?
O’Connor said: “I think each year operators are trying to outdo themselves and beat their own records. The volume of campaigns sent, and the degree of activity this year shows just how vital automation has become.
“And not just in terms of scale, but also the way in which it allows CRM teams to focus more on strategy and messaging. As we’ve always said, it’s the combination of great talent and great technology that drives the best results.
“From a technical perspective, Cheltenham is naturally a massive week for us as we handle billions of messages, across multiple channels. It’s hugely satisfying to see our platform pass this test with flying colours, as it does every year, and maintain the standard of service and functionality that our operators have come to expect from us.