iGaming Business magazine Gaming Platforms 2018 - Page 9

Gaming Platforms START-UPS 2018 AND player retention A few basic steps can go a long way to help start-ups retain their hard-won clients, says Vladislavs Hveckovičs If you think about it, player retention should not be the main topic of discussion for a newly launched casino. A new casino should focus on player acquisition, while retention should come much later. However, in our practice as platform developers, the subject of player retention comes up as one of the most popular issues. It takes a lot of effort to convince start-ups to focus on offering a good deal to new players and building their operations before they think about activating their client base and improving retention-and- engagement fi gures. The reason start-ups prioritise player retention is that all the big guys are doing it. If you have millions of monthly active users, as some of our clients do, even a 1-2% difference becomes a huge factor and it would be a shame to ignore it. If you take a liberal approach to statistics, you can even say that up to 70% of profi t comes via player-retention work. The problem with this argument is that the analysis is done on the big companies, who have already been massively successful in attracting players. What basics can most casino operators fi x? The fi rst thing I would look at is the availability of player data: geography , bets, wins, the games they play, the number and amount of deposits and so on. This should be automatically available to the marketing guys without the need to bother someone in IT for a report. Actually, you should focus on removing the IT department from the process after building the tools required for marketing. Setting up targets and the ability to easily monitor success are essential. Current technologies make it very simple to collect and analyse even the minutest data. Five years ago, most marketing specialists were happy with 10-15 parameters, the likes of geography, mobile/desktop and so on. Now everyone wants full behavioural data on each of their players – where they click, which pages they use and for how long, when they click a back button or when they go to another site. Data, automation, multilingualism – and the personal touch It is important to keep marketing requests in check, ensuring that their requirements are practical and will be used successfully. I’ve seen many examples in many industries of a report or a tool that is a must-have and cannot be changed even slightly, but which is already forgotten by the time it’s developed (and which shouldn’t have been developed in the fi rst place before other, simpler things were taken care of). Once you have the basic data, there’s a lot you can do. You should ensure that your platform allows automatic campaigns to be launched. That means that, once you select a player base to which you think you can offer something, you should engage them automatically daily without the need to manually create queries or campaigns. Big competitors can afford to run campaigns manually because they can hire a team of retention specialists to do the work. A start-up should make as much use of automation as possible because your retention team is probably one guy, and it’s probably not even his full-time job. Adding a personal touch – something big names often cannot afford – is another successful strategy. Our activity reel shows most important events, such as failed deposits or failed log-ins, in real time for the operators to pick up. The ability to solve those issues by launching a live chat session, or even calling players who have indicated a willingness to talk by phone, can work wonders for client loyalty. One more thing casinos often forget about is multilingual support. English will get you quite far but there are many players who have diffi culty conversing in anything but their native language. It’s costly, as you need to make sure your support staff are both good at their job and can freely use the languages of your players. Once you fi x the basics, then you can move on to all the areas that most marketing guys get excited about: custom-built or purchased tools for data analysis, player segmentation, A/B testing and the like. But before you do, it pays to make sure the product is good and the experience is top-notch. Vladislavs Hveckovičs is a gaming systems integrator, casino back-offi ce software developer and the CIO and co-founder of SoftGamings, a B2B igaming software company founded in 2008. SoftGamings offers online casino platform solutions, including development of white label, turnkey and self-service casinos, as well as advanced bonus and loyalty engines. iGamingBusiness | Issue 110 | May/June 2018 79