Whether you’re sold on the idea or not, it’s rare that something so significant appears in the gambling industry that provides potential for such a dramatic growth. Like cash-out and the betting exchange before it, Esports is one of those game changers.
Digital Fuel’s experts have been following this sub-culture for over ten years, and we offer our five top tips to help you win the fight for control of the Esports betting battlefield.
Understand That 'Esports' isnt' One Sport
Football is not the same as horse racing, and neither is StarCraft II the same as CounterStrike. Currently, bookmakers are looking at “Esports” as if it is a single sport. In the eyes of Esports enthusiasts, the games are the sports. Just as sports fans have some sports they love, some they watch occasionally and others that don’t interest them, Esports fans are the same.
The fans differ between the games: they hang out in different places, they have key differences in their attitudes, their exposure to gambling so far and their current betting habits. Different games have varying levels of potential for betting both in terms of turnover and advertising possibilities, and it’s vital that you use messaging that is appropriate for and resonates with the fans of each individual game.
Know Who You Are Targeting And What Their Exposure To Betting Is
The various different Esports have all seen very different levels of betting on them so far, and understanding how this effects the habits and expectations of customers is crucial.
League of Legends, the largest Esport in the world, is one of the least developed in betting terms, seeing only the third highest turnover for Pinnacle (reported by EGR Magazine), behind StarCraft II and Dota2, with a key reason being that no gambling advertising is permitted to be shown in by far the most significant competition, the LCS.
CSGO’s absence from the top of Pinnacle’s turnover list is because, along with Dota2, huge sums are bet on black market tote pools using in-game skins. As such, CounterStrike bettors think in percentages rather than fractions or decimals and are willing to back short priced singles, but are not used to betting on multiples.
Understand what you can cross-sell your new customers to: the skin mechanic within CSGO & Dota2 means players are used to the slot machine mechanism, whilst RTS players would probably be more responsive to blackjack.
Know Where To Find Potential Customers
Where you can find customers will vary depending on the particular game, though there are similarities. Video advertising on Twitch and other streaming and video sites provides an opportunity to open up a relatively untapped digital marketing channel.
It’s also important not to neglect more traditional channels for your Esports marketing. Social Media provides opportunities for the detailed targeting that is needed for campaigns to be successful, and RTB display advertising targeted at focused segments, or site-wide media buying is also effective.
Know What Messaging Will Resonate With Fans
Ensure your creative is appealing and will convey the message that you are a bookmaker that understands Esports rather than one that is just looking to try to cash in on a hot topic. Esports fans are very savvy and whilst they truly appreciate companies who support their industry, they won’t hesitate to block your adverts and criticize you if you don’t understand them.
If your headline promotion for the opening weekend of the Premier League was Everton v Watford rather than Manchester United vs Tottenham your customers would be confused, the same as they would be if you ran El Clasico creative without Messi and Ronaldo. Make sure you know what the important matches are, who are the key players and what game images will resonate with the audience.
There are plenty of specific acquisition and retention promotions that you could run, and this provides a way to stand out in a market where there is little price differentiation. An example for a game of League of Legends could be “Money Back if Rekkles gets First Blood”.
Decide If Esports Is A Battle You Want To Win
Whilst most traditional bookmakers have only just started taking Esports seriously, they are already behind the curve, and you can be certain that some are going to make serious moves to own the space. Now a $612m industry, the first Esports event took place in 1997. Since then, XLBet launched a standalone Esports betting product in 2007, Paddy Power ran markets in 2008, and Pinnacle have made serious waves since 2010.
Pinnacle have taken over a million bets on Esports so far, and with up to $4.5m wagered per day on black markets, it’s critical that you don’t get left behind any longer.
Our team have been ingrained in the Esports industry since 2005 and have practical experience from a fan and players perspective in addition to the development of a betting product. Contact Digital Fuel today and talk to experts about how you can capitalize on the opportunities brought by Esports.