Inside the mind of a gambler

There’s a lot more to gambling than luck, and too many egaming brands are gambling on the user experience they’re delivering to their customers. Recently gaming operators are waking up to a difficult challenge posed to them which is: Most egaming teams can’t explain how and why their digital customers behave they way they do

Egaming brands have plenty of tools at their disposal to tell them what is happening on their websites, however there’s far less understanding of how and why it is happening. How many teams can answer with a definitive yes to the question: ‘Do you know why conversion increased or decreased on a given day?’ Furthermore, a huge challenge for gaming operators is insight velocity, gaining actionable insight with speed, which is difficult to do with traditional analytics tools. Speed is king, when optimising customer journeys, and those who are slow to surface insight, will get left behind in the race to UX optimisation.

UX is the new bookmaker

The online explosion of egaming has shifted attention from transactions occurring at brick and mortar bookmakers to the mobile phone. Mobile egaming has transformed the fortunes of the industry, yet not all online operators have got up to speed in terms of delivering a superior experience across both mobile and desktop. Those who are leading the pack, have already built out entire teams focused on UX, realising how critical the delivery of an optimised user experience is to their long-term success.

UX is one way brands can differentiate themselves, and this is especially true in egaming. Gamblers tend to visit multiple sites and services at once, so operators need to do all they can to ensure that their service feels unique and easy to use.

On their websites, UX can act as the bookmaker, guiding specific users towards making a bet, signing up for an account or simply reducing the number of frustrated customers who can’t navigate the way they wish to. The problem is too big to ignore and it’s time for egaming brands to act.

Inside the mind of a gambler

According to ContentSquare data from over 300 million mobile sessions, for 80 m-commerce brands, mobile users take 21% less time to interact with the first page than desktop users. What digital operators need is insight about this fast-growing and impulsive segment of mobile users: why exactly do they take 21% less time, and what can be done about it?

The gambling sector is characterised by this volatile user base: ContentSquare analysis shows that the average bounce rate is more than twice as high (35% compared to 15%) than in other industries. Egaming sites need to present their users with large amounts of information before the customer can use the service, and this presents a challenge in a sector where time spent on individual pages is three quarters lower than the average. Therefore, optimising their on-site journey is critical.

The ‘impulsive user’ is one customer segment ContentSquare have identified which is prominent on most egaming sites. These users make up 52% of a typical egaming brand’s overall traffic, spending less than 5 minutes on the website and mainly visit to review their betting history or search for information. Only 26% of these users will actually make a bet in any one session. But even when they don’t bet, they visit an average of 13 pages. It’s not easy to make these impulsive users place a bet, but if you manage it, the rewards are vast. Impulsive users can quickly become frequent users with an average of 14 bets for each customer.

The limitations of traditional analytics

The gambling industry is missing a trick when using merely conventional analytics such as Google Analytics to form the basis of their insight. Conventional analytics provide operators with only a limited picture of what is happening on their websites: how many users are visiting certain pages, clicking or tapping on certain offers, or dropping out before purchasing. These established tools don’t go far enough in explaining why users are behaving the way they do – why did this particular offer drive a 10% increase in conversion rate? Why did that change to the website layout cause a slight drop in a certain type of game or bet?

Enter the new breed of analytics

Newer forms of analytics, such as behavioral and UX analytics, can complement conventional analytics by providing these additional layers of insight, helping UX and insight teams surface data on the golden paths and equally identify where frictions are in the journey. Rather than segmenting by demographic details, such as country or estimated age group, operators should be segmenting by customer behaviour and user types – it’s the on-site behaviour that really matters. Too many operators are failing to take into account these different behavioural segments. Gaming operators need the tools at their disposal to be able to distinguish between different user types (e.g. new versus returning) quickly and easily, and manage their different customer journeys to make the most of each and every visit they receive.

The rise of journey managers

Gaming companies are now building out UX and journey manager teams to ensure the optimal experience. A journey manager oversees particular personas or groups of users. Every egaming company will have these: the VIP that spends large sums, bets frequently on only horse racing but nothing else, the fleeting visitors that come and go frequently, or the newcomer that has never visited before. It’s not enough to simply recognise that these different segments exist, operators must act on that insight by beginning to tailor the offers and on-site experience to these personas. This is no small task: it represents a big technical challenge, especially on mobile where our data suggests that users are four times less likely to sign in to their accounts.

Online journey managers aren’t so different from casino managers: they’re employees whose job it is to ensure that all visitors are adequately catered for and that they’re moving through the various processes involved in placing bets and playing games correctly.

We’ve seen the rise of journey managers in egaming operators, employing journey analytics to instantly visualise all user journeys for specific segments across any date range or device. The most successful journey managers are those with the ability to compare the behaviours from their key segments using next-gen KPIs and metrics such as zoning analysis, revenue per click, scroll depth and hesitation times.

Transforming the user experience

Without knowing exactly why visitors behave the way they do, testing becomes a gamble in itself. Testing without adequate insight to form the right hypotheses risks wasting huge amounts of time without a guarantee of good results.

The need for an easy to use end-to-end solution which gathers, analyses and visualises all on-site user behaviour should be a focus this year. Egaming operators should look to solutions which will enable them to save time, and make better decisions faster.