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The US sports betting market has grown exponentially in recent years, highlighting an increased need for sports betting operators to expand their presence in new states and attract new players. However, staying ahead of the competition is challenging, and the changing landscape requires innovative ways to stay ahead. Starting where many don’t and tackling the problem of invalid traffic has the potential to give many bookmakers the edge they need to maximize return on investment (ROI).

Six years ago, online sports betting was almost completely banned in North America. In recent years, the number of states that have legalized sports betting has increased dramatically. Additionally, coupled with the increase in mobile betting, the number of bettors in the US is also increasing, meaning there is a lot more money in play.

According to LegalSportsReport, sports betting is now legal in 38 of the 52 states, with online betting legal in 29 of them. Relaxed legislation combined with an increase in mobile betting only means that bookmakers have more opportunities to capitalize on the growth and make higher profits. But without tackling invalid traffic that eats up budgets behind the scenes, they simply won’t see a return on ad spend and drive legitimate conversions.

The Obstacles to US Market Growth

According to a study by Statista, the online sports betting market in the US is expected to reach $9.65 billion by the end of the year. The new level of convenience and accessibility has attracted a new wave of players, resulting in an increase in the number of online sports betting platforms and apps available on the market. To attract and retain these players, bookmakers are introducing more incentives to drive betting, including increased odds and free bets. However, this also brings its own challenges.

Invalid traffic is engagement that artificially inflates an advertiser’s costs, including non-human traffic or activity designed to create fraudulent impressions. This is where invalid traffic in the form of bots comes into play with these incentives. These automated bots create fake accounts and steal bonuses. Sophisticated networks of fraudsters can exploit millions of IPs to commit bonus fraud that goes almost unnoticed by betting companies. What seems like a productive way to drive new customer acquisition ultimately harms operators trying to maintain a competitive advantage in an expanding market.

Additionally, returning users could be responsible for lost budgets and lack of conversions. These are loyal customers who want to engage in sports betting and who access the site through a paid search campaign. These existing users clicking through again and again drive up customer acquisition costs (CACs) and create huge inefficiencies in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Failing to manage these users creates obstacles to expanding into new U.S. markets and truly taking advantage of regulatory changes.

The answer for bookmakers

In order for sportsbooks to beat the competition in US markets and generate the revenue they deserve, they must first address invalid traffic. This doesn’t mean that marketing strategies should be limited to curbing bots or implementing strict strategies that ignore real traffic. Ultimately, the first thing operators need is visibility.

By having a big-picture view of which of their marketing methods are most impacted by bots, U.S. operators can differentiate themselves from the competition and take the steps to implement a technology solution that meets their needs. With a clear understanding of their traffic, sportsbooks can add a layer of protection that results in significant savings and a significantly higher conversion rate for depositing customers – making the most of the growing market.

When it comes to repeat customers, sportsbooks can introduce custom validation rules to determine how often a user clicks on a paid ad campaign. This means budgets can be saved on real users who are more likely to convert, without affecting current customer retention.

Additionally, shadow campaigns are an effective means of maintaining optimal audience engagement and the competitive advantage that US bookmakers seek. This is a duplicate of your current campaign, but set up with a lower cost per click (CPC) to prevent excessive clickers and repeat users from inadvertently driving up costs. By using custom validation rules and shadow campaigns, sportsbooks free up previously wasted budgets that can be put right back into acquiring new customers and maintaining existing ones. The result is maximized ROI from successful campaigns.

Gain visibility and control to win big

The US sports betting industry is growing and generating more revenue every year. Every betting company wants to make the most of the easing legislation and take their share of the pie to maximize ROI. However, if they don’t address the problem of invalid traffic or don’t know where to even start, they lose more every day.

By unlocking a new level of visibility through real-time traffic verification, bookmakers can gain confidence in the validity of the data used to scale and drive conversions with reliable and fact-based investments. With confidence in the data they use to attract and retain audiences, sportsbooks are able to expand their operations across the U.S. and gain a competitive advantage to reap greater profits each betting season.

Written by: Kalen Bushe, Vice President at TrafficGuard

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