Adrian Toshkov, COO and Co-founder of Dench eGaming Solutions, explores useful applications of AI in the field of players’ development strategies and bonusing.
Deposit bonuses, free bets and free spins promotions. For an industry that is generating £40bn in Gross Win it is fair to say the arsenal of bonus incentives and the way they are presented has not changed much since the first bookmakers went online.
The hegemony of large technology providers powering some of the biggest operators is heavily conflicting with the urge for new features, flexibility in the way players expect to be entertained. Through the years, operators looked for third party solutions to diversify and support player development strategies focusing mainly on the game content, releasing new titles and promoting them via reload bonuses, free spins and occasionally tournaments.
Respectively, requests for new proactive features related to engagement and personalised marketing tended to be ignored and misunderstood, as the all-time mantra ¨Content is King¨ was heavily spread across the industry.
As the industry matures, operators realise that constantly integrating new product verticals, making cosmetic frontend improvements, is one way of approaching the new market reality and the new generation of players. A different way to cultivate long-term relationship is by genuinely taking interest in what they do on the website; decipher their playing patterns, browsing behaviour and product preferences.
Operators have access to a wealth of big data created by every click of a customer’s mouse. Hence, the next big opportunity for increasing loyalty now seems to lie in the ability of operators to collect players’ data and turning it into their most valuable asset providing the ultimate user experience.
The need for insanely large bonus incentives has been well rooted in the industry where game data has not been available to create player experience. There is a growing trend in the industry to create stimulating infrastructure, which unlocks the potential that advanced analytics and AI powered solutions can provide.
Big data, automation, and AI started to become common terms used at the regular board meeting as operators realize that players change from session to session and so should their marketing incentives. By adopting and implementing AI-powered solutions, brands can easily spot ideal audiences based on their betting and depositing patterns, allowing them to influence customer decision-making and automating the most suitable bonus offerings.
Since it has been articulated by many that automation will take over the jobs of marketing teams, that is not really the situation and it could be used and introduced in much more effective manner. Instead, it is better to take pre-programming and automation or any other type of artificial intelligence solution as an instrument in the overall customer experience, taking on certain areas such as bonusing out of it, so marketing people can contribute more using their imagination and previous emotional and situational expertise to create the ultimate marketing playground. Operators can include contextual related offers and personalise the customer journey with in game bonus propositions and instant gratification messages.
Think about if we reproduce and pre-define the circumstances and the frequent scenarios, which the players get into and automate the incentives players believe they deserve in exchange for their gameplay commitments, based on easily accessible and well-structured historical data.
The deeper we dive into the problems related to bonusing and players development the brighter it gets the picture that AI powered solutions represent an opportunity for operators to introduce automated intelligent customer journeys based on the preferences of individual user.
Even though most of the operators are using third party sportsbook or casino providers available to everyone, what really defines the success of brand is the ability read between the lines and re-create the relationship with players on every possible occasion using emotional intelligent communications and incentives.
Therefore, there are some useful applications of AI in the field of players’ development strategies and bonusing, which operators should take into consideration:
1. Anticipation of customer needs:
Operators should be transforming the way they collect and store data about their players and think how to leverage the insights out of it. AI powered solutions can provide operators with dynamic user segments that can be utilized to predict consumer needs in real-time. Businesses can use these customer micro segments to better understand their needs and place every customer in the exact cohort, assign bonus or a state flag.
2. Reduce customer churn and increase customer lifetime value
After having defined the events and touch points, which are affecting certain behaviours it is crucial for operators to have the functionalities to keep players engaged longer and manage expectations properly. Monthly automated journeys with entertaining bonus steps, time limited offers, or pure customer centric campaigns not disclosed on the promo page are increasing the chances that player stay longer, get involved deeper into the gameplay, and feel greater level of recognition.
3. AI allows to cultivate an organizational culture where experiments are well encouraged
Mid or large size companies are facing the problem of operational gaps where marketing, operation and bonus teams are trying to solve the same problem using different parts of the product puzzle. Lack of fast data integration and usage of a number of third party tools are blocking the successful execution of more personalized and engaging experiences. Having a constant an immediate access to aggregated and calculated customer data allows operators automate bonus campaigns, change things quickly and measure results effectively. Hence, it enables everyone across the organisation access the same actionable data and create experiences that are more authentic.
All the above-mentioned are steps towards creating more immersive gaming experience. However, as the pace of technology disruptions is accelerating, the management should focus on the opportunities where operators can deploy bonus automation as part of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and real-time player management to create next-generation user experiences.
In some cases, they can count on the highly expensive AI service offerings from companies like IBM, Microsoft or Google or they better look around for new best of breed fully integrated gaming platforms which are bringing all the latest technological advancements under the same roof.