Martyn Hannah, director of content marketing agency, ghostfoundry, analyses why online casino operators must become content hubs to acquire and retain players.
FOR a long time, online casino operators have relied on affiliates to attract players through unique, high-value content, and then drive them to their brands.
But with regulators tightening the screw on affiliates and the role they play in marketing online gambling products to consumers, operators must prioritise creating their own content hubs to drive acquisition and retention.
By taking charge of their own content, operators can be sure the articles, guides, features, interviews and news stories they produce are within the guidelines set.
Remember, in the eyes of the UK Gambling Commission, operators are ultimately responsible for the content affiliates use to promote their brand on their behalf.
There are other benefits, too. Operators know their customers better than anyone else, and can use this deep understanding to deliver genuine value to players old and new.
Engage, educate, entertain
By building a vast library of content, operators can an engage, educate and entertain the different types of player they welcome to their site.
For some, this will mean producing lifestyle features – “Five unusual casino locations”, “The ten best gambling films of all time”, while others will require game guides and tips – “The three best roulette strategies”, “Craps strategy guide”.
It just depends on your brand, proposition, and the type of player you are looking to acquire and retain.
The online casino sector is fiercely competitive, but a smartly managed content hub can help operators stand out from the crowd and build genuine relationships with consumers.
In some ways, it is about offering something for nothing. Consumers are super savvy and know when they are being marketed to aggressively.
By publishing articles and posts that provide real value to them, and with nothing expected in return, operators can foster incredible trust among players.
They may not convert into payers immediately, but when they do they are unstintingly loyal to that particular brand.
What’s more, unlike players that come through affiliate sites, they are unlikely to be bonus hunters and operators do not have to pay any fees.
It’s not just about acquisition, either. Content hubs are great retention tools that ensure consumers remain engaged with an online casino brand and connected to a site even when they aren’t wagering.
Regular features such as daily round-ups, weekly tips, monthly interviews, etc give players a reason to keep coming back for more.
Battle plans in place
Building a content hub is easier said than done, however. It’s not just a case of uploading one or two articles per day and waiting for players to roll in.
Battle plans need to be drawn up to ensure that the content created is of interest to an operator’s target audience, and that it delivers the value they are seeking.
Operators should also look to create content around events, such as the World Cup, April Fool’s Day, the release of a new gambling-themed movie, etc. Planning ahead is essential.
Content must also take different forms. Written articles are the easiest to create and publish; 888casino, for example, has built a vast library of articles on its dedicated blog.
This shows the scale and scope of a successful content hub, with a variety of different posts and features to meet different player needs.
In addition to written articles, operators should also look to create audio and visual content, particularly for players accessing content hubs via smartphone and tablet devices.
This includes publishing footage and live streams of players spinning the reels on their favourite slots games, and creating podcasts with professional poker players.
Again, it comes back to giving players a reason to remain engaged with an online casino brand, even when they are not wagering.
At present, most operators rely on affiliates to do this. But by taking control of their own content, they can effectively cut out the middleman and streamline acquisition costs.
That’s not to say affiliates don’t play a vital role in driving new players to online casino sites, because they do.
But the relationship between operators and affiliates looks set to change in the not too distant future, and with plenty of challenges to overcome.
By creating their own content hubs, online casino operators can ensure these changes don’t harm player acquisition and retention, while also delivering tremendous added value to their customers.