Sports & iGaming Conference 2011
- November 30, 2011
- by Neil Fairweather
The Sports & iGaming Conference took place on Wednesday the 23rd of November at the Pinsent Masons building in London and showcased a plethora of huge brand names within the Sports and iGaming sector, from Liverpool FC (which will always get a mention from me) to Paddy Power. Not only do these industries work hand in hand when it comes to traditional advertising and sponsorship, they can also learn a lot from each other, which is why the event was so well attended. Excited by the fact I was speaking on a panel with Gambling Consultant and Contractor Aideen Shortt and OpenMarket’s Senior Market Developer Oisin Lunny on the emergence of technology across advertising platforms, I was also looking forward to hearing what the other sessions would have to offer.
The first panel session focused on in-play betting (with the likes of bet365 leading the way) and the need for it to be catered for within the various sporting events. In my opinion this offers a huge opportunity to create WiFi portals that can be promoted and hosted inside the venues, allowing easy access for mobile users wanting to engage in the in-play betting arena. It offers further advertising revenue opportunities for the venues and therefore scope for Gaming companies to ensure they capture these customers wanting to place a bet during the game. Granted there is a lot to be considered in implementing this, but many on the panel suggested there should be movement on this in the coming month.
The second session of the day looked at the influence of technology (and more specifically mobile and social media) on the Sports and iGaming market. Panel members Oisin Lunny, Aideen Shortt, Zico Moro and myself discussed the need for brands to realise the importance of not only current “normal” advertising and sponsorship platforms, but also those emerging ‘touchpoints’ that include deeper delves into mobile marketing and technology, also looking at the growth of the tablet market and getting social media right.
The key takeaway point is build on the importance of utilising technology effectively when looking at ensuring a brand’s growth plan for 2012 and deliver successful customer acquisition and also retention. Aideen Shortt’s excellent insights during her presentation and panel co-ordination enabled people to take learnings from, not only the size of this market, but also the requirements for businesses in 2012 in ensuring they are successful.
The rest of the day provided further insights into the changing nature of Poker network offerings, from MicroGaming to demographic information from ComScore on people accessing gambling related sites (with a high 42% female split- obviously very much bingo led).
Paddy Power then took to the stage speaking about the company’s successful approach to brand building, advertising and sponsorship. Paddy Power’s key to success has been their heavy focus on edgy PR to the point of being fairly controversial, as demonstrated by the campaign designed to promote their website launch. The campaign was based on the tagline “there’s a time and a place for fun and games” with a picture of the last supper and Paddy Power’s URL below it, indicating that the time and the place was not at the last supper but at Paddy Power’s online site. This was one of the campaigns that not only gave Paddy Power a lot of press but also ensured the brand cut through within a very competitive market.
Paddy Power did also label their focus on technology as being the key to their success and hinted it will continue to be a cornerstone in their progression during 2012 as they look to remain at the cutting edge of this advancing digital age.
Although this was a great insight into Paddy Power and their focus target audience of the “bloke in the pub watching the footy with their mates”, I was left wondering how Paddy Power’s cheeky and fun image works with targeting the wealthier punter with the higher lifetime value. This is an interesting question and one I will be sure to try and get across to him or his team when I see them next.
In summary some key takeaway points from the day included:
- The growth of in-play betting (with the likes of bet365 leading the way here) needs to be catered for within the various sporting events (from Cheltenham to various football grounds), through stronger WiFi connectivity.
- Paddy Power advising it isn’t just traditional sponsorship but strong, edgy and fun PR that enables a brand to be successful.
- Mike Shaw (of comScore) advised
- The UK is one of the leading digital sports markets in the world.
- Don’t ignore the female population (when 42% of those engaging in online gambling sites are females).
- Ensure social media engagement is part of your 2012 strategy (the power of the Like is significant).
- Neil Fairweather , @oisinlunny , @aideenshortt and Zico Moro advised
- 12% of search traffic for online gaming companies is coming through mobile devices (and 3% of this is already coming through tablets since launching in 2010) – Latitude statistics.
- You should be tailoring your digital strategy to mobile devices & tablets to ensure they are split out and you have functionality (from services such as dotmobi) to recognise these users coming through to your site
- Remember that over 50% still don’t have smartphones (as noted by Oisin), so ensure sponsorship and advertising still integrates systems such as enticing shortcodes to deliver impact
- Google+ will now add value to all and has to be considered for 2012- Google is monitoring social signals within its algorithm and one of the key opportunities to ensure they are being recognised by Google is to ensure you have a business page on Google+
All in all, the day was a great opportunity for networking and discovery for one of the most advanced sectors around (alongside retail). The day gave us all an understanding of what’s happened in 2011 and what is to come in 2012.
I am sure 2012 will bring even more advancement in the mobile market but my key suggestions are that you should be ensuring Tablet growth is NOT ignored in 2012, and that Social Media does have a value.0 Comments