Harry Parkes – VisualDNA – The Psychology Blueprint

Harry Parkes, Product Director for WHY Analytics from VisualDNA

SBC starts this week interviewing Harry Parkes, Product Director for WHY Analytics from VisualDNA, on Big Data impacts within igaming’s value chain and how Predictive Analytics can help operators make smarter more informed decisions throughout their operations.

An experienced, retention, digital data and analytics veteran, Harry Parkes has consulted various sectors on optimizing operational digital data in order to create in-depth customer profiling and targeted marketing. Parkes believes that future winners in digital commerce, will be those companies that go one step beyond and understand their customers online psychology. Fine tuning analyses and big data are the first steps to achieving this end-goal

SBC: Hi Harry, pleasure to interview you, can you give SBC readers more details into predictive analytics methods/services and how they can be used by iGaming operators to attract new customers?

Harry: Sure, it’s about bringing together psychology + big data to deliver new levels of customer understanding. At VisualDNA, we want to help gaming organisations get to know their customers, understand what they want and begin to create the best possible experiences for them in a safe and trusted environment.

The gaming sector is already one of the most advanced in predictive analytics, especially when it comes to analysing customer life-time value and other revenue metrics. However, historically the primary data being used in these models is behavioural (what customers do) and transactional (what they spend), which can only go so far. We have pioneered a way to create additional data around demographics, interests, intent and personality (DIIP data) that can then be combined with existing data layers to help iGaming operators to create rich, accurate and useful profiles of their customers. They can then use this to improve marketing onsite and the in game experience.

They key is targeting the right customer, with the right game and at the right time.

SBC: At a management level how is big data and predictive analytics affecting the way companies make decisions and set their underlining goals and targets?

Harry: There are huge variances depending on the company, in most cases there is some customer value segmentation but at the other end of the spectrum you have land based casino’s like Caesars pioneering strategies where they use data to predict negative experiences for customers and intervene to counteract these.

It is about using Big Data to improve the experience that the customer receives, even if they are losing. For example, Caesar runs a Total Rewards scheme that means players with big losses may be rewarded with a meal or a hotel room to ease the pain of losing. This is promoting a hugely positive experience for the customer.

By leveraging the personality and behavioural data that we optimise, operators can tailor experiences in a similar way – through predicting and knowing the way the customer will interact with the site and making sure the experience they receive whilst playing on the site is optimal, even if they make a loss.

SBC: You have worked in the iGaming sector, beyond marketing and CRM where do you feel predictive anayltics can have the biggest impact in the iGaming value chain?

Harry: iGaming is renowned for having very high customer acquisition costs and customer churn, which can often be driven by a negative experience e.g. a loss, not finding a suitable product etc. This is where a better understanding of customer personalities and motivations can help. By leveraging data around the personality traits of the customers that access the site, it is easier to offer them an experience that is tailored to their needs, resulting in a more positive experience.

Equally important to iGaming operators is addressing the small percentage of customers who will exhibit problems with gaming. It is essential that operators are able to identify and proactively support these customers before the problem occurs. The marrying of behavioural and personality based data can help operators to really analyse who may have a problem and make sensible decisions as to action they take to prevent this.

SBC: Having more detailed data and information on customers may not guarantee marketing or operational efficiency, in many cases it can become a distraction. How does VisualDNA combat this issue in order to optimise their partnerships and projects?

Harry: Operators need to ensure that they can use the data that they have access to. Data without insight is of little use, and even more problematic is insight that is hard to action. Our approach is to always present data in a way that drives insight and helps clients to see where they can easily utilise that insight.

At VisualDNA we focus on simple and effective ways to display the data and give advice on what our clients can use this for. Furthermore the data we offer is accessible and can be integrated into our clients’ wider technology strategy. For example we have multiple partnerships with other technology platforms such as Qubit, Google AdWords and many others.  These all help to provide operators with data that they can really gain value from.

SBC: With more companies engaging in big data and analysis methodologies for their digital enterprises, are we beginning to see a uniformity in the way companies and sectors treat their data?  Should we be concerned?

Harry: This is an interesting question and my answer is yes and no.

I think there is a lot of noise around big data and a lot of companies tend to standardise on platforms. But I think it needs to be more about looking at the data and seeing how and why it is being used, and the ultimate question for operators needs to be one of ‘is the data being used in a responsible and effective way?

SBC: What future digital factors do you feel will have the biggest impact on customers and their habits, what should iGaming operators be preparing for?

Harry: As an organisation something that we are very focused on is trust, transparency and consumer control and how we can move towards a future where customers and brands are open about what data is being held and how it’s being used. And as consumers move more and more into a digital world, iGaming operators need to embrace a model built on trust that promotes further understanding, more awareness and additional transparency.

However, there is still a long way to go and we need to help organisations and consumers to embrace a digital world in which consumers are in charge of their own data profiles and can share this data in return for more relevant and personalised experiences.


Harry Parkes – Product Director, WHYanalytics at VisualDNA


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