Gamification is the concept of incorporating game-like aspects into marketing, training, and other critical company functions. It may be popular as a marketing practice, but when executed intelligently it can have tangible business benefits. People have been creating and playing games for as long as we can remember as a society, so it’s only natural that we like interacting with companies and services in this manner as well.
Integrating gamification with sports betting, online casinos, and related activities is something of a no-brainer, but what may be less obvious is how powerful a tool it can be to retain players and cross-sell between products and services. But what are the tools available, the benefits they offer and how can operators ensure they are taking the optimal approach?
Gamification in online gambling is generally used for stickiness (repeated visits and interactions), rewards, retention, loyalty, and training players on the usage of a specific product or platform. The tools used can include:
Missions: Specific actions that the player needs to perform to accumulate points, which can be a general activity (such as logging in, depositing, responding to a notification) or product-specific, which directly relate to specific betting activity.
Levels: An artificial ladder that indicates player progression throughout their journey, with milestones and targets to unlock better store purchases. These can be themed, such as evolving from Trainee to Golden Boot winner in football-related online gambling games.
Badges: Medals that the player can earn for an activity, more suited to providing additional flare and to help with storytelling.
Points To indicate player progress, level-up thresholds, and to be used as a currency in iGaming stores.
Store: An area where players spend their currency points. Items sold here can be gameplay-related or tangible in other beneficial ways.
Communication channels & activity: An overview of the journey a player has been through on your online casino or sports betting platform, with the milestones and actions they have achieved on the way.
Tournaments: Competitions involving 2 or more players, all participating with the purpose of reaching the top of the leaderboard by achieving the same goal and earning a prize.
If operators can add features that are interesting and entertaining for players, they will naturally spend more time with the products and return for more. This allows operators to offer other products and services to gain players, who will be more inclined to try them out based on the trust and familiarity which has already been established.
However, it is crucial that this engagement process is informed by data and analysis so casino and sportsbook operators can select the promotional methods to assure long-term success. One other major importance of gamification in iGaming is that while campaigns and marketing efforts are usually limited in duration, gamified environments can be leveraged to attain goals over much longer periods of time.
Tools like achievements, leagues, and tournaments make players feel part of a community and promote healthy competition, so it creates a real sense of satisfaction when certain milestones are reached. The numbers we see at Delasport speak to this, as we saw an increase in player engagement of circa 85% month to month from 32,000 completed missions to nearly 59,000 just a month later.
As discussed in our list of expected iGaming trends in 2022, the positive psychological reinforcement from gamification gives players a thrill of beating the system, passing a milestone even triggering an exclusive feature. Even a small fanfare when they pass a certain threshold of bets or an anniversary of their registration can make them feel like they are part of something, and that the operator is giving them proper attention.
Players should be given as many ways as possible to enjoy and gamble. For instance, in the right circumstances, sports gambling players can enjoy a few spins of roulette during half-time – and the same goes for online casino players who might want to have a punt on a major sports event that happens to be going on.
Through gamification in iGaming, those betting on sports can be given special awards or badges when they cross over to casino games – or vice versa. To help support this, operators will need to identify the players most likely to do this and give them the proper incentive to follow through. In addition, with a holistic approach, an operator can offer players points in a tournament across verticals, allowing them to use them on their favorite casino games and sports events.
The mechanisms underneath gamification must be intelligently balanced in order to attract and retain iGaming players, maximize the quality of the experience; all while still maintaining a favorable ROI. It’s not as simple as adding new features to a game and hoping for the best: it must be carefully planned, adjusted, and supported by insightful data.
The approach is also important, as a number of people who place bets often do so to be entertained, rather than making an income. As such, gamification should enhance their reason to play, but not be the main draw. Instead, gamification in iGaming should only elevate the entertainment factor and not overpower the gameplay.
A final note on customer awareness is to properly understand the different values different players offer to an iGaming operator, and that the appropriate mechanisms and awards are in place for them. For instance, a higher-level casino player may spend €50K per week and should therefore have better rewards than another player who spends €10 per week.
Having real insight into your customers is crucial when trying to understand which rewards will be the most appealing to which iGaming customers. One of the best ways to do this is to keep things ‘fair’ is to demonstrate that the house is paying out and that both sides can win (where the business gain, is naturally, the lion’s share).
It goes without saying that online gambling Operators must deliver on what’s promised and give the reward to winning players – or risk a serious loss of trust. It’s usually best to give the reward on the spot in the form of achievement or milestone.
A few other aspects of rewarding will depend on your customer profile and targeting. For instance, when it comes to scheduling, you can:
- Give the reward at the end, for instance, if they have done a certain action or triggered a certain number of times, like a deposit.
- In the beginning, where the customer already knows the reward is there, but they must complete certain actions first. This is not the best approach as it can feel a little ‘carrot and stick’.
- Progressively, where the reward is given according to the player’s progress throughout their levels. For example, collecting pieces of a puzzle where the collection of a final piece releases an award.
You can also incorporate different types of reward, such as fixed (known from the start), randomized (from a pool of options), or surprised (given without expectation).
It’s time to up your game
Gamification in iGaming is a great retention and revenue tool for operators, but it’s not easy to implement. Understanding your customer is the key. The mechanics (journey, gameplay, rewards) should be personalized and applied upon player segmentation. Your player should be able to easily see the value when they ask the ‘what’s in it for me’ question’ and should clearly understand the journey to achieving their reward.
Knowing that you need gamification in your iGaming business is only half the battle. What about the implementation and maintenance of such an undertaking for your sportsbook or online casino? If you want to take your iGaming operations to the next level but need support, Delasport offers the technology and experience to make it happen. With decades of experience in the online sports betting and online casino industry, we know what it takes to gamify and succeed. To find out more, get in touch with our team today.