The Most Profitable Marketing Channels For Casino Operators

Luke Ormerod of gaming-focused marketing agency Blueclaw shares his insight into the most effective ways for casino operators to drive profit

The Most Profitable Marketing Channels For Casino Operators Casino operators know that not all customers – or web visitors – are of equal value. At the same time, player acquisition is at the forefront of any online casino operator or white label business. However, while some marketing channels might seem appealing, it’s vital to understand the total cost of acquiring a full transfer deposit. The Casino Search Engine Landscape The casino sector is one of the most stable markets in the UK betting and Igaming industry.
 
Casino Trends
 
Looking at data from 2004 to present, there has been a small decline over the past five years but use of casino related search terms has remained strong. It’s clear the casino market is still thriving but making money from the right player acquisition is important. At Blueclaw we work with a wide range of casino operators and ambitious white labels, meaning that we have a unique (and objective) knowledge of the financial element within the online casino vertical. Too often, we see companies that have embarked on strategies that, though profitable, are not delivering the potential volume of ideal customers – and it all comes back to understanding finance, and the value of different marketing channels
The Finances:
 
The specific figure for individual casinos will differ but an average lifetime value of a casino player is £380 GBP over a two-year period. Data like this (provided and aggregated from a variety of operators and white labels between 2015 and 2016) is a useful benchmark. We can relate the average lifetime value of customers to the costs of each online marketing channel in order to answer the key question – are customers profitable, and are they profitable enough?
 
Google Adwords and Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising:
 
Google pay per click may seem like a good route for instant traffic and quick wins. However, this type of advertising must be used with caution. Many non-branded operators depend on a minimum 50% sign-up from click to deposit to be financially viable. Operators need to ask themselves – can they be competitive enough to achieve this, given the bid values for the hottest terms?
 
The cost per click for the main generic search terms is typically too high for any operator to convert a profitable player.  So where can casino operators make money from
PPC? Bidding on the games themselves is a great way to achieve a low cost per acquisition (CPA) from PPC advertising.
Pushing phrases around the “free” niche bringsin players who are interested but will take a bit longer to convert into a full transfer deposit. Player management and engagement is essential at this point.  Losing the “free” related terms within the campaign will lift the cost into a negative point very quickly:
 
Unless the operator has a very good conversion rate losing the “free” term could be costly. The conclusion is that operators must invest in their websites, the user experience and value they provide, while also being honest with themselves over how effective they can be at making sure traffic from paid channels is profitable.
 
SEO
SEO is a longer term strategy. But in the long run a casino domain ranking high for generic and game terms will drastically drop the cost of customer acquisition.
The graph below shows one month’s search traffic, with a click through rate of 5% and a sign-up rate of 5%. The revenue is calculated on £380 average lifetime
value over a two year period. This only shows ten of the leading non-branded search terms,
There are over 3000 non-branded casino search terms in the UK sector and the analysis did not include the game names. Operators looking for a longer term profitable
business should include SEO as one of the core player acquisition strategies. Achieving and maintaining high organic rankings not only delivers high volumes of ‘free’ traffic, it also has other benefits. Ranking well organically for search terms (should) help lower the cost of PPC campaigns as the site content is deemed relevant and valuable by search engines.
 
Affiliates
 
Affiliates are one of the core strategies for any operator but there is an instant loss of 30% depending on the deal in place. Affiliates should be used as part of a longer term
strategy. A young casino operator will need be aware of the likely negative impacts during the first six months of the casino’s operating period. Any new casino operator should use all three areas to help lower the overall average CPA of a full transfer deposit, as part of an integrated, intelligent strategy – but it takes focus, and knowing the right
strategy for your business at the right time. An area to avoid. Money can be wasted very quickly on poor strategies. Certain terms in the casino sector are worth avoiding.
The no deposit sector is one such example
The “no deposit” sector may seem attractive but the conversion from sign-up to full transfer deposit can be very disappointing, unless your customer onboarding process is particularly smart. Casino operators with good internal CRM and player management can take advantage of this niche but using PPC and Google Adwords will often lead to a
negative player value.
For more information on player acquisition in the casino sector contact Blueclaw on 01132 343300 – or visit www.blueclaw.co.uk to learn more, or request benchmarking data for the games you offer.